Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Clive Davis show -- starring Bo!


I'm sitting here trying to decide if that was the single best episode of American Idol I've ever seen. If it wasn't, it's pretty darn close.

What a treat to have nine performances without too much loss of blood. There were the requisite weak spots, but no trainwrecks, no forgotten lyrics, that I could detect, and no clear loser.

That's what a final three should be.

Clive Davis was there to lend his expert "golden ear." Three things are clear: he loves Bo, he doesn't love Vonzell, and he needs to find a new phrase to replace "you nailed it."

And my George was in the audience. That would make even the worst show wonderful.

I haven't had the chance to do whatever the hell I do before deciding anything, and if you've been reading for awhile, you know what that is, so, while reserving the right to realign, here they are, as always, from worst to first.

Vonzell ( I'll Never Love This Way Again) -- Finally someone called her out on the incessant happiness. I love happy. I love happy people. I love the Vonz. But not every song is a happy song, and to smile and be happy through a song about heartache is wrong. Just wrong. Plus she was just under pitch thoughout the entire middle of the song, although she finished well.

Carrie (Man! I Feel Like a Woman) -- Carrie does not have a strong lower register, and this song forced her to try to use it. She tried. She failed. The song seemed forced, as if she were trying to squeeze what irreverence she could out of her body.

Bo (Satisfaction) -- I don't know if I'm judging this song on the basis of Bo's first two performances or the fact that I abhor this song, but it just didn't work. (But it's a Paula pick, so who is surprised?) He did the best he could with it, but, coming third after his first two performances, it was disappointing.

Carrie (Making Love Out of Nothing At All) -- It's been a long time since I heard Air Supply, and, as I usually do, I ended up humming it all evening but noticed the Air Supply song morphing into another song. Finally I recognized Total Eclipse of the Heart! I'm thinking Air Supply and humming Eclipse. But no matter. Carrie rushed this song to the point of screaming, and I would have preferred a stand-still performance to the double-butt wiggle ooooo I gotta pee dance that she's perfected this year.

Vonzell (On the Radio) -- I enjoyed this performance, especially coming after the lackluster opening number. But I still wonder how she stays upright on those heels. Perhaps she can release an Homage to Disco album, and send us back 30 years.

Carrie (Crying) -- I don't know what fool arranged this. The trademark of this song is its end, and to cut it so abruptly, robbing Carrie of the glory notes she could have registered was absurd. But on the flip side, whoever did arrange it did it in such a way as to help Carrie avoid the lower notes of this song, with which she continually struggles. She failed to tap into the depth of emotion necessary to completely sell this song, and the judges were right to point that out, but vocally it was top notch.

Vonzell (Chain of Fools) -- It was dangerous to take on the song Fantasia performed so effortlessly perfect last season, but Vonzell put her own spin on it, even though she bubbled throughout a bubble-less song. Paula was way off to suggest it was the best version ever performed on American Idol, but it was certainly better than most.

Bo (Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me) -- The first thing I thought when I heard this was Clive's edict was Clay. No one can improve upon Clay's season two rendition of this song. And to take Bo out of his rock box? Is that wise? Not only was it wise, it was brilliant. So was Bo. Stunning performance.

Bo (Within a Dream) -- I have never heard this before, and the a cappella version, a first for Idol, had me perplexed. So I let my fingers do the walking, only to discover that the original version is performed in the same way. What a brave thing to do, strip away the orchestra. The silence in the audience was deafening. The lighting was perfect, complete with blank big screen. This is a performance that will go down as one of the best, most unique, most inspiring performances in the history of this show.

The quality of the performances certainly outweighed the shortcomings, though. The judging panel made it quite clear that they want a Bo and Carrie show next week, and, while Vonzell certainly performed well enough to merit a finale appearance, I fear her only finale appearance will be during the group song.

And I did get in a few votes tonight. What a cute thing! Dialtheir number, and they talk to you. They do, not some weird guy just thanking you for voting for contestant 5, or whatever. And there were no graphic mistakes. That I could detect.

Whew I'm tired.

Did I mention that George was there?

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Thanks Rob for the awesome image!