Tuesday, March 27, 2007

American Idol 6: Top 10 Contestants Perform

Tonight, the group that I can best describe as "The Best of What's Left" will get guidance from Gwen Stefani. This is the closest that Idol has come to being contemporary since they began.

Gwen, of course, made some really good music. The unfortunate side of this is that since she ditched the boys of No Doubt, she's mainly come up with braintrusts like "Hollaback Girl," wherein the bulk of the lyrics consist of "uh-huh that's my sh*t" and "this sh*t is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s." And yes, I'm embarrassed that I know that. So the question is whether she will say "Don't Speak" to Sanjaya or help us bask in the "Luxurious" voice of Melinda. Perhaps hubby Gavin Rossdale (formerly of Bush) will come out and put some balls into Chris Richardson's performances.

Only one hour tonight, because dang it, it's time for House to finally get some air time.

Okay, so let the show begin...

Somebody actually took the time to create a "Haley For President" poster. I wonder what Haley's views on foreign policy are? Is she for or against socialized health care? Will she actually show one thread of emotion tonight? For that matter, will her clothes tonight consist of more than a single thread?

Because the No Doubt library of songs is kinda shallow, they extended their choices to "songs that inspired" Gwen. Ryan reminds us that No Doubt was influenced by reggae and ska, forgetting that these bubblegum teens probably never even heard of such music. "Ska? Is that sort of like Sugar Ray?" I can hear Sanjaya saying that. Gwen's hair is sort of played down tonight, though I miss the pink hair. She's cute, and y'know, I never realized that she's probably only an A-cup.

Proving that the theme is pretty much a throwaway tonight, Lakisha Jones is going to do an old Donna Summer song, because that song apparently inspired something that No Doubt did. Probably something that the drummer did on the toilet after 25 cent burrito night at the Taco Bell. Lakisha gets out there and does her one-trick thing, completely failing to capture what the theme of the night was supposed to be (songs that are relevant to a ska-princess-turned-pop-icon), and instead doing her own thing and showing literally ZERO versatility. It's not that it's not good, it's just that I've heard it before. There are tons of recording stars out there like this, so do we really need another? And let's not get started on the clothes. I'm sure they would look nice on SOMEONE, just not her. Let's face it...you can't hang new curtains in a burned down shack. Randy thinks it's hot, but it's probably because he wants to bury his face in that massive cleavage Lakisha is sporting tonight. Paula mutters something. Simon thinks she made herself 30 years younger this week by singing a song that's at least 30 years old. Uh, Simon?

Chris Sligh will answer Barbara's inane question about how much down time the Idols have (answer: ZERO) and what they do with it (answer: DRINK HEAVILY.) Seriously, though, these guys have a busy busy busy schedule, especially the school age teens who have to attend classes in the morning. Chris is a bit above school age though, so hopefully he'll have something good prepared for us. Chris is going to do a song by the Police, which I guess is closer than LaKisha's choice to a No Doubt song, but from the start it's clearly not a good choice for him. It sort of comes off as a bad Sting impersonation. It's a different sort of performance for him, but I just can't feel him lately. I keep wanting him to blow me away, but something bland this way comes. Vocally, this isn't really tight, and I find myself missing the Chris we used to see. I keep wanting some magic, but all I get is Hagrid showing me the proper care and feeding of mandrake roots. Randy thinks the problem was that he was out of step with the band, and that's been a problem with him before. This is probably the most constructive criticism Pauler and Randy have given anyone ever. Simon thought it was a mess, and he's going to get cut off by the music, because the producers have this crazy thing about running a live show within the time frame of commercials and oh...I don't know...other shows. I'd love to hear the sounds (and swearing) going through the headphones of the production assistants from the switching booth.

Gina Glocksen is up next and she's emotional to the point that her face has swollen up to twice its original size in her video. Tonight Gina will dress from the "Tomb Raider" collection and sing a song that was clearly not done by No Doubt. Rather, she'll be singing the ubiquitous Pretenders ballad, "I'll Stand By You." I agree with Gwen: this song is perfect for her. I'm totally buying the performance, the look, and the whole package. It's pretty obvious who she's trying to be, and tonight's theme was right there in the sweet spot of her wheelhouse. Randy feels it's one of her best performances ever, and he also thinks it's a perfect song choice. Paula, who apparently got her hair done by Gwen before the show, agrees with the whole "best performance" thing. Simon doesn't find it to be "one of" her best performance, but rather THE best. He finds it to be better than anybody else tonight. Nice job, Gina. Ryan fails to get Simon's "chalk and cheese" comparison, despite the fact that it should've been obvious to anyone with the IQ of mayonnaise.

Sanjaya Malakar is singing "Bathwater" by No Doubt. Let's throw the baby out with that bath water, if you don't mind. Gwen de-pimps the CRAP out of Sanjaya, and talks about just how hard the song is to sing, and just how unprepared Sanjaya is to sing it...and... and... WHAT is that thing roosting on top of Sunny's head? I don't know about you, but I keep expecting Sanjaya to break out in a Foghorn Leghorn voice and say "Ah say, ah say, BOY!" I mean, seriously, Sanjaya has come out here with Cyndi Lauper growing out of the back of his head. This is a truly wretched and pitiful performance, and the fact that he forgot the words is just inexcusable. Randy finds the hairdo "interesting" in the sense of "horribly gay." He thinks this was a juvenile performance, and he wonders aloud why Sanjaya doesn't just go ahead and do the darn thing and sing the song. (answer: HE CAN'T.) Paula was underwhelmed again, and it's about time we got this clown off the stage if that one can't find a motherly comment about him. Simon comments on Sanjaya's hairdo, and Sanjaya mouths off something about him being jealous that he couldn't pull it off, which endears himself immediately to a small portion of his own cell structure and none of the rest of the universe. Simon says that it probably doesn't matter what the judges say, because America's going to vote him off tonight for sure, if there's any love and goodness left in the universe.

And now it's time for Haley. She's going to sing Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors." Gwen wasn't having it with Haley, and she made sure to let America know it. Stripperella sits squatted down on the stage and starts out whispering the crap out of the song, perpetrating like an actual emotion might escape from her botoxed brow at some point in the near future. Unfortunately, all of her emotions were reserved for her legs, since those are the only things that will be speaking to most of her fan base. Come on, Haley! Is it too much to ask you to actually PRETEND like you're feeling anything? Is it too much for you to just not spit out words that don't register within you? This song is boring, and there's that run that Gwen didn't like and I don't either. I mean, it's hard to ask you to vote Haley off with Sanjaya still around, but it's either that or throw her off the back of a moving bus. Randy was bored with it and he sort of was like uh yo dawg and stuff and all. Paula didn't like it either. Simon asks her to critique herself, but then goes back to describe it as sweet but forgettable. And Haley phones in yet another completely forgettable performance. Haley sort of rolls her eyes at the criticisms, which is why she will fail in this competition. She truly believes that she has the whole package and doesn't need to improve, and criticisms mean nothing to her. Vote her off.

Phil Stacey will answer Rebecca of Indianapolis's stupid question: "how does it feel to go from being a no-name to being famous?" Phil doesn't know. People still don't know who he is yet. He hasn't noticed that he's famous yet, because he continually has to ward off his hat from eating his head. Phil is going to sing a song from the Police. So only Sanjaya will be singing an actual No Doubt song? Was there even a point in having a theme tonight? This is slightly better than Chris Sligh's vocal, but again Phil sort of comes off like a Sting impersonator. It's boring and dull. I need to be inspired tonight, people! I'll grant you this: I can't tell that it's not Sting up there if I look away from my screen. His voice is a dead even match for Stingy-dingy-doo. Vocally, it's really well done. But jazz this stuff up folks! Randy kinda liked it. Paula thinks that he needs to pump up the verses sort of like he does the chorus. Simon purses his lips and surprises Phil with praise. He compliments Phil for trying, and I have to say, I would've expected that kind of statement a LOT earlier in the competition. It's a little late to be praising them for actually trying.

Melinda Doolittle gets all kinds of praise from Gwen, who I am liking a little bit more after this show. She's not singing a No Doubt song. But I don't care. Will somebody just burn me a CD of this chick? Singing anything, I don't care. If Melinda burped the alphabet, I'd buy it. Love it. Yes. Yes. Yes. You don't need me to tell you anything more about it. Crown the winner already. Randy compliments her for doing what the rest of this lot can't seem to do: FEEL the music. LIVE the music. BREATHE it. (Take note, Haley.) Paula parrots Randy. Simon didn't like the outfit, but that's about all the bad he could say. I like Melinda.

Blake is going to do a song by The Cure. Gwen is all "kill the beat box" and Blake is all "but that's the only reason I'm here..." He comes out singing softly, and I'm liking it. It's not upbeat, but there's just something about the sound of it that makes me happy. It could be that Melinda cleared my palette before, but then again, it could be that, clownish schtick aside, Blake is actually a very talented vocalist. I dig it. I'd buy that single. Randy didn't find it to be perfect, but thought that he did it really well. Paula enjoys him, and she sort of halfway predicts him to be in the finale. Simon calls Blake the strongest guy in the competition, compares him to Chris Daughtry, and cautions him against falling into self-indulgence. B-Shorty is actually shorter than Ryan Seacrest.

Jordin Sparkes is actually going to do a No Doubt song. Unfortunately, it's my least favorite No Doubt song "Hey Baby." I love Jordin, but I don't love her doing this song. Or wearing the tablecloth from the picnic area. This song has lows that are slightly too low for her. I think there's definitely an issue with the mix here. At times her mic sounds too low and then too high. She's got a good vocal tone for most of the performance, but I'm not in love with the whole package. I do love that she's reaching outside of her comfort zone though, and I think she deserves to go through for another week. Randy compliments her for being risky and thought it was brilliant. Paula likes it too. Simon thinks she is the most improved contestant. Not my favorite, but I love Jordin, so vote for her people.

Chris Richardson will be ruining my favorite No Doubt song, "Don't Speak." Gwen tells us how much she hates how Chris ruins her most emotional and self-revealing song ever. Chris squints into the camera. Somebody either buy him some shades or prescription lenses. Whoever did the arrangement on this song should be dragged out into the street and beaten with shoestrings. Chris sounds positively awful with this song. Seriously, each of you, before you vote for him, go listen to Gwen's original version. There's raw emotion there. It's a deeply meaningful song about broken hearts, and Chris is singing it as though it were about the ferris wheel at a county fair. Through his nose, to boot. I bet he really has to blow his nose a lot before performing so that he doesn't shower the microphone and stage with boogers. Randy doesn't think his vocal was all that. Paula thought it was cool. Simon nails it when he critiques Chris on his vocals. Again, before you vote for him, listen to him without looking at him. If you can honestly say you'd buy a CD with that voice, then you need to donate your ears to charity so that someone more worthy can use them.

Well, that's the show. My predictions: Bottom three: Chris, Sanjaya, and Haley. I'd almost keep Sanjaya over Haley, but I'm hoping for him to go home.

Melinda's still the clear winner, in my mind, but Gina and Blake are nipping at her heels this week.


At 11:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Simone ment somthing else regarding Sanjaya's performace. That Sanjaya is in his own universe and that he has fans who are voting him in for reasons other than his singing.

Which brings me to my website www.sanjayafannetwork.com . Webmaster if your interested in affiliating with us contact me at webmaster@sanjayafannetwork.com

At 1:31 AM, Anonymous Bradfo69 said...

Hey J.D.

As usual, great recap and particularly this year more entertaining than the show. I'm sure you've already checked this out but I'd love to hear your opinion on Alaina Alexanders first efforts. I just found out about the four songs on her myspace page and after hearing them, am wishing she didn't leave the show as early as she did. www.myspace.com/

At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Cleo said...

It is gems like this that keep me returning to this blog:

"I keep wanting some magic, but all I get is Hagrid showing me the proper care and feeding of mandrake roots."

"Tonight Gina will dress from the 'Tomb Raider' collection"

Great stuff again, JD.

I actually liked Haley's performance last night (perhaps this had something to do with watching the show in a bar?), but Melinda is still my pick, and if anything is right in this world, she will be the next American Idol.

At 7:04 PM, Blogger Smitty said...

Sadly I have been unable to watch any of this season's shows, except the first week with 16 Idols.
J.D., you are my sole outlet to the world of American Idol this season, at least thus far. Thankfully it's a very good outlet.
I'm sorry to see that Chris Sligh has landed at the bottom of Dial Idol's rankings for this week; he's one of the few I really want to see (and I should be able to see the show in another week or two), so I hope he sticks around (I figure Melinda and Gina are safe for a while). DialIdol has been a bit off this season though, so I suppose there's hope.
Thanks for the recap, and all the recaps.

At 11:17 PM, Anonymous artslvr said...

I also loved the Hagrid comment! Hahaha. But this comment made about Chris R. made me pay attention: "I keep wanting him to blow me away, but something bland this way comes." LOL Perfect! Are you a fan of Shakespeare or Bradbury? Or both? Those guys knew how to engage an audience!

I completely agree with you about singers needing to show emotion. I haven't much liked Phil, but at least this time, he convinced me he was a stalker and that "something wicked this way comes."


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