Thursday, March 02, 2006

Slightly better than last night

So just like for the women last night, the excitement last week of seeing everyone sing for the first time and realizing that there were some promising candidates gave way this Wednesday to a realization that there are also a bunch of not-so-great singers left in the competition, too. Overall, the guys as a whole tonight may have been a little better that the girls as a whole last night, but I wouldn’t want to live on the difference.

So the show began tonight with the judges back in their customary seats, although I must say I was sort of hoping Paula had stayed on the far left tonight, just to shake things up a bit. But Paula didn’t really interrupt Simon tonight, so maybe she’s learned her lesson.

Our opening banter tonight included Simon ripping Ryan because unlike the judges, he has his lines written for him. I know Simon was sort of joking, but I just wanted to point out that I appreciate Ryan a lot more this year after watching a few episodes of Rock Star: INXS last summer. Brooke Burke, the Ryan Seacrest of that show, was very attractive, but in the episodes I saw, it did not appear that she uttered one single word that was not on a cue card. It was really remarkable and kind of scary how you could practically see her reading at all times. Whatever Ryan Seacrest’s faults, he at least can ad lib and joke around and is comfortable on air. On to the singers...

Taylor Hicks (“Easy”)–The gray-haired guy, who has to be considered one of the favorites on the show, since he is certainly the most-talked about contestant (last week on the highly trafficked Television Without Pity Website, his discussion forum had something like 25 pages, and I don’t think anyone else had more than 10), was OK tonight but not great.. The judges were right, “Easy” just wasn’t the right song choice–he needs something a little more hard-edged and soulful. And Randy, could we ease up on the Ray Charles comparisons? The guy hasn’t even made it to the finals, and you’re throwing out the name of one of the great singers ever. And Bo Bice is apparently a fan, since they showed him in the audience and he appeared to be loving Taylor. Then again, we never saw him cheering for anyone else, so maybe he was going crazy about everyone.

One other thing with Taylor. Back in college, my roommate sophomore year used to talk about how we needed to do a “boom count” whenever John Madden was the analyst on a football game, because he said “boom” so many times during the game. (I’m not saying this was particularly funny–sorry, Darren--or he ever seriously did a count, but it was just something Darren said.) Anyway, we might need to start a “whoo” count with Taylor. I think he gave us three “whoos” just during the judges’ remarks, and a few more during the song. On second thought, a “whoo” count isn’t really that funny either. Sorry I got into this mess. But all those “whoos” is a little odd, even if Taylor is a pretty excitable guy.

Elliott Yamin (“Moody’s Mood For Love”)–I didn’t really like this song–Randy has used the term “stylized song” way too much in criticizing song choices the last two weeks, but this really is a stylized song. (And why did Randy say this was a Stevie Wonder song–didn’t Elliott say it was by James Moody–not that I know who that is...) But despite the song choice, Simon was correct last week–Elliott is a really great singer. His voice was so rich and clear and strong, and he pulled it off. I was very impressed. On an unrelated subject, I’ve been wondering for a couple weeks, because of his name and look, whether Elliott is Jewish. Our first clue that he may be a member of the tribe is his mother’s use of the term “verkelmpt.” Certainly not enough proof–maybe his mom was just a big fan of Mike Myers’ Linda Richman character on Saturday Night Live–but some important information in this quest.

Ace Young (“If I’m Not Made For You”)–I didn’t think I knew this Daniel Bedingfield song until he got to the chorus and then I started to recognize it. I still prefer Natasha Bedingfield, who I believe is his sister, who apparently sings only about writing–her first song was about poets and her second song seems to be about writer’s block. Sorry for the tangent. Ace has a nice pleasant voice, and I liked the song, but I’m just not totally convinced he’s really that great a singer. He’s certainly in the top six of the guys, but I’d like to see a lot more risks from him, as the judges suggested, before I’m ready to say this guy is all that special. Right now, he just seems like a lot of making love to the camera. He may be a little better and less obvious about it than Constantine was last year, but at least Constantine was interesting in song choices and other ways. Ace isn’t all that exciting, except for his “beanie.” And his “beanie” and Taylor Hicks’ “tobaggan”–are they the same thing or different? Can anybody help me with this? Oh, and did you see that really odd face Ace made on that high note? Kind of disturbing.

Gedeon McKinney (“Change Is Gonna Come”)–So Taylor Hicks is Ray Charles and now Gedeon McKinney is Sam Cooke. Calm down, Randy. And Paula, Gedeon is a performer we’ll see for decades? Maybe Heather Cox will, watching her tapes of the show every summer, but I’m not sold on that yet. I wasn’t as impressed as the judges–the beginning of the song, as Randy said, was not good, but he did turn it on by the end. I think I liked Taylor Hicks’ rendition of this song at his first audition better, though. And why does he talk so slowly and mannered? It’s kind of creepy. But overall, better than last week, and promising.

Kevin Covais (“I Heard It Through the Grapevine”)–I was glad Simon did bring some sanity to the proceedings after this performance. Hey, I like this guy a lot, I enjoyed his heartfelt performance last week, but this just wasn’t all that good, singing wise. Sure, it was amusing and fun, but is that really enough to put him into the final 12 and then see him struggle with the bizarre theme weeks? Is it fair to him? Actually, what am I saying–he’s loving every minute of this.

Jose “Sway” Penala (“Overjoyed”)–I thought Saw was just terrible last week, so I think this week was an improvement–at least he stayed away from the falsetto. That doesn’t mean he was all that great, but I don’t think he was quite as bad as the judges said he was. But Simon was correct, there was “zero originality.”He sang the song exactly like Stevie Wonder does. And of course Paula said he had an “off night,” which Sway immediately took and ran with-–all of a sudden he’s telling Ryan he was sick or fatigued or whatever. Hey Paula, maybe he’s just not that good. On the bright side, I did really like Sway’s video, where he talked about seeing his parents together and how American Idol brings families together. So he seems like a good guy.

Will Makar (“Lady”)–So Ryan asked Will about singing a song written before he was born like it was something unique, which was odd, because he was at least the third or fourth singer to do that just tonight. And then Will talked in his video about how excited he was to get a picture taken with Justin Guarini. I’m not even sure how to respond to that. I’ve been sitting her for five minutes trying to think of a joke and I can’t. Please write your own. Anyway, I thought Will was pretty bad–all I could think of during this song was how much better Kenny Rogers’ version was. I don’t think that’s good. But Simon says 11-year-olds like him, so I guess I’m just too old and don’t get the kids anymore.

Bucky Covington (“Thunder Rolls”)–So Boomhauer did a solid job tonight, and he’s certainly unique in the competition. But I’d like to see a little more energy–he just seems so lethargic when he’s performing, and a couple times tonight his voice got soft enough that I thought it was going to be drowned out by the music. He’s certainly no Bo Bice–he has no chance to win, in my opinion–but I’d like to see him stick around a little bit to see what he’s got. Can you imagine him on Broadway night, though?

David Radford (“The Way You Look Tonight”)–Randy was right–this was just boring. I really don’t have much else to say about it, except to praise David for not taking the easy way out like Sway. When Ryan asked him if he was feeling OK or something in that vein, David said, “Yes.”

Chris Daughtry (“Hemorrhage”)–Another song I didn’t think I knew until the chorus. This was good, and it’s ironic that Simon said that Chris was lacking in star quality when he first auditioned, since he seemed to have as much charisma as anyone tonight. And Chris is a good guy too–this is the guy who married a woman with two young kids. But as I will often say this spring, the judges’ comments about how Chris is in his comfort zone and needs to stay there will of course change a few weeks from now–either when they say they’re bored and needs to take risks, or Chris has to sing disco and salsa numbers.

Who should go home? David Radford and, as much as it sort of disappoints me, Kevin Covais. Who will go home? David Radford and Sway Penala.

And since Ryan signed off tonight with the phrase “I’m going home,” I’ll say I’m going to bed.


Blogger Amy said...

I think Taylor is very talented and yes did choose the wrong song. He needs to do a Joe Cocker song and show off that voice he has.
I am over the David/ Frank Sinatra wannabe thing...very boring and no excitement for the music of today...
Gideon was better this week then last and probably in the top 5 guys.
I will say Chris and Elliott are still my favorites by far. I do not really think the other 8 come close to the two of them. And, I do think they will be able to sing other genres...especially Elliott.

No one else is worth wasting my time on...boring and I do not care if Bucky stays, I can see enough rednecks singing every weekend here in Georgia....

3/2/06, 9:52 AM  
Anonymous John said...

Good to see Amy return...with a vengence!

My thoughts:

First off, I didn't vote for anyone. The only person who tempted me to vote was Chris.

Taylor was fine. But the only way he could be more affected as a singer (all those whoos and odd stances) would be if he were Gedeon.

Gedeon seems to me to be like a character than David Alan Grier would play on In Living Color or something. And yea, he did "bring it together" at the end of that song, but I really didn't think it was that good. And as far as Paula's "decades" comment, it was fantastic. I laughed and laughed.

Elliot: what would Jamie Pressley say? That aside, I like his voice. At the risk of sounding like Paula, excellent tone.

Ace: I liked the song--I had heard it before. But I thought his falsetto bit was lousy.

Kevin: okay, did anyone else hope that when they said he was doing a Marvin Gaye song, that the song would be Sexual Healing? How awesome/awful would that have been? He was pleasant enough, but seriously, his singing is like Dr. Johnson's quote about the dancing dog.

Sway: I wasn't overjoyed, merely over him.

Will: I thought Simon's "Cats" comment was right on. He's nice looking and sings well. He just seems fake. And how many different ways did he pronounce "lady" during the song? Also, didn't Lionel Ritchie write this song too? Where's the shout-out?

Bucky: he was good, not great. I just want to get him together with Kellie for a reality show on CMT (do they still have that channel?). There could be a whole episode of them ordering food in a restaurant. I mean, a realistic version of the Beverly Hillbillies with these two could be money in the bank.

David Radford: he sucked. He looked uncomfortable and this is supposedly within his comfort zone. And Simon said that Gedeon's smile creeps him out? David Stepford has him beat. I feel like this kid has been stage-mothered in advance.

Chris: you know, he was really good. I never liked this song much, but Chris definitely brought it. And yes, I wrote that just for you!

3/2/06, 11:13 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

John-I have been back...go back, I just usually am not the first one to get my comments up

Good one on the show about Kellie and Bucky in a funny would that be...

3/2/06, 11:19 AM  
Anonymous John said...

I just read your comments from yesterday and "you're right, I'd prefer the return if "Fingerhut out!"

3/2/06, 11:45 AM  
Blogger Eric Fingerhut said...

"Fingerhut out" was right for its time, but if Ryan is moving on, I probably should as well.

That Bucky-Kellie idea is great--they should go to a sushi place next week, where they won't find anything to eat, and are forced to go searching for a Golden Corral.

3/2/06, 12:44 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Good one Eric. They have probably never had sushi and do not understand the concept!

3/2/06, 2:15 PM  

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