Wednesday, March 23, 2005

On a night when country does rock, rockers chew bubble gum and votes are thrown away like eyeglasses

What an odd, alternative-universe-y night on American Idol, where country went rock and the rockers went all soft and gooey. Of course, we're gonna do it all over again tonight, but according to the, official website, the performances will be encore presentations, and, probably, the only "live" material will be Ryan trying to explain why on earth we're being forced to sit through it all over again. And, with any luck, we will have the public beheading of the person behind the telephone number graphic wheel. That will be fun.

I tried a simulblog of last night. I haven't done that for a performance episode since last year's finale. Makes it hard to really watch and listen while I'm still trying to make sure my fingers are on the right keys. So, while I was busy erasing the word "redial" from my phone last night, I watched the episode again. Makes it easier to judge. Overall the show was far more entertaining than the one which preceded it.

And so, therefore, without further BS, here they are, as always from worst to first.

Mikalah. I'm going to try to find something very positive to say about Mikalah.


I give up.

Nikko. Now in all fairness, I have never heard that song. And I hated the song. So I hope that my assessment of Nikko is based on his performance, and not on my pure dislike of the song. But I didn't like it. I don't understand why, when Nikko did such a fine job on Georgia during the semis, that the judges would call this his best. His vocals were choppy (but again, perhaps that's the way the song is supposed to be) and he definitely suffered some pitch problems.

Nadia. Oh my stars, this was awful from your mohawk (oh, those banana clips!) to your botox smile, to your presentation, to your vocals. That was a trainwreck. But you have enough fans and enough stored in the bank of past performances to see you through that.

Anwar. Something is terribly wrong when I put Anwar in the bottom half for two straight weeks. But this was a night of what's left is really right and what's up isn't really up, but down. Again, I hate that song, but I love you, so I am more than willing to forget, for 90 seconds, my dislike for the music. But you looked so stiff, so ill at ease, so not like you. But you did give me a glory note to hold and kiss, and for that, I thank you. And I'm not losing any sleep worrying about you being ejected.

Anthony. They tell you to get off the ballads and mix it up, so you do, and they tell you to get back to the ballads. Your performance was the best I've heard from you, but I don't think you have a strong enough voice to pull off what you tried. You suffered through several flat notes. You need to stop trying to be Clay Lite and start trying to be yourself.

Vonzell. Simon told you that you were finally memorable. I find it odd that I can remember him saying that, yet I can't remember what you sang. So I had to look it up. Ah yes. That song. Not bad. It didn't make me want to applaud, or even smile, and, to be honest, midway through the show I was so sick of everyone doing the Bo-on-the-catwalk-behind-the-judges-thing, I just kind of quit listening.

Constantine. I cannot begin to scream how much I loved your choice of song. Who would ever have thought that the New York rocker would pull a Partridge out of his hat? What a brilliant move! You could have warbled it and coughed all the way through it, and I would still have jumped up and applauded, for nothing else, your guts to wink at us early 70s teenyboppers, who thought that song was the greatest song ever recorded. I really didn't care about the lukewarm reception given by the judges, and I don't think you did either, considering the fans you already have and the ones (like me) you just bought. (I was, however, a bit bummed not to see you in a ruffled white shirt under a burgundy velvet vest, though. But I'll get over it.)

Jessica. My only complaint with Jessica's performance, aside from the wardrobe, which, while considerably more modest than past disasters, really really needs improvement to rank any higher on my scale, was the lack of emotion with this song. This is Bonnie Tyler. This is a gruff, edgy, broken song, and, while you performed it technically well, was lacking in the edginess I was looking for in your voice. But I think you definitely saved yourself a trip to the seal this week.

Bo. Of all of the songs delivered last night, this was the only song that I begged for in my fantasy. Jim Croce is sacred to me, as is this song. It brings back a flood of memories to me, mostly good ones, so I knew I would be overly critical of whoever sang it, if someone chose to. And, of all the ones, you never crossed my mind, which is why I jumped up and down with happiness, because I knew you wouldn't destroy it. (Even though, I admit, I was disappointed not to get a Doobie Brothers or Guess Who performance from my favorite rocker.) Bo, you proved you are not a one-genre performer. Your vocals were right on, and your performance, with the single guitar, was spotless. Loved it.

Carrie. Loved, loved, loved the hair, no matter what anyone says. Loved the flashback to the big hair 80s. And I enjoyed the shift. I had come to believe that you would never break out of the country box they've put you in, but to choose Heart, of all performers, was really quite surprising. Your vocals were perfection, but your weakness is the same weakness you've suffered from all season, which is why I think Simon is wrong. Unless you start "performing" instead of just standing there "singing" you aren't going to be in the finale, much less sell more singles than Fantasia, Clay, Ruben or Kelly. And it didn't help you any that Simon just may have ticked off the fans of those Idols to the point of driving them away from you. You fall number two here, only on the basis of your vocal ability. Performance-wise, Anthony ranks above you.

Scott. I didn't think I would put Scott number one after finding out that he was going to sing the most oversung, overdone and overused song in Idol history. (Will someone please please retire Against All Odds?!) I really thought I would watch this performance with such a prejudiced ear that no matter the quality, I would pick it apart. After all, my George performed it last year, and, as much as I loved George, I left the room. But Scott, vocally you are one of the superior players in this game, so that's not why I put you here. You have evolved into a comfortable stage persona. The raw emotion I saw in your face, as you tore off the hat and the glasses (although tossing them was a bit over the top) as you cried the lyrics was almost heartbreaking. And that's what performing is. And that's why you got all of my votes that don't count now.

So who deserves to stay seated on the couch, and who needs to take a little walk to the seal?

Should be bottom three: Mikalah, Nikko, Anthony.
Will be bottom three: Mikalah, Vonzell, Nikko.

Going home: uhhhhh, Mikalah.


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Thanks Rob for the awesome image!