April 19, 2005

TV: ...meanwhile, in an alternate universe...

In honor of the ascension of Benedict XVI to the papal throne, it's liturgical music night on American Idol. The contestants seem a bit confused, but they give it their all.

The rundown:

Constantine, "Magnificat" (My soul doth magnify the Lord) -- poor Constantine. His own soul doth grow ever more conflicted between rocker and lounge lizard, and this Paul Anka-meets-Sammy Hagar rendition is a real mess; the fugue at "omnes generationes" is particularly pitchy.

Bo, "Ave maris stella" (Hail, O star of the ocean) -- as often happens, Bo has memory problems with the words, and Paula nearly faints when he describes the Virgin Mary not as "ever sinless," but as "ever willing." Even in Latin, that's offensive, and it detracts from what is an otherwise very nice performance.

Vonzell, "Veni, sancte spiritus" (Come, Holy Spirit) -- and my goodness, but the spirit is with Vonzell tonight! The high notes are spectacular, her pitch is impeccable, and the audience is eating out of her hand. She's never been this good; if she can keep this up, she could win it all.

Anthony, "Alma redemptoris mater" (Kindly mother of the Redeemer) -- nice mellow groove he's got going here, and Anthony seems to be more emotionally connected to the music tonight than usual, singing about the Blessed Mother. Feel free to make your own "mama's boy" joke.

Carrie, "O magnum mysterium" (O great mystery) -- Carrie's country twang is perfectly suited to this hymn to the animals who were the first to see Jesus, and I got chills at the "jacentem in praesepio" (lying in a manger). One of the best performances of the year.

Anwar, "Salve Regina" (Hail, holy Queen) -- now this is the Anwar we all fell in love with during the semifinals. He's got sort of a Johnny Mathis goes hip-hop thing working. Still, you have to wonder iff a hymn to the Virgin Mary was really the best moment for Anwar to finally get his sex appeal in gear.

Scott, "Gloria" -- not only can't he sing, but he apparently didn't get the memo on appropriate repertoire, and has instead settled on the Van Morrison song. Oy.

For the night: Carrie, Vonzell, Anwar, Anthony, Bo, Constantine, Scott.

Most deserving of excommunication: Now and forever, Scott.

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