Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I guess there is crying in American Idol

So we've finally come to the final 12 on American Idol, and as they walked across the stage tonight at the beginning of the show as Ryan introduced them, I got kind of depresssed. There were way too many singers in that final 12 whom I really wasn't all that excited to see sing. But there's nothing we can really do about that now, so I guess we have to make the best of it. And even with only a handful of good singers, American Idol is still an incredibly entertaining show. And we were probably spoiled by last year, if you think about it. In year one, there were only really two good singers, and in year two, three. So I'll stop complaining...

Our theme tonight is Diana Ross songs, which is a pretty good choice. Diana Ross is not known for having a big, powerful, rangy voice, which means her songs aren't generally real difficult to sing and the contestants have some freedom to put their own spin on things. Interestingly, some people were criticizing Chris Sligh this week because he made a comment about how many of Diana Ross' songs only have a range of 7-8 notes. He kind of has a point, but he probably shouldn't be going around saying it. Then again, his gimmick is being the funny, truth-telling guy, so maybe it works for him. The much dumber comment, though, was by Chris Richardson, who complained that it was going to be tough for him since he'd have to sing a song written for a woman. Chris, you've seen the show, right? I haven't seen guys have problems singing women's songs before. And there will probably be a male guest next week, so it all evens out in the end. (Oh, and one more thing about Chris Sligh--I saw an interview in which he was asked what song he'd really like to sing on the show and he said one that he had written. Chris, I thought you said you knew a lot about strategy and song choice--and you want to sing an original song? I guess you're overestimating your knowledge, because that's the dumbest thing you could do. People want to hear you sing somewhat familiar songs--no one would watch this show if the singers did original songs. But I digress...)

So Miss Ross said she really wants to mentor the singers. That's great, but how much time is she spending with them? I'm figuring from those clips, she maybe spent 15 minutes to a half hour with each of them. Is that really mentoring somebody? Isn't it more like a brief advice session? Is she giving them her cell phone number so they can call her when they need her? Is she showing up every week to check out how they're doing? That's what I would call mentoring.

Brandon Rogers ("You Can't Hurry Love")--Other than the major problem of forgotten words--and you know, considering this guy has sung backup for people like Christina Aguilera, he shouldn't be that nervous performing before a big crowd--I didn't think this was that bad. It was probably Brandon's best performance, although he didn't have a real high bar to clear. But Simon was right, he really doesn't have much charisma or "star quality."

Melinda Doolittle ("Home")--Melinda's segment started off with the announcement that you could send in questions for the Idols, and I am so disappointed this just started this week--because I still have so many questions for Antonella. Oh, well... And I'm still not sure how Melinda was able to sing right after watching that Simon-Ryan gay-off or whatever was going on there with the discussion about the closets and high heels. I do think that the two of them should be getting their letters from GLAAD any day now. As for Melinda's singing, it certainly didn't bring me to tears, like it did Paula and Melinda. Yes, her vocals were strong, but the song itself was very boring, and it just didn't do much for me. Would it be so hard for Melinda to pick a song to sing that was written sometime in the last 30 years? I don't think she has yet. As for the crying, watching Paula in tears (and this is week one of the finals--it didn't happen with Elliott last year until about week six--how does she top this?) always makes me laugh, but even funnier is watching Simon try to hold in his laughter watching Paula cry. It's one of the funniest things ever broadcast on television. As for Melinda, hold yourself together. As I said last week, the "oh, you really love me, really" routine is way past its sell-by date.

Chris Sligh ("Endless Love")--Even though Diana Ross's advice to the singers often reminded me of Paula Abdul's judging--talking about heart and center and spirit and whatever--after hearing Chris sing I actually knew what she meant here when she said something about not losing the heart of the melody. Chris's arrangement--which sounded like Coldplay's song "Clocks"--did kind of lose the melody of the song somewhat. Having said that, I thought his vocals were pretty solid, and I was kind of disappointed in the massive slamming he got from the judges. We've heard Simon in particular say somebody is giving a copycat or karoake performance, isn't original, etc. So at least Chris tried to be original. Sure, it didn't quite work, and there's nothing wrong with saying that, but doesn't he get any credit for at least trying to do something different?

Gina Glocksen ("Love Child")--One of my co-workers has a good way to describe Gina--"she's not as good as she think she is." And it's true, there's something about the way Gina carries herself that gives off an arrogance that isn't deserved. That doesn't really have anything to do with tonight's performance--I just thought it was an interesting aside, because I actually thought she wasn't bad tonight. Gina wasn't memorable, as Simone said, but she was fine and picked the song closest to her rock genre. Oh, and did Diana Ross actually say the word "pronunciate" twice?

Sanjaya Malakar ("Ain't No Mountain High Enough")--I'm not sure what I can say about the singing here that is anything different from what I've said in past weeks and what the judges said tonight. My favorite part was near the end of the song, when he seemed to give up or run out of breath and just kind of talked a couple lines. What has really got me interested, though, was Sanjaya's look. With the curly, long hair, and the earrings in both ears, was he trying to look like Diana Ross? He really did look almost female and it was just weird.

Haley Scarnato ("Missing You")--Did anyone else find it a little strange that Haley said she was thinking about her fiance when she sang this song, which is about missing a man who is dead. Haley will be able to spend time with her fiance in a couple weeks when she's eliminated. Is this really some kind of disturbing hint to the fiance? By the way, did it seem like Simon was actually the nicest judge tonight? Randy acted like somebody had died when Haley finished, and Paula seemed to echo him a lot, but Simon, was often more accurate when he would say something like "Well, it wasn't great, but it wasn't horrible." That was probably the case tonight--it was better than the montrosity she sang last week, but I'm not sure anyone will be downloading it for a ringtone or anything. Other notes on Haley: That dress was awfully short, not that I'm complaining. And it was strangely enjoyable to see someone moved to tears by a "it wasn't that bad" critique from Simon. I hope she got all the crying out of her system, though, in case she survives until next week.

Phil Stacey ("I'm Gonna Make You Love Me")--Wow, he started a song and the first few notes were actually listenable. I think this was pretty good, probably the best performance he's had, but I can barely remember anything about it and I finished watching the show an hour ago.

LaKisha Jones ("God Bless The Child")--Once again, LaKisha, like last week, showed she didn't need to go crazy and belt out a song, but could show off her voice and yet be restrained and in control. This was very good, and if I may make an early comparison, the battle between LaKisha and Melinds is reminding me a little of Kelly Clarkson vs. Tamyra Gray in season one. Melinda is like Tamyra, in making it look so easy and effortless, while LaKisha is more like Kelly, rawer and a little more exciting. But I may be jumping the gun--there's a long way to go in this season.

Blake Lewis ("You Keep Me Hanging On")--I thought Blake's voice sounded good--and I was glad that he went another whole song without beat-boxing. And I thought the arrangement was OK. But all through the song, I kept wanting him, at least for a verse, to kick it up a notch in tempo and show off that voice more. It was OK, but I thought it could have been better, I guess.

Stephanie Edwards ("Love Hangover")--I was glad that the theme weeks were starting for Stephanie, because it would force her to sing something different from the mid-tempo, R&B ballads that she's sung every week. But of course, the theme was Diana Ross, so she managed to find another mid-tempo R&B ballad to sing. And while it may have been sung solidly, it was boring. I did like her trying to explain why she didn't sing the fast portion of the song by saying that she didn't have enough time. Stephanie, you don't have to lie to us. We know it's because you dont' seem to want to sing fast songs, you want to sing midtempo, R&B ballads. But if you don't learn to sing something else, you're probably not going to be around too long.

Chris Richardson ("The Boss")--What was Randy listening to? Simon was right on in calling this bad. It seemed like he was swallowed up by the stage, hif voice sounded like it cracked at one point, and he was in danger of being drowned out by the music near the end. And he became the first singer to get up on the table behind the judges, which as many of you remember, I kind of hate. So it was pretty much a washout for me as far as Chris is concerned.

Jordin Sparks ("If We Hold On Together")--I'm still kind of shocked at the great Diana Ross songs that were left on the table tonight and not performed, in favor of a song like this that I'd never heard. Sure "Stop in the Name of Love" is so well-known you probably can't do much new with it, but why didn't anyone do classic Supremes songs like "Reflection" and "Come See About Me"? And it seems like a singer could take "I'm Coming Out" and do something special with that. That's why I was a little puzzled by Jordin picking the song she did. Her youth and personality is her advantage against a number of the other top contenders, and any one of those songs would have allowed her to show that off. Instead, I guess she wanted to show off her vocal chops by picking a big ballad, but it certainly worked out for her. She was very good, but I hope she goes back to being a little more fun next week. Actually, I'm starting to sound like Randy now, so it's probably time to go to bed.

Who's in the bottom three? Brandon wasn't that great, and he went first. No one remembered him by 9:00, let alone 10:00. As for the other members of that trio, I'll say Sanjaya and Haley, and while we can all hope it will be Sanjaya, I'll think he'll survive another week and Brandon will go home. Fingerhut out!

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3 Comments:

Anonymous John said...

Excellent blog. Loved the GLAAD bit...

And man, there must be something wrong with me for how much I love Paula crying.

I voted for a few people, though the lines were really hard to get through last night. I voted for Haley, Lakisha, and Blake.

Though to be honest, I watched Sanjaya twice. I really enjoyed his performance for all of the wrong reasons.

Antonella Barba: I love the continued shout-outs to Antonella on your blog. But what about Mario Vasquez?!

3/14/07, 8:52 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Yes, Jon-Mario is back in the news as of lately..did everyone hear about that disturbing story...

Ok, blog was good except for a few things. I did not think Melinda did what you said last night. Also, some people no matter how well they do or how good they are, still might be like that...it is called being down to earth and not cocky.

Did anyone else realize the eery resemblance Haley had to Katharine McPhee last night? It was spooking me out (Dad noticed I know)

LaKisha was great and I really like Jordin Sparks even more after last night. I think it could be a great girls final to the end but a difficult one to choose.

Unfortunately, I heard this am that all of these people are voting to keep Sanjaya to win since they heard Simon said he would quit the show if Sanjaya won..people are so ridiculous. The show would not be half as good without Simon...
Fingerhut Jr out.

3/14/07, 12:30 PM  
Anonymous kson220 said...

Here we go. Yeah, Ms. Ross could use some vocabulary lessons. It really cracked me up that she said "pronunciate". And no, I am sure that she won't be contacting the contestants in the future to give advice on their singing. Maybe Lakisha though.

Amy, yeah the whole Katharine McPhee resemblance was spooky. I thought maybe I was imagining that.

I have been saying that Melinda needs to kill the whole doe eye you like me you really like me routine. She is really good. We know it, the judges know it, and she knows it. Not being cocky is one thing, but she is overplaying it. Doesn't really make a difference. Melinda is not only a really good singer, she has the control of a pro.

Amy, Simon is not going anywhere whether Sanjaya is there or not. There is thing called a contract that Simon has, which equals money and power. Not giving it up for the likes of Sanjaya.

Melinda, Lakisha, Jordin, Phil (who I really don't like...he gives me the creeps), Gina, Chris S. This is my top 6. Those below don't really count. They are filler. Gina needs to get over herself a bit, and Phil looks like he needs a blood transfusion (hence the creeps). When it is all said and done, I see the top ladies duking it out.

Now, to the bottom. Sanjaya, Brandon, and Haley. Sanjaya needs to be gone, but Brandon really sucked last night.

3/15/07, 10:45 AM  

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