Tuesday, April 25, 2006

American Idol: Top 6 Perform

The Final 6. Anyone remember the final 6 last season? This is who was left at that point and how they placed:

  1. Carrie
  2. Bo
  3. Vonzell
  4. Anthony Federov
  5. Scott Savol
  6. Constantine

Why am I pointing this out? 2 reasons really. 1st, At this point last season, we had 2 surefire final 2 contestants with the threat of a 3rd or 4th. We had recently seen Constantine pull off Bohemian Rhapsody and threaten to be in that final 2...only to get voted off before the mediocre Federov and the awful Scott Savol (supported by votefortheworst.com). Do we have a certified final 2 that we can point out of our current bunch? I really don't think so. Makes things a bit difficult. But I'm starting to be able to weed out who SHOULDN'T be here. Problem is, I don't see it happening just yet! Bringing me to my 2nd point, which I actually just touched on. We saw Constantine go before Scott and Anthony. I think there's a chance that we're going to see someone leave us on Wednesday that we're not ready to see leave. But we have some time before we have to make our decision.

So, tonight was THE GREATEST LOVE SONGS OF ALL TIME with guidance from Andrea Bocelli and Songwriter/Producer David Foster. How did our contestants pan out? Well, to me? Pretty much as I suspected, for the most part. But does it matter at this point how any of them do or are we running a popularity contest this year? I guess we'll find out on Wednesday.

Katharine McPhee
"I Have Nothing"
Written by David Foster, Made Famous by Whitney Houston

Okay, right off the bat, if you do a Whitney Houston tune, you're going to be, dare I say it, OVER- JUDGED. Worse yet, if you're going to go first, you don't have any support from the judges to say "well, you're no whitney, but you were better than the a lot of other people." AND, we're in the final 6, so that's going to make the judges EXTRA-Cranky. So Whitney, PLUS Going 1st, PLUS going 1st in the final 6 leads to the odds being stacked against you. Yet even with these odds, I thought Katharine did a great job with it! Sure, the beginning was rough, but by the middle of the song she was doing her thing...and delivering an emotional and engaging performance as she does every week. I'm really not sure what the judges had against it, with the exception of reverting to their tired formula of "Well, it's a whitney song, and you're not whitney, so I guess that means you were awful." Maybe I've just come down with a little McPhever over the weeks of this competition and am a little biased towards the cutie? Ryan may have made the best comment of the night that people may be voting for her just on appearance alone. Was she smoking tonight or what?! I've talked to a few other people who also thought Katharine did a good job, so I'm not really sure what to think about this one. So what if it was OLD FASHIONED as Simon said....aren't we talking about the Greatest Love Songs of ALL TIME? Sometimes his comments confuse me. But hey...he's British.

Elliott Yamin
"A Song For You"
Donny Hathaway

And THIS guy....have I done a 180 with him! I mean, he'll always be Mr. Tumnus to me but he is growing more and more confident each week that he stays in the game. He apparently auditioned with the Donny Hathaway song and now had to perform it in front of Donny's daughter (who is one of the crazy backup singers! now we know one of their names!!!) Well, this kid pulled out all the stops tonight and gave the performance of his life. I had never heard the song before; and with Elliott this usually turns me off from his performance. But just the way he delivered the performance tonight, it was mesmerizing....a little less crazy faces and a little more crowd interaction. He made it personable. Sure, maybe it's because it's a song that he's more familiar with....but you could tell that he has matured throughout this process. And if he can drive Paula to tears and speechlessness ....well.... it really doesn't say much because she's on CRACK! (Blueberry Crack nonetheless!!!) The judges raved on this one (mostly...Randy didn't like the arrangement...probably because it didn't sound like Journey with his stellar Bass Guitar riffs) and the raving was justified. Elliott came to COMPETE and hopefully this performance gets him to outlast some of our wannabe's that are being exposed!

Kellie Pickler
"Unchained Melody"
Righteous Brothers (LeAnn Rimes style)

So was my "Wannabe" comment a segueway? Oh you bet! So we got our usual schtick from Miss Pickler. Since it's the LOVE SONG week we got her sob story of having no boyfriend and wanting to dedicate this song to a future love who will make sensual pottery with her like Demi and Patrick in Ghost. How old was this girl when Ghost was in theaters? Did someone feed her this line? Anyway, I think the worst thing that David Foster could've done was suggest that she hit a falsetto note to try and bring her rendition of the Unchained and Unending Melody out of it's monotonous obvliousness. If last week's Pickler song didn't do it for you...then this one had to be the nail in the coffin that Kellie does NOT belong in this competition anymore. She can't sing ballads for the life of her (which I so nicely pointed out last week and was justified this week). She barely sang a note on key and her falsetto note was more painful than it being worth her attempt to hit it. This performance exposed all of Kellie's remaining weaknesses. And the best part? Because the show was running late (due to Paula's Crack Rampage), Simon was cut off and the Idol music began to play giving Kellie no time to sweet talk herself into any more votes. This week will be the 1st true test for votefortheworst.com. Will they keep Kellie in this show a week or 2 or 3 longer? Because there is no way that she should outlast this week if it is not for her "Southern" (and I use quotes) CHARM or her ANTI-VOTES.

Paris Bennett
"The Way We Were"
Barbara Streisand

There Paris goes again...being all nasal. But this week I noticed something else with her performances. She makes weird faces! Now, I know I'm biased against the teenagers staying in the competition this late in the game, but was anyone else bored with this performance? I really couldn't point my finger on it, but I just didn't like it. Even Paula said that she may have OVER-sang parts of the song. Yeah, we know the girl can sing but you have to be able to control that voice instead of belting out power note after power note. I believe this is what our buddy David Foster was trying to get across to Paris in the pre-performance clips. Randy also agreed that he wasn't blown away. Simon called it a good vocal but sounded like impersonating an older artist. Hey...whatever bad comment you want to throw at her is fine with me. Something was wrong with this performance! And once again, I also noted last week that Paris would struggle with Love Songs week. Even Paris said herself, she has no memories of LOVE to draw from to emotionally sing these songs. Come to think of it....at 16 how can you sing any song with TRUE emotion? We've seen Paris working that stage and singing some powerful notes, but maybe that is what's missing. Some sense of identifying with the music. Yeah, I know Carrie never knew what she was singing about, but she didn't need to...there was just something about her that SCREAMED AMERICAN IDOL. Nothing AMERICAN is screaming at me about Paris (French Idol maybe? Oui Oui Ma dame. ba dum CHING!!!)

Taylor Hicks
"Just Once"
James Ingram

Well Bocelli and Foster (sounds like a sleezy lawfirm) seemed to be quite impressed with Taylor saying he picked the perfect song and that he had the potential to break out this week with a great performance. Maybe they got my expectations too high. Is it me, or was this performance just flat out awful? I haven't been shy about me rooting for Taylor less and less each week. I'm not sure what it is. I liked it when he was the underdog, but now that he's everyone's favorite, I'm kinda noticing that he's missing something in this competition. I mean...he hit MOST of his notes...but there was nothing mezmerizing about his performance. And I didn't see how this song was completely the RIGHT song for him. I was predicting some Joe Cocker last week for the raspy soulful contestant (a side of him which he has not shown since ...umm...his audition???). I'm sure Taylor is a great entertainer with his SOUL PATROL, but an American Idol? 7 weeks into this top 12, I'm still not sure if I see it. And...well, we may not have a choice in the matter. I'd like to see Taylor be in the bottom 3 to get a nice scare, but I still think he has his unwaivering support! (minus me these days....)

Chris Daughtry
"Have you Ever Really Loved A Woman"
Bryan Adams

Well Chris gets bonus points from me on Song Selection. I've always been a big fan of the period of the 90's when Bryan Adams was trying to become the next Kenny Loggins (aka new MOVIE SOUNDTRACK GUY) and this song was a classic for him. So our pals Bocelli and Foster noticed that Chris wasn't singing from deep down in his lungs so they had him sing on the floor. Did it help him reach down into that diaphragm for a stronger vocal? Well Yes and No. Tell me....have YOU ever really....really really ever loooooved a MIC STAND? Cause if you haven't, talk to Chris. He is INFATUATED with his....he holds onto that thing like his wife and illegitimate children. I'm surprised he was even able to part with it midway through-out the song. And sure it helps when he's got his dual Don Juan DeMarco spanish guitarists rocking out there with him to keep him company. Theatrics are always good for some points. But, me? I was listening to the VOICE which was to be highly improved based on his FLOOR performance. Was I "Floored?" Nope..sorry. I don't think ANYONE could've been as excited as Paula who probably realized the show was over so she could rush off camera for her next fix! "I LOVE YOU...LOVEY DOVE DUB YOU....LOOOOOOVE YOU!!!!" I mean seriously??? Simon and Randy both gave their quick congratulations as well. Did I miss something? Did no one hear the pitchy notes? the invisible low notes? the off-key high notes? and his on-stage inappropriate Mic Stage lovefest? How does this work into a stellar performance? The only thing I can come up with is that they're trying to sway the votes Chris's way because he is their pride and joy, their hope for a marketing future. Maybe that and the show was running overtime and the producers were yelling at the judges to make it quick....therefore not giving them enough time to even LISTEN to Chris's performance. I have TONS of conspiracy theories, but I won't waste them all on THIS blog! We have 4 more weeks after this!

Okay, so what does this all boil down to. Well way back when I started this blog I was saying that we may be in for a huge upset Wednesday night. Why is this? Because I DON'T think Kellie Pickler will go home even though she had the worst performance EVER! If we're lucky it might be Paris's week to go. I don't see Taylor even hitting the bottom 3 due to his status in prior weeks. I believe I said last week that neither Kellie nor Taylor have even tasted that bottom 3 yet. Everyone else has. Who was in it last week? Elliott and Chris. If we're meant to follow the trend of people getting a boost in votes when they're in the bottom 3 the previous week, then this puts Paris and Katharine back on the hot seat. And MAYBE Kellie will see some time in that bottom 3 this week. Gotta go back into question mode kids....here we go.

Who had the best performance? Elliott
Worst Performance? Kellie
Who do I think did well despite the judges? Katharine
Who Can't I stand anymore? Paris
Who do I think is overrated until he proves himself again? Taylor
Who had best song choice of the night? Chris

Bottom 3: Paris, Kellie, Katharine (Wildcard: Chris Bonus Widcard: Taylor)
Eliminated: Paris - I thought of a lot of bad French jokes here, but I changed my mind. Let's face it, if you're not named after a HOTEL these days, PARIS just doesn't work as a first name.

This would be an ideal situation. Lose the young one. But I have a feeling something crazy is going to happen like Katharine or Chris goes home. It's just that time of the competition where we lose someone that is a viable candidate. But to tell you the truth, I wouldn't be shocked if ANYONE went home because there just seems to be no clear cut Favorite this season (besides what we see on all of the websites out there). Wouldn't it be funny though if the bottom 3 kept going back and forth with girls then guys? I mean it really would only work for the next 2 weeks...but 2 weeks ago it was all girls, last week was all guys....maybe we're back to the girls again this week? Ahh who knows. All I do know is that I've thought way too much about this. Doesn't even matter anyway. What are the chances I'll get it all right? Guess we'll see!

Until tomorrow Idol Fanatics.

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