Well it had to happen, didn't it kids? At SOME point we were going to have to be subjected to seeing the Idols bend jazz over and give it a good old seeing to, and last night was the night. Not only were they instructed to sing jazz, they had to take a modern song and MAKE it jazz, which is sort of like giving a blind man a paintbrush and asking him to turn an IKEA print into the Mona Lisa.
Hence the birth of the "Idol Swing Night Drinking Game" - whenever you hear someone say the words "comfort zone" (as in "You've really gone out of your..." or "I need to try and push the envelope and get outside my...") take a drink. You'll be pissed by the first adbreak.
Clearly, Ken Doll has felt the burn of a thousand bloggers pouring scorn upon his wig-like super mullet, as he's had a haircut. And you know what - snaps to the G, he looks rather dashing indeed. And alarmingly, even more like a Ken Doll.
Monkey Boy asks Kyle to comment on the theme of the evening, and Kyle replies that he doesn't want old people to enjoy the show. News flash Kyle - old people aren't interested in you or this show, because they're all watching the ABC's classical Idol instead. He then freaks fiance and home viewer Tamara Jaber out for the second week in a row by saying he'd love to go to the carpark with the Idols. This is never explained.
On with the show, and first up it's Sticky Custard who says he's doing the Beatles' Saw Her Standing There and admits he loves horns. Kyle offers to show him his trouser trumpet but no one hears him over the screaming of TEAM RICKY. "I picked this song because everyone knows The Beatles! Who doesn't know The Beatles?" laughs Ricky, failing to cover up the fact that he only learned who The Beatles were half an hour before the show.
He comes out in a sharp black suit with a 1980s skinny pleather tie and a fauxhawk, looking a little bit like an extra from Footloose but somehow still rocking the look anyway. The crazy facials are ever present but now he's in a suit, he just looks like a coked out 1980s Wall Street tycoon rather than a mental homeless person, so it's not all bad.
"Hold her hand in miii-EEEEEEEEN!" is what Ricky tries to sing.
"Hold her hand in miiii-iiiiiine" is what he actually sings, as he completely misses the chance for a ballbusting falsetto that would have shizzled Holden's shemizzle and sent him racing, pedal to the metal, for Touchdown town.
Where's Damien Leith when you need him?
Overall the performance feels forced. Ricky looks like he's possessed, Emily Rose style, for most of it, and he ends with a half arsed scat that sounds like something they'd teach you in 'Scatting 101' in a first year Bachelor of Jazz course at the Widjimorphup TAFE: "Boppity boppoty bop do bop YEAH!" But hey, he sort of looks cute, doesn't he?
With bags under his eyes and cheeks puffier than the quilted black anorak he's wearing for no good reason, Holden looks seriously old tonight. He actually looks like a nanna waiting for the bus on pension day. Surely nannas love Ricky? "SCHWING!" says Holden, channeling Wayne and Garth and bringing out a 1990s cool phrase that isn't cool anymore. He says it's the best Ricky's done so far. (So the answer is yes, nannas do love Ricky.) Marcia says Ricky really dug it and it came over well. She neglects to mention whether SHE dug it. Maybe she can't remember. Kyle says Ricky didn't take him to the places he thought he would (like the carpark).
"Well the crowd loved it and I had a ball!" announces an ectstatic Ricky, as an evil cameraman cuts to a shot of the most bored person in the entire audience - a young girl in a yellow dress with an expression so blank we're not even sure if she has a face. Look at the crowd loving it!
Next up it's Lisa Mitchell. It's all I can do to stop myself punching the television as soon as she walks on. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOOOOOU!!!!!! IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUU!!!!!
Sorry about that. Once again Lisa whinges about how the chosen theme for the night isn't her style, and it's been difficult to go out of her COMFORT ZONE (take a drink) and blah blah blah. Clearly, any theme other than "dull, whiney five-year-old girl voice crap" is going to be difficult for her. Although I WOULD like to see Chris Murphy tackle that one. Lisa then gives a definitive description of "swing" by explaining that it has "heaps of brass in it". Oh, how I wish someone would put heaps of brass in Lisa Mitchell.
Knuckle sandwich, anyone?
Once again she is dressed in page 39 of the latest Sportsgirl catalogue, in a strapless sundress, black leggings and ballet flats. YES, MORE GOD DAMN BALLET FLATS. I mean, God forbid that she should dress up in a kicky little cocktail dress and heels for jazz night. She's sitting uncomfortably on John Foreman's piano, clearly because Sheridan Tyler or someone has told her she'd look like this:
When actually she looks more like this:
Can't even spell fabulous.
Ok, so she wasn't PLAYING the piano, but it's the best I could do. She's singing The Veronicas' Revolution, and almost starts one against herself with the first 30 seconds of her performance. It is truly dire. I mean absolutely, craptastically awful. I've never heard anything quite this tragic before. "I am temperamental," she slurs like she's on valium, with no tune to speak of. "I am sentimental," she continues, even though half of Australia is begging her to stop. "I am, I am, I am," she sings, and the other half of Australia finishes her sentence with "CRAP". She starts to shuffle around the stage, giggles a bit and then coughs half way through a word like she's given up on life. It really is the most half arsed performance the Idol stage has ever seen. SHE'S A REVOLUTION! CHECK OUT THE ONE-GIRL REVOLUTION!
Of course, anyone waiting for the judges to give any sort of considered criticism on this absolute debacle (like I just did, see?) is sorely disappointed. "You're just stunning" says Holden. I hope that he means it in the same ambiguous way that "Amazing is NOT the word!" does, but unfortunately it seems he's still actually besotted by Ms Mitchell. He says the beauty of Idol is that they're continually pushing her through hoops to get her out of her COMFORT ZONE (drink) - and strangely, doesn't seem to be put off by the fact that she has turned out to be utter crap every time they do. He then craps on about her being stuck in the minors when she can open up a new part of her voice in the majors, and then calls her a trooper. For once Marcia says what everyone's thinking by saying that the scariest thing about the contest is Lisa singing things she wouldn't normally. Too fucking right. Kyle tells Lisa her performance made him feel like he was shopping in Myer at Christmas time (presumably not for her impending album produced by Mark Holden) and to my satisfaction, his comment gets a little cheer and a clap from an obviously anti-Lisa section of the audience. HOORAY! So they DO exist! But then he confuses everyone by saying that she's good. What, in a crap Christmassy kind of way? He says she did a slowed down version of a great song, which provokes an angry outburst from Holden. I agree - The Veronicas don't have any great songs.
At about this point the quickly-becoming-regular Idol sidecar Raoul (who I should point out has actually updated his blog for the first time in about 6 months and it's rather good so maybe you should check it out) got bored and drew a penis on my notepad, which woke me up out of my post-Shuffles McMumble stupor. I mean, CLEARLY the judges have lost their minds here. Even the McDonald's sponsored "Unforgettable" clip of some dude who can't even remember his lyrics was better than her performance.
Anyway it's on to Chris Murphy who is taking the whole Aussie rock thing a little bit beyond a joke by choosing to do AC-DC's You Shook Me All Night Long. No - as a swing number, remember? Thaaat's right. He makes all the home viewers drink two shots by mentioning both his "comfort zone" and something about "horns".
Not to rest on his laurels from last week's bad shirt incident, he's outdone himself with a classy little number straight from the remainder bins at Ed Harry Tea Tree Plaza. It looks like he's just stumbled out of a strip club at 3am after being kicked out for grabbing the waitress. Although he seems to have gotten the grease/shampoo equation correct this week - it's not too greasy or too Pantene-y, it's just right. Snaps to the Murph.
The performance isn't too bad, as long as you ignore his strange penchant for throwing his head back at the same point in the chorus every time. "YOU *head* shook me allll niiiight loooong! Yeah YOU *head* shook me alll niiiight loooong." It looks completely bizarre, like he's trying to give himself whiplash so he can make a claim on worker's compo and get out of forklift duties at the warehouse for a few weeks.
Marcia says it was very clever and she's trying to digest it. We're not sure if she's talking about Chris' performance or her medication. Holden says he danced between the rock and the vocals and did it really well. If you could call that headbanging a dance, sure. Kyle says it worries him that young girls aren't going to bed dreaming about Chris Murphy. But it's ok, because HE is. He then commits the biggest act of hypocrisy in Idol history by bitching Chris out for not dressing up for swing night. "It's the perfect night to suit up, why didn't you wrap yourself up in a suit?" he whinges. Um, Kyle, remember this:
"I am...wearing the same outfit as last week."
WANT TO SAY SOMETHING TO HER, MAYBE?
On to Dean Geyer-than-Christmas, who announces he'll be singing Mustang Sally "by The Commitments". Um, Dean - they weren't actually a REAL band. I think you might mean Wilson Pickett. "I've never played with a big horn section before," he says. Yes, yes, we know you're a virgin, can we move on now?
His "swing version" of Mustang Sally is basically exactly the same as the original but slowed down and with a few more horns (drink) thrown in. The most I can say about his outfit - a white open collared shirt and blue jeans - is that it's boring. With his crucifix necklace on show to the world he could easily be a door knocker for the local Christian youth group. It's not necessarily a bad performance, but it's passionless. Australia - this is what happens when a virgin sings the blues.
Marcia says he looks beautifully presentable. Clearly she couldn't think of anything good to say either. Holden says it seemed like a better idea on paper than reality, and we wonder whether he's talking about Dean's performance or his decision to be on this show in the first place. Kyle freaks Tamara Jaber out for the second time this show by asking four surprised girls from the audience to get up on stage and "show their appreciation" to Dean. They politely give him a hug each. This seems to displease Emperor Kyle, who yells "When I said 'show appreciation' I didn't mean cuddles, girls, come on!" Everyone looks decidedly awkward as it becomes clear that Kyle was expecting some sort of Eyes Wide Shut on-stage orgy in which Dean the virgin is deflowered on national TV. The girls leave the stage feeling more than slightly unclean, and Kyle thinks about what he's going to do in the carpark later.
Next up it's Jess Mauboy, who comes on looking fabulous as usual in a floor length black and white striped evening gown. It's a pity then that her swing version of Beyonce's Crazy in Love sounds like a big bag of arse. Raoul rightly points out that it sounds like the closing theme music to a TV gameshow, and we imagine John Blackman reading over the top: "This has been a Ten Network production." She's fucked up the lyrics, she's singing all over the place and she's out of breath (I can sympathise with this, having attempted this song before on SingStar. It is physically impossible unless you're actually Beyonce). Altogether - a complete disappointment. Apart from the dress. Which is fabulous.
Holden takes another 1990s cool phrase that isn't cool anymore and says Jess needs to be more bootylicious. You know, like Ricky Lee Coulter on that deodorant ad. (Or perhaops you're after more of an el-EC-tric vibe?) He says the performance wasn't rooted in her body, which sounds worrying, but then qualifies that by explaining it wasn't in his pocket. So, no roots anywhere, by the sounds of it. Dean knows a bit about that. He does, however, say he wants to see her do something more physical, which prompts Raoul to pipe up with the obvious gag "I BET HE DOES!" It gets a laugh anyway, as we're all thoroughly bored by tonight's lacklustre presentation. Marcia says, enigmatically, "Jazz is jazz". Kyle says it was poorly put together. Clearly so is her dress because he says it looks like an ironing board cover. The hypocrisy of him criticising EVERYONE'S outfit tonight except Lisa "Leggins" Mitchell does not escape me.
And finally it's Damien Leith, who has decided to rape and murder Radiohead by doing a swing version of High and Dry. Damien's mum is in the audience, and tells Monkey Boy that the entire nation of Ireland thinks they've lost their darling son Damien to Australia, prompting Raoul to yell out "Tell them they can have him back." Snaps. "It's going to be a great night for all of us" says Damien. Except Radiohead, obviously.
If you missed this performance, imagine the front bar of the Best Western in Las vegas at 3am. Theeeeere you go.
Holden says Damien could have easily brought out the Val Dooni-goo-goo-ometer TM but he didn't. Then he asks Damien's mum how long she's in town and tells her to extend her visa. Not because Damien's going to stay much longer - he just thinks she's hot and wants to take her out to dinner. Marcia says Damien is "such a conten-DAH". Kyle says he's brilliant but worries that people at home will find it boring. Yawn. Sorry, what was that Kyle? I nodded off there for a second.
Marcia sums up the evening with one of her famously accurate and rational statements: "Dial and make and vote."