Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I want what she's having

Top ten, eh? If they say so. Top four maybe.

What is the deal here? First night of finals I can accept and even overlook nerves, which translate into somewhat weak performances. Week two of finals, there is only one disaster of a performance, and she got the hook. What happened? Did Mikalah suck the life out of this group as the door hit her in the backside?

I know I have an inherent bias here. I neither like nor appreciate most of the so-called music that creeped out of the 1990s. So, admittedly, I am going to turn a much more critical ear to the music I really don't like to begin with.

But really!! I needed some of whatever it was Paula was consuming to get through last night. Then I needed some more to get through my taped replay today.

This season is different than the others in that, since all ten have at least the potential of blowing the doors out of the studio, one slip, one flat note, one forgotten lyric can send that kid packing the next day, because, now that we're rid of Mikalah, there are none of "those," the ones who everyone knows will be worse. But when there are multitudes of flat notes and poor performances, it's anyone's guess who will be picking up plane tickets.

Who's safe?

Carrie. She's been the most consistent, and seems to have legions of fans who will keep her in the game throughout April. It remains to be seen if Simon's overt coronation of her as the heir apparent will negatively affect her. I tend to think it will ultimately, which is why I don't think she will win, but as long as she keeps playing the game the way she's been playing, she really is not in any danger of leaving the sofa.

Bo. Many people are imagining a Bo/Carrie finale -- the rocker versus the country girl. Might be the best finale so far. Even a lesser performance will not put Bo anywhere near the seal tonight or in the foreseeable future. His fans will lose their dialing fingers before they allow that to happen.

Constantine. Constantine entered this competition with the biggest fan base of all the contestants, and the gradual shedding of his rocker skin has kept the faithful dialing as well as bringing in new members to the flock. So it certainly won't hurt that he had the best performance of the guys last night. Pencil him in through mid- to late-April. At least.

Who's somewhat safe?

Vonzell. Two spectacular performances in a row have upped this girl's stock considerably. Obviously she took Simon's advice to become memorable to heart. I used to have to struggle to remember which name I kept forgetting. I don't forget or overlook or underestimate Vonzell anymore. Anyone who could make me want to listen to a Whitney song deserves kudos.

Who's at risk?

Nikko. The judges are heaping on the praise for the comeback kid, but he still is fighting the "Mario backlash" of fans who, for some insane reason, blame Nikko for their contestant's resignation. I think he's safe for the time being, but once the field thins out a bit, one slip on stage will mean a pink slip for Ozzie's son.

Scott. For as long as he is in the game, Scott will battle the image problem and those fans who are just so turned off by his physical appearance and less-than-smooth stage persona that they will refuse to dial his number. On the plus side, many people will see him as the "underdawg" he is, tend to gravitate to the downtrodden and will fly to the phones to save him when his vocals have failed him. Like last night.

Anwar. Oh Anwar, who began the competition as one of the overwhelming favorites, can only ride that adoration so far before people find themselves aligning with one of the other contestants, like Vonzell. He has turned in three disappointing performances in a row. If he's not in the bottom three tonight, and he performs at the same level next week, I don't see Anwar sticking around to make it to the halfway point.

Nadia. Nadia found herself in the bottom two after Billboard week, and it may have just sent her and her fans an important message. She rebounded this week, and turned in one of the better stage performances, but many people noticed her Jennifer Hudsonesque attitude last week as she stood next to Mikalah. And it has turned many of once-fans into former fans. Jennifer Hudson never fully recovered from her diva'tude last year. I don't expect Nadia to either.

Jessica. Simon said it. I knew there was just something about Jessica, but I couldn't define it. She's not innately likeable. Her wardrobe, her styleand her attitude have screamed toughened bar chick. So she does have to work on the likeability factor, moreso than most of the others. And if she wants to stay away from the seal, she's going to have to choose stronger, bolder songs, like she did last week. She needs to distance herself from Carrie, rather than following behind in her footsteps like an insecure puppy.

Anthony. Anthony is the most at risk here. He is the sugar-free vanilla in a house of 33 flavors. He's ridden the cute Ukrainian trach-boy Clay Aiken-wannabe horse a little too long. The horse is gettin' tired. The horse needs a break.

In one way, predicting tonights bottom group is easy. In another respect, it's the most difficult prediction yet.

Should be bottom three:
Anthony, Scott, Anwar.

Will be bottom three:
Anthony, Jessica, Scott.

Bottom two:
Anthony and Jessica. Anthony goes home.


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Thanks Rob for the awesome image!