Thursday, April 29, 2010


For the first, and probably last time, Illfolks mentions an "American Idol" contestant. Why? Because Siobhan Magnus is a true Illfolks artist…quirky, unique, unpredictable and talented beyond the world of copy-and-karaoke. (The first name is pronounced Sha-bawn, accent on the second syllable).

Defying the odds, this oddball made it to the Top 6 before being voted off last night. All four judges praised her the previous night for an outstanding original performance (she turned a Shania Twain song into a brilliant bit of country-punk, easily authentic to both genres), but the voters on a show like this are mostly tweens who still think Twinkies are a gourmet food. Some even played the race card and felt sorry for the mammothly average Michael Lynche.

"American Idol" is now reduced to the usual amateur collection of Deja Vu dipshits we've seen over and over. The usual suspects still in the running? Groovy fab Lee Dewyze is just another Broooose Springsteen wanna be with his pubic hair stuck to his chin. PS, he looks and acts like he's brain damaged. Casey James looks like he belongs in the movie "Dude, Where's My Talent." Michael Lynche, who Ellen and Simon both happily compared to Luther Vandross (originality is not what this show ever wants) is this year's black stereotype — lethally gigantic but an oh so sensitive teddy bear. He is snore a) able to si-ee-ee-ee-ing soulfully and snore b) knows pain nobody white could know. Aaron Kelly is simply this year's teeny-fave-pipsqueak du jour. Slightly more original, but barely, is Bonnie Raitt clone Bowersox, who has the most annoying name since William Hung and takes white trash to a new level of arrogance. Do we need another Bonnie Raitt? No. What we need is not more pandering to 20-somethings but a revolt against ageism. Meaning, let's have Bonnie Raitt on TV once in a while, and let's see a label sign up some women who sang the blues long before it was fashionable, like Judy Henske and Genya Ravan.

Almost every contestant EVER on American Idol tries to be someone else. (though recently booted Andrew Garcia uniquely tried to be both Jose Feliciano and Elton John). The whole point of the show is to make a cookie cutter copy of someone currently on the charts. What's so original about Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, or Taylor Hicks? What about idiotic runner-ups like Clay Aiken who was only as freakish as Barry Manilow, or Adam Lambert the raccoon-eyed flamboyant pest who is just a horrible cross between Billie Joe Armstrong and Perez Hilton?

But Siobhan Magnus? Here's somebody with some originality.

From week to week you didn't know if she was going to act like a 20 year-old straight-haired nerd or a 30-something permed chanteuse. Unfairly described as just a screamer, she varied her attack by sweetly and earnestly covering "Across the Universe" and going evil and and ballistic on "Paint it Black." Here's a girl who could sing staid Gilbert & Sullivan songs at 16 in an amateur Cape Cod production but also has a nose ring and an Edward Gorey image for a prominent tattoo.

As for the critiques of Siobhan, it only proves we are living in the age of the low attention span. Little Richard did nothing but "scream" but he's lasted 50 years. He would've been kicked off "American Idol" after two weeks, with Simon simmering "All you do is hit the same high notes all the time." Cher would've been thrown out the first week, with ugly Randy shouting, "You're pitchy, dude."(Randy loves to call women "Dude," and you'd think that would be Ellen's thing.)

"American Idol" had it's lone "Susan Boyle moment" when Siobhan shocked the judges with that "amazing note" at the end of her version of Aretha Franklin's "Think." The Magnificent Magnus proved it was no fluke when she once again used her flair for the dramatic to strike a powerful note in "Paint it Black," (which is your download below).

Some are saying the show has ended, and it's no longer worth watching without Siobhan Magnus. That's true. What "American Idol" wants is somebody predictable,and the surviving five who will make this year's "American Idol" the lowest-rated season finale ever.

At least the show gave Siobhan a big break, and she graduated from it Magnus Cum Laude. (And not just because of her high volume). The consolation is that Boyle didn't win "Britain's Got Talent," a bunch of assholes nobody remembers did. Perhaps the best thing that could happen to Siobhan was to NOT win…because as we've seen from the past, winning or being runner-up on "American Idol" is a sure sign that you are a Twinkie, a lump of Velveeta, or soiled Bowersox.

the "studio version," sans audience, of SIOBHAN MAGNUS painting it black
No pop-ups, pop-unders, porn-ads or wait time.


Anonymous said...

Great assessment of this season's AI. With Siobhan gone, there is no reason left for me to watch.I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who feels that way.

Ill Folks said...

Thanks, Anon.

Siobhan's reaction has been very positive:

"I've always been an independent person and a different kind of person, but I'm very stubborn and strong-willed, and it's something important to me to get that across, that I'm not going to change to please other people. I do what I do because it rests well on my heart and who I am. The feedback that I've got, the positive feedback that I receive from fans and viewers, was tremendous. I couldn't ask for anything better than receiving letters; "I get made fun of at school because I'm different, but watching you has helped me accept the fact that it's OK and that it's a good thing to be who I am and not back down just because other people intimidate me."

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, the name Siobhan is *supposed* to be pronounced "shuh-VAUGHN". If this artist pronounces it with a "b" in the middle, she's Just saying :-)