Tuesday, February 27, 2007

the top 10 guys: getting better...

The top 12 guys came through last week like a vacuum on a carpet. In other words, they totally sucked. Week two of the semi-finals give the 10 remaining to shake off the nerves and save their faces or to prove to the voting nation that sucking is about the best we can hope for.

And they didn't do badly, certainly better than last week, but then sitting cross-legged silently on the stage would have been an improvement. They're still not in the ladies' league, but at least they're not waving any white flags.

But anyway, here they are, my initial impressions, subject to rewatch, review and revision and, as always, from the worst to the first.

Sanjaya Malakar (Steppin' Out). If he weren't so cute, I would probably have walked out of the room during this performance. He changes up the appearance with pulled back ponytail and hat with a big band song, but has the passion of a tree stump. Randy calls it a bad high school talent show performance. Randy is being kind.

Brandon Rogers (Time After Time). Brandon admits he's worried about singing a slow song, dedicated to his gramma. He should have been. Randy says it's boring. Yeah. It was. But because I adore Brandon, I know he'll not let me down next week. Vote Brandon so I can have a next week!

Jared Cotter (Let's Get it On). Jared says he's gonna challenge himself, because Simon told him too. And he gives a decent karaoke performance of the number. Simon invokes the memory of "The Love Boat." I always like when he agrees with me. (Note: it's only the second number of the night, and I'm already wondering what Paula drank for lunch.)

Nick (Vote For) Pedro (Fever). Nick decides to test me by singing a song I detest. I give him credit though for putting the song through a different spin cycle, one that has Simon snapping his fingers and for returning to the genre that sets him apart from the others. Simon disses his clothing and tells him he needs charisma. Where does one buy charisma anyway?

Phil Stacey (Missing You). Well, Phil still hasn't figured out that a good song has a successful beginning to go with the middle and end, and to top it off, they let him begin the show. I am not liking this week's performance as much as last week, even though Randy calls him "hawt," and Paula pretty much echoes Randy. Simon nails it when he calls Phil "unoriginal," but in comparison with the other guys, Phil's karaoke is more than enough.

AJ Tabaldo (Feelin' Good). AJ chooses a song I'm not familiar with, but it's becoming clear that the guys are taking last week's criticism to heart. I wouldn't put this performance on my iPod or anything, but the judges give him appropriate props for stretching beyond the typical (and increasingly more expected) cruise ship karaoke bar tripe.

Sundance Head (Mustang Sally). Finally Jason justifies being in the top 40, much less the top 20. Randy falls all over himself, Paula falls all over Randy and Simon, while not cutting him at the knees, tells him he can do better.

Chris Richardson (Geek in the Pink) Oh geesh. What happened to the guys all sticking to songs I recognize? Alas. But I liked it, even though I didn't understand more than three words and the bouncing and non-stop lyrics seemed to render him a bit out of breath. Randy says HAWT, Paula mumbles and Simon says best of the night. Okay, I'll say one of the six best, but not quite the best.

Blake Lewis (Virtual Insanity). Blake says he's singing for his mom and his really cool dad. And he sings a song that I've never heard so I have nothing with which to compare it. So, standing alone, I think the performance was FAB. Randy agrees, so does Paula, but Simon disses two-thirds of the performance, labeling it as copycat. He might be right. I don't know. But I liked it, so I really don't care what Simon says.

Chris Sligh (Trouble). Chris says he's going to dedicate his song to the woman he married. I didn't even know he was married, and it's a touching thing. I knew I liked this guy, and he more than makes up for the snark from last week, reprising a song Taylor was known for last season. All of the judges, including Simon, give him major thumbs up. So do I.

So that's it for me. So who's taking a long bus ride home?

Who I want: Sanjaya and not Brandon.
Who should: Sanjaya and Nick.
Who will: Nick and Jared.

It's your turn. Who should and will?

The women tomorrow. See you then.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are right Nick, Jared and Sanjaya were at the bottom for performance, but I really thought Sanjaya was the worse. Kind of spooky. Dori

10:13 PM, February 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVE the song that Blake sang, Jamiriqoui(sp?) is great, and he did the song justice!


Oh and I think Chris Richardson was the best of the night!

10:56 PM, February 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brandon and Sanjaya will be going home for sure!

Blake, Chris R., AJ and Chris Sligh stood out..Sundance does NOTHING for me.


10:58 PM, February 27, 2007  
Anonymous ChrisROCKS said...

Jennifer, your analysis is spot-on (as usual). My list is similar to yours with a few exceptions.

My picks, from worst to first:

Sanjaya - I love this kid, but "cool" shouldn't equate to "dull." He has such a good voice, I wish he would just bust out. Sadly, I don't think he'll get another chance.

Brandon - I'm with you, Jennifer. I really like this guy, but tonight's performance was 2 notches below lackluster. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that people will remember what's really good about this guy so he'll be back.

Sundance - Sorry, this is where I have to disagree. I don't know what it is about this guy, but I just don't like him. Still, he was much better than last week...I just didn't like this song on him. Maybe it's because I'm smitten with the version sung in the movie "The Commitments," every other version completely pales in comparison. I highly recommend the movie, if you like great music and Irish brogues.

Jared - There's something lacking in his personality. I can't quite put my finger on it. I thought he did an okay job of this song, but he's definitely no Niko! Niko had more sensuality infused in his opening line than Jared did throughout the whole song.

AJ - I really like this kid. He's got a good voice, but it's his energy and stage presence that I'm responding to more. He looks like he's just having so much fun...like he's really enjoying himself. That's infectious. I didn't know this song, so it wasn't my favorite of the night.

Phil - Sketchy opening notes, but cranked it up and delivered from the middle of the song on. I don't even like this song, but I do love his voice. I want to see him in the top 12.

Nick - I LOVE this song, and I love his voice! Every time he hit the "FEVER!" note, I got goose-bumps because he completely nailed it. There wasn't an out-of-tune note in the whole song. But as Simon said, he needs to work on his charisma. I agree.

Blake - He's completely original! I think Simon was drinking out of Paula's cup because this guy was "hawt" tonight! He has a really good voice, high energy, and took on a song that few singers would venture to attempt, much less master as he did. Very difficult stuff, and he laid it out!

I have to give the top spot to both Chris and Chris. I can't decide which I liked better.

Sligh - He has such a pure voice, and an easy-going manner without loss of energy. He's fabulous!

Richardson - He's youthful, high-energy, and really talented. Like Blake, he takes on difficult rhythms with ease and lays it out. I've never heard this song before tonight, but I LOVED it! Didn't understand a word, but it wasn't because Chris was unclear. There were simply too many words packed into a very short space.

This week was far and away better than last week. I'm totally stoked that the guys had it in them to step it up. Now we've got a competition! But I'm sure I'll feel differently after I hear the girls tomorrow night! lol

Who I want: Sanjaya and Sundance
Who should: Sanjaya and Brandon :(
Who will: Brandon and AJ

2:47 AM, February 28, 2007  
Blogger Hummus said...

I thought Blake was the best! His beat boxing was great, and I'm glad he used it this time! He is unique, and always chooses a geat song.

I have to agree about Sanjaya, his outfit was ridiculous and his singing was awful. He would've gone home last time but people give him pity votes. With luck, he'll leave this time.

Can't wait to see what you have to say about the girls!

4:24 AM, February 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is for anyone who liked Chris Richardson but didn't recognize his song. It was "Geek in the Pink" by Jason Mraz and it's a great song. If you listen to the original version you'll get a better feel for the complexity of the song and I think it makes Chris' performance that much more worthy of the praise he is receiving. I'm personally rooting for Chris R. and Blake...I think they have what it takes to compete with the ladies.

8:41 AM, February 28, 2007  
Blogger angelof_mercy81 said...

Sanjaya's a cute kid, but cute does not always equal stage presence and talent. Last night's performance left me wondering what in the world he was trying to do. Don't get me wrong: he has a decent voice, but he just hasn't picked songs that showcase that. If the Hello Kitty vote doesn't come through, he may not return next week.

The men sang quite a few songs I didn't know...but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I didn't know the songs that Blake or Chris R. sang, but I thought they had great performances.

And Sundance...he did much, much better than last week, but I still wasn't doing cartwheels. Maybe it's because I'm sick of "Mustang Sally." (As a videographer, I hear at least five bad versions a year.)

Overall, much better than last week. Thank goodness.

8:58 AM, February 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If AJ goes before Sundance....blame VFTW!

10:40 AM, February 28, 2007  
Blogger Mighty Mouse said...

I agree with a lot of your comments but I think that Sundance and Chris S. are so totally overrated. Yes, they have great voices and can really sing but in the end, haven't we seen them before? (Bo Bice, Taylor Hicks?) They're not very original and I find them very boring to watch.

My top performances last night were Chris R. and Blake, cause they sang something different and challenging; "Geek in the Pink" is a great Jason Mraz song and not easy to sing and how often has anyone sang a Jamiroquai song? I also liked AJ cause he also stepped out of the box and sang a great arrangement of "Feelin' Good". BTW, I'm surprised you aren't familiar with it cause it was a song covered by many artists but made famous by Nina Simone (I'm a BIG fan). I loved the way AJ started the song and he really showed that he has great control of his voice. I consider him a dark horse in the competition.

Jared and Phil were just too karaoke for me and very unoriginal. I’m not very impressed with Phil but I think Jared has potential.

Poor Jared, he was very pitchy in his rendition of “Time After Time” but I really, really like him a lot. He’s got a great smile and presence and I hope he gets another shot.

Finally, Nick and Sanjaya. I think Nick should go just for singing “Fever”. Love the song when Peggy Lee sings it but no guy should ever attempt to sing this song – ever!!! Props for a great arrangement though. And poor, poor Sanjaya. I just don’t think he is in the same league as the others. It would be a waste of other good talent to keep him in the competition just because he’s a “cutie”.

Love your blog, Jennifer. I look forward to it week after week!

2:28 PM, February 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They were so much better than last week, thankfully! I mostly agree with chrisrocks.

Who I want: Sanjaya and Sundance
Who should: Sanjaya and Brandon
Who will: Sanjaya and Brandon

I love both Chris's, Blake, and even AJ. He's a cutie. I think both Jared & Nick are a bit cheesy/put on, but Nick has a fabulous voice in that genre. Jared is just hot but not as talented. Oh well.

My picks for top 6:
Chris R
Chris S
hmmm...maybe Nick (if Brandon goes home/doesn't improve - otherwise Brandon)


2:28 PM, February 28, 2007  
Blogger Mighty Mouse said...

Oops! Regarding my previous post. Obviously it was Brandon that sang "Time After Time", not Jared. Also, I thought Simon was out of line with his comments when Brandon wanted to wish his Dad a happy birthday. Who cares if it was getting a little too mushy. Simon was dissin'.

2:33 PM, February 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, so as much as I want Sanjaya to go home -- and that is A LOT! -- I think he's going to get the teenybopper and grandma votes and stay in the Competition....

Unfortunately this means that someone has to go home with the horrendous Nick Pedro. I just hope it's not AJ. He's really good, but I just don't think he has a following at all. If it's not him, it's probably Brandon.

Who I want to go home: Sanjaya and Nick
Who should go home: Sanjaya and Nick
Who will go home: Nick and AJ

3:04 PM, February 28, 2007  
Blogger Chipperprime said...

I have the feeling that AJ will be one of the ones sent home.

I watch the show quite closely (and write my own recaps, similar to the ones here), but I still forgot who that guy was before he was on TV last night.

4:01 PM, February 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I'm showing my age here, but what's a Jamiroquai? And as for Chris R's song, exactly what kind of geek are we talking about here? The kind that bites the heads off of live chickens, or the more modern variety?

Note that I am not saying that I appreciated Sanjaya's misguided attempt at an Irving Berlin standard - he was the worst of the worst last night. (And could it be that he actually thought he was wearing a top hat?)

I'm not convinced that either Blake or Chris R. have versatility to make it through all the theme nights, but we'll see. For now, I'm sure they are safe. Unfortunately, Sanjaya is probably safe, too....


6:42 PM, February 28, 2007  
Blogger jennifer said...

LOL Len. I agree.

Jamiroquai is the group that recorded the song, even though the judges insisted on referring to "him" as a he. (Don't worry; I just learned that today.) At least I know of Jason Mraz. I don't think he bites off the heads of anything. At least not on stage.

Sanjaya cracked me up with the hat. Funniest top hat I've ever seen. The Hello Kitty vote will pull him through. (And VFTW is considering the possibility of dumping Sundance for Sanjaya. OY! VFTW + Hello Kitty? Hand me an aspirin.)

Chipperprime, leave me a link to your blog so I can put it in the sidebar. I so love your insights!!

Personally, I think the six is set. I just put Nick, AJ (who I also have to look up to remember when I can even spell Sanjaya Malakar without thinking), Brandon and Jared's names in a bucket and drew two to pick the ousters. They've become somewhat interchangeable, which is a shame when there are less talented people almost in a lock to advance.

Because THIS is American Idol!

7:23 PM, February 28, 2007  

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