Gyrating For Jesus: A Pow-Ka-Leow Guide To Sun Ho’s Greatest “Hits”

It’s easy to jump to conclusions about the guilt of the City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders, but I’m not going to do that here. Instead, I’ve decided to engage in the admittedly snarkastic exercise of listening to every English release by Sun Ho which I could find on Youtube, to see if the quality, content and success of her music could ever have justified the expenditure of S$23 million, authorized or not.

(For those unfamiliar with the backstory, City Harvest is a hugely rich megachurch in Singapore, founded by pastor Kong Hee and his wife Sun Ho (once described as a “music pastor”). Several of its leaders, including Kong Hee, have just been charged with committing criminal breaches of trust and falsifying accounts regarding the use of church funds. In particular, S$23 million worth of church funds was purportedly misused to fund the “Crossover Project”, an initiative started by Kong Hee and Sun Ho to use Sun’s secular music to reach out to non-Christians. Sun has been trying to launch a US-based secular music career since 2003.)

#1 Dance Hits Which You’d Never Remember Dancing To

Given that you can usually find almost anything ever committed to recordable media on Youtube on the basis that someone somewhere somehow thought it was significant enough to upload and share with the world, I was surprised to discover no trace there whatsoever of Sun’s debut American single, “Where Did Love Go”. For a song produced by David Foster which reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play “Breakout” Chart in 2003, its “breakout” impact appears to have been short-lived. Sun’s management should address this problem by making it available on Youtube ASAP – it could, after all, rake in a few hundred accidental views from non-Christian lazy typists who were looking for the Supremes’ classic.

After this disappointing start, I was relieved to find some clues as to what Sun’s other “#1 dance hits” may have sounded like: one remix of “One With You”, two of “Without Love”, one use of “Gone” as backing track to an optimistically-titled montage of “international star Sun Ho” at US Fashion Week 2006, and three – wow, three! – remixes of Ends of the Earth.

There is little to be said about any of these songs. The tunes are forgettable, Sun’s vocals insipid, none of the songs have any discernable lyrical connections with Christian beliefs or morality beyond pedestrian references to love, and whether you like them or not will largely depend on your tastes in dance music and the abilities of the producer/remixer. One also wonders why anyone would see generic Eurodance as a good way of spreading the gospel in the US music industry in the first place. Perhaps the Crossover Project thought this is what gay clubbers like listening to.

Sadly, we’ve already reached the high point of Sun’s US chart success. But let us not waste any more time here. The low points yet to come are far more entertaining.

In God We Thrust: “China Wine” (2007)


“China Wine” was released in 2007, the same year that the misuse of funds allegedly began. I couldn’t possibly guess at how people with actual Caribbean music credibility like Wyclef Jean, Tony Matterhorn and Elephant Man were recruited to collaborate on the song, or why a famous MV director like Wayne Isham would have any interest in doing the video. I guess they must all have been big fans of Sun’s Eurodance work.

(It’s easier to appreciate the WTFness of this song if you’re already familiar with certain dancehall music references, so let me quickly explain that “wine” in the dancehall context doesn’t refer to the Blood of Christ but to gyration of the hips, and that the “dutty wine” is a well-known dance move where you whip your hair around while gyrating your hips.)

“In China,” Sun claims, “we luv da dutty wine so much dat we mix it with de China wine”. So basically, the song is about cross-cultural hip-gyrating. I’m not seeing a clear Christian connection there, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out if I think hard enough – oh hey, maybe this is how Jesus partied it up at the wedding in Cana! CANA WINE! CANA WINE!

dancing Jesus gif

Elsewhere in the song, Sun exhorts girls to “sing from the hoo-has”, Tony Matterhorn namedrops fashion designer Ed Hardy (Sun’s company is the exclusive distributor of Ed Hardy clothing in Singapore), and Elephant Man suggests that Sun’s gyratory skills (“so she do it fast, now she do it slow”) can make something dead grow. He is probably not referring to the Resurrection.

Out of the clusterfuck of nonsequiturs that make up this song, the biggest one may be why the hell a Singaporean is calling herself “Geisha” to sing a song about how much “we” in “China” love to dutty wine. Perhaps Sun hit her head after being slain in the Spirit one day and it affected her geographical knowledge.

They Call It Murrrrdaaaa[1. Apologies to Damian Marley and Ini Kamoze for associating them with this bilge.]: “Mr Bill” (2009)


It is baffling to think that anyone looking back at “China Wine” two years later could have regarded reggae as an ideal musical direction for Sun to continue in, but maybe Wyclef’s weed[2. c.f. Tony Matterhorn’s “China Wine” verse where he asks Wyclef to “passa blem”.] was just that good. “Mr Bill” is certainly more mellow than “China Wine” – except, of course, for some minor lyrical hostility involving Sun’s decidedly unmellow impulses to murder her cheating man.

Still rather confused about exactly where she is from in Asia, Sun aka “Geisha” begins the video by berating her man in Mandarin for lying to her. At times during the song, her attempts to deliver her lines with a ragga-tinged lilt are so inept that she might as well be speaking in tongues. And the less said about her dancing the better, except for letting you know that in or around the same time that this song came out, she was training with superfamous choreographer Marty Kudelka in her lavish Hollywood Hills home. Let’s add “groove” to the list of things that S$23 million still can’t buy, although it’s nice to know that Sun enjoyed 29,000 square feet (at US$20,000/month) worth of space to practice her flailing in. 

Fakey Gaga: “Fancy Free” (2009)


Following the disappointing failure of “China Wine” and “Mr Bill” to get the world pelvic thrusting for Christ, Project Crossover must have come up with a new strategy for “Fancy Free” to make its mark in a 2009 pop music landscape dominated by Lady Gaga. But simply writing a knockoff Gaga song is for poor schmucks who don’t have S$23 million to spend. If you’re funded by Project Crossover, on the other hand, you can also get what looks like a pretty expensive video directed by a hot shot MV director who’s already done Gaga videos, and employ Gaga’s then-choreographer Laurieann Gibson, just to leave nothing to chance.

Pity about the inconvenient fact that Sun ain’t Gaga. After several years of trying to make it in the American music industry, there’s still nothing that distinguishes “Fancy Free” from a Paris Hilton vanity project, except that the Hiltons never promised their hotel guests that no Hilton revenues were used to fund Paris’s singing career.[3. ”In 2003, an individual alleged in the media that the charity was funding Sun Ho’s music career. However, this individual eventually issued a public apology and retracted his allegations. Facing media scrutiny, City Harvest issued press statements, as well as representations to its church members, that they had not funded Sun Ho’s career.” – Asiaone]

And if you were hoping that Christian messages in Sun’s music might finally have emerged by now, with “fancy free” possibly referring to some sort of detachment from material goods, you obviously need to bone up on your core megachurch doctrines. Sun wakes up “feeling like a millionaire”! Which is pretty easy if you’re either waking up in a LA mansion or a S$9.3m Sentosa Cove penthouse!

Cringeworthy hubris reaches its peak when Sun trills “Feels just like I’m on a shooting star / Made my wish to be a superstar”. It’s like saying you wish you could buy a Birkin when you can already afford to buy 2,300 of them, if you could only find a shop that respected you enough to sell them to you. Also, it appears that even long-ridiculed boy band tropes like rhyming “fire” with “desire” are too sophisticated for a song which rhymes “star” with……”star”.

A Conclusion And Some Parting Insults

Pages more could be written to deconstruct the multiple levels of epic fail in Sun Ho’s US music career, but there’s only so much torture I can take and I’m pretty much already at the point of uttering “Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani?” So I will leave you with two last atrocities, and thank God for small mercies that they are only available in short preview clips. (Things seem to have gone suddenly quiet on the Sun music front just before the initial complaints against CHC surfaced in 2010.)

First up, “Hollaback Girl” oh sorry I meantCause A Ruckus” is Sun’s clubbing manifesto. Clad in shades and her “tight wifebeater”, she urges you to “leave your do’s and don’ts at home”. I was under the impression that the 10 Commandments are applicable everywhere, but what do I know, I’m not a pastor’s wife. Sun later contradicts herself with a command to “Do what I do,” which is rather alarming when followed by the tally of “one Tom, two Tom, three Tom, now four”. Which is a worse sin, fornication or bad pronunciation? But don’t worry, Sun, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless your US$100,000 media team[4. “In or around April 2009, a plan was conceptualised by Tan Ye Peng, Chew Eng Han, Serina Wee Gek Yin and Tan Shao Yuen Sharon to transfer monies amounting to $600,000 donated by Wahju Hanafi to the Charity’s Building Fund via a “refund” of Building Fund donations into the MPA to meet some funding needs of the Project, which included US$100,000 (S$128,000) to finance a media team from Singapore to publicise and write about Sun Ho’s music career in the United States.” – Asiaone.] uploads your gluttony to Youtube.

Like I said at the start of this post, I am not in a position to judge whether the channelling of S$23 million from CHC funds in support of Sun’s US music career was properly or improperly done. However, after suffering through what that S$23 million might have paid for, I’m inclined to state that even if every single CHC member wrote in their own blood that their tithes should be spent on Sun’s US music career, the question remains how anyone keeping track of this musical turd parade could possibly believe it to be pursuing or achieving the goals of Project Crossover. I have no answer for this question, but perhaps Sun does. Enjoy the last clip.

If you are interested in this issue, you may want to read my follow-up post: Kong Hee Kong Si Mi??! Towkay Jesus and the Calvin Klein Crucifixion.

Collected Tweetlinks

Twitter link flotsam from the past few weeks, which I persist in collecting here because I can’t quite handle the ephemerality of Twitter. But do follow @syntaxfreeblog if you’re into that!

Losing My Edge

At my weekly West Coast Swing social dance, a song came on that I didn’t know. It had a minimalistic Neptunes-esque beat with one of those high reverby synth sounds that has been hot for quite a while now (like in Beez In The Trap and Look At Me Now), and started with a rapped verse that reminded me instantly of Wait (The Whisper Song).

So I walked over to the person who had compiled the playlist and asked, “Hey, what’s this? It’s pretty good!”

Justin Bieber.”


Party In The NWA

We usually listen to pop radio while cooking dinner, because cheese makes everything taste better. *rimshot* The following conversation ensued tonight when Party In The USA started playing:

Me: I still love that Jessie J wrote this. Except I don’t think it makes sense that Miley Cyrus is singing this instead of her. 

Alec: Well, for Miley it’s about moving to LA from Nashville.

Me: I know, but still.

(We continue chopping vegetables as the song plays.)

Me: And see, this part about the Jay-Z song doesn’t fit with coming to LA. Jay-Z is East Coast!

Alec: It’s possible you’re overthinking this.

(Just so you don’t leave thinking that was two minutes of your life you’ll never get back, I highly recommend the Saffron Pasta Salad and Curried Red Lentil Soup with Dried Cherries and Cilantro we made while engaging in this and other similarly profound conversation.) 

AI8: Final Two

Idol final 2 performance rounds are often anti-climactic, because after a season of finding out what the top 2 contestants are good at, your “reward” is that you get to hear them singing the reliably awful coronation song, unadventurous producers’ choices, and only one song which really reflects the sort of artist they would choose to be. Tonight was no different, and although I want to write this because I think Kris was thrown under the bus again, it was generally just a dull night.

First round: Mad World (Adam), Ain’t No Sunshine (Kris)

I never understood why people went mad for Mad World the first time (and I utterly adore the Gary Jules version), but I guess it was still a better strategic choice for Adam than his actual best performance of the season (Tracks Of My Tears), given that his second song was going to be Motown as well. Since I was underwhelmed by it the first time and he didn’t change anything from that, I don’t have much to say. As usual, I felt like I was watching a skilled stage professional playing the part of a singer in a musical and doing so impeccably, but just not a musician intimately connected to the music he was creating.

Despite the simplicity of Kris’s setup – just him and a piano – I thought he brought an intensity and emotion to his performance that raised the bar from his first time, and which all of Adam’s dramatic platform entrance, dry ice and Hot Topic trench coat didn’t match. Perhaps this came naturally from having done his own arrangement, as opposed to capitalizing on someone else’s clever cover.

Vocally I think both of them sounded terrific for the songs they were singing, but I’m also gonna give it to Kris here because his song was more demanding than Mad World, and he pulled it off while playing the piano at the same time.

Second round: A Change Is Going To Come (Adam), What’s Going On (Kris)

I called this round for Adam before I even saw them perform, because Adam’s song has a million times more Moment potential than the mid-tempo snooze that is What’s Going On. Apart from the obvious Obama associations, this song is so awesome it even gave Syesha a moment! Seriously, if anyone reading this thinks they can make What’s Going On riveting in comparison, please record yourself and upload it to Youtube, because I’ve looked and found no evidence that this is humanly possible.

Adam’s performance was, well, true to himself. I adored it until he busted out the Sad Elvis face and the unnecessary glory notes and channelling Von Smith, and then I got bored and zoned out. But at least the first half of the performance was really well done, and he seemed to connect more genuinely with the song than he did with Mad World.

Kris actually made quite an admirable attempt to make What’s Boring On his own. He sang it well, and I think he deserves way more credit than he’s gotten so far for being a sufficiently accomplished musician to accompany himself on two different instruments in one show (an Idol first, I think). But although he’s managed to make me enjoy other songs I hate this season (She Works Hard For The Money, Heartless), he didn’t reinvent What’s Going On enough to make me like it.

Third round: Hot Fucking Mess (Adam, Kris)

Let’s not belabour this: FAIL for Adam, EPIC FAIL for Kris, and above all, SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIFUCKING FAIL for Kara. However, I commend Adam for committing to the musical universe that is I Believe This Is My Moment Like This Now Inside Your Heaven Where My Destiny Makes You Proud marginally better than Kris, and for saying “Thanks for giving me that song, it was beautiful” to Kara with a straight face. Now, let us never speak of this again.

Conclusion: Adam edged Kris out tonight, partly due to his own abilities and partly because Kris was out of luck with a shitty second song and a coronation song which totally didn’t suit his vocal range. 

I’m still hoping Kris can pull off an upset since they’re neck and neck based on the Dialidol numbers, which looks surprisingly close for an Idol finale and again speaks volumes about the fanbase Kris has managed to amass despite being continually underpimped relative to Adam and Danny. But if he can’t, c’est la vie. I’m just grateful to him for giving me the first finale I gave a shit about since Fantasia’s.

Kris Allen FTW!

(I wrote this straight after the Top 3 performance show last night but wasn’t able to post it till today because my blog host wasn’t co-operating. And as it turned out from today’s results show, my assumption turned out wrong – YAY! I think it’s the first time ever that someone has made the final 2 with zero coverage before the performance rounds and Kris should be damn proud.)

I never, never thought I’d be saying this but after tonight’s Top 3 episode of American Idol, I think I might actually want Kris Allen to win. I’m assuming he’ll go home tomorrow, but I’m still putting this out there tonight.

This isn’t how I started the season. I started off duly impressed by Adam after Satisfaction, and completely dismissed Kris after his forgettable Man In The Mirror. But even though Adam always sings his songs impeccably (on vocal ability alone it’s clear no one else there measures up to him), as an interpreter of songs he has not impressed me since Black or White and Tracks Of My Tears. Most of the time, even when I think he’s done well I still strongly prefer the original (Dilana’s version of Ring Of Fire, Gary Jules’ version of Mad World and Muse’s version of Feeling Good just to name a few). This week, I thought he massacred One and once again, sang Cryin’ very well but somehow still ended up making me long to hear Steven Tyler.

As for Kris, he’s gone from a total unknown in the audition rounds to being in the top 3 with two contestants who were continuously pimped right from the start and I don’t think he got there just by being cute. I think he’s there because he’s pulled off quite a number of smart, nuanced interpretations – Remember The Time (to be fair, part of that surprise was because my expectations of him were so low at the time, but I went back to watch the performance and still loved it), Ain’t No Sunshine and She Works Hard For The Money are all really enjoyable performances that don’t make me long to hear the originals. I think this is how he surreptitiously won me over without me realizing it until tonight.

Tonight, he got the booby prize judge pick by Kara and Randy (I mean seriously, how pathetic is it that Simon and Paula get their own picks and Kara and Randy have to share?) and the shitty second spot, neither getting to open the show nor close it. This would be as good a time as any to decide that he can’t overcome The Chosen Ones’ juggernaut by now and just resign himself to a dignified exit.

Instead, he threw himself into it fearlessly. Apologize is a rather difficult song to sing and contrary to what some judges said I don’t think it’s comfortably within Kris’s range at all, but he didn’t shrink from it and pulled it off pretty successfully. First round to Kris. Heartless was, quite simply, a master stroke. It was unexpected, current, brave, well sung and absolutely the perfect time to have a Moment. Best TV of the night, and second round to Kris.

(Note: You’ll notice I’m talking like Danny doesn’t exist. I’ve basically given up trying to figure out why he’s so popular, and because I’ve already steeled myself to see him in the finale, I’m mentally prepared for Adam and Kris to fight for the remaining place.)

Look, I know all the cool kids like Adam, and I like Adam too. He was off his game tonight, but he’s done other good performances which should of course count for something. But on a night where Adam got Simon’s song pick (Simon has picked for the winner more than half the time and almost always makes the best song choices), got to close the show, and is of course a seasoned pro who has already been massively pimped the entire season, Kris stepped up unintimidated and delivered what I thought were the best two performances of the night. I admire that. I will smile and nod if Adam wins, for sure. But tonight’s epiphany was that I will pump my fist in the fucking air if Kris’s impossible dream comes true.

AI8: Michael Jackson Week

(I was going to post this right after the Michael Jackson week performances on American Idol, but then I got unexpectedly hijacked by a Simon Cowell obsession. Yes, I know. But look! He likes puppies! Anyway, since it was halfway written already, I thought I might as well just finish it up and slap it on here even though it’s unbelievably late. Country week tonight, yee-hah!)

Speaking as a total Michael Jackson lunatic familiar with pretty much every lyric, note and dance move the man has ever committed to public record, this was an interesting week for me on American Idol. Before the show, I tried making a list of what I’d have picked for each contestant and why, and found it fairly challenging. So many fantastic MJ songs are about delivering a complete performance rather than hanging everything on the sort of glory notes that get you praise on American Idol, and of course if you pick a song which is forever linked with an iconic performance, it has to be for the sort of contestant who can pull off a very different take. David Cook did a good job with Billie Jean last season, but I still credit Chris Cornell more for the success of that performance than David himself.

But then I watched the show and definitely got a couple of surprises. (Note: I didn’t do Youtube links to the performances because new American Idol vids on Youtube appear and disappear all the time, but just do a search and you should be able to find at least a few uploads that haven’t been deleted yet.)

Lil Rounds
I’d pick: Keep The Faith. Nothing has set her apart so far from the many shouty divas who initially impress but aren’t ultimately unique enough to stay. This song suits said shouty divaness, but also has plenty of room for showcasing subtlety, growly gospel riffs and all-round flava.
She picked: The Way You Make Me Feel. I didn’t like it at all, and don’t feel she brought anything new to it. I think the slower tempo lost her the exuberance of Michael’s version and didn’t gain her any sexiness or soulfulness in return.

Scott McIntyre
I’d pick: Stranger In Moscow. Scott’s not my kind of artist, but I think he would do an earnest, clear-voiced performance of this song which would appeal to his core fanbase. Variety no, sticking to your strengths yes.
He picked: Keep The Faith. Strangely, despite Scott’s utter lack of above-mentioned gospel flava I think the performance worked out well for him. Most people don’t know the song so they won’t be making the same comparisons as I am to Michael’s version, and at least it was something a little different from his adult contemporary balladeer zone.

Danny Gokey
I’d pick: Man, I don’t know. I definitely don’t want any more Heroesque “lies in YOUUUUU” pointy gestures but I’m not sure he’s capable of dialling down the schmaltz. I wish Matt Giraud hadn’t already sung Who’s Loving You in the wild card round, because I think Danny could have done it better. (Not that any version will ever top baby Michael’s.)
He picked: P.Y.T. Not bad! A brave non-obvious choice and he threw himself into it with some abandon, which I liked, spazzy dancing included. Above all, kudos for not exploiting his (yes, admittedly sad) backstory by picking Gone Too Soon, because that would really really turn me off.

Michael Sarver
I’d pick: I don’t think this guy’s good at upbeat stuff, and am pretty amazed he got through the first week with that awful I Don’t Wanna Be karaoke. I think Human Nature is the sort of oh-he’s-such-a-SNAG-despite-being-a-roughneck ballad that would work for him.
He picked: You Are Not Alone. He did well to pick an arrangement that made the song less deathly dull than it is, but then he spiralled into off-pitch belting. Again, enthusiastic karaoke by a nice guy, but that’s just not good enough.

Jasmine Murray
I’d pick: Black Or White. She needs to not do another treacly ballad, and this would be suitably upbeat. I still wouldn’t like it much, I reckon, but I’ll never like her much anyway.
She picked: I’ll Be There. Boring and flat, not just in pitch but in the tone of her voice and her rendition of the song. I don’t agree that she combined bits of the Michael and Mariah versions, I think she tried the straightforwardness of the Michael version without possessing the purity of his voice that made it special.

Kris Allen
I’d pick: Remember The Time, because he needs to do something less Mickey Mouse Club than his previous Man In The Mirror, which I hated. Remember The Time is groovy and playful without requiring too much smoulder for his boy band face to handle.
He picked: Remember The Time. I’m really surprised at how much I liked this! The guitar may not have added much musically, but it did give the song a slightly different flavour from the original, and brought out an ebullient, charming performance from Kris which really should seal his popularity with the tweens. Hell, I felt the “adorable-sexy” too!

Allison Iraheta
I’d pick: Give In To Me. I see her giving the verses the soulful, slightly melancholic feel she did with Alone (my favourite performance of the opening rounds), and then kicking into rock chick overdrive with the chorus.
She picked: Give In To Me. Didn’t like it! It felt like the whole song was in rock chick overdrive right from the start with no build-up, and with that awful outfit (she’s not fat but I’d still go easy on the leather shorts) it felt overdone, like she was in a bad soap opera’s depiction of a rock concert. Also, while I forgave her tendency to sing slightly flat on the high notes with Alone because the rest of that performance was so kick-ass, I’m going to stop forgiving her from now on.

Anoop Desai
I’d pick: The Way You Make Me Feel. Suits his stage presence and energy, and I’m guessing it’s within his vocal range.
He picked: Beat It. So awful that even Paula couldn’t manage to say anything good. If you do this song you have to change it up, but he sang it straight and sang it badly. I’m rather depressed about this, because I liked him a lot before the live rounds.

Jorge Nunez
I’d pick: He could do the Spanish version of I Just Can’t Stop Loving You, maybe, but I’d pick Whatever Happens. It’s not very well known, but I think it suits his singing style.
He picked: Never Can Say Goodbye. I really don’t think this was anywhere as bad as the judges did. The arrangement and performance was corny, but that’s kinda what Jorge is, and I thought his vocals were far better than Michael Sarver’s.

Adam Lambert
I’d pick: Dirty Diana. He could either camp it up or strip it down, and either way I think he’d bring the drama.
He picked: Black Or White. I’ve never wanted to like Adam. I hate his hair, his fashion sense, and despised his Believe cover in Hollywood week. But somehow he managed to embrace the shitness of Black Or White and totally, electrifyingly transcend it! Like him or not, I think people will have to start admitting that they’re curious every week to see what he’ll come up with next.

Megan Corkrey
I’d pick: Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’? Some of the quirky vocal tics in the verses might suit her, but the minus is we’d get more of her hideous dancing.
She picked: Rockin’ Robin. Not as disastrous as I expected – there was one line where she did a pretty nice yodelly sort of inflection – but ROCKIN’ FUCKIN’ ROBIN, ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?! I want the awesome Megan that auditioned sounding like Billie Holiday back please, not this nightmarish shittypop equivalent of Kimya Dawson.

Matt Giraud
I’d pick: She’s Out Of My Life. I know he should probably do something more upbeat than another ballad, but it would help me figure out if overdoing the riffing is just something he did with Who’s Loving You, or something he does all the time.
He picked: Human Nature. It wasn’t perfectly sung but somehow I really loved the relaxed, carefree way he did this. He’s no Elliott but because I adore the song, am a total sucker for piano guys, and love the tenderness and delicacy of how he sang the “does he do me that way” lyric, this was my favourite performance of the night and I may be starting to find him a little dreamy.

Alexis Grace
I’d pick: Come Together. (Not a MJ song per se but still fair game since he recorded and released a cover version.) I’m personally not sold on her new pocket sexpot persona but the aggression and attitude of this song suit what she’s been trying to project.
She picked: Dirty Diana. The first verse was very promising, but it got a little repetitive after that. The song can handle a lot of oversinging, but Adam did a better job of oversinging while keeping things interesting than she did.


I lost the draft post for this in the server meltdown so the topic of discussion is obviously yesterday’s “news” by now, but I remembered the incident while listening to the radio today and decided to resurrect this conversational fragment anyway. I’m always amused by the strange things that move Alec to angry pithiness.

Me, reading the news: Henceforth, Beyonce’s new stage name shall be Sasha Fierce.
Alec: WHAT.
Me: It is designed to emphasise a fiercer musical direction.
Alec, looking genuinely aggrieved: She’s about as fierce as a Care Bear’s nipple!

American Anticlimax

I wrote a rant last night about how abysmal the American Idol finale was and then fell asleep without saving it. Sorry, I know most people are too cool to love American Idol – once I get this out of my system I promise I’ll get back to writing about indie music.


  • You Give Love A Bad Name: Ballsy the first time, blah the second time. Vocals were terrible and he was clearly out of breath.
  • She Will Be Loved: Case study in the blandness that is Blake. The same dumb preppy clothes he wears every week, the same dead eyes, emotionless face and flat reedy voice. Also an awful song choice strategy-wise – if your third song’s already a treacly ballad, why do the same with the second?
  • This Is My Now: Look, I know you think you’re soooo much better than this song and you want everyone to know it too but honey, even unicellular organisms are better than this crappy song. Suck it up, lose your “I listen to underground hip-hop” pretensions and sing the hell out of it. You’re not an artist, you’re a layer in the American Idol cheesecake.


  • Fighter: Picking a song by an artist who can outsing and outperform you any day of the week isn’t the best way to show you’re a “fighter”. It’s more like you’re pogoing through the jungles of Vietnam and Christina Aguilera’s the Vietcong.
  • Broken Wings: I’ve never seen a performance of this on American Idol that wasn’t pageanty slop, and this was no different.
  • This Is My Now: At least she did her fake, shrieky best on it and on that laughably pathetic basis alone, she deserves to win American Idol.

Verdict: Blake threw in the towel, Jordin wins by default, and Michelle wishes she’d stayed in the karaoke pub drinking instead of coming home to watch this dreck.

Oh and let’s not forget the final insult to injury for us poor viewers: a performance from Penishead Daughtry, still proving with his eyeliner and his posing that he’s only about as edgy as the average ten year old girl.

Best part of the night? Finding out that Paula broke her nose because she tripped over her dog. I believe the “tripped” part, less so the “dog” part. Unless “dog” is slang in LA for “sack of crack”.

Sexiest American Idol Weeks Evar

I really intended to start writing an All Tomorrow’s Parties blog entry tonight, but then I watched my tape of Bon Jovi week on American Idol (I missed it two weeks ago because we were travelling) and there was no place left for experimental/alternative/indie music in my heart.

Because seriously, folks, in 6 seasons of American Idol weekly themes, this was my week. Bon Jovi may be namby-pamby pretty-boy hair-rock has-beens but I embrace all of that and feel no shame for loving them as much as I do. I know every song the contestants sang backwards and forwards (Chris R, how dare you forget the line “I’ve seen a million faces and I’ve ROCKED THEM ALL!”) and the only reason I haven’t made all my karaoke companions sick of Bon Jovi already is that they’re just too damn tough to sing. (Metallica is way easier.)

Phil: Never cared much about him before but he did a great job with Blaze of Glory. For me, it was his best performance of the season and Simon was too harsh. Bye, Phil. I used to sing this song into my comb in front of the mirror too, but you sang it much better.

Jordin: Total trainwreck but at least she did really go for it during the performance, and she immediately acknowledged it was terrible once it was done. It did require just that little more suck to elevate it to sucktasticness (see: Kevin Covais’s Crocodile Rock) though.

LaKisha: It took me a while to get to her actual performance because I rewatched the bit where Jon Bon Jovi explains to her how This Ain’t A Love Song is the biggest love song there is about a million times. (See between 1.07-1.37 for the sweetness.) And then she nailed it and Simon kissed her. I was really sad when LaKisha went home last week, but now I’ve seen this? No bitch who gets lucky with Jon Bon Jovi and Simon Cowell on the same night deserves my sympathy.

Blake: Anyone who’s seen enough beatboxing will know that any decent beatboxer could have arranged the song like that and any good beatboxer could have done something even better, but to do that on American freaking Idol on a night where 2 out of 6 are going to be eliminated took mighty massive balls. Of course, he probably also did it because he knew his singing alone wouldn’t be strong enough to carry off a Bon Jovi song, but nonetheless I certainly can’t accuse him of playing it safe with his solution.

Chris R: I don’t think it is a good idea to demonstrate rock cred by singing like an actual goat, but perhaps Satan might beg to differ. I wouldn’t have let this guy through his first audition and I’m glad he’s finally gone.

Melinda: Okay, I’m officially in love with Melinda again. She was beginning to worry me by being too predictably good every week – always good but good in the same way – but this time she put loads of energy into working the stage and the guitarist, the vocals were smokin’ and her “Rock on!” attempts were adorable. More Jon loveliness at the start too. I wanted to coat them both in sugar and eat them all up.

And this week, Elliott will be on the results show! This time last year I thought I might never hear him sing again so YAY ELLIOTT! I assume he’ll be doing his new single rather than rehash anything he sang previously on the show, so I felt there was no harm revisiting some of those old performances tonight for old time’s sake, except for the harm involved in it now being 2.11 AM.