Tuesday, May 01, 2007

American Idol is slippery when wet

I can't say I thought, when I first heard Bon Jovi in high school, that one day they would be some sort of semi-elder statesmen of rock, but I guess that's happened, now that Jon Bon Jovi has been a mentor on American Idol (along with that keyboard player, who I'd never heard of. Where was Richie Sambora?). And Bon Jovi songs are actually not a bad choice for an American Idol theme. Jon Bon Jovi's voice isn't particularly overwhelming, so the songs, purely from a vocal aspect, aren't that tough to sing--and they're modern. (And most importantly, they're not Latin or country.)As for Bon Jovi, he wasn't a bad mentor--his predictions on who would do well and who wouldn't, while delivered fairly gently, were pretty accurate.

Before we get to the songs, it was once again, in this post-Sanjaya era, a pretty quiet week for Idol. Other than people arguing over whether "Idol Gives Back" was a good idea, the only thing that was even talked about in any way was Simon's comment in an interview that he spends most of the performances messing with Paula--because it is hard to hear with the crowd--and really listens carefully during the dress rehearsal instead. I suppose this has some implication for the show, but I'm not sure I care.

Phil Stacey ("Blaze of Glory")--Despite Phil doing the hated walk through the audience--on a song that cries out for standing at the mike and wailing--Phil picked the perfect song for him and he was really good. I think that was certainly his best performance of the season. Simon said that "he didn't hear any authenticity," which I didn't really understand. Was he supposed to sing it country-style because that's what he's done the last two weeks? Anyway, if Phil gets eliminated, he can still say he went out in a blaze of glory.

Oh, by the way, it was nice to see Antonella again in the crowd at the beginning of the show. Wow, that whole thing seems so long ago....

Jordin Sparks ("Livin' on a Prayer")--This was not good at all. I'm not sure why Jordin picked this song--although to her credit it was a little more risky for her than the songs the other two women chose. But it was the wrong song. Simon said she was shrieking, but I didn't get that. I thought the big problem was that Jordin needed to sing the song with reckless abandon, and instead seemed to sing the verses very mechanically and with restraint.

LaKisha Jones ("This Ain't A Love Song")--So LaKisha has seen Bon Jovi on Oprah but never heard their music. Wow. I wonder what other bands she's never heard before. I'm thinking she's never heard R.E.M, might have heard Pearl Jam and probably heard U2--but I'm just guessing at some random 80s and 90s bands that came to mind and were all better than Bon Jovi. So she did start slow (why does someone as loud as LaKisha still sometimes get drowned out by the band at times), but finished with a flourish. I just wish I hadn't been watching the show by myself. When LaKisha finished her performance, I said to myself that I would bet anyone a million dollars that Randy woud say "LaKisha is back." And he said it TWICE. Of course, anyone who had ever seen the show before would have never taken that bet, so I suppose I would have had to be watching the show with a refugee from Darfur for that bet to pay off, and a Darfur refugee wouldn't have any money...Then again, there are all those snobs that don't watch American Idol, so I probably could have taken them for a ride. Oh well, a lost opportunity...

Blake Lewis ("You Give Love a Bad Name")--Simon said that half the audience would like Blake's version of this song and half would hate it. Actually, I hated half the song and loved the other half of the song. I disliked Blake doing the pantomime and sound effects of putting a record on a turntable (Hey Blake, in the mid-1980s, a lot of people listened to stuff on casettes--it wasn't just albums), I hated making the first part of the song into a pseudo-reggae, 311/Sublime type song, and I didn't like the beatboxing. And yet I loved when he just rocked out and sang the song in the middle and at the end. That part was great--why couldn't he have done that the whole time? Having said that, it certainly was interesting and memorable.

Chris Richardson ("Wanted: Dead or Alive")--After listening to Chris sing it for Bon Jovi, this actually didn't turn out nearly as bad as I had feared. But it still wasn't very good. It was a really bad song for Chris, and he sounded kind of whiny. It wasn't terrible, but I doubt it was good enough to keep him out of the bottom two tonight.

Melinda Doolittle ("Have A Nice Day")--I wondered if Melinda would go the way of Jordin tonight, but she found her sassy-style song and did a good job tonight. This isn't one of Bon Jovi's better songs (I wish someone had done "It's My Life," which this song sort of sounds like but not anywhere near as good), but I loved how she did those dismissive looks when she sang the "Have a Nice Day" line. And for two straight weeks, Melinda has sung songs written in the last ten years and done them well. Maybe she's reading this blog.

And before we get to who's going home, what was up with the Bushes turning up to thank American Idol? My mouth hung open through that entire segment in shock. Are Bush's poll numbers that bad that he desperately is trying to associate himself with American Idol? I'm speechless. And do you think W. watches Idol? Could someone at the White House briefing tomorrow ask Tony Snow who his favorite contestant is?

Okay, it's tough to judge who is going home because we've got to add last week's votes to this week's votes. I'll say Chris will be one, Phil another and LaKisha the third because of her poor performance last week. And because based on overall performance throughout the last few months, let's say Chris and Phil will go home. But I have no idea. Fingerhut out.



Blogger Amy said...

Ok-I liked Blake and yes he was good when he was just singing the song. I do not think some of them realize what was going on in the 80's as they were quite young...

Jordin - Still my absolute favorite and I hope that just one night cannot hurt her. She had fun up there but yes she was not good. But, she was amazing last week and I hope that helps.

Phil and Chris - I can do without them..they are not american idol winners so I would be happy if they both went home.

Lakisha was good last night. Melinda - well she actually bores me - I feel as if she picks the same kind of song almost every week and always sounds the same...

And, your comments about W and Laura were right on...that was pretty funny...I doubt he watches the show!

5/2/07, 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually really liked Blake's performance. I thought the beatboxing and other sound effects were at least interesting in a show that appears to be coming dangerously close to "jumping the shark". That's my two-cents.

5/2/07, 11:24 AM  
Anonymous John said...

I actually voted for Chris and Blake last night. I'm so not a fan of Phil's and that's part of why I voted for them.

You know, it was kind of a painless show. I thought Jon was good with the contestants.

Blake: memorable is the right word. He really did throw down the gauntlet as far as wanting to be an artist. I've always kind of liked him but now I actually hope he or Lakisha wins this thing.

5/2/07, 1:10 PM  
Anonymous kson220 said...

Hey there Fingerhut!! I thought that last nights show was pretty good. Jon was not all that bad with his comments, and I am a huge fan so I'm just glad he was on. It still kinda freaks me out that all these musicians are that interested in Idol.

Phil-Not a fan, but I really enjoyed him last night. He picked the right song for himself fpr sure.

Jordin-It had to happen sooner or later, but I didn't think her bad night was going to be so bad. The entire performance just didn't click. She is good enough to have a bad week though. Wish it come earlier in the competition.

LaKisha-We knew Randy had to say that she was back, but this weeks performance was a marked improvement over the past few weeks. I hope that her performance last night will cover her performance from last week; which was just aweful.

Blake-I liked the whole beatbox thing that he did. Being born in the mid 60's, beatbox was what we heard alot of when I was in my teens, so this was fun for me. Still don't think he can match up to the superior talent of the females.

Chris-He is loosing me as the season progresses, and after the country night, I am getting turned off to him.

Melinda-Now you know how I feel about Melinda. I think she really is just so much better than the others. My personal feelings aside, damn she did a good job last night. I was worried about how she was going to do, but LIKE A TRUE PERFORMER, she did her thing. As an aside to Melinda, I spoke with my brother, who has made his living as a music director/performer/singing coach for the past 20 years, and he feels that there are 2 competitions this year. Melinda vs Melinda, and everyone else. Lord knows he can be wrong, but in light of the fact that he was at Peabody at the age of 4 and has perfect pitch, I will defer to his talent and knowledge.

I am in a quandray about the bottom three. Will it be Chris, Phil, LaKisha; or Chris, Phil, Blake. Chris is out of there for sure. Toss-up on Phil and LaKisha. Not sure that her strong performance last night can compensate for last week. Hope it does though. We shall see. Talk at ya after the results!!!!

5/2/07, 5:59 PM  

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