In past blogs, I openly criticized top 12 American Idol contender Amanda "Rock 'N' Roll Nurse" Overmyer. But now I've changed my tune...to a decidedly more rockin' one. Why? Because tonight I saw the Big O in her element--stomping the floorboards of the stage once rocked by her own idol, Janis Joplin, at L.A.'s legendary Whisky A Go Go--and I was utterly, unexpectedly impressed.
Because at this show, the skunk-striped wonder was finaly able to show her true stripes.
I realize now that AmIdol was so not where Amanda belonged. At all. Sure, the show was an invaluable springboard for this supercool rock chick, a way of introducing her to a nationwide audience hungry for old-time rawk 'n' roll. But Amanda was always obviously, squirmingly uncomfortable on Idol: She never smiled, never seemed too thrilled to be there, and seemed almost relieved when she was voted off just one spot away from landing on the top 10 tour.
Please note how on last week's Idol finale, when she half-assedly (rather than bad-assedly) plodded along to New Mickey Mouse Club-style group singalongs of Donna Summer and George Michael songs--rolling her eyes so much, they nearly disappeared into her peroxided hairline--she came across like a juvie-hall bad girl forced to participate in a lame school play. And once again, she never smiled.
Well, tonight at the Whisky she hardly stopped smiling, and she rocked better/harder/faster/stronger than she ever did on American Idol--even when reprising Joan Jett's "I Hate Myself For Loving You," her best performance from her time on the program. Seriously, if she'd rocked like this when she was on American Idol, who knows...it just might've been a Cook-vs.-Overmyer finale last Wednesday. Which would've been a whole lot more interesting than David-vs.-David!
Clearly American Idol had been holding Amanda back, but tonight she held nuthin' back. Performing for an audience that including fellow season 7 Idol alums Josiah Leming and Amy Davis as well as Vote For The Worst founder (and vociferous Amanda champion) Dave Della Terza, Amanda brazenly belted out not only that Joan Jett barnstormer but three Janis Joplin tunes (substantiating rumors that she will portray Janis in an upcoming Whisky A Go Go movie); the Beatles' "You Can't Do That" (the song she sang during season 7's first Beatles Week); CCR's "Fortunate Son"; four "balls-to-the-wall" original songs ("Play On" was a highlight); and Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock 'N' Roll." The latter was almost as enjoyable as David Cook's underwear-clad Risky Business lip-sync of the same song in that Guitar Hero commercial. Almost.
Looking prettier, skinnier, happier, and all around awesome-er than her short stint on Idol ever conveyed, Amanda worked the Whisky crowd like a real pro. She shouted, "Let's blow these ballads out of the water and ROCK!" (a sentiment I wish more of her Idol competitors had shared during this snoozily ballad-heavy season) and even charmed the audience when she messed up the lyrics to "Me & Bobby McGee" by chuckling, "Man, I'm so glad you're all drunk!"
Maybe Amanda would have been this fun on Idol if beer had been within easy reach of the stage there, too.
This gig was so fun that by the time it was over, I was happily forking over a chunk of my hard-earned Yahoo! paycheck to buy a limited-edition Amanda/Whisky T-shirt, then standing in line to have it autographed. I'll stand in line to buy an album from her, too, if some A&R person is smart enough to ever offer her a record deal.
Here are some pics of Amanda hitting the Whisky hard. She may not have won American Idol, but she certainly won over the Whisky crowd--and me, a former doubter--tonight: