Well, 2 months of Idol and we're finally at the main event. The Top 12 are here and ready to beg for your vote! We've got a bigger stage, a bigger band, more lights, and more crazy fans and paulas obsessed with no-talent teenagers. Yes my friends, American Idol is back in full throttle! And yes....for the first couple weeks we have the unbearable commercial-laden 2 hour performance nights to whittle down that top 12. But at least it's only 2 nights a week until the end. So, Simon summed up tonight best when he said it felt like 2 different competitions. Doesn't it always? Except usually, there's like 2 people who are AWESOME, a few OKAY people, and then those that are completely awful. Tonight, we got the tale of 2 halves. There were the BAD performances and the Incredible performances. Sure there are still some in there that are just mediocre. We'll break it all down soon enough. Let me just state that I agree with the judges that when you pick a theme such as "Stevie Wonder Night" you're just begging for trouble. Stevie is such a distinct voice and it's hard to sing his songs (well if you're not me...) I think what they were trying to do is separate the weakest links from the Real Deals. And they did just that. But we have a long road ahead of us, and I still haven't figured out who's leaving us (although it's incredibly obvious who should be!). So....buckle your seatbelts folks, the Top 12 Performance Recaps are finally here!
- Ace - "Do I Do" - Ace was all over the place (rhyming was intentional) tonight. He literally was running around the stage doing his best Constantine smoldering stare, he was working the crowd by going on the crazy stage extension that goes behind the judges, he wore sneakers (to I dunno...go jogging?), he danced his crazy dances....but he forgot one little tiny thing that so many previous performers of his kind have forgotten. Yep, he forgot to sing! When I said he was all over the place, I meant physically AND vocally....he just couldn't stay in tune. That being said....everyone loved him! Well...besides Randy, Simon, and any human looking for a good singer and not a coverboy that can sing sometimes... Simon gave one of the best quotes of the night when he said "Lucky for you the audience is easily pleased." Couldn't agree more, Ace is golden for this first stage of the long running game.
- Kellie - "Blame it on the Sun" - Kellie is playing the cute card more than her talent card these days. When is America going to tire of this little schtick? I'm not tired of it yet. That performance may have been the most boring performance of the night. She sang it on key, but I don't know the song. I don't know many people that would know the song. And even if they did....I think they would still switch the radio station if they heard THAT performance of it. But this girl's personality is off the charts! You couldn't help but shake your head in amazement and smile at her cluelessness when she said that she basically didn't even know who Stevie Wonder was....when she stuck her tongue out and gave herself 2 thumbs down....when she talked about her tarantula-like eyelashes that aren't scary because they're not REAL tarantulas. How can you not love this girl? And she HAS had some great performances in the past. I'm really confused what to do with her at this point. Because if it wasn't for America loving her (and people like me still voting for her), I would put her in the bottom 3, no question. We're gonna have to keep going!
- Elliott - "Knocks Me Off My Feet" - Yes...yes...Elliott is a huge Stevie fan. And he cried like a good little fawn when he met Stevie. Kinda like when Mr. Tumnus cried when he realized he had betrayed Lucy's trust in the magical world of Narnia! (yeah...i'm not over it yet...i kept bursting out into laughter during his performance) At least Elliott says that he would want to change his teeth (or his "Grill" as he called it) if he could. I think America would love that. He was sporting a blazer from the Don Johnson collection tonight and yes....we have our first CHAIR SIGHTING of the Competition! You know...when the singer sits down to open their performance in an intimate setting, and then they stand up to make it seem all the more dramatic.... Look, Elliott has an awesome voice....we have established this....but his stage presence was sorely lacking...his eyes were focused upward the whole performance...and something was just OFF in this performance. I think he's going to have to work on his song selection in future outings. Paula loved that Elliott was a crybaby....and Simon said it was a good karaoke performance of a Stevie song but no Wow factor. Poor Elliott needs braces and the ability to excite people. Good luck buddy. We're all pulling (teeth) for you!
- Mandisa - "Don't You Worry About a Thing" - Wasn't it so cute when Ryan took off Mandisa's Shoes because her "dawgs were barking?" Yeah...maybe cute isn't the right word. But I'm sure it worked for her. Not that Mandisa needs any gimmicks to lure in votes with that big voice, big personality, and big...ummm...oh hell...I'm not gonna get in trouble like Simon! Anyway...for a woman of a non-small size, she could "work it" on that stage! And she definitely delivered the best performance as of that point in the night...and the best of the 1st hour. But...even with Mandisa taking up the whole stage (WITH HER VOICE PEOPLE! I can't believe you thought I was talking about her......you know....oh nevermind!) guess who returned to try and ruin the day.....that's right....the CRAZY BACK-UP SINGERS! They're back! They were dancing...they were on camera behind Mandisa....and they were crazy! Ahhh yes...it's the little things that make these top 12 performances exciting for me. The cheesy little IDOL twists that get thrown into these performances. Oh come on...like you guys aren't looking forward to our first FORD COMMERCIAL tomorrow! Am I done talking about Mandisa? Yeah I think so....she probably had the 5th best performance of the night and she was AWESOME. I mean...how crazy is that? 5 GREAT performances?? Keep reading!
- Bucky - "Superstition" - We have another guy who didn't listen to Stevie growing up. It's always those southern people who have never eaten real food or haven't sported fake eyelashes before, isn't it? Anyway...Bucky couldn't have picked a better song on STEVIE NIGHT for his voice. I actually really enjoyed this performance. I mean, in no way does he get put in the same category of some of our other performers but he stayed true to his abilities and he put on quite a good show. I'm glad he made the top 12. He definitely has grown on me over the weeks. Of course Simon was not too thrilled with the hairdo...saying it was too "Jessica Simpson-like." Not sure if I would've went with that comparison, but it DID have a lot of volume to it! (yeah...I may have been female in my last life or something....I swear I'm straight!)
- Melissa - "Lately" - So we see in the little clips working with Stevie Wonder that she messed up his lyrics right in front of him, and then we get to see her mess up a more famous Stevie song on LIVE TV! How can you not sing PREMONITION? Instead she tried to change Recognition INTO premonition as she was singing it. It was a good time. I thought there were some really good parts to her performance and then some really bad parts. But I was totally on a different page than the judges with this one. Paula loves her unique voice and forgave the lyrical mess-up. Simon said it was her best performance yet. Then again, Simon didn't like her other performances, I don't think. I would've said that when she sang "This Time Could Mean Goodbye" she was singing her swan song. But sometimes I forget what unintentional comedy creeped into this top 12! (we're getting there.)
- Lisa - "Signed Sealed Delivered" Apparently Stevie was giving Lisa advice on bringing her ballad talent to an up-tempo song. I think this song may be one of my favorite Stevie songs but something just didn't seem right with this performance to me. It was technically all there. It was even more than technical. She worked the stage, she smiled...and she sang her heart out. But at times it just seemed like a forced performance. But maybe I missed something because the Judges liked it. Well Randy liked the end, Paula liked when she ad-libbed the vocals....but Simon said it was one of the best performances because she controlled the stage. I dunno....I guess it was good enough to not be in danger this week. And good enough for me to get another opinion on her next week. But at least she DID do a faster song instead of a ballad.
- Kevin - "Part-Time Lover" Oh God. How much funnier can the Covais saga get? I would love to see a competition where Scott Savol, Anthony Federov, Jon Stevens, Nikki Mikibin, and RJ Helton all perform for our votes! I think my laughter would never stop! Anyway, Kevin has assumed his role as the resident Sex Symbol of the show this year and decided to sing a song about Booty Calls. Oooh Kevin, you're so bad! Did anyone see those moves he was doing out there? I think I saw the Running Man, and the Robot....and well he was PRANCING for a bit. That was a good time. But my favorite Covais pose is the one where he holds the Mic close to his body with the left hand...and then reaches out to the crowd with his right hand...and well...wiggles around in one place and sings...lisp and all! Man...this guy is the spitting image of our next idol isn't he? It was sooooo bad it was hysterical. Randy and Paula are getting too predictable...with their "Man I love you so much....Stevie wants to squish you....we want to squish you....you're such a cute little cuddly boy and we want to blah blah blah" Geez...how long are they gonna let this go? Simon at least kept it real by saying it was appalling. My only concern with Mr. Covais is that with each crazy performance like this...he's only going to gain more acclaim with votefortheworst.com (as he is now the SOLE person they are choosing to vote for). It's going to be a tough decision for me. But I have some time still. I have to talk about 4 outstanding performances still!
- Katharine - "Until You Come Back To Me" - First reaction to seeing Katharine out there tonight? She was lookin goooood. Dress was kinda crazy, but I didn't care. And well she pulled out an awesome vocal out of her pocket. She made it a Katharine McPhee original. My only complaint would be that after she did her prance out to center stage....she stayed in that spot for the rest of the performance. But when you have a voice like that, I think it's allowed. Even gave us another gem from Paula "Something about that voice just pierces through the heart" ummmm okay. Simon gave the biggest comment of the night by comparing her to Kelly Clarkson at this stage of the game. I can't say I haven't seen a tiny similarity, but, if anything, I just see it as a big compliment from Simon. Even though Kelly isn't high on Simon's list of favorite people anymore. (poor multi-platinum selling, grammy winning Kelly)
- Taylor - "Living For The City" Love it when Taylor gets into MUSIC mode and starts naming the album and year of release for the songs he's picking. I just don't have much to say about Taylor except....how can you NOT love this guy? He's just awesome out there. The crowd loves it, the people at home get into it....he is a great performer. And if he can keep up performances like that....he's a threat in this competition. And from what I've been hearing, and reading...he is the most talked about contestant at this point. Rumors of him dying his hair? He already said that he wouldn't do it, but now he's telling us to "stay tuned" hmmmm. I say stick with what got you there! And that would be acting like everyone's dad being drunk at a wedding and getting on stage and singing...right Simon? (Loved that comment...)
- Paris - "All I Do" - What can I say? I had mean things to say about Paris last week. And this week all I can say is that unfortunately she was simply amazing! And she is very much back in this competition. Like Randy, I heard a lot of what I heard in that audition performance of "Take Five." She was just hitting notes so clearly and commanding the stage with her crazy cute dances. It pains me to say that I enjoyed it...but I did. My only complaint is when she took it too far and FANTASIA'ized herself by singing her responses to Ryan after the performance. I know Fantasia never did that, but it was the same type of egotistical thing that she would've done had she not been illiterate and thought of it herself. (yeah yeah yeah..I know what you're thinking. What does being illiterate have to do with singing to Ryan? It's my joke! just deal with it!)
- Chris - "Higher Ground" - I think we all had been wondering since Ryan uttered the words "Stevie Wonder Night next week" what on Earth was Chris going to sing? And I was just saying to myself how Stevie has so many songs that sometimes you don't even know some of them are his. Well, I did know Higher Ground was a Stevie Wonder song, but I had totally forgotten about it. And well, I HATE the Red Hot Chilli Peppers so I never would've thought of their cover of the song. But man...does this kid know how to pick songs! I'll give him a VETO for last week's SEETHER choice. Again, Chris came out and just rocked the house. He is a little stiff out there with his moves...but he still worked the stage, and he also WORKED the BAND. I love it when performers do that. Gotta give props to the people backing you up! They're the ones that make you sound GREAT when you're good and Good when you're sometimes bad! Well tonight Chris was ALL good. Simon said that this is the only "Real World" performance of the night. I know what you're thinking...Virgin Cowboy John from Season 2 of the Real World. But no, that's not what Simon was talking about. He just meant that this was the only performance that stands out in the real world and that he could see being a hit record for CHRIS. I think what he was saying is that Chris is probably the most marketable of the 12. And well, after tonight...I'd still say he's leading the pack. But the competition has gotten a little more intense. It's really hard to predict who will come down with the crown. But we don't have to worry about that just yet. We just have to get rid of one!
My My My....5 Great Performances, 3 Decent performances, 3 sub-par performances, 1 awful performance. It's never easy is it? Sometimes I wish I didn't know about votefortheworst.com or just not believe that it actually impacts the vote. It just seems so obvious who should be leaving us.
Bottom 3: Kevin, Kellie, Melissa (Wildcard: Ace) (Bonus Wildcard: Bucky)
Elimination Pick: KEVIN COVAIS....go home and take advatange of your new Sex Symboldom in High School!
Similar to Scott Savol, I think I'm going to keep picking Kevin until he's gone. I don't care if I don't get it right! Alright Kids....these are the blogs you used to know and love...I know! Tune in Wednesday Night to see how America screwed it up!