Sunday, May 21, 2006

my ten most memorable moments...

With the finale looming, putting an end to this very short and very long fifth season of American Idol, it's time, as is customary, for me to sit back, remember, reflect, reassess and do all those other silly things one does as the end of something is so near.

Yes! That means it's time for the most memorable moments.

Seems people always like to talk about performances in terms of "best" or "worst." I don't do that, because talent is subjective, and style preferences run the spectrum. So I let others do that. In fact, my favorite performance(s) aren't even on this list. This is a list of the moments that stick in my brain without having to review a list of songs to trigger the recollection. And they're not in any specific order, really, until it gets to the end. (And, as always, I purposely exclude the two remaining kids, and anything from the previous week, because picking from a few days ago is the weenie way out.)

10.) Ace Young. (Father Figure). I remember Ace from his auditions, after having read his name being thrown about as a top 44er, so I was looking forward to seeing him for the first time, and I immediately pegged him as a frontrunner, but only on the basis of his good looks. But when he took the stage in the first men's semi-final and delivered this performance, I knew he'd make the 12, and was somewhat happy that he actually had a voice to back up those sensual gazes into the camera. Too bad his first good performance was his last good performance. But at least the memory of that night sustains me.

9.) Mandisa. (Wanna Praise You). Mandisa had blown most of the girls out of the water during the semi-finals with that big, belty voice that had her being compared with season two's prematurely evicted, but always remembered Frenchie Davis. But when she came down that ramp, preaching about lifestyles, I knew she was a goner. Faith is a wonderful thing, and she said later she needed to stay true to herself and that's a noble gesture, but the rules of the game are simple: sing, sing in tune, act nice. And leave agendas backstage.

8.) Gedeon McKinney. (Change is Gonna Come). Simon was right about Gedeon. His smile was offputting and even a little creepy, mainly because it just never seemed to go away. And smiles that never go away are not natural. But when he took to the semi-final eyeball stage and let loose with this song, I really believed he was going to oust one of the ratpackers to grab a final 12 spot. I still play this mp3 from time to time.

7.) Bobby Bennett. (Copacabana). Yes, this performance is still in my memory. And I want it out. Out. Now.

6.) Chris Daughtry. (Hemmorhage). I have this thing. When I hear a song for the very first time, I usually don't like it. It takes a few listens first. But when Chris Daughtry sang this song, that I had never before heard, he was my immediate choice for final two, because not only did he perform it well, he sang it well, erasing with that performance the one lingering doubt I initially had about him.

5.) Kevin Covais. (Part-Time Lover). Okay, so I thought Kevin was a cutie. And I couldn't help but smile at his willingness to play along with the self-mocking about his newly-discovered sex symbol status. And I pegged him immediately as this season's villian, you know, the one contestant who keeps plugging along, getting enough votes to continue while leaving better artists in his wake. After all, we have one every season. But when Kevin took to the top-12 stage and slinked and slunked his way through this Stevie Wonder song, I swear I felt my body shudder. Gratefully, he was gone the next week.

4.) Melissa McGhee. (What About Love). There weren't, truly, many memorable moments with Melissa, her butchered lyrics of Stevie Wonder notwithstanding, but when she sang Heart in the last women's semi-final, and did so somewhat admirably, only to have Simon tell her to pack her bags and reserve a flight to Florida, I had one of those rare moments. I got mad enough to vote for her. And I voted hardcore. And, it seems, so did a lot of other people, because the look on her face, when she outlasted the favored Ayla Brown to make it into the 12 was a priceless moment that made hitting that redial button worth it. (Sorry Ayla, nothing against you. I thought she'd oust Lisa Tucker instead.)

3.) Paris Bennett (The Show Must Go On). Knowing that Freddie Mercury recorded this song fully aware that he had just a short time to live, makes it one of my bittersweet favorites of the Queen catalog. So I knew I was going to be more highly critical of Paris than of the others that night. But when she came out in full rocker chick regalia and delivered this powerful and forceful rendition, I was impressed, enough even to blog it as the best performance of the night. But it's also memorable to me for the hell I had to take at work the next day for calling it the best of the night. Alas.

2.) The Entire Crew. (Standards Night). I had seriously lost interest in this competition after 21st Century night, which I still maintain was the worst overall finals performance episode in the five-year history of this show. But when Rod Stewart came to visit, and the kids had to choose from the greatest of the Great American Songbook, not only did each of them (minus one - sorry Pickler) bring it up a notch, but they renewed and rejuvenated my interest in a season that I pretty much would have written off - if it hadn't been for one of them. Which brings me to...

1.) Elliott Yamin. (A Song for You). Love Songs Night was on my birthday, and I had fallen in like with Elliott after Moody's Mood for Love and fallen in love after Teach Me Tonight. And even though I had shamelessly (and against all of the ethics of this blog) pleaded with people to vote for Elliott because "I [heart]ed him" (yes, I went back and looked - I did that), I really didn't think Elliott would advance too far, because as vocally brilliant as he was, he always seemed to be holding back on stage. But on my birthday, after telling my co-workers (yes, the ones who berated me over the Paris thing) that all I wanted as a gift was for Elliott to flip that switch and go for broke, he stood alone on that stage in that suit and light blue tie, took that Donny Hathaway song and totally ripped it with a confidence I hadn't seen in him until then. I was crying before Paula was, not over the song so much, but over watching this seemingly reserved kid bloom into a star.

So there they are. My most memorable moments.

Got memories of your own?

29 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...I guess since you admitted it, I will too. I voted my arse off for Melissa that same night too!

And...Father Figure sticks out the most when I think of Ace.

"Have You Really Loved A Woman" is my absolute favorite performance of the entire season. Thank God for Chris.

Nothing else comes to mind right now, but I just woke up....

~V~

9:49 AM, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I absolutely adored Gedeon, big goofy smile and all. In my opinion his raw talent was so much better than Kevin or Bucky, and he was completely robbed of making it to the finals. I would've loved to hear his voice at least a few more times.

10:30 AM, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto what anon. said.

Gedeon, IMO, had the best male vocals.

~~V~

11:44 AM, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous Doby said...

Elliott's A Song For You goes down as the one S5 performance I'll think of for years. Receiving very delayed feeds (I live overseas) and having read your synopsis online (I'm a very loyal fan of yours), I thought I was prepared for anything. Plus I firmly believed I permanently lost my tear ducts, not having used them for like forever. So I was totally caught off guard when I found myself crying by the end of his performanace. And I'm a big dude! Thanks to Elliott, I now know that I'm not completely unemotional.

11:53 AM, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One quick one off the top of my head.

Ryan standing on his toes in an unsuccessful attempt to not have Ayla tower over him. :)

-- Allen

12:37 PM, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no Tay memories? My goodness,,,how could you not mention LEVON?????My fave in all the shows since beginning and i dont really like that song by Elton,,

12:42 PM, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second that about Taylor and LEVON... and Ace Young moment over this one??? Geez

1:11 PM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

It always cracks me up. If I had included a Taylor moment, the Kat fans would have bitched. If I had included Kat and not Taylor, the Taylor fans would have bitched. That's why the last line in the third paragraph, that apparently was too complicated to be understood easily states very plainly that I purposely exclude the two remaining contestants.

And they still bitch. About MY memories.

Never fails...

1:22 PM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger Julie said...

LOL Jennifer. You can't please everybody and on some days you can't please anyone.
I do agree wholeheartedly with the Chris moment. I liked him from the beginning, but after that song I hearted him.

1:24 PM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Well, you know Julie, a very wise person once told me that if you're pleasing everyone then you're not doing your job right. Best. Advice. Ever.

Actually it's funny, because I was just asked about voting motivation, and I replied that even the tiniest thing can sway a voter one way or another, in both politics and in American Idol. And fans of one contestant or another, the ones who feel justified in trying to tell others what to think, can certainly tilt the scales.

But some of them haven't figured that out yet.

Alas.

1:40 PM, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous rbk said...

The moment that hooked me for the season (after not watching seasons 2 through 4) was Lisa Tucker's audition. When she opened her mouth it was like suddenly the 30" tv was a surround-sound movie theater -- it was transcendent. I said to my brother and his girlfriend: "This girl is going to win this competition." ...and, yes, I was wrong, but it was a fabulous moment.

1:57 PM, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous vic said...

hey what about the three cowboys during the auditions? was his name garet? omg, i laughed and cried at the same time.

1:59 PM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Oh Vic!! I had forgotten little Garet. I ADORED him! Singing to the turkeys.

I must now run and find a photo...

2:01 PM, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous vic said...

singing to the turkeys was just priceless!

2:02 PM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger tracyintpa said...

Elliott's Moodys Mood For Love, he blew me away totally. I have it on my ipod and listen to if often. It was his best.

Also, the BEST memory, is Taylor's audition, and how he was raw, goofy, sloppy, and yet underneath that messy, weird exterior, was this beautiful, soulful singer. The fact that Simon hated him and Paula and Randy put him thru and now he is in the finals. That is my favorite moment. The very first time he auditioned I hearted him in a big way.

Also, Gedeon's Change is gonna come. That was my biggest disappointment all year when he didn't make the cut.

2:55 PM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Tracy, have you heard the CD cut of Moody's? If you liked his short version, well... you're gonna, I don't know, what's better than love?

It's really great. I'm going to download Moody's Mood from Itunes, to hopefully drive up Elliott's ranking. Gotta send a message somehow, you know.

2:58 PM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger tracyintpa said...

I'm going to download it too. They don't have it yet on Itunes, at least not by Elliott's name. Did you find it another way? Elliott's Elvis week was also one of my favorite memories. It was his best week on the show, he was awesome all 3 songs, his confidence was soaring and he picked up the momentum to take him past the Goliath we knew as Chris.

3:55 PM, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous vic said...

hey jennifer, thanks for the gift that appeared fleetingly across the page. very, very nice. wonderful sound.

4:15 PM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

I hope that everyone who is a fan of the non-finalists downloads just their favorite track from the CD, even if they buy the whole CD. If enough people do, maybe we, the fans, can send a message about whose music we'd like to hear more from.

4:15 PM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

"fleetingly" Yes. :D

4:19 PM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger Julie said...

Hey Jennifer, I didn't know if you had seen this article on idol fever. Nothing new just letting all of us fans know we are not alone in our idol worship...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060521/en_nm/idol_dc_1

6:15 PM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

It is nice to know we're not the only overly-attached viewers, isn't it? Good article. I especially liked how it referred to eliminations as murders. Makes me feel less, uhhh, melodramatic..

Thanks Julie, for the link.

6:19 PM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger Julie said...

Lol, that's what I thought too. You're welcome.

6:22 PM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger Frances said...

I've heard so many good things about Elliot's performance of A Song For You and that is the one episode of AI that did not get recorded. It just so happens that just as the DVR was about to record, my daughter had a Nickelodeon fit and cancelled my recording so she could watch one of her favorite cartoons. I'm still upset about it.
Does anyone know where I can find it on the web. I'll take audio or video.

7:25 PM, May 21, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Frances, you simply must see it. Here's the link to YouTube. The quality isn't that good, but it never is over there. And it's the whole thing, from Ryan interview to judges comments. Bonus!

A Song For You

7:50 PM, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For some reason, this season's AI took FOREVER to get over with to me. When you mentioned past performances I had to think "was that just this season??". And, another thought was "Kevin who?". And, I watched right along with you as you know. Just wasn't as memorable to me this year I guess. I think it took way too long to pick up steam and by then, it only held 1/2 of my interest. I am to the point now where I am going to vote my heart out for Taylor and then look forward to better performances next year (PLEASE!).

Thanks for keeping this blog! You are where I turned to when I needed info and wanted to see how closely our opinions matched (which were unusually spot on this seaons!). I will miss coming here!
Hugs,
Lisa

9:12 PM, May 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few of mine....

Ayla's meltdown - my kids are 21 & 18 and I felt for her.

Taylor & Levon - excellent

Kat - Black Horse & Cherry Tree - very inventive!

Kevin getting pinched by all the girls

Ryan unshaven - yucch!

....and who can forget Crazy Dave jumping at Paula in Hollywood!!!

7:00 AM, May 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg! yes!! crazy dave was a trip!!! hahaha you have to love that guy, though he might want to get some medication before he hurts himself :)

I think my shining moment was from Mandissa. When she came up the elevator for the 'go on, or your gone' decision, and how she handled herself as she forgave Simon for his comments about her weight during the auditions. That was class, and it made me proud as a fellow Christian to see her handle that in the exact way the Bible tells us to handle such situations. It's so rare to see someone in that situation do it with such grace, and I think it even made an impression on Simon. For about 5 seconds :) haha

singing wise, I really locked on Taylor during the auditions, I think, whenever it was he pulled out the harmonica in one of his songs. I thought that was a nice touch for him, and I've been waiting for it's return all season. I want him to pull it out for a song this week! he just strikes me as the sort of fun loving guy who would pull one out and start playing while walking down the street, and it just brings a smile to your face to see this person walking along happy and joyous and spreading that cheer thru such simple way to others.

JJ

11:02 AM, May 22, 2006  
Anonymous SoulPatroller said...

My Most Memorable Moments:

Chris' audition and his wife's comments about his talent. It's rare to hear someone talk so adoringly about their spouse.

Chris' "Hemmorhage." I usually hate covers, but loved Chris' version as much as the original.

Gedeon's always optimistic answer of "Yes sir," when asked if he thought he was going through. lol I liked his smile!

Gedeon's "Change is Gonna Come." Motown genious! When he dropped to his knees towards the end of the song, I understood for the first time why crazed fans scream and faint. lol

Ayla breaking down when Ryan announced she was going home. I've never felt sorry for an over-achiever until that night. :(

Chicken Little. 'Nuff said.

Andrea Bocelli declaring without doubt the color of Kellie Pickler's hair.

Brittnum Twins. "My spirit (dramatic pause) has been broken."

Mandisa on 50's night. She looked and sounded amazing! And Simon said she was sexy.

But the one thing I will never, ever forget was the night Elliot captured my heart. "Moody's Mood for Love." I was completely blown away by his performance of this technically very difficult song. I can't tell you how happy I am that this is the song he's singing on the CD. It's THE reason I'll be buying it!

Love your blog, Jennifer. ;)

J - Soul Patroller aka as the Yaminion Formerly Known as ChrisROCKS

7:37 AM, May 23, 2006  

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