Wednesday, February 22, 2006

opening night for the guys...

After a snoozefest provided by the final 12 women, we're getting treated to what the final 12 guys have to offer.

I'm typing as I'm watching, thinking as I'm listening, so forgive the typos, ignore the poor punctuation and bear in mind that I always reserve the right to rewind, rewatch, reconsider and rearrange everything. But usually I don't. I'm stubborn that way.

The girls are, of course, sitting next to the stage in what I will now call the dollpound. We are given, as were we last night, a retrospective of the guys' journey to the eyeball stage. (Have you looked at that thing?) Well of course we are. They have two hours to fill up since they're determined to crush the poor little USA curling team in the ratings and have enough time to fit twelve performances in between advertisements.


But here they are, as always from worst to first:

Bobby Bennett sings Copacabana for his grandma who made him promise. He's a very affable guy, in the Rickey Smith mode, and obviously enjoys performing for the audience, but his vocals don't quite measure up to the performance. Simon says it's a disaster and fears that Barry Manilow has just leapt from a Las Vegas hotel window.

David Radford smiles through Crazy Little Thing Called Love. And he wiggles. And he wiggles some more. His mom is smiling too. And she's screaming. I swear if she throws her panties I am so watching curling. Randy says he was terrible. The kid looks like his poodle just died. Paula anoints the women the kitty pound and gives him the Paula putdown. And Simon is probably the most diplomatic I've ever seen him. David is fortunate he has cash in the bank in the form of airtime.

Sway Penala, who has obviously been taking wardrobe hints from Vonzell's father, sings Earth, Wind and Fire, complete with white pants, shoes and hat. His falsetto is turned on overdrive, so much so that I don't recognize a single lyric beyond "oh yeahhhhh." I've not been impressed with Sway throughout the series and this performance just verifies. Randy and Paula ooooohs and ahhhhs and, just about the time I'm about to hurl, Simon calls it "pimpish" and "third rate." I call it ghastly.

Young Will Makar says he's having a great time and is going to sing I Want You Back because he thinks the normal Michael Jackson and he have the same voice. I'm not so sure. Randy says he's cute and the performance was pleasant. Paula compares him to Bobby Brady and warns Will that high school girls all over the planet are panting. Simon says he's cute but the performance was horribly average. I simply call it forgettable.

Patrick Hall admits he's nervous, that it's tough to be first and is clear that he wants the Clay Aiken comparisons to end even though he's wearing Clay's hair. He performs Come to my Window with the enthusiasm of a kid waiting for a vaccine. He tries hard, but he's not selling it, even though vocally he's very acceptable. The judges give him the eh, eh treatment and, for once, I agree with Paula that he needs to recognize and remember his niche. And that performance wasn't it.

Kevin Covais says age is nothing but a number and brags of his "special" relationship with Paula. (Please God, not again...) He wants people to see a different side of him, so he's going to sing One Last Cry. I think the only things more adorable than his lisp are probably his SAT scores. I simply adore this kid, but the song is more flat than on point, even though he obviously feels every word, which is more than I can say for many of the men.

Bucky Covington is going to do Skynryd's Simple Man, and it's the only time I can understand anything that he's saying. He seems nice enough, and the performance is not painful, but nothing memorable either. Randy says he should sing so hard. Bucky says he wanted to come out hard on the first song. Considering he may not have a second song, perhaps that wasn't a good move.

Gedeon McKinney, the IT boy, the one with the 1,000-watt smile is going to Shout, because he says it's a song he can not just sing, but really, really perform. And he really, really does. On a night of less than stellar performances, he shines, even though the lyrics aren't especially challenging. Randy and Paula gush; Simon calls him a Chippendale with a bothersome smile. I'm still trying to figure that one out.

I knew we couldn't get through a performance night without at least one Stevie Wonder song. Elliott Yamin is the guilty one with If You Really Love Me. I fully expect Idol contestants to destroy Stevie Wonder songs, but Elliott leaves the song intact with little damage. In fact, he's as good as I had hoped after the Hollywood rounds. Randy calls him da bomb, Paula does what Paula does, and Simon pisses off thousands of Claymates by telling Elliott he has the potential to become the greatest male contestant in the history of male contestants.

Ace Young says he's never performed George Michael's Father Figure, but has always loved the song. Ace has a really cute brother. Ace is a really cute guy. Randy celebrates the fact that Ace plays to the camera and can sing. Paula drools. Simon says Ace is an X, as in factor. Me? I'm trying to catch my breath.

Chris Daughtry says he hopes America will be singing with him as he performs Wanted Dead or Alive. And he is forced to sing it in front of the Burger King flame background or, I suppose, the dead in Hell background. He delivers, without equal thus far, the best, most intense, most confident performance of the evening. Simon says he has potential. I say any more potential and he won't need American Idol.

Taylor Hicks gets the sweet anchor spot and sings Elton John as well as Elton John, but without a harmonica. His joy in performing is contagious. And he leaves everyone else in the dust. Randy gushes. Paula gushes. Simon says he was wrong to doubt him. Me? I'm in love.

Thursday is execution night. Four bodies will be thrown in the heap. And all the fun starts at 8 p.m.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The guys werent as clear cut for me as the girls were. Taylor was by far the best of the night...I'm really really glad that he did as awesome as he did. Chris and Ace are very close seconds. I also really like Bucky and Elliot...I hope they stick around for a while. Gedeon and Patrick were also pretty good...Gedeon is definetly an entertaining performer, and watching the show back, Patrick was quite a bit better than I first thought. Although I didnt think Sway did great, I do think he sung the song simiarily to the original, and I want to hear more of what he can do. And, although this may be unpopular, I liked the Copacabana performance by Bobby...I have doubts that he'll last long though. As for David, Will, and Kevin...they did alright...not great by any means...I wont be sad to see any of them go. By the way, I really really love this're doing an awesome job Jennifer! I love reading your reviews!! (and sorry I wrote so much!)

10:43 PM, February 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if you read my entry tonight, I am in lust with Ace, LOVE Chris and admire Taylor. Those three are my top picks definately. Thank God for the guys! I would have sworn off AI totally if not for them this year!

11:23 PM, February 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great job on your commentary tonight. I am in love with Taylor Hicks. I wish he had a cd out right now...I would buy it ASAP!

I enjoyed Elliot (love Stevie Wonder), Chris, and Gideon. Taylor is special - though!

11:34 PM, February 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ace can be my "father figure" anytime he wants!

12:45 AM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi, does anyone else find Kevin's voice to be "nasal"? I can't think of any other description for it. It's not a pure, smooth voice, it sounds like a person singing thru his nose. And it sort of sounds like his voice is stuck between boy and man, and is in the middle of changing. I heard parts tonight that sounded like his voice wanted to drop low but he wanted it to stay hi. can't see him getting to the finals. Would like him to mature 2 years, then I wouldn't be surprised if he was solid.

Taylor, Chris, Ace, absolutely rocked. I hope they let Taylor use his Harmonica on a song :) As for David, granted, not great vocals on that song, but it was FUN, just like Gedeon. I like to listen to fun more than boring. And I really want to hear his voice for styles other than crooner. I coulda swore I heard some Elvis in him tonight. probably the most interesting male other than Taylor. Interesting as in not your normal "Idol" stereotypical person/voice.

Those that just didn't cut it for me were Sway, Bucky, Bobby and Kevin. Those who survive really need to work on being memorable, and understandable. I would like to hear more range from those who haven't had a lot of air time yet.

Well, that's it from an almost 40 geezer dad of little girls :)

2:11 AM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger purplvr said...

Okay, I had the pleasure of being able to watch lastnight's show TWICE, since my fiance (a musician and a Taylor fanatic from Day One) was working late. By the end of the night, I was so hyped! My favorites were, as most people are stating, Chris, Ace and Taylor. And, hey, did anyone else here besides me think that Ace's gorgeous brother could be Jake Gyllenhaal's twin?? Good genes in that family tree!
The worst of the bunch had to be the Copa Cabana guy ... what was his name? See how forgetable his is?
Over all, I am torn between Chris and Taylor. Ace is great, too, but he's actually not my favorite.
Only time will tell ...

7:26 AM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger Kimberleigh said...

I couldn't understand a word Bucky sang either! I was like "Whuuut?" I thoroughly enjoy watching Taylor perform, I don't care what he sings the joy of singing shines through him. I thought sway was spot on most of the time to E,W & F "reason" Alls Ace has to do is just stand there and look hot and his brother too! lol Even though Kevin sings very well, I can't handle the close up shots of him...not 'Hottie" material at all. Tonight will show us what America likes and what America kicks to the curb! Did anybody else see Jackie Gleason in Bobby Bennet?? Talk about channeling! LOL LOL LOL

8:01 AM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Females from 14 to 44 all over America were throwing their panties at the television last night after Ace's performance. It was the perfect song for him, if not the best vocal. Taylor was not a good as I had hoped. Elton John is extremely difficult to sing and I don't know that Taylor has the range for it. I want to see him do sosmething from Joe Cocker or pull out that blues harp and let it rip!!! Sway can just sway off into the sunset as far as I'm concerned. I could not listen to that for two hours in concert.

8:06 AM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

THAT'S who it is. Jackie Gleason. I kept wondering who I saw in Bobby, but couldn't quite put my finger on it.

8:25 AM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger Nelle said...

I really like Taylor but there is something I love in Chris. I would not want to have to choose between the two because they are very different. I thought Elliott's performance was outstanding and that was a really hard song for him to pull off. They were MY top three and I think they will hang in for a long time to come. I look forward to more performances from them.

8:46 AM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Sorry, my panties stayed on through Ace's performance...
I love Taylor Hicks, he's so much fun to watch and I enjoy him as much as Paula obviously does! I was shocked at what Simon had to say, seems he's changed his mind about him. There's nothing fake or plastic about him, he does his thing, and he's himself. I like that. If he cut a CD tomorrow, I'd be at the store to buy it.

10:57 AM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous californiatrinity said...

Growing up we had a saying, "gag me with a spoon". If something was REALLy rotten it was "gag me with a fork". For the majority of last night's performances, I say gag me with an oversized pitchfork! After the first three performances I was almost ready to change channels. Thank God for Chris. And Ace. (and his brother!)And mostly thanks for Taylor. Although my panties stayed on last night, I was very impressed with all three of them. Copacobana was miserable and sway.. well I agree with the anonomous poster above, he can just sway off into the sunset. Poor Kevin and Will. Young but definatley not idol material. As far as a girls vs. guys season, I have to say that if it wasn't for Taylor Hicks, it would definatley be a girls' season. Time will tell.....

11:51 AM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well...I thought over all the boys were far better then the girls, don't get me wrong there are 7 great girls, but that is all..As for the guys, I would like to see Bobby go, I don't think his performance was good enough, especially because this was the first round of the finals, and the guys needed to really impress the audience and everyone else! I'm not a fam of Gedeon, but he did Well last night, didn't really know much about patrick either, but I thought this was one of his better performances, and I like David, but I just don't know if it will be good enough, also...(sorry I am almost done) I wasn't really impressed with Sway, I enjoy his singing more when he sings in a lower key. Enough about me, oh predictions for the final 6 guys....Ace, taylor, Chris who just might be your next American Idol) Elliot, Will and Kevin...

11:56 AM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Maggie said...

Hi Jennifer, great entry as always. My top 6 for the boys is a bit more difficult; however my top 4 blow all of the ladies out of the water. NO surprise, Taylor, Chris, Elliot and Ace in that order. The 2 spots left, hmmm, I was pleasantly surprized by Gedeon moreso when I learned he is only 17???? I think he just might be an interesting add to the mix! But, I think Patrick has something and it's not the "IT" factor but it's something. Will, I find him cute in a FRED SAVAGE the wonder years kinda way that I just can't get past,lol. I'll hold off on my top 6 and just Call the 2 B's the most forgetable, Bobby and Bucky!

12:34 PM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved your recaps need to be a paid professional at this, really. I'm back to watching the show and looking forward to your recaps, the two go hand in hand.

Now I get it about Taylor. Last night was the first time I saw him perform and you just feel the performance, you feel his joy and was I ever caught up in the moment...he is truly wonderful. He will go far.

And Ace....ahhh Ace Ace Ace...not as strong a voice as Taylor, but the face, the hair, the eyes, the body....::sigh:: now where was I? Oh yes, Ace... I loved the way he did that song...made it his own, pulled it off, was a great performance. I look forward to hearing more from him and seeing his range when it comes to the other genre's of music they'll have to do. Taylor might edge him out, he seems to have more range in that regard, oh this will be a great season Jennifer! My money is on the boys! net jerseygirljournal

12:55 PM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

I was listening to the mp3 files today, trying to justify putting Kevin in the sidebar, just because I lurrrve that little boy, and it was down to Kevin v. Bucky. You know, Bucky sounds better in the audio than he did before. I hope he gets one more week so we can hear that "tone" of his that they bragged about last night. But I want my Kevin to stay too.

Thanks for the nice words, Nettie. I have a ton of fun doing this blog.

2:13 PM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Meg said...

yess!! ACE ROCKS!! I really love Chris and Will too, oh and Taylor!!

They are great!

My four fav guys..

CAnt wait til tonight! My four still all better be in it!

love ya,

2:58 PM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger angelof_mercy81 said...

I love your page, Jennifer! I found it a few days ago and have been reading it ever since. Gotta love the recaps. :-)

Wow, what can I say about some of the guys? I think, unless something happens, that I already have a few "favorites" for the season--Ace, Taylor, and Chris, especially. I hope they go far.

3:47 PM, February 23, 2006  
Blogger yankee1bajan2 said...

I say thank God for the men this year. Go Taylor go. Ace is cool and I always liked Chris. Copacabana guy was sooooo damn cheesy! Buckey can never be an Idol with those teeth or ears and that poor little boy that sounded like he had a sinus infection and a lisp. I hate that Gideon guy!!!! I was thinking how doofy his smile was right before Simon said it. He is what we (african americans) call a shucker and jiver.

4:45 PM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed Chris, Elliot and Taylor.
The rest can go home.

6:08 PM, February 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice and accurate blog AND I love the fact that I could go back and listen for myself instead of trusting my own jaded memory! Your picks are pretty much accurate with the exception of a few of the girls. Lisa is cute but her performance of Jennifer Holiday was like at a junior high school. The song was too big for her. Pickler came up about two notes short of her high notes a couple of times and I think she is overrated.

12:41 AM, February 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I listened to Kellie, Lisa and Paris again.
Kellie was flat in spots, as well as Lisa. But I do like both.
Yes, "I am changing" was a bit much for her.
Paris really didn't sing that well, I think her stage presence carried her.
We'll see what happens next week.

1:34 PM, February 25, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Exactly! That's why I like to listen to the audio only. A good performance can really mask some bad notes and the audio is honest. And sometimes someone is actually better in audio than on video.

1:41 PM, February 25, 2006  

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