Tuesday, March 21, 2006

eleven will get ya 50s...

Barry Manilow is in the house, or, well, he's in Las Vegas, but he's hawking a new album so what better reason than to build an American Idol theme around a Manilow new release.

It's 50s night!! The birth of rock, the beginning of roll, the innocence of loves lost and loves found. An entire decade from which to choose.

Barry Manilow not only hosts the kids on stage in Las Vegas, but he serves as advisor, mentor, arranger and cheerleader to all of them. And they try to make him proud. Some do. Some don't.

And so here they are, my early impressions, subject to rewind, re-evaluation and rearrangement and as always, from worst to first:

Buddy Holly, uh, I mean Bucky chooses Oh Boy. He's stayed away from the evil curling machine, but is playing hot potato with the mic. That bothers me, because I'm waiting for him to drop it. He looks like he's really enjoying himself, but the song is not working for me. Randy says great song choice. Paula mumbles the same thing as Randy said. Simon pans the whole thing, calling in classic karaoke. Me? Oh boy. I really, really didn't like it at all.

Yay! Somebody finally gives me some Frankie Lymon, but unfortunately it's Lisa, who seems to spend all of Why Do Fools Fall in Love either ahead or behind the band. She's full of energy and tries hard, but it just doesn't work. Randy says meh. Paula is Paula and Simon talks about being in the middle of a high school musical.

Kevin, wardrobed in keen new glasses, selects When I Fall in Love, begins, as per Barry's recommendation, very softly and sweetly, sitting on the stage, all but in the faces of the judges. The problem with a song of that sort is that any missed note is like a neon light, and he hits some sour ones, but overall, as Simon points out, it hits the target of probable Kevin voters. Randy calls him a dawg. Paula gets all squishy, and Simon tells him he likes him. Again.

Ace gets the coveted pimp spot, going last with his urban jazzed-up version of In the Still of the Night. Maybe it's just me, but he's looking a bit younger John Travolta-ish, and his really cute brother is there. Randy announces that Ace is back. Paula counts the "marry me Ace" signs and Simon says meh, but assures Ace he won't be back on the seal tomorrow. Me? I prefer the original version, thank you.

Pickler does Patsy. How did we know that would happen? And to think Barry Manilow had never heard of Walking After Midnight. Hmm. Something very Picklish about that. Actually it wasn't as bad as I had feared, even though she did hit some rough spots and seemed to forget the sadness that the lyrics convey. Randy says welcome back. Paula well... And Simon continues his Pickler pimping.

I feared that someone would sing Fever by Peggy Lee, not one of my favorite songs. And I should have known it would be one of the teenagers. Paris is looking quite mature, and does quite well with the song. Randy gives her props. Paula does Paula, and Simon says it was perfect. And other such stuff. Me? I don't like the song much, but she got some respect from me, even though I still say she should have sung Frankie Lymon.

I am loving Taylor's perfect pastel blue suit and white shoes as he takes on Buddy Holly's Not Fade Away, with its total of 5 words. He's all over the stage, all over the audience, all over the catwalk, and it's obvious he's having a great time. Randy and Paula gush, once they pull Paula back into her chair. Simon is unimpressed, but at least we don't get any drunk dads of the bride comparisons. Me? I love Taylor, so I'll forgive pretty much anything.

Chris decides that he and Johnny Cash need to hook up, so he chooses to turn I Walk the Line into a part-slow, part-rock, totally-unrecognizable version of the original. I alternatively love it and hate it. Randy says it wasn't his best vocal but it was original. Paula repeats Randy and Simon applauds Chris' unwillingness to compromise. It wasn't Chris' best vocal, not even close, but it was certainly unique, even though he messed up the first two lines and nobody brought it up.

Mandisa gets the lead-off spot, looking absolutely FAB, says she doesn't really know that much about Barry Manilow but has a new respect for him. She then proceeds to blow not only the roof but the walls off the joint, knocking down both Paris and Lisa in the process, with Dinah Washington's I Don't Hurt Anymore. Randy is speechless (plus he has a cold), Paula calls her a thoroughbred among other incomprehensible mumblings and Simon calls her performance sexy and makes some strip club reference. Me? I say that probably was the best Mandisa performance to date. And the sale of Dinah Washington CDs may have just spiked.

Katharine is channeling Ella Fitzgerald with Come Rain or Come Shine. Barry tells her to sing to one person; she promises to do so but says she will never say who. I think she's singing to Constantine Maroulis, who's in the audience, but she may be singing to Kevin. But it doesn't matter to whom she sings. She's flawless as usual, even though Randy and Paula tell her it's not her best vocal performance. She looks FAB, after that wardobe disaster of last week, and she assures us she's taped securely. Bottom line: she IS fab.

Elliott spends what feels like 15 minutes telling Ryan how he wasn't a big Manilow lover, but now he's a Fanilow. He's chosen Teach Me Tonight and, while he doesn't master the backphrasing that Barry tries to teach him tonight, he's stunning, he's smooth, he's Elliott, the Elliott that I love. Randy says "you worked it out dude" for about the ninth time, Paula is incoherent and Simon calls him terrific. Get on the phone people. I [heart] him.

Sammy, the little Ace fan/guest announcer. She wins. Hands down.

So, who was worst? Who was first?

Tomorrow: executions.

tag: american idol


Blogger lorguru said...

Great run down.
Some areas I bet to differ...
I love Taylor, too, but I agreed with Simon on this one. I just kept thinking, "thank God he has no chance of going anywhere anytime soon."
I liked Chris' perfomance a lot more than you did. NO, it wasn't his best vocal performance, but it was also the only performance I really felt anything about. I would have been happy paying money for that one. It was tres cool.

So, those were new specs on Kevin, huh? I didn't notice. I did notice he buttoned his shirt all the way to the top. I think he's really playing up to the grannys and nerds out there. And the Chicken Little similarities just keep getting clearer.

I have decided Ace needs to control his face muscles a bit more. I had to look away by the third note. He doesn't do it for me.

I wonder what kind of genre we can look forward to (or fear) for next week.

And who do you think will be gone? I'm guessing Lisa.

10:24 PM, March 21, 2006  
Anonymous maggie said...

Jennifer was elliott in the 9 spot? I messed up my notes, lol

10:32 PM, March 21, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Yes. Elliott was 9th.

10:33 PM, March 21, 2006  
Blogger Frances said...

Jennifer, you should switch Ace and Chris on your list. I really liked Chris at first, but I'm convinced that he's singing different versions of the same song each week.
I'm far from being a rocker, but I can't imagine that rock would be so popular if all the songs sounded the same.

Katharine bores me. I know that she's a beautiful girl with a fabulous voice, but she's got a dull Carrie Underwood quality to her and she rubs me the wrong way. I'm going to pray about it though, because I want to like her, I really do.

Mandisa was incredible.

Finally, I'm so glad you placed Elliot in first. He's such a great singer, but he's incredibly underrated. I love to hear him sing. I close my eyes and imagine that he's singing just to me.

10:54 PM, March 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Katharine singing to Constantine? Uh, oh...trouble in roomate land. You do know that he's Pickler's new guy, don't you?

11:29 PM, March 21, 2006  
Blogger JR said...

What's up with having virtually every former idol contestant in the first few rows. There were three or four of them there tonight.
Vocally, I think Bucky needs to pack his bags, but if he picked up Melissa's underdog vote, then Lisa will be headed to LAX after the show tomorrow night. Kevin or Elliot may join them in the bottom three for dramatic effect.

11:57 PM, March 21, 2006  
Anonymous Tim C said...

I already peeled off the vids and mp3 for my Ipod.

I loved 5 of them. Chris, Mandisa, Katherine, Kelly. Paris.

I am hoping for the Hobbitt to go home.

2:37 AM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger ChrisROCKS said...

Frances, how can Katherine bore you?! She's arguably the best female vocalist in the competition. She's flawless! Granted, she's lacked connection with the audience thusfar, but Barry's suggestion to "sing to one person" was spot on, and it transformed her performance tonight. Simon was absolutely right...something happened to Katherine tonight: She became a STAR! If she can remember to *connect* she's going to go really far. Her and Mandisa, both.

By the way, does anyone know what kind of pain killers Paula is on? OMG...she's high all the time these days!

5:34 AM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

I was just happy the AFE was no where to be seen.

6:13 AM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger purplvr said...

Am I the only one who was totally put off by Pickle's borderline retarded behavior lastnight? Talking about her fake eyelashes AGAIN and pointing to a sign in the audience, saying "It's a pickle" was just weird. Ryan was trying to get something out of her about what she had learned that week, as in from Barry Manilow, not about her makeup!!!!
I can't wait for her to get the boot and take the next plane back to Nitwitville!

7:35 AM, March 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem I have with AI this year is that I just want the women/girls over with, I don't even care what they will be singing, I just want them DONE. I agree that Mandisa is the best of the bunch (women that is), but even her, I want to have her song shorter. It's definitely the guys year this time around. My prediction for tonight's execution is: Lisa and I say GOOD RIDDANCE!

7:40 AM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger JR said...

I'm ready for the judges to be replaced. Randy really has no viable criticism, Simon has gotten too involved in his "evil twin" character, and Paula needs to be in rehab. Barry Manilow had more constructive criticism during his 10 second sound bites than all three judges have had all year and he looked like he truly enjoyed working with the kids. Simon looks like he's doing everyone a favor by just showing up.

8:25 AM, March 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A diehard country music fan (going to see ex-AI contestant Josh Gracin on Friday in fact) who cannot stand Kellie and really think Bucky was the worst this week. I thought Mandisa and Katherine were awsome but I'm just overall rooting for a guy. Chris is awesome in my opinion and so glad Taylor is safe overall because his performance just wasn't that good.
Jenna :)

8:25 AM, March 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who were Simon's three picks on Larry King? Jenna

8:26 AM, March 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One word: Mandisa!

Maybe a few other words: get Kevin out of my tv!

8:32 AM, March 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and I finally figured out why I LOVE Chris. His favorite band is Live...one of my favorites from 10 years ago. He looks and sounds just like Ed Kowalczyk! Ok, I'm done...promise. -Jenna

8:32 AM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger JR said...

Simon's picks were Chris, Taylor, and Pickles...go figure.

8:34 AM, March 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pickles? Oh you're kidding! Is is me or is she cross-eyed? Maybe it's the eyelashes. -Jenna

8:41 AM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Oh, but those weren't ayelashes. Those were tor-ranch-ulas. ;o)

8:54 AM, March 22, 2006  
Anonymous Bernadette said...

Just found your blog :)
LOVE Elliot...been blowing up his number every week!
He's from around here, so I get a double dose of him...once on AI then again on the local news afterwards! Lucky me ;)

9:43 AM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

If Paula would let Simon finish, his critiques are usually right on. Paula has definitely been in the sauce again.

Randy used to be the most technical of the judges (he is the producer in the bunch, after all), but about the middle of season 2 he went ghetto on us and hasn't come back.

Earlier this year, he appeared to be back in his obtuse, muscian style and actually had positive things to say but now he's gone back to "dawg" and "aiiiight".

I think they should replace the judges with Gene Simmons, Barry Manilow and rotate the third spot for bloggers who don't have any problems ripping the contestants who deserve it.

9:57 AM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger Frances said...

chrisrocks, Katharine is one of the better vocalists, but the best is Mandisa.

But, you hit the nail on the head when you said she lacks connection with the audience.
If she was singing to one person, that one person wasn't me.

Katharine has a beautiful voice and she's very pretty, but she belongs on Broadway, not AI. I would pay to see Mandisa, Chris, Taylor, Paris or Ace in concert because they would do their best to entertain, but VCM(thanks Dave) needs a director to guide her performance.

Katharine McWhatever and Clay Aiken were made for the great white way. Maybe after AI is over, they'll get a show together and you and I can go see it ;)

9:59 AM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Oh Dave, I LOVED Gene Simmons when he was a guest. And I pick Gladys Knight. She was objective and fair, a very good judge. And far more successful than miss paula.

10:05 AM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

Any time, frances. ;)

It's funny that you mention Broadway for VCM (shameless plug for my own blog and glossary here). When she was singing last night, I thought she would have been perfect for the role of Gypsy Rose (played by Natalie Woods in the movie). Even the song she sang had the burlesque sound in it.

I only hope that on showtunes night she sings "Let Me Entertain You".

10:07 AM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger Vernae said...

I'm with ya on all of them...a bit let down by Taylor, but eh he's Taylor!

Ace and Elliott defintely redeemed themselves and if they are in the bottom three...Well let's just say my gun is in it's holster and I'm ready to use it.

11:59 AM, March 22, 2006  
Anonymous beth said...

Thank God for Simon. He is the only judge that is spot on with the critique 90% of the time. I am convinced that the singing must sound different live, because the ones I hear as being horrible seem to get the rave reviews--and vice versa! (and no, I'm not some hack. I have had a bit of vocal training myself)

As for last night, my comments are too many to put down. I might have to do my own blog entry.

I can't stand cliche Kelly. Kevin hurts both my eyes AND my ears. Ace's performance was lukewarm at best, and he needs to get some new moves. Mandisa and Kathrine were awesome, as was Chris. I dig Elliot, and the stylists are working it out with the guys, who are (with the exception of Ace) homlier-then-thou. Even Bucky seemed cuter. Did he have his teeth worked on? Softer hair and a shave did wonders for Elliot. Taylor needs to go even shorter and back off his forehead--then he might reach my hot meter.

12:47 PM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger JR said...

Gladys Knight, Gene Simmons, and Barry Manilow as judges...I can definitely live with that. I had forgotten how good Simmons was as the guest judge. Great pick DHL (Dave the High Lord).

1:05 PM, March 22, 2006  
Anonymous David said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:46 PM, March 22, 2006  
Anonymous Maggie said...

I spent a long time voting for Elliott and didn't get many busy signals. I really hope that doesn't mean what I think it does. :pout: Let's just say I'll be happy to join Vernae! Hopefully fox will play with the votes and Lisa will go! :crossing fingers:

1:53 PM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Well Maggie, if you and Nae and I can cross enough fingers, maybe...

2:00 PM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

According to Dialidol.com, Elliott is in trouble to night. You can check out their prediction here.

I'm not sure if I buy into their theories, but they claim to be 85% accurate.

Also, jr, most people usually refer to me as HLD (it keep people from confusing me with a shipping company). ;)

2:08 PM, March 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


2:09 PM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

No word on theme next week yet.

2:12 PM, March 22, 2006  
Anonymous Maggie said...

Let me think this out a minute, we still have the text vote to consider, yes? OH, I really hope we don't lose Elliott tonight. I'm beginning to panic. I was hoping he'd secure a spot in the tour.

2:13 PM, March 22, 2006  
Blogger sarahb14 said...

Okay, I just have to post today! I totally agree with whoever suggested that we vote off the judges. I'm so tired of them arguing all the time!!! As for last night - wow! I am another one who has never been a huge Barry Manilow fan, and after last year's Barry-theme week (which almost put me to sleep) I kinda wished he wouldn't come back. However, I've now decided that he must be the world's best vocal coach and arranger!! He seems to have brought out the best in everyone. There were definately better and worse performances, but overall there were not any that were horrible. Everyone's strengths were shining! I still agree it's time to say good-bye to Lisa. And, while Elliott is great vocally, he's going to have to pump up his stage presence if he wants to stick around too much longer....

2:59 PM, March 22, 2006  
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12:24 PM, August 14, 2006  

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