Tuesday, March 20, 2007

the last 11: to simon with love...

Well, this is the cutoff week for the summer tour as, for some bizarre reason, the show chooses 12 finalists but hacks two from the PopTart stage. And it's the night to recall the brilliant sound of the British invasion, complete with Herman's Hermits' Peter Noone and the beautiful Lulu, who has improved with time, to help the kids polish their accents.

It hurts a 40-plus year old to hear the kids say they didn't know the songs from this era, but considering most of the songs from this decade were brilliant to start with, it isn't terribly surprising that it's the best night of the sixth season thus far. Even though the real star was a little girl with never-ending tears.

But anyway, here they are, my early impressions, subject to rewatch, review and revision, and as always, from worst to first:

Phil Stacey (Tobacco Road). Oh heavens. I don't know what I hated most about this manic, over-the-top performance. I'll start with the mic stand carry. Then I'll mention the screeching. And then there was the running around aimlessly. Simon says he may have a problem tomorrow. And I don't think that warning will be enough to save him.

Sanjaya Malakar (You Really Got Me). There is a little girl in the audience that is hysterically crying. It's flashing me back to the Beatles and all the crying girls. Sanjaya is "singing" (at least far far better than Ryan Starr did this number), running all over the place, hitting every available stage and doing everything but a bump and grind. Well, Peter did tell him to sell it. But all I can see is the little girl. I'm sure she has a Hello Kitty phone tucked into her purse.

Stephanie Edwards (You Don't Have to Say You Love Me). Lulu compares Stephanie to Beyonce and expects that with a big band and great arrangement Stephanie will blow it out of the park. Not so much. Stephanie's problem is that her rendition of this Dusty classic sounded better without the big band. Randy comments that ballads are not her thing because she can't sustain the long notes. Bingo. Every sustained note goes into left field. And it might just be enough - or less than enough - to land her in the bottom.

Chris Richardson (Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying). A bit of bias from me, but this is one of my all-time favorite songs, so I was a little worried. And I all but stood and applauded Peter Noone's scolding that some songs just command to be sung without flourishes. I don't disagree with Randy and Simon that this was CR's best performance to date, because I'm not a huge fan, but I can't and won't slather praise for his consistently thin and nasally vocals.

Gina Glocksen (Paint It Black). I adore Gina, I really do. I do not adore the Rolling Stones. And ditto this song. And this was not good. With so many great rock songs of this era, why she chose a Stones song is a mystery to me. It would have been better to save this one for the tour. Or the shower. Ouch.

Haley Scarnato (Tell Him). Lulu tells Haley to keep the staccato in this number, because without it the song is just like any other song. And Haley throws on a pair of hot pants and heels, decides to command not only the stage, but the first five rows of the auditorium and turns in the best performance she's yet to deliver. And she sheds no tears, which, of course, means she'll probably land in the bottom three on Wednesday.

Chris Sligh (She's Not There). Chris weaves his way through the audience, shaking hands and high-fiving through the first third of this Zombies classic. After last week's disastrous alteration of a classic, he sticks very true to the melody, delivering a well-enunciated, good, not great, not earthshattering, performance. Paula suggests he play more to the audience. Maybe next week a mosh pit?

LaKisha Jones (Diamonds Are Forever). They say she's wearing a million dollars worth of diamonds. Wow. Their wardrobe budget must have really increased this season. They are pretty and almost offset the Sanjaya hairstyle. She really should have listened to Lulu who suggested another song though. Kiki pretty much channels Shirley Bassey, which she's called for. Simon says she just fast-forwarded about 40 years and accuses her of being too old-fashioned. I don't know that I would call it old, but I definitely call it less than what I've come to expect.

Blake Lewis (Time of the Season). Blake could not have chosen a more perfect song. He beatboxes the entry into the song, does not try to embellish it beyond the basic melody. Randy calls it brillant, Paula does the Paula dance and Simon says it's his best yet. I overwhelmingly agree. It was terrific.

Jordin Sparks (I Who Have Nothing). Jordin is every inch the teenager in her pre-performance banter with Ryan. Then she takes the stage and turns into Shirley Bassey, knocks down the first five rows of the audience, gets her reviews and reverts back into teen-mode. Randy says it's the best performance of the night (and Sanjaya is yet to come!). Everything that Stephanie did wrong with a ballad, Jordin did right. It was an exquisite display of vocal talent, and if I were betting at this point, I wouldn't bet against a Jordin appearance in a two-person show in late May.

Melinda Doolittle (As Long as He Needs Me). First off, I don't count this song as a British Invasion song, but this show's been known to stretch the rules for the favored children. And midway through Melinda's performance I didn't give a damn if it fit the rules or not. I gotta get this one on my iPod.

So, who to pick for the firing squad...

Who I want: Phil, Sanjaya, Haley (Sanjaya)
Who should: Phil, Sanjaya, Haley (Sanjaya)
Who will: Phil, Haley, Stephanie

Phil, it's been really nice knowing you.

So, who's on your hit list?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tonight was byfar the best performance episode of the season ^_^

10:16 PM, March 20, 2007  
Blogger JR said...

Jennifer, I think you are right on the mark tonight. Sanjaya has the Hello Kitty girls, Haley has the Raging Hormone 15 year-old guys, and Phil is left on the outside looking in.

10:16 PM, March 20, 2007  
Blogger JR said...

I also agree that Jordin's star is rising. If she can hold it together emotionally, this seventeen year old could be in the final episode, replacing one of the power diva's.

10:27 PM, March 20, 2007  
Anonymous Chris said...

My worst to first for the night:

11. Sanjaya - Freak show is going to hang around another week or 2. That crying girl is why.

10. Chris R - He's going home. He sucked and looks creepy. I've seen mass murders look friendlier.

8t. Gina - Tongue bar girl is trash, but has the rocker vote. She'll be in the final 4.

8t. Jordin - Thought it was Jordin's weakest performance. I really like her though. She's top 6 material and has a decent enough fan base to carry her there.

7. Blake - I despise beat box boy almost as much as Sanjaya. I hope he goes home early, but don't expect him to.

6. Steph - Sam's Choice singer. Meaning cheap generic copy of a better original. Didn't do badly, but is too forgetable to last. I think she may go before Haley.

5. LaKisha - She'll be the surprise early departure you see every year. She's been falling a bit lately. In the beginning people were asking who is better her or Melinda. We know now.

4. Chris S. - Not bad. Did ok. Way better than last year.

3. Phil - Did ok, but is in trouble. He's creepy and has no fan base. Going 3rd from last may keep him another week.

2. Haley - Did you see those legs? Them boobs? Yeah, she'll be around. The teenage vote will come to her rescue (pun intended). To her credit, she did a real good job on the song.

1. Melinda - Why is this woman on this show and not already on an album. Actually, I know that answer to that. Confidence. This tour on Idol is helping her there. As she gets more confident, she'll get better. And that is very bad news for everyone else.

Who will be in the B3: Phil, Chris R and Sanjaya.

Who Should: Sanjaya, Chris R and Gina.

Chris R having gone second and done poorly will be going home.

10:29 PM, March 20, 2007  
Blogger SpoonieLuv said...

I really don't understand how anyone could have thought Lakisha's performace was any good. And Melinda's was the same ol', same ol'. For British Invasion week - she picks a song from a Broadway muscial - can anyone say 1 trick pony. Peter Noone had it right on the money, it is not a singing competition, its a performing competition, and Melinda is just not a performer. There is no versatility. You can take every song she has sang since day 1, mash them together, it would sound like 1 very long song.

The only problem with Gina's performance is that she tended to mumble the words in the middle. But at least she has a clue, as do Blake and Chris S, put on a show for the people. Even Sanjaya took a risk, more than I can say for Melinda and Lakisha.

12:34 AM, March 21, 2007  
Blogger Chipperprime said...

Bottom three:

Phil, Sanjaya, Stephanie

Phil goes home.

"You Really Got Me" is the easiest song in the world to sing, and Sanjaya murdered it.

I actually enjoy the vitriol that Sanjaya inspires. Fun Fun.

I voted for: Haley, Jordin, Blake, and Melinda. I want more Haley.

12:43 AM, March 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phil, Stephanie, Gina & Gina goes home. Or maybe Phil since he was in bottom 3 last week...

Though I WANT Sanjina to go home in a bad bad way!!!!!! He's a teenage girl. He and that crying girl could play dollies.

Loved Melinda, Blake, and Jordin.


2:27 AM, March 21, 2007  
Anonymous ChrisROCKS said...

Jennifer, I uncharacteristically read your blog *before* making my comments here. I like to see how close we are in our lineups. ;) By the way, I *love* what you said about Jordin and Melinda, and I'm in complete agreement! The rest, we're just gonna have to agree to disagree. ;P
Anyway, here is my list, worst to first:

Stephanie - I really like Steph and think she is so classy and beautiful. But she's starting to lose her sing-appeal for me. Tonight, I felt like she just never got off the ground. It was a rather boring performance for me. And stop all the runs. I wish she'd just sing a song straight for once.

Haley - By far her best performance to date, but I'm sorry...cute little hot pants and a sexy top aren't going to cover the fact that she is just vocally weak. It was a perfect song for her, but I forgot all about her until they recapped at the end. Stacked against the top 4 performances for the evening, hers is completely forgettable. She's gotta go soon.

Sanjaya - I didn't like it at all, BUT it was his best *performance* to date. He took a HUGE risk and I gotta give him props for that alone. Not what I'd pay money to see but I won't soon forget this performance. That alone kept him from being my bottom place holder.

Gina - I love that she's a rocker chick! The genre so totally suits her. But she runs out of breath by the middle of every song! She needs to start learning how to breathe throughout a song. "Paint It Black" is one of a handful of my favorite Stones songs. I wasn't happy how she treated it.

Chris R - I actually really liked this song on him. But I completely agree that he has a nasally voice. But his falsetto is so lovely and perfect that I can't put him in the bottom echelon. It was a middle- strong performance.

Phil - I was quite entertained by him tonight! I thought the song suited his voice completely. He had a few pitch bobbles toward the beginning (as always), but he just seems to improve every week (for me, at least).

Chris S - I LOVE the Zombies! His voice was perfect for this song (and it's one of my favorite Zombies songs...right behind "Time of the Season"). I loved his understated interaction with the audience, but he's gotta be careful: He's overweight and can lose his breath quickly if he moves around too much. It borderline happened tonight when he was climbing the steps to the stage.

Lakisha - I don't care what the judges said; she looked lovely and it was a *perfect* choice of apparrel and jewelry for the song. And in her characteristic way, she sang strongly but held back just enough so as not to be "over the top." I love this gal!

Blake - ULTRA COOL! ULTRA HOT!! That's all I'm gonna say.

Jordin - If Melinda hadn't come out and sung what she did the way she did, I'd have given Jordin the top spot tonight. It was a very close thing! Holy smokes! She was brilliant tonight! Absolutely sensational. She is getting better every week. I agree with every word you said, Jennifer.

Melinda - There's just no denying this gal is the best. She has consistently brought it every week. Her vocals are impeccable (with the uncharacteristic exception of wavering *just a tad* on the front end of her final note). I didn't like her blouse, but who cares?! She's amazing...and a total breath of fresh air.

Melinda for President!!

Who I Want: Sanjaya, Haley, Stephanie
Who Should: Sanjaya, Haley, Stephanie
Who Will: Chris R, Haley, Phil

Bye-bye Phil. :(

4:48 AM, March 21, 2007  
Blogger JR said...

OK, I'm going on a short rant here. Spoonieluv mentioned that the only problem with Gina is that she mumbled some of her words. That's a similar critism or warning that came from Diana Ross last week. Why do you think she mumbles? SHE'S WEARING A #$##%**!!!ING TOUNGE STUD PEOPLE!!! And no one will tell her to lose it for the competition!!! I don't care what anyone says, you can't pronounce your words correctly with a marble in your mouth! I kind of like Gina, although I wasn't crazy about her performance last night. She mumbles everytime there are a lot of words to sing (Love Child), or in the middle verse, because she's got a ball bearing sitting on her tounge that is keeping her from finishing some of the syllables in her lyrics!! If she wants to still be in this thing after Haley and Stephanie are gone, she needs to get rid of the tongue stud. Otherwise, she could be the first female out of the competition.

8:00 AM, March 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good point jr.!!

I haven't made it thru the whole show yet, so I didn't get to vote for this round :( but, from the half the show I have seen, I would agree with most people I think. Haley likely saved herself by simply being a hot chick who can hold a note (unlike Antonella). Phil wasn't terrible, wasn't overwhelming either though. Steph, I just can't find anything interesting about her other than she reminds me of Fantasia, with that short hair.

Blake, what more can be said about Blake. He deserves to win this year, it's that simple. I know he's not the most powerful singer, but he's the only one who embodies what the judges ask for every year: Originality. He takes songs that are 40 years old, and remakes them in a current way that would work if he were to cover them today. He has a showmans personality on stage, he's charismatic, and he's not overly offensive to the 40 yr old crowd while being hip enough for the tweeners. And every week, I find that I simply enjoy his vocals, they are on pitch, and in range, not over sung, etc. I was really scared about that final note after hearing it in the piece with Peter. When he hit it on stage, I was impressed how smoothly he worked into it, without the screech and crack I heard in the clip, and he held it a while.

Everyone else I saw isn't going to last (I think Phil was the last one I saw). As a favorite radio personality I listen to has been saying, I think Melinda is in trouble, long term. TK, being an old orange headed white guy who goes to bed at 7pm most nights :) haha (if you know TK, you know this is sorta how he talks about himself) thinks Melinda shouldn't even be on the show because she's a pro already, but that not withstanding, his concern mirrors what spoon said, that she's not showing versatility. She sings perfectly every night, but when we get down to the top 4, I suspect Melinda will be bitten by the Daughtry bug. She'll NOT be picking up the others' voting blocks. I think Jordin and Blake are the 2 who will be picking up the most voters each week as others are booted. They are the freshest, most widely marketable, likeliest so far to keep getting better and better and wowing us by the end. I won't be shocked if KiKi is gone around week 7 and Melinda goes at week 4 or 3. one of the things TK thinks about Melinda, that I have to agree with, is a concern that she'll actually develop a backlash anti-Melinda crowd. She's almost too good, and if she doesn't start accepting the judges praise, and doesn't stop acting surprised she is liked and is the best, she's going to come off as fake or insincere.


9:36 AM, March 21, 2007  
Blogger SpoonieLuv said...

Jr- good point about the tongue stud, though I think the biggest problem was the arrangement - they took an already classic, fast tempo song, and sped it up. I think if she stuck to Mick's original version, she may have come through OK

JJ - good observations. As I have said before, Melinda is not someone who will sell any albums, which makes her a little different from Daughtry, who has already turned into a superstar. melinda does not have that, she is downright boring. The more I watch this season, there are probably 4 people who will have successful careers after idol - Blake, Chris Sligh (as the frontman of a band), Haley (you can make anyone sound good, but you can't make just anyone look good, see Melinda or Lakisha), and Jordin, who has pop star written all over her.

10:00 AM, March 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Jr on the tongue ring, but I don't think she'll get rid of it. Spoil that cool rocker girl look.
Sanjaya was just a mess! He reminded of some kid just messing around on stage. He's way over his head and doesn't belong there.
That poor little girl that was crying, that's his fan base. I just hope she was crying so hard she couldn't dial.
I was really impressed with Jordin last night. I think she is getting better each week. She is beautiful and lights up the stage.
I still like Likisha and Melanda, they have great voices, but I don't think that have the "IT" factor. Dori

10:35 AM, March 21, 2007  
Blogger MP said...

Best show so far this year, I LOVE music from this era. My husband thinks it is wierd I know all the words to I'm Henry The 8th..

Bottom 3: Haley, Sanjaya and Stephanie.

Bye Bye Stephanie.

10:57 AM, March 21, 2007  
Anonymous Artificially Intelligent said...

Jordin, Jordin, Jordin.. I listened to her song three times after the show last night and liked it better each time. Blake was my second fave of the night.. what a performer. As always, Melinda and LaKisha did well.. LaKisha not as well as I've come to expect but, she's getting kind of boring to me.. I agree that Melinda's appeal is wearing a little thin.. Simon tried to soften things a little by telling us that "she really is that nice". She must know how good she is by now and one can't help thinking she's "playing" us a little bit. The rest of the gang did better last night than on previous performances but they tended to blur together for me.
Jordin and Blake were by far the best.

12:49 PM, March 21, 2007  
Blogger angelof_mercy81 said...

That poor little girl that was crying, that's his fan base. I just hope she was crying so hard she couldn't dial.


I know what you mean, though. That was probably Sanjaya's most entertaining performance, although for me, he still wasn't great vocally.

Jordin absolutely blew me away last night. Wow. I knew what Simon meant when he said he wanted to jump off a bridge afterward; she conveyed such sadness, such...longing in that song. Great performance.

My pick to go home tonight: probably Phil.

3:27 PM, March 21, 2007  
Anonymous ChrisROCKS said...

I think Melinda knows she can sing. She wouldn't have even gone for a career as a back-up if she didn't know. BUT, I don't think her reactions to the judges comments are the stuff of artifice. Isn't it possible she's just a nice, humble person and gets embarrassed by praise? I think she's genuine and it's WAY more enjoyable to watch her responses compared to say some of the snot-nosed brats that have "graced us with their presence" over the past 5 seasons.

3:53 PM, March 21, 2007  
Blogger jennifer said...

I'm with ChrisROCKS. One of the things that endeared me to Kelly Clarkson was her genuine thrill at her great reviews, even though everybody on the planet knew she was a phenom. I can understand how Melinda's reactions might wear thin over time, but I don't doubt that it is genuine surprise and gratitude right now that is driving her.

And I too will take that ANYDAY over some of these indulgent kids who think they deserve praise, even when it wasn't earned.

3:59 PM, March 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow 58 looks pretty good! Go LULU!

9:43 PM, March 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this was the greatest show all season!

10:24 PM, March 21, 2007  

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