Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ladies Night number two

After watching Duke lose to Maryland for the second time in three weeks, I'm feeling kind of nauseous. So let's do this as quickly as possible and get right to the singers...

Gina Glocksen ("Alone")--So Gina takes on the song that Carrie Underwood knocked out of the park two years ago (a performance memorable enough that even Paula Abdul recalls it in her remarks). Gina doesn't make anyone forget Carrie's version, or Heart's for that matter, but hits a solid double, I guess. This song fits Gina's "I'm so crazy, I just have to have a streak of red in my hair" persona better than Celine Dion did last week, but I still have to agree with Simon's comment that she seems like she's going to be "more edgy than this." Some more edginess would help her stand out, since vocally she seems a notch below the top women.

Alaina Alexander ("Not Ready to Make Nice")--So she chose to dedicate a song entitled "Not Ready to Make Nice" to her mother. I will say this for Alaina: Unlike Brandon last night, she understood that the song she chose to sing didn't need to have anything to do with the person to whom she was dedicating it (See previous blog entry for explanation). Unfortunately, it was a bad choice of song for Alaina, or Alaina just isn't that great of a singer. I think the latter may be the truth. Randy and Simon were correct--the beginning was OK, but by the time she got to the chorus it was a mess. I couldn't even understand the words she was singing the entire second half of the song. Hard to believe she won't be going home this week. On the bright side, she is pretty.

Lakisha Jones ("Midnight Train to Georgia")--After her big, bombastic performance of that Dreamgirls song last week, I liked that Lakisha took it down a couple notches tonight and didn't oversing this song. I thought she was really good and didn't really understand Simon's problems with her outfit being too colorful. Aren't the seminfinals the round of the competition where they don't have the help of stylists and just have to wear their own clothes? Lakisha's a single mom who works at a bank--give her a break, Simon...

Melinda Doolittle ("My Funny Valentine")--So here's my question. Simon often last week said singers were old-fashioned for singing songs from people like Celine Dion, or told Blake last week that he was good because he was the only one up to that point who had sung a song that was current, and then Simon says the best performance of the competition is from someone singing a song from the late 1930s. That's not to criticize Melinda's performance, though, which was excellent. In fact, I think her performance tonight makes her the favorite, simply because she showed she's somewhat more polished than Lakisha with this song. But my favorite thing about Melinda is that her friends had to give her that booklet of very specific instructions on how to dress properly. I found that very funny and endearing.

Antonella Barba ("Because You Loved Me")--Wow, I'm not even sure where to start. I guess I'm a little surprised there wasn't even a slight mention or allusion to the photo scandal (see previous blog entry). I figured Ryan might ask her some question about it, or Paula would say something like "It's been a tough week for you, hasn't it?" or she would dedicate her song to the photographer (kidding!). I guess that means the Idol producers are not going to let it affect her place in the competition, which I think is the correct decision. Because with singing this bad, they have to hope she's going to be eliminated pretty soon. She was flat the entire song, and I think I might agree with Simon that it might have been worse than last week. That performance rivals Sanjaya for one of the worst in Idol history. On the other hand, she looked great, and I kind of felt bad for everything she's probably been through this week, until...she mouthed off to Simon, and about one of my pet peeves, his alleged dissing of Jennifer Hudson. First of all, Simon did a perfectly fine job of defending himself on one aspect of this whole thing--he didn't kick Jennifer Hudson off the show, the viewers did. But more importantly, Simon wasn't that harsh on Jennifer Hudson anyway. When she first sang on the show in the semifinals (in the previous format in which the top two of four groups of eight were selected and then a wild card round selected four more), Simon actually said she was good but had picked the wrong song--she sang "Imagine," which didn't really give her a chance to show off her vocals until she belted out the last few bars. She got in through the wild card round, and then early in the finals, Simon told her one night that she was "out of her depth" in the competition, a quote that has been reprinted often in the last few months. Watching the whole clip the other night on the Barbara Walters special, that is a correct quote, but leaves out the rest of his comments that night, in which he said that Jennifer was good, but that there were other singers in the competition that were better and she could probably not do anything to overcome them. He was referring at the time to Fantasia and Latoya London, and he was right. Sure, everyone can have different opinions, but can anyone who watched that seasons of Idol really say he was wrong? They were better than Jennifer Hudson--and I personally found Jennifer a little overwrought as she advanced in the compeitition that year. She sang Barry Manilow's "Weekend in New England" like it was some kind of opera song--it was just too much.

Furthermore, after those comments about her being out of her depth, the following few weeks, according to Internet recaps I went back and reviewed (hey, I do research for this blog), Simon didn't say anything negative about her. In fact, the week she was eliminated, he praised her by calling her one of the "three divas" with Fantasia and Latoya (the famous week where all three of them ended up in the bottom three.) So can we stop talking about Simon being "wong" about Jennifer Hudson? I hope I've set the record straight. And I was glad to see Jennifer tell Barbara Walters that she should thank American Idol because she never would have gotten the part in Dreamgirls without the show--although I was a little disappointed that she didn't do it in her acceptance speech.

Jordin Sparks (A Christina Aguilera song I don't remember the name of)--She seems like a lot of fun--she's got a great smile--and I thought this was a solid, if not spectacular, performance. But Randy, enough with the "you're only 17" thing and your amazement with that. She's in the competition and she has to go against people older than her. Those are the rules. Judge her like everyone else. I think she understands that, as do those of us at home. And for whatever age she is, she's one of the top contenders.

Stephanie Edwards ("Dangerously in Love")--I don't think I'd heard this song before, but thought it was a Beyonce song because this was the title of one of her albums. Midway through the song, my suspicions were confirmed, because Stephanie sounded a lot, probably too much, like Beyonce when singing this song. And I didn't think she quite pulled it off, particularly the middle part of the song with the wordy, complicated pseudo-melody. Randy apparently forgot who Stephanie was and said that she was "so much better than last week" before kind of remembering and mumbling something about her being good last week. Actually, I thought she was so much better last week, and a little disappointed this week. She wasn't bad, just not as impressive as I had hoped she'd be after last week's introduction to her.

Leslie Hunt ("Feeling Good")--It's the same song that A.J. sang last night. I wasn't crazy about A.J.'s version, and I can't imagine I'm going to be downloading Leslie's version to my computer, but it was OK. The scatting was kind of cool. But Simon's right, she kind of paled in comparsion to the many better singers that went before her.

Haley Scarnato (Some Whitney Houston song)--This didn't do much for me. I didn't really like the song, and I didn't think Haley sang it that well. As for Paula's "it was leaps and bounds better than last week," that's a nice thing to say but it's not really true. Last week, her Celine rendition might not have been anything special, but it was competently done. This was just blah.

Sabrina Sloan ("All the Man that I Need")--Sabrina sang a much better Whitney Houston song, and sang it a lot better than Haley sang hers. Simon was correct, though--the vocal gymnastics at the end were a little bit much.

So who's going home? This seems much easier than the guys last night. Alaina should certainly be one, and I think Leslie Hunt is probably the other one--and if she doesn't, Haley will. But let's go with Alaina and Leslie, and Fingerhut out.



Anonymous John said...

Okay, another great blog. And for non-DC folks, the local news coverage of Barba (goes to Catholic University) has been ridiculous.

I'm getting whacked here at work, so let's leave it with: I voted for Hayley, Jordin, and Alaina. I figured that they might be vulnerable and deserved to be protected, for my own personal reasons.

Overall, another entertaining episode...and blog.

3/1/07, 11:36 AM  

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