Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Who will check into Heartbreak Hotel on Idol?

Before we get to “Elvis Night” on “American Idol,” I do have one announcement. I interviewed Elliott Yamin’s cousin, who lives in Silver Spring, Maryland for my day job. I will post a link to the article on this site on Thursday when the article comes out–or you can just go to www.washingtonjewishweek–but to summarize, yes, Elliott is Jewish, his cousin did not know if he had attended a Passover seder--and Elliott even put on tefillin one morning earlier in the competition.(And if anyone can teach me how to create a link on a blog, please leave instructions on the comment section. I’m not totally up on this blog thing yet.)

So the Idols got to visit Graceland, and we got to hear one of the funniest lines ever uttered on the show: Priscilla’s comment that if Elvis were still alive, American Idol would be “one of his favorite shows. Last year I heard an interview with singer Paul Anka, who said that Elvis used to sit in his hotel room and shoot his gun at the TV whenever Robert Goulet came on–because he couldn’t stand him. What would Elvis have done to a TV with Kevin Covais on it? Then again, a lot of musicians do watch Idol, so who knows? And Elvis would have really loved Katharine McPhee. Actually, if Elvis were still alive, he probably would have already gotten Kellie Pickler to move in with him by now.

Our guest coach this evening was record producer Tommy Mottola, who I suppose was OK but not particularly remarkable. Tommy Mottola is most associated in my mind with marrying Mariah Carey when she was something like 23 and he was well into his 40s. So I hope Katharine had a chaperone during her time with him. Actually, with his overwhelming positive comments about Katharine, did anyone else get the feeling he was already working his rap with her?

Mottola also said that he thought the Elvis show would be the “greatest show so far.” It didn’t come close to that, but I thought it wasn’t bad.

Taylor Hicks (“Jailhouse Rock”)–Taylor wasn’t the only one to suffer this problem tonight, but was the first to have to deal with it–singing a song first sung by such an iconic singer as Elvis means you’re never going to be better than his version. You can only pale by comparison. Having said that, I was tapping my foot for most of Taylor’s perfomance and thought his dancing was relatively restrained. But as I said last week, despite what Randy and Paula say, Taylor’s niche isn’t singing uptempo songs like this and “Play That Funky Music” last week while doing crazy dancing.
Taylor made his mark in his first audition by singing a soulful Sam Cooke song really well, not dancing around spastically, and that’s what he should be doing. This wasn’t it. While I don’t think it was “hideous” like Simon said, he was closer to being right than the other two. As for Paula saying that Taylor was “as original as ever,” how was this performance in any way original? He did the same crazy dance he’s been doing for weeks and sang the song pretty much the way Elvis did it. Oh, yeah, he did take it up a key because Tommy Mottola suggested it–yeah, that’s real original, Paula. And I was so glad that Simon just told her to shut up. As for Ryan asking Simon whether he had “ever lived in the real world” and Paula giving him a “way to go,” does Paula really think she inhabits “the real world?” Does anyone who actually lives in the real world talk to this woman?

Chris Daughtry (“Suspicious Minds”)–First of all, why was Chris dressed like that bad rapper Snow from the early 90s, the one that sang “Informer”? Anyway, I thought Chris would hit this song out of the park, but I kind of thought it was more like a double. It just seemed kind of slow and didn’t have the intensity that Chris brings to most of his performances. You know it wasn’t great if Randy uses the term “for me” in his critique, and he did say, “It wasn’t your best vocal performance, for me.” Of course, then Paula said, “You forget how great that song it until you hear Chris Daughtry sing it.” (Real world? The closest Paula gets to the real world is a marathon of the show on MTV.) Actually, that is a great song, but maybe you should listen to the Elvis version (or even the Fine Young Cannibals version) before swooning over Chris’ version.

Elliott Yamin (“If I Can Dream”)–As Simon correctly said, Elliott came in tonight as the underdog. I mentioned in my entry last week after the results show that Elliott really needed to kick it up a notch if he wanted to stay in the competition. And he did. This is what I’ve wanted to see the past couple weeks–someone who seems like he’s putting everything he has into his performance. I’ve never heard this song before, but I thought it was great. In the finals of season two, Randy told Clay after a particularly strong performance that he had “sang his face off.” That seems like a good metaphor for Elliott tonight. And I was glad to see even though Paula thought is was his best peformance, she didn’t break down into tears–we really don’t need more of that mess.

Katharine McPhee–(“Hound Dog/All Shook Up”)–You had to figure Katharine might have trouble with this week’s theme because she’s not really a rocker, but instead of picking something like “Love Me Tender” or even a slow-burning rocker like “Heartbreak Hotel,” she picks one of the most famous rock songs ever, “Hound Dog” with a taste of “All Shook Up” mixed in for variety or something (apparently done in the spirit of Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels putting “Good Golly, Miss Molly” in the middle of “Devil With A Blue Dress.”) It probably wasn’t her best decision. On the positive side, I liked the dancing. And even though she was doing an iconic song, it came across as a little different because she’s a female. And she at least showed she was willing to mix it up and demonstrated some rock edge to her voice. But oeverall, it really wasn’t that good–it kind of got away from her after the first few lines.

Taylor (“In the Ghetto”)–Now this is what Taylor should be singing, as I’ve been saying for weeks but Randy just got around to admitting. Although I don’t think this performance was as good as his performance of “Something” last week, it was very good–soulful and emotional. Is Simon correct that he sung his way into the semifinals? Probably?

Chris (“A Little Less Conversation”)–I agreed with Simon–I liked the end when he kicked it up a gear, but wasn’t all that excited by the rest of it. Once again, sort of a lack of intensity, it seemed, by a guy whose scary intensity had been his trademark. Unlike a few weeks ago, when Chis went out of his comfort zone and did well, tonight he had to stretch and get out of his comfort zone, and he didn’t do a good job of it.

Elliott (“Trouble”)–I thought Elliott rocked this song, and showed more personality than he’s ever shown before. He needed to be the best tonight, and he clearly was. And Paula was still able to swoon over Elliott and not open the tear ducts–which is good. I am curious about the stripper dance moves Ryan alluded to by Paula–I think like ESPN earlier this year had the Duke-North Carolina game on multiple channels and one could watch the game from multiple angles, Fox needs a Paulacam station, where we can just watch Paula dance during the contestants’songs, etc. Maybe Comcast can make an On Demand station out of it if they can’t simulcast it.

Katharine (“Can’t Help Falling In Love”)–This is more of the kind of song I would have thought Katharine would sing tonight, but she seemed to struggle a little on this one too. Her voice just seemed all over the place (I think that’s what Randy calls “pitchy”), and I agreed with Simon that she was kind of overwhelmed by the arrangement of the song. And why was the music for the song so loud anyway? This is kind of a quiet song, and the band seemed to think they were playing something on the scale of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Kind of a disappointing night for Katharine.

So who will go? It’s a tough one, because I think the two favorites, Chris and Katharine, had the two weakest nights. And the one contestant everyone thought was headed home had the strongest night. I’m going to wildly guess and pick an upset–I think Elliott will end up in the bottom two, but so will Chris, and Chris will go home.

One other thing–please leave me some comments. I want to hear what everyone else thinks about the final four. Now I’m going to watch the season finale of the best show nobody watches, Veronica Mars.

9 Comments:

Anonymous John said...

Elliot was not that great last night. He was good, perhaps the best of the four. His version of "Trouble" was, sadly, laughable. Not that his voice sounded bad, though he couldn't get louder than the band AND he sounds like he needs to clear his throat. It just that he doesn't have the personality for that song.

Other than that, the show was a bit dull. But Veronica Mars was off the chain!

5/10/06, 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

I thought Elliott was awesome. But that's just me. Also, I can't believe you didn't make a comment about Tommy Mottola's critique of Elliott that he shouldn't sing it like a bar mitzvah song.

5/10/06, 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

Why exactly was Tommy Mottola the "expert" for this episode? Did he have a previous relationship with Elvis we don't know about? Like Eric, all I remember about him really is getting Mariah while she was young, then some ugly rumors he held her prisoner or something.

5/10/06, 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just an FYI, Tommy Mattola has done so much more than Mariah. Check him out. He is a star maker, but also an avid Elvis fan. Now, on to the contestants. When you are the 1st to perform, you are going to be the 1st to have to deal with the inevitable. Taylor was in his element, and his second song guaranteed his survival. Elliott did the only thing that he could do. He sang for his survival, and should move into the semi's. Chris held his own, but was not the best of the evening for me. Finally, your girl Katherine. I laugh at how much you swoon over her every week. Finally, you have come to grips with the fact that she is not the best thing since sliced bread (or slit in dress for that matter). All things being equal, she should go tonight. She is, without a doubt, a great singer, but if America votes on Tuesday's performance, and not the season, she is outta here...finally. More tomorrow.

5/10/06, 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Jacki said...

Elliott was incredible and I think there will be a Taylor Elliott final - which will make my voting decision very difficult. Also, if you want to hear a great version of Suspicious Minds, listen to Clay Aiken's. It is amazing!

5/10/06, 11:53 AM  
Blogger DCdame said...

Hi Fingerman - This is Megan (Mark and Di's friend). Anyway I too have a blog w/ blogger (dc-dame) and have been able to create links both in body copy (easy) and on the sidebar (not so easy).

In body copy just type in the web address as you're typing up your post (ex: I love www.google.com.) and the link should turn blue. Then before posting, switch from compase to the edit html view (above posting area on right tab). You should then see the link in html format. If you want to remove the www and .com you can do so at this time by simply deleting it the second time it appears in the html coded line. Then upload and you should be all set.

By the way love the blog and am working on making it a link on my sidebar through the finale of AI! Should drive some extra traffic your way. I'll have to show you how to do the sidebar at thier next BBQ because it's too hard to explain. Thanks and keep on keeping us all informed re: Paula's manic bahavior!

5/10/06, 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Mom said...

I agree with you in that if judged on last night's performance, Katherine should be going home. I thought Elliott was much better last night but not great. Chris was very good but he turned Elvis's music into rap just like he does everything else. So that leaves Taylor and I just don't care for him. I'm just not crazy about any of these final four-sorry.

5/10/06, 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Mike Dizzle said...

Elvis night, give me a break! I enjoyed Taylor's 2nd song, Chris's first song and Katherine's moves. Elliot comes across as solid but if you listen closely he has sang the same song for a month!

Honesty you have to think Katherine is getting a pretty raw deal here. Elvis night falling with four contestants left three of which are male, seriously is that fair. Elvis was the true American Idol and has enough songs to handle an 8-10 person hour long show. Personally I think it's awfully late in the game to be having themed nights. With all due respect in my opinion Chris or Elliot are gone...

5/10/06, 6:26 PM  
Anonymous Mom said...

When commenting about Chris yesterday I said he turns everything in to rap when I meant to say rock--didn't want your fans to think I was that stupid!

5/11/06, 3:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home