For those of you who don't have the time to read my rather lengthy expositions on all things Idol, here are some of the highlights of Sunday night's episode in QUICKNEWS format:
- Benji Mac revealed his love of amateur dramatics and displayed an incredible likeness to Summer Heights High's Mr G in the process.
- Mark Da Costa revealed his incredible ROCK AND ROLL experience by admitting he used to play in an Irish folk band. No one is surprised.
- Dan Mifsud cemented his position in the top three Idol finalists by choosing to do a Justin Timberlake song, which then turned out to be the as yet unreleased chart flopper Dog's Breakfast.
- Carl Risely continued his dumb American tourist impression by donning an incredibly stupid hat and singing that #1 pop classic, Waltzing Matilda.
- Jacob Butler tried to steal the rock from Mark Da Costa by dressing as a valet and singing The Killers. Considering Mark is an Irish folk singer, this goal was achieved relatively easily.
- Tarisai yelled a bit more, Marty looked uncomfortable, and Brianna sang out of tune.
So just another day at the Idol ranch, really.
For those of you sticking around for the in depth analysis, let's get it on!
Tonight's episode is themed "Idol's choice", which is really exciting because THAT'S ONLY WHAT THEY'VE ALL ALREADY BEEN DOING EVERY WEEK FOR THE LAST MONTH.
To fit the theme, the judges have all dressed as "judge's choice". Clearly Holden's choice is to look like the Fonz in a too-young-for-him black jacket, while Marcia's is to resemble a piece of confectionery (possibly a Marciamallow) in a bright pink ensemble complete with rat's tail. Maybe all those Pascall ads have finally gotten to her, and the next time we see her will be singing along to Boogie Wonderland in the "My Mum Rocks Competition". We can only hope.
First down the chute tonight is Benji "Just you wait til my voice breaks" Mac, with what Ken Doll dubs a "Maroon 5 classic", Sunday Morning. If we're allowed to call songs released only three years ago "classics" then how about the Britney Spears classic My Prerogative? Or the Ashlee Simpson classic Pieces of Me? Lord knows the Mac could handle it with his voice.
But before he hits the stage we're treated to a montage (can't have an Idol without a montage) showing us all the things little Benji likes to get up to in his non-Idol life, which includes making "cheesy horror films" and prancing about in school plays. It's all incredibly Mr G. I sincerely hope he chooses to perform tonight in bedazzled lycra and legwarmers, but alas, it seems Sheridan Tyler has gotten to him first and dressed him in his favourite Idol costume: jeans, black jacket and white T shirt. But it's not just any white t shirt - it's got a big bloody picture of an apple on it, so Holden can start getting all his one-liners about ``wanting to take a bite out of Benji'' ready now.
"You know what this is, it's Young Talent Time," says my Idol sidecar Raoul.
I have to agree. Benji's cute alright, but he's got no balls. Ok, so we already knew that. What I meant was his vocals are weak. The song is dullsville. Oh well, that's what you get for choosing a CLASSIC.
Holden says it's hard to believe Benji is 16. As it turns out, he's 17, so I guess that explains why it's so hard to believe. Holden says it was a weird song choice, and that he wants more emotional depth from Benji. Yeah, that's what I want - emotional depth from a 17 year old. What's he going to draw on Holden? The time the dog ate his homework? Dicko says Benji is Australia's favourite younger brother, but everyone knows younger brothers are irritating so he should watch out. He should also watch out next time he opens his wardrobe door, because Australia's favourite older brother Kamahl has balanced a bucket of water on the top. PWNED! Marciamallow says congratulations, and staunchly refuses to start swearing like a sailor despite what Dicko might have told me and my friends about her last weekend. Kyle says Benji is crazy and nutty backstage, which makes me think he may have joined in that Idol orgy that seems to still be swinging away every week in the wings.
Moving on to Mark "Don't stop da rock" Da Costa, who announces that he loves rock and roll because it's "raw, unpredictable, and not plastic". Rather unlike Mr Da Costa himself.
"Get a f*cking haircut you loser," yells Raoul. I concur.
Mark has earned himself the position of resident Idol rockstar this season, seemingly by virtue of singing Evie a couple of times and owning a mullet. But tonight we learn his true rock and roll history, the totally-wild-but-true back story to his burgeoning hard rock career: He plays in an Irish folk band. Aye begorrah, when you want to please the ladies you can't beat a fiddle, to be sure!
Tonight he's sprayed on some black pants that show off his girly Riverdance legs as he darts about the stage for U2's Vertigo. He even manages to channel fellow paddy Damien Leith in some extremely dodgy dancing, reminiscent of Damo's torturously bad Celebration performance last year, before switching channels to Mutto and getting down on one knee in "the Mutto crouch". The judges will probably love this crap.
Dicko says it was a little mannered, and Mark should have gone wild. Maybe if he pretended he was back at Ye Olde Shamrock pub in Fitzroy, cutting sick on a bit of Danny Boy, that might have helped. Marcia says she's so glad Mark is in this competition, but doesn't finish her sentence with the obvious "Because it gives me something to laugh at every week". Kyle says he needs Mark to get harder - so I think we can chalk another one up for the backstage Idol orgy. Holden says he likes Mark's bar. Or he wants to take Mark to a bar. Or Mark set the bar high. Something like that. Anyway it doesn't matter, it's time for Lana "Not a girl, not yet a woman" Krost with her rendition of Natalie Imbruglia's Shiver.
If Benji Mac is Mr G then Lana is definitely Ja'mie. We get to see a riveting montage about her friends, her family and her achievements at school, which gives pervy middle aged men everywhere the opportunity to see her in a school uniform. Not that they need have bothered setting the VCR for that short snippet, as she spends the next three minutes on stage in a dress so small and tight just the sight of it would make Benji Mac sing like Barry White. No wonder she's shivering. But hang on - that's not a dress... It's a... Oh god no it can't be... is it? Could it really be A JUMPSUIT? And a MACRAME one at that?
Sheridan Tyler takes a hit off his crack pipe backstage and coos "Some of my best work."
Lana's also gone for the Amy Winehouse eye makeup and hair this week, which could mean that by the next show she'll have gotten a dodgy boyfriend, descended into anorexia and drug abuse and made the full round trip from pure-as-snow virgin to crack whore in just three weeks. Top work, Lana!
Marciamallow says it was a great job, because it's hard to walk down stairs and sing at the same time. Especially when you're half Amy Winehouse - don't you just throw yourself down them and yell? Kyle says he wants to see more of what Lana's mum sees when she's on stage. No one really knows what this means, but we know it's a bit creepy. Holden likens her to Charlotte Church, and Lana collapses in a screaming heap at the thought of ending up like this. Then he tells her to sing less. Perhaps she could deliver her next performance in mime? Dicko says Lana is a teacher's pet and seems to be holding onto something. Thousands of pervy middle aged men around the nation heave a deep sigh.
Moving right along to Werewolf Le Scarf/Greg Brady/Greaseman/Daniel Mifsud, whose montage of baby photos surprises everyone by containing NOT ONE picture of him in a scarf. What, you mean he wasn't born with one?
Tonight he's wearing another Wolfmother vest (confirming my suspicions that vests are the new scarves in Idol land), but all is forgiven when it is announced Scarfy will sing Justin Timberlake's Cry Me a River. Female fandom is guaranteed.
At least, it WOULD have been, had he not rearranged it into an audible dog's breakfast in which he sounds like Mika with strep throat singing over the top of the Jaws soundtrack while a Van Halen impersonator does several solos in the middle.
Kyle goes for the Understatement of the Year Award by saying it was "a bit of a sloppy mess". Dicko says Daniel "burns up the screen". Somewhere, Husny cries silently, knowing he has been dethroned. Marcia says a little bit of Justin goes a long way - so it's a pity that performance wasn't ANY bit Justin.
And now for the first of tonight's car crashes, Carl "I swear I'm not an American tourist" Risely, who has foregone his Aussie-Aussie-Aussie cap this week in favour of a natty straw boater. The cap was better. Hang on - has anyone ever noticed how much Carl looks like Matt Dillon?
Spot the difference.
His montage informs us that he's a trumpet player in the navy - AS IF WE DIDN'T ALREADY KNOW.
I'm not going to go into all the details of the tragedy that is his performance - suffice it to say that he does a swing version of Waltzing Matilda. Just imagine that. That's really all you need to know.
Clearly Sheridan has loaned his crack pipe to the judges during the last ad break, as they all applaud Carl for his "perfect song choice" and amazing performance. Except for Kyle, who has obviously paid heed to all those Government funded anti-drug ads and so is the only one sober enough to deliver an accurate judgement - that it was a naff load of crap. Goodbye Carl, it was nice knowing you.
Next up is Holly "The pride of Mildura" Weinert, whose montage tells us all about her passion for making her own clothes. hopefully she'll win this thing so she won't have to fall back on fashion designing as a career, because her clothes are worse than Brianna Carpenter's worst nightmares.
Tonight she's paying homage to those other failed reality TV pop stars Bardot by dressing as Sophie Monk from the Poison video clip, sans budgie feathers. It's a confusing look from someone who until now has turned up in K Mart sportswear. SHe looks utterly hot hot hot, but sort of slacks about the stage in it like she's been forced to wear something sexy and really she'd rather be at home in her uggies, thanks.
She sings The Gossip's Standing in the Way of Control. Or rather, stumbles and yells her way through it. Everyone gets ready for Holden to make an obvious gag about this song "standing in the way" of her winning Idol.
Dicko tells her it was a silly song to choose, and then makes a few fat jokes about Beth Ditto. Fortunately there are no fat chicks on Idol this year so no one complains. Kyle tells her she looks like Patti Newton on crack. Backstage, Sheridan and Patti look at each other over the pipe and go "WTF?". Holden declares Kyle's gag "the line of the decade", and there are backslaps and cheers all round before everyone remembers Holly's still standing there and they probably have to say something to her. So Holden tells her she's like Reigan Derry - hopefully this means she'll turn up next week in a disco milkmaid outfit to sing some obscure song from a WA band no one's ever heard of. Holly says she's trying to be different in response to what people on the interwebz have been saying about her, prompting Kyle to yell "Don't read those forums, the little slobs have nothing better to do!" Ooooh, do you think he's talking about US? Cos if he is he's right.
Next up is Matt "Still on track to win this whole shebang" Corby, who does a spiffing version of Coldplay's The Scientist. It's utterly fabulous - the boy knows how to work a mike, and he's even got his Dean Geyer stare down pat to make sure there's not a dry seat in Australia. I'm not going to waste time by describing how completely gorgeous and wonderful Matt is - but I will mention that in his montage we got to see him being cling-wrapped to a tree. Needless to say, this image has been saved to my memory bank for future use.
Marciamallow makes sense for the first time this season by saying the performance was beautifully melodic and beautifully simple. Kyle tries to invent his own touchdown by asking everyone to stand up to salute the star. Not quite as catchy, but I like it. Holden says things like "control" and "falsetto", and then moves forward a few years in the `90s by upgrading his ``Yo!'' catchphrase of previous episodes to a solid "Booyah!" Dicko says he doesn't want to rain on everyone's parade, but then does, by saying Matt turned Coldplay into something you'd hear in a hotel lobby. So... Coldplay, then? Then he criticises him for not singing Chris Martin's song as well as Chris Martin does, which seems MORE THAN A TAD UNFAIR. Mark Da Costa, on the other hand, clearly put Bono in the shade with his Irish folk version of Vertigo earlier in the night.
Natalie Gauchi is next, and from her montage we learn that in her non-Idol life she works as a waitress in her parents' cafe, serving lunch special pastas and salads for $9.90. So if she doesn't win this thing at least she can fall back on being the understudy for Cafe Primo's Lena.
She's straightened her hair and whacked on some fancy slap to do Powderfinger's On My Mind, and apart from her yet-again appalling outfit, she's dynamite. In fact, it's possible she's even better than Matt Corby.
"Oh my god, I SO can't believe you just said that."
Kyle says she took the song to a pretty good place, like maybe the zoo or the movies. Holden dusts off his Idol meter and says she could have gone 20% more at the end. Dicko takes another hit off Sheridan's crack pipe and says Natalie exists in the outer reaches of populism.
Let's move on to Jacob "I was on X Factor but don't hold that against me" Butler, who if the newspapers are to be believed, is the pride of old Adelaide-town. I asked a few Adelaideans (including myself) today what they thought about Jacob Butler, and the most common answer was "Who?" followed by "That twerp?" So, perhaps not.
He's dressed as a valet in one of Holden's old cast off jackets - a natty little red velour number that looks like it's covered in a thin film of dust. It's very fetching.
Bets are on as to what song the Butler will do tonight. My second Idol sidecar Scootie goes for Jet. Audrey says One Crowded Hour. I say Jakey will shake it up and do Acca Dacca.
"I've always been a big fan of Oasis..."
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! No more Don't Look Back in Anger, PLEASE!
Fortunately (or not, depending on how you look at it) he does The Killers When You Were Young which is one of my favourite songs of the last few years. Thankfully, he doesn't rape it. But he does sort of touch it up. At the very least he makes a few lewd remarks at it.
Holden yells "Jacob Butler is BAAAAACK!" and makes us all wonder a) where he'd gotten to in the first place, and b) why he didn't just stay there. Then he says it's great Jacob is starting to sing with his eyes. What the hell? I must have missed that bit - but with talent like that he could star at next year's Adelaide Fringe. Dicko says Jacob "inhabited" the song, but now his rent's overdue and he's being forced to evict him. I don' know what Marciamallow says, I'm too distracted by how much she looks like an Asian marshmallow. Kyle says Jacob is "the real deal", which is probably true if you're talking about being dealt two threes, a two and a five.
Next up is little Tarisai "Stop calling me Tiramisu muthaf*cka" Vushe, who's borrowed Mark Da Costa's spray on black jeans to do some Alica Keys. It's some song about "If I was Your Woman". If Tarisai was MY woman, I can confidently say there'd probably be complaints from the neighbours about all her yelling.
As usual there are a lot of power notes and it's pretty great, but it's just BORING. Will someone give this girl a personality please? Even the guy sitting next to her mum in the audience is snapped yawning.
Dicko says she structured it well, because she used to start at 12 (which made it a nightmare to throw to Rove on time, it really did). Marciamallow points out that Tarisai is "pint sized", as if we're all supposed to be continually impressed by small people who make a big noise. SHE'S SMALL, SHE YELLS, SO WHAT? I spent the majority of my weekend with a three year old who could reasonably pursue a career as a car alarm - no one thought HE was special. Holden constructs a sentence from the following phrases: "built it", "show me the money", "ka ching!" and "no sale". Then he asks Sheridan to pass the dutchie on the left hand side, and we move on to Marty "Who" "No really, I don't even know his last name".
Marty's montage video shows him off to be a true working class hero - his dad's a brickie, his mum's a cleaner and his brother's a garbo. Oh PLEASE sing Jimmy Barnes, I think. But no, he's opted to do The Police's Can't Stand Losin You. Good one Marty, three quarters of your fans will have no idea what you're doing. Why doesn't this guy just do Jack Johnson's Flake and be done with it?
Marciamallow looks up through the smoke emanating from Holden's end of the judging table and says "That was ok, wasn't it?" Er, we dunno Marcia. Isn't that YOUR job? Kyle asks Marty what his fears are, and Marty says his hands. One would assume that a bloke who was afraid of his own hands might have some problems entering the big bad world of showbiz, but we shall press on. Holden tells Marty he needs to be more of a storyteller, and then launches into a bizarre fairytale about a surfer being "dropped in on" by a tourist in an effort to "connect" with the nervous little surfer boy before him. "Uncomfortable" is a word that springs to mind here. Dicko wraps up the completely pointless and slightly weird comments fest by telling Marty to get perpendicular. Sheridan fluffs up another pillow in the orgy room for later on.
FINALLY THANK THE LORD IN HEAVEN it's our final contestant, Brianna "I sing with an accent even though I'm from the Gold Coast" Carpenter.
Song bets are on again: Frente? Flame Trees a la Sarah Blasko? Holly Throsby? Cornflake Girl? FOOLS! Don't try and fence this free spirit in - she'll always escape and she'll ALWAYS surprise you!
Tonight she surprises us with The Beach Boys God Only Knows, which allows everyone around the country to join in with the same obvious joke: "God only knows how she's still in this competition." Woot! Snaps to Australia for that gag!
Just for something different, Bri-Bri's wearing a little frock with massive buttons on it like Pollyanna, and just for something else different, she's batting her Clockwork Orange eyelashes, pouting and singing in a made-up accent that she stole from Regina Spekto and Bjork. And in a completely unique twist, Brianna has chosen to perform this song completely flat, in a key way too high for her. Ace! She even throws in some dodgy Carl Risely-style scatting at the end. Double ace!
Kyle says he's surprised but he didn't mind it. I guess he's finally succumbed to peer pressure and taken a hit off that pipe that's been doing the rounds. Holden says he loves her originality (again - big buttons and a stupid fringe don't make a person ORIGINAL Holden, they just make them noticeable) but finally admits that she keeps dropping bum notes. Then he calls for someone to "bring out the Betty Booper Scooper." This sounds utterly ridiculous to me, but if he's finally admitting that Brianna can't sing I'll agree wholeheartedly. Dicko says the cutesy play acting is starting to get on his nerves. STARTING? Even Marciamallow says she needs to watch her pitch. PRAISE THE LORD, THE JUDGES ARE SEEING SENSE.
And so kids, the moral of this story is - crack isn't all bad.