Tuesday, March 13, 2007

and they're off...

Finally. It's taken its toll, but the final 12 hit the big stage for the end run of the sixth season. The guys and the girls share the stage, after three weeks of praising the women and dissing the men. And to help the guys along, they all get to sing the works of Diana Ross.

Oh well, that's fair. The women in this series have been singing boys' songs for years.

Diana says she wants to parent the kids, so I guess that means she'll get to spank a lot of them. And send them to their rooms without microphones.

But here they are, subject to rewatching and revising, and, as always, from worst to first.

Brandon Rogers (You Can't Hurry Love). Brandon has to start the night, which is never good, and he sounds like a kid singing to the record with a broom in his hand, complete with a lyrical brainfart in the middle. The judges tell him that as a lead vocalist, he makes a good background singer. I think they're wrong. Background singers who forget the words normally make good bartenders.

Sanjaya Malakar (Ain't No Mountain High Enough). Oh, how I was hoping that, after the zillions of times this song has been performed and the vastness of the Ross catalogue that no one would choose this. How ironically appropriate that Mr. Malakar did. Especially after his trip to the Curls R Us. And he delivers the best performance the boy has delivered so far, which puts him, for the first time, not the worst, because at least he remembered the words. The judges crucify him, which will all but assure his passage into the final 11.

Haley Scarnato (Missing You). Diana Ross tells Haley that she recorded this song upon the death of Marvin Gaye. Haley then promises to enjoy the song and have fun. Uhhh, okay. She looks very pretty in a Katharine McPhee sort of way. And she forgets the words. The girl who needs to pull Jimmy Hoffa's body out of a hat to survive forgets the words. Randy punches her in the stomach. Paula kicks her lifeless body. But Simon, who remembers her name, brings her to tears with a positive review. I'm leaning toward Simon, because despite the missed notes and missed lyrics, she is certainly not the worst of the worst so far.

Chris Richardson (The Boss). My biggest complaint with Chris is that he always sounds as though he's singing through his nose, and this was about as bad as it gets. His vocals are thin as wafers, and while he does a good job compensating with stage presence, when Simon (finally) told him his vocals were wretched, I actually applauded.

Chris Sligh (Endless Love). Of all of the 12, Chris is not the one I would have predicted for this song. And he tries to put a "contemporary" spin on it, by turning one of the loveliest melodies ever into a sort of dance tune. The assassination of this song gets six thumbs down from the judges; eight thumbs down if you count mine. (My pup has no thumbs or the total would have been ten.)

Blake Lewis (You Just Keep Me Hanging On). Blake tells Diana that he wants to send this song through the time machine, because it's, well, old. And he slows it down to about 33 rpm (young people go ask your parents...) and, essentially, destroys it. Randy reminds him that the classics are classics for a reason, Paula babbles Paulaeese and Simon slaps him on the wrist. Deservedly. TRIVIA: Every finalist [Vanessa Olivarez(2)/Leah LaBelle(3)] who has ever performed this song on the first night of finals was kicked off the next night. I think Blake may break that dubious streak.

Stephanie Edwards (Love Hangover). Not much to say about Stephanie's performance that the judges didn't say. It was bland, a tease with the intro and no payback with the good stuff, as Simon and Paula pointed out. A little bobble with the lyrics as Randy reminded everyone. In a word: unmemorable. And that's going to be her undoing. Just not tomorrow.

Gina Glocksen (Love Child). Miss Ross reminds Gina that this song has tons of words (which is probably why I still can't sing with it on the radio) and that it's important that she not mush them up. She doesn't mush them up, but it's almost as if I could watch her mind wheels cranking as she worked hard to remember the lyrics. Disappointing. The judges give her tepid reviews, rightfully so, even though I'm still trying to figure out how Paula describes this song as a "feel good" one.

Phil Stacey (I'm Gonna Make You Love Me). Phil promises to actually start a song decently. And, by golly, he does! And he delivers his best vocal performance since the first week of the semi-finals. Randy and Paula call the performance boring. Simon says it wasn't great, but it wasn't awful. I say it just may have bought him more weeks than I thought.

Melinda Doolittle (Home). Melinda says she's an old-school Motown girl. So she chooses to sing a Broadway number. The crowd goes nuts and Melinda sheds tears, because she's never heard a reaction like that for her before. And she makes Paula cry already. Randy calls it hawt, even though he says it's not his favorite Melinda performance. Simon gives her props for turning a boring song into something spectacular.

LaKisha Jones (God Bless the Child). We learn that LaKisha prefers to go by KiKi. Okay then. KiKi it is. And after that performance, she can call herself Madame Look At Me I Own This Stage and the Crew that Built It if she wants. Simon tells her that she and Melinda are in one league; the others are, well, in the playoffs for the remaining spots. Gee Simon. Tell us something we don't already know.

Jordin Sparks (If We Hold On Together). Wow. I knew this girl could blow the walls of this joint, but wow. No wonder she got the sweet anchor spot. Randy tells her it's now a three-girl race. It's too early to call that, but Jordin has, with that performance, just thrown her hat into the serious ring. Wow.

Now the tough stuff, that really isn't as tough as it has been in the past.

Who I want: Brandon, Sanjaya, Haley (Sanjaya)
Who should: Brandon, Sanjaya, Haley (Sanjaya)
Who will: Brandon, Haley, Stephanie (Bye, bye Brandon)

So...who's on your short list?



Blogger Dave said...

Why is it that year after year, the judges tell the singer so "make the song your own" but when someone does, they crucify them for it?

I thought Chris S. and Blake were much better than the judges said. At least they didn't just do straight covers.

10:14 PM, March 13, 2007  
Blogger Laura said...

Brandon, Haley, and Sanjaya need to go. And I don't even care what order - as long as one of them goes tomorrow, I'll be happy.

And the rest of your review I completely agree with, too. I think Phil was the biggest surprise of the night--in a good way.

I forgot that the Olivarez and Lisa both sang Hangin On - ahh, the memories.

10:17 PM, March 13, 2007  
Blogger Laura said...

Exactly, dave. Points for effort and good intentions. They always tell them to take risks. So the risks didn't pan out in the best of ways, but at least they tried (unlike Brandon, for example)

10:18 PM, March 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Chris Sligh was amazing! I've tried voting for him, but the lines are clogged so far. I bet they'll be clear in an hour, though.... ^_^

10:20 PM, March 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Dave. When the judges gave Sligh and Blake a hard time for putting their own spin on the song, it almost ruined the whole show for me. I call a major foul. The judges are all the time complaining that people who just sing the song are karaoke, copycat, boring...then when someone tries to mix it up a little they crucify them. Which one is it, judges?
~ betsy

10:28 PM, March 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sanjayah has GOT TO GO.
Enough is enough, and enough is TOO MUCH.
Parents, please hide all phones and put the kids to bed.

10:32 PM, March 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sanjaya was really bad tonight, its like each week he gets worse. He just seems out of place, maybe its because he's so young. He needs to go home. Dori

11:12 PM, March 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does Phil look like Uncle Fester from the Addams Family? He needs to go home! So do Sanjaya and Brandon.

I love, love, love LaKisha, Jordin, Blake and Melinda.

Melissa in TN

11:32 PM, March 13, 2007  
Blogger Chipperprime said...

My wife mentioned the same thing about Uncle Fester.

Every year we have to suffer through "Motown Night". Hats off to Blake for trying to change up an oldie.

Chris' problem was that there were too many words to fit into not enough music.

Haley scored points with good pre- and post- performance interviews. I think that the audience will be able to relate to her.

12:02 AM, March 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked Phil tonight. I thought he sounded like Jon Secada in a bald sort of way.

1:03 AM, March 14, 2007  
Blogger Michael K. Willis said...

Yeah, it looks like Brandon's number may be up...the combination of the (un)coveted opening spot and a tepid performance seem probable to add up to a 12th place finish for him.

Ms. Ross' songs seemed to trip up a lot of the contestants...maybe that's why LaKisha brought Billie Holiday in through the "Lady Sings the Blues" door (I was actually kind of surprised that Melinda didn't go that route.)

2:22 AM, March 14, 2007  
Anonymous ChrisROCKS said...

Well, I'm glad that's over! It kinda reminds me of the night last year when they all had to sing Queen songs. Some things just shouldn't be attempted, know what I mean?

Anyway, here's my list from worst to first:

Brandon - Never let your Elvis moves distract you to the point that you forget your words. I think that gaff just sealed his fate. :(

Sanjaya Temple - Why? That's all I wanna know.

Haley - From the neck up, she was stunning. But that sack she was wearing?! Thank goodness this isn't Fashion Idol. When she was practicing with Diana, I thought she sounded good. But when she performed, she just couldn't muster the proper emotion for the song.

Chris S - I love his voice, but don't mess with a classic! There are a lot of 40+ers tonight who are not happy! Channel more Lionel and less ColdPlay and he would've been closer to the top for me.

Blake - Again, I understood what he was attempting, but it just wound up sounding wierd.

Gina - She started out so well that she gave me goosebumps. But, true to form, she lost her breath about midway through the song and just lost steam from that point on. I'm starting to think she doesn't understand breathing technique for singing. But I thought it was a great song choice for her.

Chris R - I think Simon was right: if you isolate the vocals and heard it on the radio, you'd change it fast. Having said that, however, he had such energy and seemed so comfortable that I was actually dancing to it. He looked like he was having a lot of fun and that made me have fun.

Stephanie - She's so beautiful and classy. I just wish she'd drop some of the runs. Still, I liked this song on her (even though she never got out of the intro). She never disappoints me.

Phil - WOW! Perfect song choice! And only a slight pitch bobble in the beginning. Other than that, the man just sold the song! And I finally figured out who he reminds me of! His style and voice sound very much like John Secada. Nice. :)

Jordin - She's such a sweetie! And I loved this song for her! She looked great and sounded great. She really is light-years ahead of her age in terms of performance style. Unusually mature.

Melinda - The only reason why she's not at the top of my list (again) is because I didn't know or care much for the song. But she still sang the heck out of it! She could sing me the phonebook and I wouldn't care. I'd believe every word of her! lol

LaKiki - WOW!! What a knockout performance! I was saying to my husband that she really understands phrasing and how to sell a song. She looked beautiful and sang in a wonderfully understated manner. That's something I'm really coming to appreciate about her. She knows when to belt it and when to hold back. The control she displayed tonight, along with song choice and pure delivery has earned her the top spot from me tonight. :)

Who I want: Sanjaya
Who should: Sanjaya
Who will: Brandon (sadly)

5:04 AM, March 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sick of Melinda's little "Oh my gosh - you think I can sing" act? Melinda: You are a professional singer. People pay you to sing with them! Act proud of yourself- show some self esteem. This little drama you put on is wearing very thin....I'm not saying go all ego, but have some self esteem.

7:38 AM, March 14, 2007  
Blogger JR said...

If VTFW is having an impact and is responsible for keeping Sanjaya on the air, they need to move on. It is obvious that he is uncomfortable with the fact that he is still in the competition. The judges are killing him, and I don't think he can take much more of the critism. He's only 17 and I just don't think anyone doing him any favors by by keeping him around.
He may stay this week, because Brandon was a mess. For someone who is supposed to be a professional singer, he has no power, no range, and no stage presence. That's why he's a background singer.
Anonymous, I completely agree about Melinda. Even my wife has made similar comments regarding that stunned look on her face each week.

8:27 AM, March 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The greatest travesty of the entire season happened last night when they allowed Sanjaya to sing Ain't No Mountain High Enough. One of the landmark songs in Diana Ross' career and they bestow the honor of singing it to the worst contestant possible. With so many talented vocalists this year, that was certainly a major letdown last night. I would rather none of them had sang it, than allowing Sanjaya to butcher it.

Caroline, NJ

8:44 AM, March 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Diana Ross is probably feeling worse then we all do right now. Simon was right about her wailing. I guess that's the price she has to pay to get her new CD marketed. She'll come out tonight and show them how its done! Dori

10:35 AM, March 14, 2007  
Blogger angelof_mercy81 said...

Surprisingly, I agreed with the judges last night: sometimes you have to let classics be classics. You don't have to give everything a contemporary vibe. I love songs of the '60s and '70s just as they are. That said, Blake and Chris's performances weren't as horrible as the judges said. They tried to show originality and got reprimanded for it. Go figure.

My bottom 3: Brandon, Haley, and Sanjaya, with Brandon going home. Sanjaya has the teen/tween vote going his way and Haley's interviews were good (plus she cried, which might buy her a few votes--whether she meant to cry or not).

By the way: what was up with Sanjaya's hair?!?

10:47 AM, March 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...I know Brandon messed up his lyrics, but dang, I never heard Sanjaya do that bad! Well, what I could hear....

He hit so many bad notes, I thought it was Antonella!

I agree with everything else you said, but I think Steph will be going home, based on popualrity votes...so sad...and I'mnot even a fan of hers!

10:50 AM, March 14, 2007  
Anonymous Johanna said...

Honestly, I have to agree with the judges here about Blake and Chris S... I don't think they're hypocritical, it just gets boring to say "...but you have to be good." Covering a song with the exact intonations, runs, etc. of the original artist will get you slammed; but doing your "own arrangement" or a "different arrangement" of a song only works if its good. That's why they call it taking risks... Chris S. and Blake don't get any points just for trying when the results suck-- actually it gives you a good idea what their albums would sound like. And, yes, these are two of the guys I normally like. Point being not "don't mess with the classics", but, if you're going to do your own arrangement, it has to be at least AS GOOD AS the original, if not better...

11:58 AM, March 14, 2007  
Blogger Nelle said...

ROFL at the CurlsRUs comment about Sanjaya. OMG he was so bad I was embarassed for him. I think the judges want originality BUT there are classics that are ruined by changing such as what Blake did. The more I see Kiki perform the more I am blown away by her talent. I think Melinda is talented as well but she doesn't have the same stage presence IMHO.
I think Brandon will go tonight but it might be Sanjaya.

5:09 PM, March 14, 2007  
Blogger Mighty Mouse said...

I agree with Lord Dave, do the judges want them to make the song their own or not? At least give’em credit for trying something different even though it doesn’t always work out. Who’s to say that “classics” should be left as is? And who determines what a “classic” is anyway? This just drives me nuts.

Paula - since when is “Love Child” a feel-good song?

Brandon – sorry brah. I like you but you keep letting me down. Now you gotta go.

Sanjaya – awful awful awful. You MUST go.

Haley -- how do you “have fun” with a song (“Missing You”) that was written to commemorate the passing of Marvin Gaye? You might have a week left.

Phil – “sounds like Jon Secada?” I have to respectfully disagree with the folks that mentioned that. When I closed my eyes while he was singing last night, I could swear it was Michael Bolton screaming his head off. That’s NOT good.

Stephanie – how can you sing such a great song and leave the best part out?

Kiki – you were great but I kept waiting for some sugar plum fairies to come out dancing from underneath your awful dress. Sorry.

Jordin – Melinda and Kiki need to watch out cause you really shined last night. Wasn’t the best performance and the song was pretty unknown and sappy but you sold it. You’ve got star quality and great personality.

5:25 PM, March 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mighty Mouse, I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought Kiki's dress was awful. lol
Your right about Jordin, she was good and is adorable. Dori

6:47 PM, March 14, 2007  
Blogger Mighty Mouse said...

Hey chrisrocks, the song Melinda sang was "Home" from the musical "The Wiz".

Incidentally, I don't consider "Home" a Diana Ross song even though she sang it in the movie version of "The Wiz". The song was made famous by Stephanie Mills when she played Dorothy on stage. Also, "God Bless the Child" is Billie Holiday's song even though Diana sang it in "Lady Sings the Blue". They always do this on these "artist" theme nights. They should remember to give props to the orginal artists too.

That's the end of my rant!

8:28 PM, March 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jordin was all over the place.. agree to disagree.

12:32 AM, March 16, 2007  

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