So, it's usually the weeks you expect the worst when Idol turns out in TOP FORM. Tonight reminded me of the 1st season of American Idol when they did BIG BAND NIGHT. The contestants classed up the joint and really didn't have a choice but to pick a classic standard from the Great American Songbook. I know I bashed the collection last Wednesday, but I really didn't know what ol' Rod Stewart was recording on these albums. I mean we were reaching back into pre-rock days when Musical Soundtracks and the Crooners of the world were topping the charts. I know, I speak as if I lived through this era! But these tunes have stood the test of time and are definitely worthy of being entitled as part of the Great American Songbook. But I'm not going to pretend that I knew all of the songs sung tonight! Anyway, mostly everyone did a pretty good job tonight, which means that the usual suspects and possibly an old favorite may find their way into that bottom 3. We're running out of people folks, so it's time to start saying goodbye to some of these pretty faces. Let's break it down!
"What A Wonderful World"
Chris finally picked a good night to show his softer side. His country ballad was a bit rough a couple weeks ago. But laying down this Louis Armstrong ditty did him well. We can now start to justify Chris being among the favorites to win it again this year. His voice was impeccable. I'm still not a fan of his stage presence. It didn't help that he was wearing a left-over outfit from a Freddie Prinze Jr. Movie. Was it me or was he the spitting image of a Freddie with a shaved head? I've made some weird comparisons before...but this one was uncanny to me tonight! Did anyone else catch Simon clapping after the performance? Gotta say it was probably the first time I've ever seen it (total opposite of him laying his head down in shame during Kellie's performance...but we'll get there). And if you missed it then I'm sure you heard Paula's extremely constructive criticism that went something like "You proved to Simon that you're awesome " .................. okaaaaay, so Paula, what did you think?
Paris showed up fresh from Easter Services in her pink suit to sing us a jingle. She was even sporting some fake diamond studs from the Terrell Owens collection. Anyway, I know we've been all over the map with Paris the past few weeks. One week I liked her, the next week everyone else liked her. This week, I don't think we can deny that she was in her element. She nailed the song. I still heard a hint of that nasal issue again....especially when she was singing about a "tinking pee aaaano" (sorry, it was in my notes, I had to put it in there!) So Randy touted this performance as Paris's greatest night ever. May not be too hard to do as people have always had mixed critiques on her song selection and performances and uncanny mini-fantasia esque appearance and mannerisms (like my run-on sentence? Grade school taught me well!) But this performance was top notch for little fantasia and I think we'll see her live on to keep fighting next week.
"You Send Me"
I was happy to hear that Taylor was going to sing something from Sam Cooke as I think he is one of Taylor's musical inspirations. But when Rod was telling America about how Taylor should be doing his trademark moves and selling the song....was anyone expecting an entire song of Taylor moves? I was. And maybe it's better in small doses...but I found myself wondering where the song was going for the first 3 quarters of it.....then all of a sudden he turned on the juice and brought it home in Taylor Hicks fashion. So....I'm perplexed. Obviously he brought the house down with his ending....if you nail the ending of a song people will forget the first part. But you know...since I'm writing notes the whole time...I don't forget! I think Simon was thinking along the same lines as me though with his "Started out as lame cabaret, then Magic" I mean...that's really what it was. It's like there's a "HICKS" button back stage that someone decided to push right at the end of the song...and all was right with the world once again! Everyone loves Taylor Hicks and he's safe! (I think)
It Had To Be You
Well it's official people. It's not just our little blog reading audience that is in on the secret. Entertainment Weekly published in this past issue that Elliott Yamin reminds America of Mr. Tumnus. Silly magazine..he doesn't REMIND us of him, he IS Mr. Tumnus! If only they knew the truth! And what? I don't subscribe to Entertainment Weekly! Why on earth would you accuse me of that? Anyway, I found myself rooting for ol' Tumnus this week after his stellar Queen outing last week. But he still threw in that scary look right in the beginning of the performance. Maybe it's his GAME FACE! He's gotta get in the zone before he can show off those pearly whites with Narnian Confidence. But come on...anyone that has a Purple hanky in the front jacket pocket needs no boost of confidence! I thought it was a decent performance, and the bobsy twins agreed. Simon, though, thought that personality would be a factor tonight. And with constructive criticism like that, usually comes the curtain calls for a contestant. Not overly harsh, not overly praising....just "good vocal, but I think there may be a factor with personality" With Elliott being in the Bottom 3 last week, who knows where the performance and the comments will leave him?
"Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered"
Once again, Kellie is relying on the pre-performance film clips ("You took a load off of my chest" .......?????) and her endless apologizing to advance her to the next round. And who are we kidding? It's going to work again! Especially with the support of our pals over at votefortheworst.com. But come on....this performance just showed how bad Kellie can be. You can easily forget her flaws when she's rocking the stage and flopping her hair around. But the ballads....ugh...the ballads...they kill her! You know when Paula is resorting to "The Camera Loves You" comments....that there's not much to talk about. But seriously did the camera love the 10 tons of make-up she caked on her face too? This is the 2nd time she overdid it! The song was utterly boring and she hit some really bad notes in it. But in true Pickler fashion she said "I butchered it!" "I'm sooowwwwwy" and "I won't put you through that torture again!" when the idea of her singing it again came up. For anyone else making these comments, it would be their ticket off the stage. But somehow it works for Pickler. But maybe it doesn't.....because she lost my vote this week. I'm sorry...but I can't vote for a performance this bad this late in the game. And that my friends...is the answer to when Mike will find Kellie's act tiresome.....on weeks when she really sucks! So...I know she counts on my 3 votes each week, so we'll see where that leaves her!
Ahh Ace with the slicked back hair pulled into a little bun....so that he could show off his Prom Tux. Good times! My notes on Ace? "That's All? It was a 'Blah' performance" The judges liked it, I'm sure the fans of Ace loved it. But I gotta say, it was a pretty forgettable performance. The only thing I remember is the crazy do and attire. And when your powerhouses are firing on all cylinders....it doesn't bode well for the teen posterboy. Do we really think Kellie Pickler will be another one that falls before Ace? I'm not going to be that daring with my picks!
"Someone to Watch Over Me"
Once we got a taste of the music we'd be listening to tonight, I gotta say that I had a feeling that Katharine was going to have one of those performances that would go down in Idol History. You know like Kelly's "Stuff Like That There" or Clay's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" or Carrie's "Alone" or Bo's umm Acapella song! (I refuse to mention Fantasia's "Summertime" because she didn't even know the damn song before she performed it! ugh...I just mentioned it...) Anyway...once we knew Katharine was going last, that sealed it for me. We were in for something special. And she did not disappoint. She belted out a flawless version of the song and I'll steal some lines from something Paula would say... she did it with infectious vulnerability in a cornucopia filled with watermelons and blueberries! In all seriousness....she really brought that performance to another level with her emotional rendition and yes Paula "Mr. Holland's Opus-like" memorable performance. Simon said she blew the competition away. And this is the performance we've been waiting for someone to deliver. Does it make her a frontrunner to win? It probably should, but I still think she's gonna have to duke it out with Chris and Taylor. The rest of them have to go! Should be a fun ride! But for now, we've got business to tend to!
So I'll try to make this short and sweet. But based on tonight here's who should be safe:
Chris, Taylor, Paris, Katharine. So who does that leave?
Bottom 3: Kellie, Ace, Elliott (Wildcard: Taylor, Bonus Wildcard: Paris)
Elimination Pick: Ace Young - I can't top my Queen beating an Ace line from last week so I'll just say .."Prom's Over buddy, return your tux!"
This is more what I want to happen more than what I think will happen. But Elliott's performance WAS good. Like I said, Simon's comments about his personality could affect him. But how much more Cheese can we take from Ace? He's been in the bottom 3 like 3 or 4 times now (I've lost track). It's time to rid us of the cheese for the lactose intolerant people of the world!!! And I'm sticking with the fact that his performance wasn't memorable. Let's also not forget that he went right before Katharine who just blew everyone away. Usually you don't want to go AFTER a performance like that, but going right before it? I gotta say that most people will remember Katharine and forget the Pony Tail (or whatever you call that hairdo). That being said, if Tumnus is the one sent packing, I won't be surprised either. I would actually be shocked if Kellie got the boot even though she probably deserves it the most after that performance. She just has too much going for her right now for me to think that it will be her. But if I was tired of her act this week, maybe other people were too. Time will tell....and around this time tomorrow, I'll be writing about how I yet again incorrectly picked the offed contestant.
Kudos to American Idol's 5th season for making it an unpredictable ride. But no Kudos to the contestants (and/or producers) picking the songs and worse the theme nights! This week was better, and hopefully they'll stay that way on through to the May finale.
See you tomorrow!