Tuesday, March 14, 2006

stevie wonder night: the top 12...

So Stevie Wonder is visiting the teary-eyed kids on opening night of the finals. The kids are introduced in order and it's clear what a stylist can accomplish. The kids cleaned up quite nicely.

I love the first night of finals. There's always that intangible electricity that just is not there during the semis. But I can't help but think how totally cruel it is to subject the kids to both opening night jitters, a big stage with a big crowd and forcing them to sing Stevie.

I love cruelty.

Well, here they are, written as I'm watching, my early impressions, and, as usual, subject to rewind, review and revision and, as always, from worst to first.

Kellie Pickler chooses Blame it on the Sun. In everything that is Idol, what in the hell was that? She points out that she bought her shoes on sale and that she's wearing false eyelashes. When that's the most memorable thing about a performance, things are not good. Randy says he likes the shoes. Simon likes the shoes. Paula likes the shoes. I don't even like the shoes.

Kevin Covais keeps the "I'm this year's sex god" theme alive by thanking all of the sign carrying fans and announcing he's a Part-Time Lover, complete with moving feet and indescribable dance moves. It's a cute and decent performance, in tune without forgotten lyrics. It was not appalling, as Simon described, but what is appalling is a 16 year old smart ass who is believing his own hype. Grannies do not appreciate freshness, and when you're depending on the granny vote, well...

Ace Young decides to Do I Do. He's all over the stage, the catwalk, avoids falsetto overload and yes, cute brother is there to cheer. Paula applauds his entertainment value, but the others criticize the vocals. Me? That was an unrecognizable version of a good song.

Melissa McGhee is adorable in her apologetic forgetting of the lyrics to Lately. Actually for awhile I seem to forget that I was not terribly impressed with the beginning of her performance, but the end was enough to let me forgive the front. Randy say meh. Paula tells her she should wear dresses more often. Simon says it was her best performance so far. Not so sure about that, but it was certainly not the worst one tonight.

I knew somebody would just feel compelled to sing Signed, Sealed, Delivered, considering it's been performed on pretty much every single season, and Lisa Tucker doesn't let me down. And, as much as I love this song, she doesn't show me anything new with the song, except for the fact that she's now proven she can actually move her feet to do something other than walk. It's not the best performance, as Simon suggests, but it's certainly not the pits.

It's touching how deeply moved Elliott Yamin is by meeting Stevie Wonder. His choice is interesting, considering he could probably eat up half of the Stevie catalog. But his rendition of Knocks Me off of my Feet, especially right after Pickler's shoes, is adequate. Randy says decent. Paula says we'll be seeing Elliott for weeks to come, and Simon tells him he needs to find his wow button.

Bucky Covington admits he's never heard Superstition and now that he has, he wants to run out and buy all Stevie Wonder products. Looks like Bucky has had a whole lot of products put into his hair; I never thought I would wish for his ponytail. I think I am falling more and more in love with this guy. He knows he's so far away from his zone, but he obviously grabs the experience just for the joy of the experience. And I think he's terrific. But for once I will agree with Simon; the curls have got to go.

Simon tells Paris Bennett she reminds him of a wind-up doll. Bratz dolls are not wound up. But she does an adequate job with All I Do, even though everything but the lyrics and the melody pretty much remind me of her Midnight Train to Georgia performance a couple of weeks back. I am not terribly impressed, but I'm not going to throw up. She's just Paris. The doll.

Mandisa has gotten my hall of fame forever and ever award for shedding her shoes (and even getting Ryan to remove them for her) for her peformance of Don't You Worry About a Thing. She's looking spectacular, but, ahem, she sounds really weak. She's fine in her upper voice, but her lower register almost makes me wonder if the band is playing in the wrong key. The judges tell her she's the best so far (having followed Ace, Kellie and Elliott), and she is, but after her blistering performance last time, I'm a little disappointed.

Taylor Hicks says Living for the City hits home for him. And he overcomes being virtually drowned by the band and his signature dance steps to bring the audience to its feet and the judges to acknowledging his talent.

Randy tells Katharine McPhee that her version of Until You Come Back to Me is da bomb. It is more than that. Simon says she's reminding him of Kelly Clarkson at the early stages of AI 1. The girl is fabulous. She's effortless. She's tremendous. But she needs a new clothing advisor. I hope they put that selection on the CD. Wow.

Chris Daughtry is lucky enough to merit the pimp spot, which, in and of itself, assures him a pass into next week. But Chris has proven he doesn't really need any manipulative assistance, choosing Higher Ground, the only Stevie song that would fit him like a glove. The smoke and the sparks light up the stage, but Chris doesn't need the pyrotechnics either. Simon says his was the best performance by a mile. Well, it was great, but I put him more in a deadlock with Katharine and Taylor.

Tomorrow Stevie will sing a Stevie song. Gee, I wonder if he'll make it his own. Guess we'll see.

C'mon. Who were your favorites? Who's toast?

tag: american idol


Blogger laura said...

glad to see that someone else thought katharine's wardrobe had much to be desired. I mean, seriously - what was she thinking!

10:20 PM, March 14, 2006  
Anonymous gavintiegirl said...

I think it is time Kevin goes home. I have been fond of him all along, but the time has come. I am more connected to the fact that we are from virtually the same town..he goes to school with my nieces and that we share the same sarcastic NY attitude, but this is a serious competition now and this should be the end for him. I was not impressed with Melissa forgetting the words. I thought it was tacky. I know she is nervous - and no, I could not do better, but again this is a serious competition - move over for the real true dedicated performers - PLEASE. Best tonight....Katharine, Chris and my favorite Taylor. But they do not need my votes - my favorite every week is Elliot. I have a soft spot for him and I want him to stay, just so I can see what he does next week. Thank you for your site - I look forward to reading your commentary.

10:23 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger Vernae said...

I agree Katharine, Taylor and Chris, completley agree.

Toast? My underdog, my Meliisa :(
I have been rooting for her for a while. I was so upset when she forgot the lyrics! She does have a beautiful voice, but I don't think America will keep her around long.

Kellie should go, but we know how that works...she's cute blah blah blah.


10:27 PM, March 14, 2006  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Taylor, Taylor, Taylor....he's my fav! There are others I enjoy but he really makes me smile, watching him makes me happy!

Kevin is getting a little big for his britches don't you think?
I'm just not diggin Ace...at least it wasn't falsetto tonight but he sounds a little too much like Michael Jackson for me.
Kellie looked pretty in her pageant dress hehe, (she was in the Miss North Carolina pageant)she was toned down tonight, nothing to call home about.
Elliott sounded alot like Stevie Wonder, I like his voice.
I am officially a Bucky Fan! I love what he did tonight, I was concerned but he came through! He said that hair style wasn't his idea...I believe him.
Melissa did better tonight, but had a lyric malfunction, that could hurt her.
I was very happy to hear Lisa NOT do a ballad.
Chris did a great job, but I didn't like this performance as much as I have others.
That's my opinions!

10:28 PM, March 14, 2006  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Geez...I forgot Katharine....yes, wardrobe is awful, singing is great :)

10:30 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger JR said...

That's the second tie Katharine has worn that empire waistline type outfit. She wore one with spandex pants in the semi-finals.
It makes her look pregnant.

10:34 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

I was soooooo happy that Lisa didn't go AFE on us again.

(If you don't know what AFE is, you'll have to visit my blog to find out. How's that for a shameless plug?)

10:39 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger JR said...

I don't think it was a coincidence that the best performances tonight were turned in by the most experienced performers. Chris, Taylor, Mandisa, Katharine, Paris, and Lisa all had better command of the stage than the others. I allowed them to concentrate on the music and not worry so much about how to fill up the stage.

10:42 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger laura said...

lol @ the shameless plug, dave

10:56 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger JR said...

That's OK, anyone who comes up with "Screw Your Buddy" theme night is entitled to a shameless plug.

11:00 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger Melanie C said...

Paris has been my favorite since she auditioned. Also, I agree with jr.

As for Kevin, do you really think he's not joking about the whole sex symbol thing? I've taken it that he's kidding about it. I think Ace and Chris have the most sex appeal.

12:30 AM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

I think Kevin is joking about the sex symbol thing.

Kevin is probably the smartest person American Idol has ever had on, and he can sing, too. He's such a nerd (and I mean that in the good way).

Some other contestants were the butt of the joke, often unwittingly (Scott Savol comes to mind), but Kevin not only knows the joke is on him, but he's made sure that he's in control of the joke. It's refreshing to see that he doesn't take himself or the competition too seriously.

His biggest liability is that he's clearly nervous on stage. The other, more seasoned, performers are going to bury him, but I don't think he'll break the way some other contestants have.

12:43 AM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger Toni said...

Kevin may be joking about the sex symbol thing, but he sure as hell wasn't joking when he talked back to Simon.

2:21 AM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

I do think Kevin is playing up the sex symbol gag, but his remark to Simon could have killed him in the eyes of a lot of people who see that as disrespectful (or just snotty, as I did). It's especially distasteful coming out of a kid to an adult.

Voters like humility, and Kevin might have just blown it on that score.

7:15 AM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger JR said...

Kevin's performance could have killed him last night. Next to "Pickles", he was the worst of the evening. He has no idea what to do with himself on the big stage and it showed. That stupid little shuffle across the stage looked like Tim Conway's little old man character. Some folks have made fun of Taylor's antics, but he is entertaining... Kevin is just uncomfortable.
"Pickles" may be in a pickle. She was so far out of her comfort zone last night that she actually looked frightened on stage. I don't know if it was a combination of big stage, big lights, big band, Stevie Wonder or what... but she was a mess. The faster she can get on with her country music career, the better.
Again, I just can't bring myself to like Bucky. His inexperience will be the death of him. That semi-squat, that looks like a two year old that's just had an accident, has got to go. The more seasoned performers showed up last night and they will bury these three very soon.

7:47 AM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bucky or Kevin are toast tonight for sure. Not sure if it will be a girl, although that wouldn't be so bad. I want Taylor or Chris to win this entire thing. I just realized that I totally forgot Paris in my recap. Shows how much she registers with me huh? LOL!

7:49 AM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everytime Chris sings I expect the balloons and confetti to start flying down...screw it, we already found our Idol...let's end this early.

8:02 AM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger Nelle said...

Once again I LOVED Katherine and Chris. I wanted to drop Kevin through a trap door. Wouldn't that be interesting if they had that with Simon in control of it? I found that I was stating my opinions and Simon's closely agreed with mine. That scared me a bit. lol I love Stevie Wonder music but it's best left to him to perform it. I thought it was touching how much it meant to the performers to meet him. I think (hope) Kelly is toast, hated the shoes and although I like unguarded, she takes it to a level that I don't like.

8:43 AM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger Happy Hiker said...

What's up with all these people hating Katherine's dress last night? I loved it! (And beware, those dresses are coming into fashion this summer) She reminded me of an innoscent love child of the 60's, the way she paraded around in it, so natural and effortless. Amazing! And I really think this competition will have her in the top 3 along with Taylor and Chris. And this is how I think they should go, but I doubt they will.

12. Kevin
11. Ace
10. Kellie
9. Bucky
8. Lisa
7. Melissa
6. Mandisa
5. Paris
4. Elliot
3. Taylor
2. Katherine
1. Chris

9:25 AM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Getting Curious said...

Well, after reading this blog for many weeks, I decided to take watch AI for myself and see what these top 12 sound like.

Overall I was impressed with most. Kellie was maybe the most boring thing I have ever seen. By the end of her song I was asleep and dreaming.

Kevin was kinda funny to watch but I don't think he should go on tour.

Ace was alright, very cute, but singing was just alright.

Same with Melissa - cute, but by no means knocked my socks off.

Bucky - Oh my gosh, his singing was ok and I really liked his attitude, but that hair!!! That's the first time I ever wished I had a guy's hair. I haven't seen hair that soft and pretty on most models!! Simon was really dead on with his comment.

Paris was ok, I definitely didn't like her as much as the judges, but she was entertaining. Cute outfit for her age, not trying to dress to old, that's nice to see.

Katherine's voice was very beautiful and I didn't mind the dress, but I was not "wowed" by the performance. But it defintely sounds like it is in her to be "wow-ing".

Lisa was really good, I thought she had great energy and was adorable and did the song some justice. Like the judges said, it's hard to sing Stevie (which makes me wonder why in the world they chose to do him as a theme night if they had so little faith in what the singers would do to the songs. Weirdoes.)

I have heard SO MUCH hype about Chris and I think I can't pass judgement on just hearing him this week, because if I did, I'd have to say: unimpressed. Not that he wasn't good, he really was a great singer. But he said flat out that he was more working off the Chili Peppers version of the song and it sounded almost identical to me. Like I said, I thought he did it really good, but then the judges calling him "so original" and that he was "better by a mile"?? WAY OFF!! He didn't bring any more originality to that song than any other contestant did to their song. And he seemed like he had a pretty bland personality. I'm going to chalk that up to maybe just seeing him on a bad night, because I've heard so much good about him that it can't be all wrong.

Elliot was great, really sweet, loved his reactiion to Stevie Wonder, it was melting me, and the way he performed the song was great. I hope he stays on a long time.

Mandisa was AWESOME. That shoe thing had me cracking up and I was so glad she didn't have to be dancing in those. Her voice was spectacular - she deserves to go way far.

Last, Taylor - I BELIEVE THE HYPE! He was SO entertaining and he did the song so well and he better not dye his hair! I hope he or Mandisa takes it all. (I know Mandisa is unlikely, but I can dream).

So that's my take. Sorry so long!! I'm so glad I finally watched!

Hey Jennifer, what is the name of that song they opened the song with, they were showing Chicago and all the unmbrellas going up and chorus was saying something like, "the love we shared..." I really can't remember anymore! My memory is so bad. Do you know what it's called??

My pick to go home... the most obvious seems to be Melissa.

That's all for me, idol fans - have a great week.

10:27 AM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Looks like another Taylor fan!

I don't know what that song title from the montage was, but I'd like to know. Very catchy.

Anybody know?

10:42 AM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger MP said...

Ace..good for him. Kellie..BAD..Elliot, not his best. Mandisa, surprisingly not that good. Kevin... Nikko did it SO much better last year. Bucky..I wish my hair looked that good. I agree, bring back the ponytail. Lisa and Paris, good performances. Melissa did better than usual and looked great. I didn't even realize that she forgot the lyrics. Taylor, Chris and Katherine were AWESOME. Taylor better not dye his hair and I didn't care much for the lightning bolt of hair on the side of Chris's face. Who should go home: Kevin. Who will go home..Melissa or Bucky.

11:17 AM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Whoa...I musta missed the bolt of hair on Chris. Dang. That means I'm gonna have to watch it again. LOL

And Taylor would not be Taylor without the gray. It's part of what gives him his character. They want, apparently, to make it a bit darker. And I know women who would KILL to have Bucky's.

11:33 AM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger Kimberleigh said...

Hated Katharines dress too! Loved her vocals though! I didn;t think Lisa brang 'it' Kevin is on my last nerve....what is with all that blinking???? Melissa reminded me why I love that song "lately" I adore Taylor and Bucky natural joy just to be there! Paris's natural gift just takes off every time she starts to sing. I'm soooooo loving this season!!!

11:37 AM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger gwennie said...

mellisa needs to go home!! how disrespectful is it to for you to forget the lyrics to the man's song!!! and lately...who doesn't know the lyrics to that song!!! she needs to go home!!!

and if taylor dies his hair, i will never vote for him again, no matter how good he is!

1:12 PM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger Bradley Egel said...

Ace and Bucky are totally out of the other competitors league...

One of them should go home tonight...and the fact that Gideon is not here in place of one of them is a terrible misfortune!

The Egel Nest

1:45 PM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Jan said...

Last night started out really sad. Ace...ahh!! His time is about up. I know that girls probably like him, but looks can't carry a tune. Kevin never should have been picked as one of the top singers in the first place so I think he needs to go. I don't know why people would vote for him, other than sympathy votes or family. I'm a bit tired of the ditzy Kellie Pickler. She seems more like a contestant for Beauty and the Geek. The singers that wow me most are Chris (of course), Taylor, Katharine, Elliot, and Mandisa (at times).Chris is my pick for a win, but I wouldn't be disappointed if any of those mentioned won. I know Chris will make it regardless of whether he wins or not. The other singers that I have not mentioned are simply okay singers whose performances don't dazzle me, but who can at least carry a tune. They may stick around a while, but unless something changes I can't see them being the winner.

2:15 PM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate Melissa and can't wait to see her gone! I think that Chris and Taylor are amazing and agree they will be the last ones standing. I knew Chris could pull off Stevie even though he is a rocker at heart. I think he made it his own and totally owned the stage. NO Taylor do not dye your hair!!! I hope he knows that we all love the hair just the way it is. Still love looking at Ace too, he needs to pick it up a notch. The girls are boring this year. Even the ones that can sing are missing one of the many elements you need to be a star! Go Chris & Taylor!!!!!!!!!!!

2:35 PM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last night I discovered something I'd never noticed before: Bucky has pretty hair. For once I was with Simon; it was a little "Jessica Simpson"-esque for my taste. Vocally, though, Bucky reminded me why I like "Superstition".

Other favorites from last night: Katharine, Taylor (as usual), and Chris. And I WAS glad to see Lisa sing something other than a ballad last night.

And Melissa, who forgot Stevie's lyrics...in front of him...ouch. That must've been embarrassing. She covered it up pretty well onstage, but still...that may have hurt her a little bit with the voters. I guess we'll see.

2:36 PM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Beancounter_in_Bama said...

This is a great site, many thanks to Jennifer for all her hard work on our behalf.

Who should be voted off?
Who will be voted off?

Two different questions with potentially two different answers.
The answer to who should be voted off is around who shouldn't be on the tour. In my opinion, that is undoubtedly Kevin.

As to who will be voted off, dial idol predicts Lisa, Ace followed by Kevin as having the fewest busy signals.

Surprised to see Ace that low despite his poor performance last night, I thought he had a following that would keep him on a few more rounds.

5:50 PM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

After last week, I don't know how confident I am in dialidol. But the numbers are fun.

(BTW, thank you for your nice words. I love doing this blog.)

And isn't it usually the case that "should" and "will" are almost always different. ;o)

5:59 PM, March 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paris should have been shot with a tranquilizer dart last night.
She was working my last nerve.
There's just something about her that I find ANNOYING.
Take your compliments from the "Judges" and SHUT UP ALREADY.

8:33 PM, March 15, 2006  
Blogger SuzS80 said...

Bucky - Am I the only female who thought Bucky was totaly HOT last night? I loved his hair worn down and CLEAN. Couldn't wait for the grease to be washed out ! I love him and his raspy voice ! Sure hope he sticks around a while.

Ace - Gorgeous,,not a great singer. His time is limited

Melissa - Give me a break, I would forget the lyrics too. 1/2 these kids probably don’t know who the heck Stevie Wonder is. And the judges "greatest singer of all time comment" give me a break... I can't stand him or his music. I think it was awful they chose his music for the first week. Rock on Melissa,,, you have a wonderful voice.. just had sucky music to choose from.

Mandisa - Just cuz she can scream doesn't make her great. Would love to hear her sing a ballad. Judges keep referring to Fantasia… umm has anyone heard of her since she won? Learn from that.

Kevin - Time to leave little man,,, I'm sick of the lisp and the "sex symbol" comments. They aren't cute anymore. Let's get on with the real contest.

Paris & Lisa - Ho hum... just alright. Capable of so much more, both of them.

Elliot - sweet Elliot, fantastic voice, needs his makeover,,, won't win, but such a great voice.

Katharine, Taylor, Chris - WOW, powerhouses!! Katharine (like Ayla) needs to be knocked down a notch however,, she's a bit full of herself. But what a voice. Taylor's quirkiness I will love forever,, he's a joy to watch and listen to,, and no dye job,, he wouldn't be Taylor without the gray. Chris - Rock on Mr. American Idol.

Who should go home? Kevin,,,hands down,, he doesn't belong with this group. Who will go home? Melissa.

9:08 PM, March 15, 2006  

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