Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I Was Thinking Jason Castro. Yeah!

Last night I used my cell phone and my brand new Go Phone with unlimited texting (thank you, Best Buy) to vote for Jason Castro for two hours. I would have voted with my laptop, too, but even my computer genius son cannot figure out how to get Dial Idol to work with our digital phone line.

Even before I first read the play-by-play by those wonderful folks at Castrocopia who get to watch American Idol three hours before I do, yesterday was an usually long and stressful day for me. My handicapped brother who lives with us was sick with severe pain, a high fever, and blood coming from places that a sister just doesn't want to look at. Although he is sixteen years my elder, I feel almost maternal toward him and it hurts me to my soul to see him suffer.

But as I voted two-handedly with all the energy I could muster, yawning in solidarity with Jason, you know what I was thinking? I was thinking Jason Castro. Yeah! So I couldn't help but smile, a feeling of calm settling on my bruised heart, and I kept voting.

From his first televised performance, Daydream, until the last falsetto note of Mr. Tambourine Man, Jason has remained true to the heart of music celebrated by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In choosing to honor two of its most daring pioneers, Bob Marley and Bob Dylan, Jason was faithful to rock’s spirit of musical rebellion. Knowing that the PaulaGate 2008 firing squad would be locked and loaded this week, it would have been so easy and even tempting for Jason to pick two safe songs approximating the feel good, easy listening vibe of Somewhere over the Rainbow. Instead, he risked everything on I Shot the Sheriff, finally revealing and reveling in that music loving mojo on display in his pre-AI videos that turned new fans into devout followers. He stepped way outside his comfort zone and, arms outstretched, invited us all inside, even the firing squad. I would expect nothing less from a self-taught guitarist who earlier in the season was brave and ballsy enough to debut his one-week-old ukulele skills on international television.

Jason's stripped down Mr. Tambourine Man was just lovely, but he is not responsible for Bandzilla's desecration of what is arguably the seminal song that spawned a reggae revolution. It was grossly unfair but hardly surprising for the firing squad to blame Jason for the band's bluesy interpretation of I Shot the Sheriff. For a brief moment before Jason's vocal began, I could have sworn they borrowed the intro from one of Elliott Yamin's arrangements in season five.

If you think Jason doesn’t care about his performance any more or never did, you aren’t paying close enough attention. Jason’s nerves manifest in his falsetto and his vibrato. This week both belied his otherwise serene demeanor. The shaky falsetto finish to Mr. Tambourine Man in AI week 12 is reminiscent of the broken falsetto ending on Hallelujah in week 3. Those songs bookend a string of increasingly self-assured outings that featured a tamed vibrato and absolutely gorgeous falsetto, which suggests the confidence that imbued his renditions of Fragile, I Don't Wanna Cry and even Forever in Blue Jeans was shaken to the core. He was still as pitch perfect as ever, but his first lyrical lapse of the competition was further evidence of his emotional vulnerability to the AI mind games.

I've been doing some serious thinking. I don’t know Jason Castro and I am old enough to be his mother, but it hurts me to my soul to see him suffer. So why did I double my votes for him, knowing what it may cost him to stand before the firing squad another week? I was thinking Jason Castro. I want his ruby red slippers to take him back to Texas this week for the homecoming of a lifetime.

Which AI7 contestant shares my passion for music and respects its power to change lives? I was thinking Jason Castro.

Which contestant in this season of American Idol – heck, in the history of the show – best represents my musical sensibility? I was thinking Jason Castro.

Which contestant has treated American Idol with exactly the modicum of respect that a manipulative machine devoid of heart and real soul deserves? I was thinking Jason Castro.

Which contestant got me to purchase my first ever Mariah Carey tune and my least favorite Neil Diamond composition? I was thinking Jason Castro.

Which contestant inspires me to buy a Go Phone, revive my sleepy blog, buy singles on iTunes, and do whatever is necessary – raise money, start a petition, whatever – to get him a recording contract? I was thinking Jason Castro.

Which contestant will be entertaining his audience long after the American Idol franchise collapses under the weight of its own emptiness? I was thinking Jason Castro – and I bet I'll be thinking Jason Castro for years to come. Yeah!


Becky said...

i loved this blog and i love you! ;)
I think I can safely speak for many of jason's fans in saying we really needed to read something likes this today <3

Sabrina said...

Great article. You really captured the appeal of that sweet ol' troubadour Jason Castro.

Ri said...

Just beautiful. Thank you. As I said after ALW week - American Idol will NOT define Jason Castro. Not for me...and I see, not for you, either. So glad we're seeing you at are definitely a kindred spirit! :) Ri (Castrophile)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. You really get it. I have mixed feelings about tonight's elimination. I know Jason wants Top 3, but I do not want to see him pounded on any longer - and if he stays, it will just get WORSE. American Idol doesn't deserve to have such a beautiful soul on their stage.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this lovely blog. As someone else said, we needed to hear it! Jason captured me way back at "Daydream", the only contestant who I felt compelled to listen to AFTER his original performance. I haven't stopped listening and loving his style/voice/appeal since, including last night. He is amazing. AI, well, there are not words I can use the properly express my outrage at their despicable conduct towards him. I just hope come what may, that Jason will rock on!

ana opulencia said...

"Those songs bookend a string of increasingly self-assured outings that featured a tamed vibrato and absolutely gorgeous falsetto, which suggests the confidence that imbued his renditions of Fragile, I Don't Wanna Cry and even Forever in Blue Jeans was shaken to the core. He was still as pitch perfect as ever, but his first lyrical lapse of the competition was further evidence of his emotional vulnerability to the AI mind games."

exquisitely put. thank you. and much agreed!

nancy said...

Right on!!! Love your blog! And I agree 200%! Jason makes me laugh, cry, love this show (for bringing him to us) and hate this show with a passion all at the same time! He just moves me in so many ways... I'm a fan for life... And I cannot wait to see his joyful face in his own concert and on his own terms... He deserves so much better than Idol has to give.

Anonymous said...

Hi,i am a jason castro fanatic since i first saw him do his thing on tv. I am also deeply saddened by his elimination but am also relieved that the firing squad will never be able to hurt him anymore. It will be AI's lost, not jason's. Thank you for saying your piece, i agree 100%.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the shoutout for


Anonymous said...

I am so entitled to your opinion!!!
And I am sort of relieved that the inquisitors will not have another opportunity to mistreat the only true artist in that show. The other contestants are ok, I guess, too programmed, too old and boring. I do not buy their act, sorry, but all I see is the same of the same.
Jason's fresh style and beautiful voice (his low range in Forever in blue jeans!!!), his talent as a song writer, his sincere deep felt performances are something to remember.
I think that Jason has not realized yet how big he can be. This is only the beginning of his journey. I really hope that he continues writing songs and playing his guitar, and the drums, please!
His voice, his style, will grow together with his personna, and his dreadlocks!
I am not very happy about the tour, since those shows must be hideous, the "group performances" are a good sample, but Jason should take that as a learning experience about the things he should not do, the songs he should not sing, and the arrangements he should never try. I still can not believe that I have been watching the cheesiest show ever, and voting!, I have been voting for Jason only with the hope of listening another of his performances and of buying them in Itunes!!! I have to say very honestly that only the Bobs (Dylan and Marley), John Lennon, and Sting made this impact on me. This kid has the same appeal, the IT factor someone mentioned in a blog... That would explain why I am listening to a song, originally written for an old cat, only because Jason sings it!
Well, in his last appearance he stood up for real music and sang two songs for us, for those who were listening. Thanks for that, Jason. Now you have to work hard because you owe your fans some more of the real music, of the real art.
Gracias por la sencillez, la frescura, la espontaneidad, el talento y la voz. Sigue cantando y tocando con todos los buenos sentimientos que tienes para ofrecer. ¡Suerte! Bon chance avec ton francais!
P.S. Excuse my English, I am Peruvian and I am better writing in Spanish.

Terrie said...

Anonymous, your English is beautiful, as is your Spanish and French! I am so impressed.

Kyle, thanks for stopping by. I heart your site. Your voting theory is interesting. This week's results do seem to defy logic, don't they?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Terrie, yes.. the stats are really weird.

If Syesha's forum for example, was maybe 50,000 posts? or 75,000? I wouldn't being placing so much emphasis on Jason's existing fan base.

But 8000? Regardless of how bad he has been doing, and who deserved what, i don't think the votes added up.

I can only speak for myself and the numerous people I know who voted for Jason continuously.. and I can only guess that other groups of friends out there had that dedication to him as well.

While Syesha deserves a top 3, I don't think she "earned" it on votes. Just my opinion...


texred said...

Right on, Terrie. The Jason love will not stop here.

Terrie said...

Kyle, the only theory that makes sense about Syesha is that she is sweeping the southern and Cuban votes. The south gave us the first 5 AI winners and two years running the show has had few southern contestants. Those votes have to go somewhere. The message boards tend to attract the most passionate fans, but Archuleta's fan base is almost political in its ability to whip up votes. And yet David A. does not dominate the message boards at two of the most popular fan forums: the official AI site or Television Without Pity.

I also think the campaign to discourage Jason's fans from voting worked. Since I am on the west coast, I had three hours on Tuesday night to observe message board behavior before I could vote. There was a lot of negativity that actually started when Jason's song spoilers were first rumored and then multiplied. A lot of people, even Jason's fans, flat out dislike reggae.

Sunny said...

I thought his presentation of "I Shot the Sheriff" was great, loved the arms wide open approach. You are correct in assessment of his ballsy bravery. The guy has this walk softly mentality.

BTW, I really enjoy your writing.