Wednesday, February 21, 2007

That was much better

After last night's mess, I think I join with the rest of America in saying that tonight's show was quite reassuring--at least we'll have enough good singers to have a competition. When you combine the two or three decent guys with the five or six good women from tonight, we should have a decent final 12 (remember, the final 12 always has some clunkers in it. Kevin Covais, anyone?).

My one concern, though, is that pretty much all of the top singers tonight had the same kind of "belt-it-out" style. That could be exciting, but it also could be repeitive and exhausting, with all of them trying to outdo the other each week with bigger and bigger performances. Then again, it's a much better problem to have then not having good singers at all.

So it looks like Simon and Ryan worked out their lovers' spat or whatever was going on last night. And I was pretty impressed with Ryan calling out Randy at the beginning of the show for telling people to take risks and then complaining when they do. How many times has Randy complained when somebody tried to be different that he liked "the old (fill in the blank)" better? Randy, do you watch the show back when you get home? Ryan, keep after him on this.

So of the first six singers tonight, four of them were virtual strangers because we the only time we had seen them was on the show last week that cut to the final 24. So not only do we not know them, but they also end up going in the early part of a two-hour show, which means that unless they are really great, no one will remember them by 10 p.m. voting time. (I can barely remember the name of Rudy Cardenas from last night--I almost wrote Nick Cardenas.)

Luckily, a couple did leave an impression. But it's still not fair. Going back to that Nigel Lythgoe interview I referred to yesterday, he said that he didn't think a lack of exposure for some contestants was a problem because Kelly Clarkson's audition wasn't shown during the first year, and neither was Bo Bice's. Yeah, OK, but everyone else that has been a winner or runner-up was showcased in the audition rounds. As for his two examples, don't use the first season of the show as an example of anything--the attention and ratings weren't anywhere near what they are now for the audition rounds. As for Bo, he caught everyone's eye by doing a killer rendition of "Whipping Post" in the semifinal round. But if he had been less impressive that first week, and saved that song for the second semi-final week, for instance, who knows what might have happened? Basically, it's putting a lot more pressure on the people that haven't been seen to knock it out of the park that first week than the people who we already know--some of whom can put in a mediocre performance and skate by on the popularity they've already gained from the audition round. For instance, that same year with Bo also included Constantine, who stunk during the semifinals, but got through to the finals because he'd been featured in the audition and Hollywood round. Nigel, don't you get this? This show makes me so mad sometimes.

I also got a kick out of the judges tonight referring to what they heard in the auditions from singers like Amy Krebs and Leslie Hunt and how they liked what they did there better, etc. Gee, it would have been nice if we could make that comparison, wouldn't it? But let me get to the singers.

Stephanie Edwards ("How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore?)--It's great to start off a night with a Prince song, and Stephanie certainly did it justice. Not only did she sing it well, but she was animated and interesting while performing it--and I wrote on my notepad, "Makes me feel a lot better" about this year of Idol. Did think it was interesting that when they did finally show five seconds of her original audition in the taped piece, Simon said he reminded her of a "30s or 40s jazz singer" and spoke about that approvingly. And yet, last night, he wanted to hear someone who represented 2007. Like I said last night, I love Simon, but this is my pet peeve with him--his whole old fashioned critique just kind of comes and goes with seemingly no rhyme or reason.

Amy Krebs ("I Can't Make You Love Me")--After one line of this song, I thought "safe," and nothing about her performance changed my mind. It was solid, but unexciting (and didn't the band sound awfully loud during this song) and certainly paled in comparison to Stephanie's performance a few minutes earlier. And it means that even though I thought Amy Krebs sounded pretty good in the 10 seconds we got to hear from her last week, she's going to struggle to get through to next week, since those 10 seconds is the only additional info we know about her (although Paula kept referring to that bluesy voice she had in the auditions that we never saw). The discussion with Amy after the song, in which she said she'd try to showcase what the judges liked, did remind me of one my favorite moments fron last year's semifinals--when Stevie Scott, after a lackluster performance, told the judges "I can bring it."

Leslie Hunt ("Natural Woman")--For some reason, we saw Leslie throughout December and January singing a snippet of "Baby, I Love You" on AI promos on Fox, and then we never saw her audition on the actual show. Very strange. I thought she was OK, if unremarkable (Kelly Clarkson kicked butt on this song in year one, and Leslie was nowhere near that.) As for Simon's comments about her looking uncomfortable, Leslie just strikes me as sort of a spaz and that's her personality. (Wait, didn't Tiger Woods get in trouble for using that word because it has some offensive connotation? I'm sorry, I apologize, but I don't know any other word that sums up what I'm trying to say.)

Sabrina Sloan ("I've never Loved A Man Like I've Loved You")--Another female we had never seen sing before, but she made sure to be memorable. I'd like to hear her sing a song with a little stronger melody before I crown her a great singer, but she was very good.

Antonella Barba ("Don't Want To Miss A Thing")--They eliminated the promising sounding Marissa Rhodes for this? Even I could tell that was pitchy. Will her fan base pull her through? Actually, does she even really have a fan base? There is a lot of buzz and talk about her on the Internet and in offices around the country, but that could be people who don't like her because they think her and her friend were bitchy, etc. We'll see. But Simon's right, her looks can't hurt. In fact, by the middle of the song, I actually thought her singing wasn't that bad simply because I had been staring at her for so long all I could think about was how attractive she was. But then I snapped out of it and realized that was pretty bad--you could barely hear her over the music in parts. Some advice for Antonella if she does make it through to next week--the jeans looked fine, but really, a short skirt and high heels would also really be a good choice if you want guys to pick up the phone. Also, if you're interested in, um, this kind of thing, there are lots of pictures of Antonella on the Internet, including one of her sitting on the toilet. Like I said, I'm just providing that info for those who want it, but a Google search should be able to turn those up in a few seconds.

Jordin Sparks (I think it's called "Give Me One Reason")--Don't really like the song, but liked the performance. Her voice sounded great--she actually did make the song her own--and it looks like she'll be a contender.

Nicole Tranquillo (A Chaka Khan song I don't know)--Another one we hadn't seen at all who had an impressive 10 second appearance last Wednesday. The judges savaged her, but I didn't think it was that bad, although it was kind of an odd choice of song with all that shouting and stuff. As for the judges saying it wasn't really her, I have no idea who she is since this was the first chance I got to know her. (Sorry to keep harping on that.)

Haley Scarnato ("It's All Coming Back to Me Now")--Meatloaf and Katharine McPhee peformed this song together on last season's finale, and I thought it was one of the highlights of the night. Interestingly, I heard an interview with Meatloaf this summer in which he said that he thought Katharine was terrible because she didn't understand what he was trying to do with all the acting out of the song, etc. Of course, Meatloaf's voice sounded pretty ragged on that song, so he might want to stop complaining about Katharine's performance. Anyway, the word that comes to mind about this performance is "competent." She did a decent job, but nothing memorable. Simon said it was old fashioned, I just thought it was kind of bland. But she sure is a cutie.

Melinda Doolittle ("Since You Been Gone")--That was a powerhouse vocal. She was really great.And she seems like a pretty likable, down to earth, person, which will serve her well throughout the competition.

Alaina Alexander ("Brass in Pocket")--I guess the proof of how influential Idol now is in the music business is that the show now seems to able to clear a lot more songs for use in the show than it used to be able to do. Last night, we had Keane, and tonight we got some Pretenders. Or Chrissie Hynde just figured, "What's the big deal about someone possibly screwing up my song on Idol? I have to suffer through Rush Limbaugh using one of my songs as his theme music." Anyway, Alaina is attractive, but not all that great a singer. This was kind of all over the place, although at least she has good taste in music. As for Simon's comments, I don't even want to think about Ryan dating her.

Gina Glocksen ("All By Myself")--Good, but not as good as Gina thought she was. Simon was right, she didn't quite hit that note. But here's my question. Gina Glocksen has the streaks of red in her hair, and she's got a tongue piercing, both of which I suppose is intended to show the world how wild and crazy she is. And then she sings an Eric Carmen/Celine Dion song? Wow, Gina, you're really punk, huh? Oh, and if she had asked a student of Idol history like Chris Sligh, he could have told her that it's not always a good idea to sing a song that was already part of a memorable performance on Idol--Latoya London announced herself to the country with "All By Myself" in season three.

LaKisha Jones ("And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going")--I haven't seen Dremgirls, so I can't judge this against Jennifer Hudson. But it was pretty impressive. What I liked about it, and the other stuff we've seen from her, is that LaKisha is really exciting. She seems like she's going to jump off the stage and out of your TV screen sometimes--not in a scary way, but in a fun way. I would like to see her sing a softer song one of these weeks and see how she does with that before crowning her the champion, though.

So who goes home? Another tough one. I think Amy Krebs will be one. I'm tempted to say Nicole Tranquillo, but that's too easy. So let's say Haley Scarnato.

20 Comments:

Blogger Amy said...

I do not have a lot of time to write so here you go.

LaKisha knocked that song out of the park. I happen to listen to that song every single day in my car (love Dreamgirls) and she was amazing.(not to take anything away from Jennifer Hudson)

I liked Sabrina Sloan a lot as well. I also remembered Stephanie Edwards from the beginning (she is from Savannah) and she is very good and such a performer as well.

I will say right now, an African American girl will will AI this season without a doubt...just not sure who yet...

2/22/07, 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Mom said...

I agree with Amy--LaKisha and Sabarina were two of the best. I also agree with you as to who must go.Celine Dion would have cringed last night if she heard that rendition of "All Coming Back to Me Now". I know I did. The girls definitely have the edge this time around.

2/22/07, 12:08 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Okay, time for me to be more unpopular: I have never really enjoyed that song from Dreamgirls---it really sounds like the soundtrack to a nervous breakdown. That being said, Lakisha was great. I kind of hope that she wins, though it's too early to say that. I also like Jordin a lot--very fun, great voice, and kind of a cutie pie in wholesome sort of way.

Um, unlike on guys night, I didn't vote for anyone last night. I did think that the Barba girl--"Ms. Bitchy and Pitchy"--was pretty lousy (and I have no idea what to do with that toilet information that you shared). And honestly, I just found Nicole Tranquillo's performance to be unpleasant--the tone of her voice, the register in which she was singing it, and her whole body language.

Hayley is a cutie but should probably be a spokesmodel, not a singer. Alaina Alexander should replace Rachel Perry and host a video show.

2/22/07, 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

I normally don't have much to say here since I'm not a fan of the show, but I thought I would publish an AI story which places me a mere 2 degrees from the heart of the show.

My brother was in LA last week and went to breakfast at a diner. While waiting for his table, who should sit down next to him also waiting to be seated? Hold on to your hats here: Justin Guarini!!! Andy sat next to him for a whole 15 minutes, then sat at the next table for the meal. And if that wasn't enough excitement, Justin bumped my brothers chair on the way out and said 'Sorry'. Justin actually spoke to a member of my family. I'm actually a litle flustered just writing this...

2/26/07, 1:43 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Too bad your brother wasn't at the WWII Memorial at the same time as Antonella Barba.

2/27/07, 10:37 AM  
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