Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Latin Night--why oh why must Idol torture me so?

Way back in season three of American Idol, the producers landed Gloria Estefan as a guest judge--the biggest guest judge they had gotten up to that point--and decided to have "Latin Night." I still wake up occasionally in the middle of the night sweating profusely after having a nightmare about that show. For two years, the producers were smart enough not to try that again--but I guess having Jennifer Lopez as a "guest mentor" was just too much to resist (although as I said at the time of the first Latin Night: No one watches American Idol because of a particular guest judge, so it's silly to build a show around one by doing a theme that doesn't serve the singers well. But Nigel and company don't listen to me, and we had another unexciting hour tonight in a year filled with them. And to be honest, I didn't even really understand what were the qualifications for a song for Latin Night. Did the song have to have a connection to Santana or Gloria Estefan, because it seemed like more than half of the songs tonight did? And while I suppose Santana is Latin-flavored and has some Latin-style percussion, it has nothing in common with a Marc Anthony or Estefan song but they were all considered Latin. I always though Santana was more rock than Latin--even if he did sing a song called "Oye Como Va." But I'm easily confused.

By the way, it's kind of remarkable how similar season three is to this season. You had a handful of talented singers that year (Fantasia, LaToya and some people would say Jennifer Hudson, too, back then, and Melinda, Jordin and LaKisha this year), a lack of much talent on the guys' side (George Huff was the only memorable one that year, and Blake may be the only memorable guy this year), a whole lot of mediocrity (no need to get into details) and one guy who stayed way longer than he should have and left the country up in arms (John Stevens then and, of course, Sanjaya this year).

Finally, those people who are worried about Sanjaya should calm down. He was not even in the top 3 last week--only somewhere between fourth and sixth place. I still don't see any strong evidence that he's going to win--especially when you consider that many of the people voting for the other seven constestants are unlikely to peel off and vote for Sanjaya when their favorite gets voted off in future weeks.
This all could change, but that's my analysis right now of the Sanjaya situation.

Melinda Doolittle ("Sway")--Wow, what a surprise. Melinda picked an old song, as I've been complaining about for weeks. But this week, Simon zinged her for it. Simon called it "cabaret," and he was correct--because this sounds exactly like a song you'd hear in a cabaret. I thought this was fine, but nothing special. It didn't really give Melinda a chance to show off her voice until the very end. I did like Melinda's comeback to Simon, though--that he finally got the chance to say something bad. More personality from Melinda is a good thing for her.

LaKisha Jones ("Conga")--I've disliked this song since it was released more than 20 yers ago, although my dislike has gone from white-hot hatred as a teenager to more of an "Eh" nowadays (And no, I have no idea why I dislike this song so much--I always did.) Having said that, LaKisha's performance was like Melinda's--fine, but nothing special. Simon is right--it's not a "singer's song" and doesn't give a singer a chance to show much off. I was glad to see that J.Lo was giving LaKisha tips on moving and dancing--because she can't give her much advice on singing. LaKisha is one of at least three singers on the show who can sing rings around J.Lo.

Chris Richardson ("Smooth")--Another song I've never really liked, probably because this song was so overplayed a few years ago when it was released that it was impossible to listen to the radio for more than 10 minutes and not hear it. I haven't been a big fan of Chris, but tonight, like last week, he was once again pretty good. His voice still isn't strong enough for him to be a serious contender, but he's doing a good job with what he has. As for Simon's comment that this felt more contemporary than the first two performances: Of course, Simon. This song was released in, what, 1999 or 2000? Conga is from the mid-80s and Melinda's song is probably from a couple decades before that--although I'm not even really sure.

Haley Scarnato ("Turn the Beat Around")--This song has been done on both Latin Night and Disco Night, multiple times I believe. Sadly for Haley, it's been done better by everyone else that sung it. Remember Carmen Rasmussen, the Sanjaya of season two? I recall her version of this being surprisingly good. Haley's wasn't. That real fast, speaking part of the song? I could barely hear her or understand what she was saying. But her legs did look fabulous.

Phil Stacey ("Maria, Maria")--Not much to say--it was OK, but kind of boring. Seemed to get stronger as he went along, as he always does, until that voice crack at the end.

Jordin Sparks ("Rhythm is Gonna Get You")--Jordin gets the question this week, and says that "80s music" would be a good theme. Make her a producer! That would certainly be better than Latin Night. Anyway, Jordin looked great tonight, and I thought she put on a solid, if not spectacular performance. Once again, it wasn't a song that really allows someone to show off their voice (seems to be a common theme among all the songs tonight--maybe why Latin Night is a bad idea), but she tried to do so anyway in parts and came across as young and fun. Oh, and if Randy marvels one more time at how Jordin is only 17--has he said that every week this year--I'm going to throw something at my TV.

Blake Lewis ("Need to Know")--Blake takes the risk of choosing a song by J.Lo's husband and does a good enough job that she doesn't say anything disparaging about him in the video clip. Always a good sign. And I thought Blake was good, although maybe not quite as good as the judges. For instance, Simon said this was the best performance of the night, while complaining earlier that Phil's performance had no originality. What exactly was the originality here? He sang it pretty much like the record--sang it well, but still sang it like the record. And I'm sure Simon wasn't talking about Blake's dancing, because he really needs a second dance movie. Can he do something else besides that put one leg over the other and twirl thing?

Sanjaya Malakar ("Besame Mucho")--It now seems like the show is playing along with the Sanjaya phenomenon, possibly as a "if you can't beat them, join them" ploy or possibly as a reverse psychology thing (thinking that if we just treat him as a regular contestant who isn't that bad, the novelty of his badness will wear off and people will stop voting for him.) And Sanjaya once again was arguably the most interesting contestant tonight--singing the majority of his song in Spanish, changing his look once again with the new hairstyle and the somewhat scary facial hair. And you know, after carefully listening to his performance, I kind of agree with Simon--it wasn't that bad. He was on key the whole time, and mumbled parts of the middle of the song, but it was better than Haley tonight. If, as I have said in previous weeks, Sanjaya just let loose and "sung his face off," as Randy has said in the past, he might have a good performance in him. Oh what am I saying....

Bottom three should include Haley, Phil and and someone else. I think we'll have our first real surprise and LaKisha will end up in the bottom three, but quickly be sent back to the couch. And I think this might be Haley's week to go. Fingerhut out!



Anonymous kson220 said...

Hey there Fingerhut. Thought you were going to get by without me giving my 2 cents...never gonna happen.

Anywho, this was the worst night that I have heard all season. Why, oh why did they have to do the Latin night? I was wondering what songs would be chosen, and now that the performances have taken place, I have come to the conclusion that none of these contestants are meant for this genre.

Both Melinda and LaKisha were BORING. They could have done more. I am not a big fan of any of the guys; they are just around as filler as far as I am concerned. Blake and Chris have their moments, Phil scares me. Haley has great legs, minimal talent. Jordin was the only spark (haha) in the evening for me. And yes, Randy really does need to get off of the "Oh my, Jordin is only 17" thing. But, he did the same thing with Paris Bennett. Maybe he has a thing for little girls... Sanjaya kind of scared me with the looks and the facial hair. Didn't think he could actually grow facial hair.

Both Phil and Haley will be in the bottom 3. Hopefully you will be wrong about LaKisha, but I am not positive on that one. I will cash in a "Get out of jail free card" if they send Sanjaya home, but I do think that this will be the last week for Haley. I know you tivo the shows, so you should be OK.

Looking forward to your results post tomorrow.

4/11/07, 4:37 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I hated last night's show. Boring boring. I thought Blake was the best of the night and Jordin is still my favorite to win. Pretty sick of Melinda and everyone else is ok (Lakisha is still good but needs to do a breakout)
And Sanjaya is just gross...Fingerhut Jr out!

4/11/07, 4:58 PM  

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