Thursday, February 23, 2006

How do the Idol guys stack up?

Two more hours down, one more to go in the most American Idol packed week ever! First of all, I take back what I said about Paula yesterday. Was there anyone she didn’t swoon over tonight? I think she might have given a standing ovation to just about everyone tonight. On the bright side, she did look better tonight. Oh, and I was rather amused by Randy’s answer when Ryan asked what the singers needed to do tonight. His response: “They got to be great tonight.” Wow, Randy, thanks for giving us that inside information on what the judges are looking for.

Tonight was somewhat of a contrast with the women last night. While the women had a few notable standouts, as well as a number of auditioners that were well below par, I didn’t think anyone was really terrible tonight, but there also weren’t many that stood out from the crowd.

Patrick Hall (“Come To My Window”)–So Patrick said he was going to “bring it.” What was he bringing? And why do you have to notify people you’re going to “bring it.” Shouldn’t you always be “bringing it”? Is there a time where you would sing in American Idol and not “bring it”? Maybe William Safire should look into this. Anyway, Patrick had a pleasant voice, and sang the song OK, but it just came across as a soft rock, bloodless version of this song, and who wants to hear that? I’m not really a Melissa Etheridge fan, but this is a pretty good song, with a lot of passion behind it. I guess Patrick didn’t really “bring it.” One other thing: Paula referred to the “goosebumps” that everyone got from his song at the Hollywood edition that they showed briefly in the intro–was that the other contestants? Did they show a clip on one of the Hollywood shows that I don’t remember? And if that’s the case, did people really get “goosebumps” from a 10 second clip? So many questions....

David Radford (“A Crazy Little Thing Called Love”)–So unlike Patrick, who wanted to branch out and show his alleged range, David stuck with his crooning style and picked a contemporary song he could croon. I guess it was OK, but I sort of got bored in the middle. And isn’t this guy just John Stevens with a slightly stronger voice? Paula said “do what you do best,” but I personally would like to see him sing a song that can’t be crooned. (Oh, and Paula and Randy will tell him to do what he does best, until they tell him that he’s being too safe with his song choices and he should try something different, and then he will try something different and they’ll tell him they liked the old David that crooned–Isn’t that always what happens?) I was most fascinated by Randy’s critique that David sounded like someone at a high school show who gets asked if they can sing a particular song–apparently Simon is rubbing off on him. As for Simon’s comment that “I have a feeling the audience will like you,” I guess he’s thinking of John Stevens too.

Bucky Covington (“Simple Man”)–So we have a second person to sing Lynard Skynard on American Idol, and I kind of liked it. I guess Bo Bice sparked a revolution or something. In fact, I was going to nickname this guy “Bo Bice Jr.,” but then he started talking to Ryan, and it took me a few seconds to actually comprehend the words coming out of his mouth, so I’m going to nickname him “Boomhauer,” in honor of the character on King of the Hill whom no one can understand. I’m interested to see where Bucky will go next, but I can’t see him sticking around like Bo–he doesn’t seem to have the charisma. And since we really hadn’t seen him before tonight, I doubt he’s built up many fans.

A quick couple comments: I think I’m going to watch those new Fox comedies, solely to see if they’re really as bad and unfunny as the commercials seem to indicate. And as far as Idol goes, how come we saw everyone’s parents, friends, relatives, etc. tonight, but not last night? Was there a different director tonight?

Will Makar (“I Want You Back”)-- If you’re going to sing a great, classic song–and “I Want You Back” is probably one of the best singles you’re ever going to hear–then it better be great. And this wasn’t great. On the bright side, it was better than Niko Smith’s horrible rendition of this song last year. But it was nothing memorable, kind of average, and it loses something when you sing this song without, oh, four brothers behind you backing you up. (It is pretty amazing that Michael Jackson sang that song when he was what, 10 or 11?) He does remind me of Fred Savage in the “Wonder Years” era.

Jose “Sway” Penala (“Reasons”)–As I’ve said many times before, Simon is correct most of the time, and I believe he was tonight. Before “Sway” stopped singing, I said to myself, “Isn’t he just doing a Phillip Bailey from Earth, Wind and Fire impression,” and that’s basically what Simon said. I didn’t care for it, and I guess I wrong last night. I said after hearing Stevie Scott that I really don’t like when women sing in falsetto, but I was OK with men doing it because the guy from Coldplay does it sometimes, but I really didn’t like “Sway’s” falsetto, either. Perhaps I’m just an anti-falsettite.

Chris Daughtry (“Wanted Dead Or Alive”)–First of all, I’m fascinated by the way he shaves his head but still grows a beard. Is it to prove he can grow hair somewhere, just not on the top of his head? Anyway, I liked his performance of what, if I recall correctly, is the first Bon Jovi song ever sung on American Idol. The song, or at least the arrangement of it, was a little repetitious (how many times did he actually sing the words to the song?), but he was really good–had a nice rock voice and should do well.

Kevin Covais (“One Last Cry”)–The American Idol season hasn’t started until someone sings “One Last Cry”–I think this song may have been sung at least once every season. And with good reason–it’s good but not too complicated song, which allows someone to show some emotion when they sing it. As for Kevin, maybe it’s because I have a soft spot for his whole look and persona of the small dorky-looking guy, but I kind of liked him. He’s not the greatest singer, but it was sincere and heartfelt and sounded OK. It certainly wasn’t as bad as Simon said–like I said, he’s correct “most of the time.”

Gedeon McKinney (“Shout”)–First of all, why did Gedeon talk so robotically and strangely when introducing his song? It seemed like he was talking like a preacher, and it was just odd. Or perhaps he was reading it off of cue cards, which would be a concern. And I agree with Simon–his smile also bothers me. There’s something too artificial about it. I can’t agree with his comment about Gedeon opening for the Chippendales, because I’ve never been. (But as I said yesterday, following Simon around for a week would probably be a fascinating week.) As for Gedeon, I thought he had a nice sound and tone to his voice, but I really didn’t think the song demonstrated much–yes, it’s a classic, but it doesn’t really require singing as much as calling out stuff. So I’m not really sure why Paula and Randy were so enamored of this and started comparing him to Jackie Wilson. Otis Day only had this one hit, didn’t he?

Elliott Yamin (“If You Really Love Me”)–This was the first of two songs in which the singer started with the chorus and then did the first verse of the song–Ace and “Father Figure” was the other. I have no idea why, and didn’t really like it. But I did like Elliott, although I’m not ready to sign on to Simon’s pronouncement that he’s the best male vocalist in the history of the show. Why does Simon occasionally make these wild statements so early in the competition when he’s usually so sensible?
Anyway, I thought Elliott was great singing the verse to this song, but not as good on the chorus for some reason. But I liked it overall.

Bobby Bennett (“Copacabana”)–Why have we not seen this guy before? He had an audition in which Simon said he seemed drunk and he may (I couldn’t confirm from the clip) have been singing Barry Manilow’s “Can’t Smile Without You” and we didn’t see it? Simon said he loved the guy, but we didn’t see it? But we saw a faked five minute bit where they aksed random people to sing “Lady Marmalade”? It’s exasperating, but I’ll stop beating that dead horse. Anyway, it’s weird for someone to sing “Copacabana” because it’s a song with an elaborate story (at least for a song), and we missed most of it because you only get to sing for 90 seconds or so on the show. We never even got to Rico in the song. Anyway, Bobby was OK and kind of fun, and I think every season needs the (intenational) comedy contestant. Maybe he can be that for a couple weeks. But since no one has seen him before tonight, I’m not sure he’ll catch on.

Ace Young (“Father Figure”)–I thought he was fine, but not that great. And I think before we’re done this spring, he’ll certainly challenge Constantine’s record for most longing looks at the camera. I know everyone was talking about the “X-Factor,” but I wasn’t getting that much of it. Then again, I’m male.

Taylor Hicks (“Levon”)–I’ve liked this guy from the beginning, because he was soulful and original. And he was impressive tonight, although Randy was right that it might not have been the best song choice. And I’m glad Simon, who usually is pretty perceptive about what the American public is into, finally caught on after having actual fans of the show tell him that they liked Taylor. This guy is really “interesting,” and I’m looking forward to him the rest of the competition.

So who goes home? It’s a tough one. I would probably send home the first two guys, David Radford and Patrick Hall. Who will go home? I’m going to say Patrick Hall and Bobby Bennett.

Fingerhut out!


Blogger Amy said...

I think Will could be good down the road but that was the wrong song (hard to do the Jackson 5).
I really enjoyed Elliott and thought he could carry himself through a hard Stevie Wonder song-very impressed.
Taylor was quite good. Would like to see him do some Jow Cocker or even Bruce Springsteen and I imagine it would be very good! Oh, and he should die his hair and he would look a little younger...

2/23/06, 9:21 AM  
Anonymous John said...

Another great one. You really brought it.

My thoughts: Simon was pretty much right with most of his comments and hilarious with some of his putdowns. Paula may have been close to her most incoherent--midway through some of her praise, she would look like she had no idea how to finish her comment. And you are completely right--in the middle of Randy's "Baton-Rouge high school" bit, I thought, "is he turning into Simon?"

Bobby Bennett: this may be completely unfair, but he kind of creeps me out. And his voice wasn't great, so his silliness was just all silliness.

Hopefully she's of age so I won't feel too bad saying this, but I can't get that Katharine McPhee out of my head. If she doesn't win AI, hopefully she'll get a show on the new CW or something.

I did like it when Ryan was really pushing Simon for some constructive criticism--who were they talking about at that moment? Anyway, Simon could have said something good, like, "choose a better song, get more emotional," anything, but he kept falling back on how long it would take to address all of the problems of that contestant. He failed us, America, in that moment.

Okay, in honor of those great Ford commercials, they could have one where Bucky and Elliot go to the dentist together.

2/23/06, 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Joe said...

This was really good. I think Simon isn't as right as you. I like Randy more.

Jon, you don't know what your talking about! :) Katherine is okay, but Kelly is the best one and cute.

I liked the girls night more. I thought Kevin was good and I liked his song. Gedeon was fun, but Chris yells everything.

2/23/06, 1:38 PM  

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