Alright America! We're back! Finally, Idol has gotten back to what they do best. The top 12 has started and it seems the show has kicked into high gear. Even I sometimes forget how this show can suck you in, even when the contestants aren't very good, or when even the good ones aren't even likable. It's just the whole show. And with each phase of the competition, it just gets bigger each year. The top 12 stage is all decked out, the band now has strings and horn sections EVERY week, Ryan has new introductory poses prior to each performance, and the GAY banter between Simon and Ryan has been taken to an all new (albeit, almost scripted) level. Add to that my new HDTV decked out in full surround sound, and you have a whole new way of looking at an aging Paula Abdul and seeing some strange colors that Randy picks to include in his attire.
But, we have 10 more weeks to hear me rant about the judges/host and everything that goes behind Idol. We gotta kick someone off tonight and it seems all too clear on who it should be! And that, as always, is what scares me. Let's break it down and try and figure out our bottom 3.
It's Diana Ross week in the top 12 and her affection for Michael Jackson (my bad Blake, "MJ") must've taken its toll on her because she was all about the parenting tonight. How did it transpire?
- Brandon Rogers - "Can't Hurry Love" - It's always tough to go first, isn't it? I guess he had a hard time "finding his center" as Diana Ross has suggested. He's a likable guy, and I was happy to see him make the top 12. But forgetting the words and trying to dance like Taylor in the middle of a song just seemed like bad things to do. On the plus side for entertainment purposes, the bigger band sounded fantastic! But the cheesy song just didn't cut it for Brandon. Judges gave mostly negative feedback and suggest Brandon lacks the star quality. Definitely is a problem for Brando. He should be saved this week by some equally forgettable performances. But we'll see.
- Melinda Doolittle -"Home" - Well Melinda knows how to get people to like her, playing down her "DIVA PERFORMANCE" persona by being so down to earth and amazed at her popularity. She mentioned her preference for Tennis shoes (sneakers for us Philly natives) and sweatpants to high heels, winning her many votes in the process. Not that she needs the help right now, her version of "HOME" was flawless and chills-inducing. Not much else to say about it. Judges love her, America loves her....she's still the favorite, but she has some competition sneaking up on her.
- Chris Sligh - "Endless Love" - Hmmm, not sure what Chris was trying to pull off here. He was the 1st of our male contestants who felt the need to make Diana Ross music "More BUTCH" and modernize it. But why on earth did he make it sound exactly like Coldplay's "CLOCKS?" (No Randy, not "speed of sound"...ugh) My viewing party (that's right..HDTV brings out the friends!) and I decided the only thing that might have happened was Chris asked the band if they could make "Endless Love" sound like Coldplay. They probably laughed, said they could and then ripped off a version of CLOCKS with some different chords. I mean, it was flat out bizarre. It sounded nothing like "Endless Love" and Chris, now is not the time to lose the trademark glasses! Judges agree with me. I wouldn't be surprised if LISP MAN gets a scare this week.
- Gina Glocksen - "Lovechild" - Wow, anyone remember this performance? I'm reading my notes now and just recalling her actually singing tonight. She was sporting an ARM chain similar to Chris Daughtry's belt thing last year. Yeah, that really brings out the ROCKER in them doesn't it? From what I recall, Gina started off pretty well, working the larger stage...but by the middle, it was almost like she gave up and was just going through the motions. The scariest thing of all for her is that I keep suggesting that I don't remember the performance. I think she is unique enough and is popular enough to survive, but who knows?
- Sanjaya Malakar - "Ain't no Mountain High Enough" - Okay, this joke is just getting bigger each week. And we're seeing Sanjaya's transition from BOY into WOMAN before our very eyes. This week sporting the long earrings, the perm, the lipstick. And his performances? Well, we all know they aren't cutting it. They're downright laughable. I like to keep comparing him to Kevin Covais, because it's a very similar situation. Young guy, everyone loves to laugh at him, moms probably love him....and no one knows when America will be done with the joke. For Kevin, it ended in the top 11. That's right, he made it to the 2nd week of the top 12 performances. Which makes it tough for me to think that Sanjaya will be any different. I think it will be either this week or next week. But I'm leaning towards next.
- Haley Scarnato - "Missing You" - Another singer forgetting the words tonight. Another person that shouldn't be in the top 12. Yet, she made a fan out of Simon tonight. I will agree that her presence was there tonight, but the voice still has some issues. She definitely can win over votes with her appearance though. But in the long run, the voice will hurt her. And prior to Simon's endorsement, there was a very low amount of applause following her performance. We'll have to run the numbers after we review everyone, but she should pack her bags just in case there is no one to bail her out.
- Phil Stacey - "Make You Love Me" - Anyone mind if I start calling him Uncle Fester? I think it's warranted. I just sat there thinking, "here's a guy with a pretty good voice, good range, nice presence. Why on earth can't I take him seriously?" And the thing I kept coming back to is the way he looks! Whether it be Alien or Britney Spears....the shaved head just doesn't cut it for him. There's not much he can do with that at this point, but the black shirt definitely showed how PALE he is....I mean stylists work your magic! You did it with Elliott "Mr. Tumnus" Yamin last year! All this being said, Phil is safe this week.
- Lakisha Jones - "God Bless the Child" - We all know she can sing, we all knew she would nail the song. We all know the judges love her. I just keep thinking that she is trying to conceal who she really is. She's definitely a toned down version of Fantasia, which has a lot of people confused for being CLASSY. But compared to Melinda, she doesn't seem as humbled to be there. I am trying my best to get on board with her. But I think someone finally locked up my vote for the rest of the season tonight. And it's neither of the favorites.
- Blake Lewis - "Keep Me Holding On" - Yet another Modernization attempt from the guys. It worked better for Blake than Chris. I think Blake thinks he's a bit cooler than he actually his. And this whole retro 80's look with the White Shoes is a bit contradictory to his attempt at modernizing the music. That being said, he's still interesting and I look forward to seeing what he'll bring to the stage each week. And that, for now, is enough to keep him holding on.
- Stephanie Edwards "Love Hangover" - Man, that dress on the HDTV was just too much for it to handle. It was a Paisley/color overload. Besides that, she gave a decent performance. I just think she is getting outshined by the rest of the "POWER VOCALISTS" (as I will call them to avoid any controversy) And I think her voice/vocal style is just way too similar to Beyonce's to be considered unique. And let's face it, she is NOT Beyonce. So why bother keeping her in the competition? I would not be surprised if she gets a scare this week.
- Chris Richardson - "The Boss" - Yep, Chris's act is wearing on me. We have always known his voice is a bit weaker than everyone else's. But it really showed this week. Trying to hit all of those high notes was not a good move for him. He also tried to pull off the retro-wacky suit with white shoes look. And if he's going to try to be like Blake, instead of timberlake, he's going to start getting comparisons. My opinion? There's only room for one of them in this competition. So should be interesting to see how the votes pan out this week.
- Jordin Sparks - "If We Hold On Together" - Well, I've been saying for weeks now that I like this girl. Which is very shocking to regular readers because I stay away from the youth when it comes to this show. But her voice at 17 is just so pure and so good that it's hard not to like her. I'll be flat out honest, she's much more marketable than Lakisha or Melinda. But it's not just because of her appearance (which she clearly has a better one!)...she just seems like she'd be able to appeal to the masses and be able to conform to different musical stylings than the former mentioned contestants. And that could be her strong point down the stretch. The problem with the AGE thing is song selection though. That's where the youth have struggled in the past. Jordin has not had an issue yet, and I hope that continues. Because, yes folks, she has become the contestant I shall root for in season 6!
Well if you noticed, I mentioned many names that could fall in that bottom 3 tomorrow. And as always, I will not look at dialidol.com until after I make my picks! Here we go!
Who is safe? Melinda, Jordin, Lakisha, Blake, Phil
Who should be gone? Sanjaya, Haley
Who is in the middle of the pack? Gina, Steph, Chris R, Chris S, Brandon
Bottom 3: Sanjaya, Stephanie, Brandon Wildcard: Haley Bonus Wildcard: Chris S
Elimination Pick: Brandon Rogers - Going 1st sucks, especially when you forget your words. Sorry Brandon, it's too soon to say goodbye, but blame Sanjaya and his beautiful locks!
Yeah, it's a crazy pick, I know. But I have to go with History on my side. And once again, I'm trying for reverse psychology! In all honesty, if any of the 7 non-safe people went home tomorrow, I would not be surprised and no one really should!
Well, that's it everyone. Hopefully, you'll be relieved that the show is entertaining me again. I'll try to complain less in the future. But I won't make any promises! See you tomorrow night for the results!