PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Eye on 'Idol': It ain't a man's world

Hunter Hauk
The Dallas Morning News

We all made it through week one of "American Idol" live performances and evictions. I have to apologize in advance for the scattered collection of thoughts to come. Cut me some slack, though - there are five freakin' hours of show to discuss. Fox should put America on its payroll for such a time commitment.

But let's get on with it. I'm starting to think "Idol" is a girl's game. Sure, you've got the odd males who made big waves after the show (Daughtry and ... gulp ... Aiken), but Underwood, Clarkson and Hudson stand out as the brightest veterans.

Watching the new guys turn on the cheese Tuesday night furthered this theory. That whole affair was unsettling, really. Rudy Cardenas should never, ever dance like that. Same goes for A.J. Tabaldo. Sundance Head has a tendency to buckle, big time - where'd those blues go, chief? And Sanjaya Malakar ... his goofy smile seriously works my nerves.

Some of the guys brought the goods, though. Chris Richardson has a funky vibe, even if he stole it from Justin Timberlake. Phil Stacey's tone is warm and appealing - you can't help but believe him when he sings. Chris Sligh did OK on "Typical," but his tune was overshadowed by a diss on Simon which actually seemed to get under the judge's skin. Good job!

Blake Lewis secured the title as diamond in a very rough rough by showing a softer, yet compelling vocal style on Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know." He's definitely a contendah.

In the spirit of Simon, though (the poor guy), I had a hard time remembering any of those dudes after Wednesday night's episode. That's because a few of the girls sang like it was already hour two of the "Idol" finale. Stephanie Edwards and Melinda Doolittle are born performers. Jordin Sparks showed chops far beyond her 17 years on a Tracy Chapman number. It's hard to hate Sabrina Sloan's high notes. And Lakisha Jones sings so good, she makes you wanna slap ya mama.

But, before I get a case of the vapors, let me just skip to the good stuff. Who got cut Thursday night? Well, Paul Kim can be barefoot all he wants, but he won't step on the "Idol" stage again. And the aforementioned Rudy Cardenas' "Free Ride" is over - must've been that dancing. As for the girls, America sent two of the boring ones packing: Amy Krebs and Nicole Tranquillo.

That's all for now. Until next week ... (Columnist collapses to the floor.)

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.


Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.


'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.


ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.


The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.


Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.


Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.


Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".


John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.


The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.


Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.