Tuesday, April 10, 2007

livin' la vida loca con jennifer lopez!...

In other words, it's Latin night with JLo. And eight will become seven when it's all sung and done.

Jennifer Lopez drops by to cheer on the kids and give them mentoring assistance, and, unlike many of the celebrities with CDs to sell, she seems really into this role and gives them, at least on the surface, honest to goodness help.

I don't recall a Latin theme since the disaster of season three, and, to be honest, I really hoped that the powers that be had shelved the mere idea of a repeat. After tonight, I wish they had. And, after tonight, I'm sure they will.

Anyway, here they are, my early impressions, subject to rewind, review and revision and, as usual, with the exception of the Sanjaya list, from worst to first:

Haley Scarnato (Turn the Beat Around). Skin Alert is Red. Very high skin alert, but Simon points out what the rest of us have known since the beginning of the finals. Haley can't compete vocally, but she's the best looking of the gals, so, like Sanjaya, she's playing what she's got. And what she doesn't have is talent. Vocal talent, that is. Yikes. This one was really bad.

Chris Richardson (Smooth). Okay, I've heard this song before, but I've never heard what Chris sang before. Thankfully, he was mostly drowned out by his onstage Carlos Santana, but I don't understand the unanimous praise given to him by the judges. I just don't. Understand. Don't.

Phil Stacey (Maria, Maria). My problem with Phil's performance, aside from the voice crack that made my dog whimper, was that I could almost see him reading cue cards for all of the passion that he infused into this song. He gets faint praise from the judges, but is certain [again] to tell a daughter story, just to touch a few hearts who, in turn, will touch a few phones.

LaKisha Jones (Conga). LaKisha continues with the unflattering wardrobe and attempts to break out of her comfort zone with a little Gloria Estefan. Breaking KiKi's comfort zone apparently includes sashaying from the deck to the big stage while moving her upper body. Randy slathers praise, but Paula and Simon give it a basic "yuck."

Jordin Sparks (Rhythm is Gonna Get You). Jordin continues the string of mediocre performances because, as she tells Ryan pre-song, that she would prefer it be 80s night. But tonight mediocre is more than acceptable.

Melinda Doolittle (Sway). Melinda draws the shortest straw and gets the lead-off spot. Jennifer Lopez tells her to pull a Haley and put on the sultry and sexy, to which Melinda cries that she's not sexy. And she's right. She should have caught Dancing With the Stars when they gave the hip movement lessons. Vocally she's typically Melinda, which is bordering on predictable (re: boring), but, for the first time, Simon says he's not impressed. Neither was I.

Blake Lewis (I Need to Know). Blake needs to deposit the golf hat in the nearest depository, but turns in a smooth, better than mediocre performance of this Marc Anthony song, giving him top honors for the night.

Sanjaya Watch:

Sanjaya Malakar (Besame Mucho). It wasn't horrible!! No it wasn't. At all. Sanjaya gets the pimp spot, grows some facial hair, curls the locks and stays seated on a bench and unbelievably, sings in Spanish on Latin night. And he sings in tune. Okay, he could have pumped up the volume a tad, and he could have showed a bit more emotion, but by damn, it wasn't horrible. Not at all. And I'm just gonna vote for him.

Okay now the hard part, because nothing this season is going according to plan.

Who I want: Chris (please), Phil (please!), Haley (PLEASE!)
Who should: Chris, Phil, Haley. I don't care in what order.
Who will: Phil, Haley (how much longer can these two escape?), and (goin' out on a limb) LaKisha.

Oh hell. I've called Phil for weeks, so I'm calling Haley so Phil might actually go.

C'mon. Your turn. Who's buying the farm this time?

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Blogger Kristi Mantoni said...

Sanjaya stunned me! I'm voting for him too!!!!

Oh! We have the same picks!

9:25 PM, April 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somebody please put Phil aka Uncle Fester and Haley out of their misery....

I just voted for Blake.

9:27 PM, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Laura said...

I thought Chris was decent tonight. Not his best, but still, decent. Jordin and Blake were best tonight. And Haley or Phil SHOULD go - I really don't care which one.

but don't vote for Sanjaya - don't cross over to the dark side! noooooo!

9:27 PM, April 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to dialidol (which admittedly hasn't been that accurate this season) Lakisha, Phil and Haley are in the bottom, with Haley the one to go. It's 8:30...

9:30 PM, April 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't get all the Chris R love fro the judges either. Although as you pointed out he was largely overshadowed by the band and they were kicking on that song. I would happily give them some props, Chris not so much.

Personally I loved Melinda's number. Sure she could probably use some dance lessons but for me it was the only song with some sizzle in it. And on a Latin night you should have some sizzle.

- Allen

9:57 PM, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Dave said...

Blake was the only one at the top of the heap tonight; everyone else was fighting for second place.

10:05 PM, April 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just checked with DI and Haley is at the bottom with Lakisha next, then Jordin. Blake is #1 with Melinda next. Its 10:31. Dori

10:33 PM, April 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't take this, Jordin and Lakisha are at the bottom now. This sucks. It should be that little floozy Haley, Phil and Sanjaya for sure. Dori

11:14 PM, April 10, 2007  
Blogger JR said...

Tonight was undoubtably the worst theme night yet. No one seemed to know what to do with the Latin music which brings the discussion of theme nights back.
At the top of my list is Dave's "Screw Your Buddy Night." others include;
Screw 'em all Night - Simon picks the songs.
Sumo Night - Contestants dress in the blow-up sumo suits and have a tournament. Winner picks the theme and first song choice.
Fear Factor Night - Consestant eating the grossest thing picks theme and first song choice.
Survivor Night - Contestants must complete a Survivor type challenge. Winner picks theme and gets first song choice.
Musical Chairs Night - Judges pick songs. Contestants play musical chairs to determine who gets to sing which song.
These themes would keep the competition interesting and provide extra incentive for the contestants.
OK Jennifer, we'll add Cowsills night and Partridge Family Night just for you.

11:43 PM, April 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Latin night sucked! Unless you are latin or just plain lucky your not going to do so good.

Blake was lucky, and I'm not a huge Blake fan.
The rest just didn't have that latin flair.

I will say Sanjaya tried by actually singing in spanish, but hey it was Sanjaya.

I'm almost afraid to ask what next week theme is.


12:20 AM, April 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Omg, I think I'm actually going to vote for Sanjaya. As a whole, everyone turned in a very forgetable performance, but at least Sanjaya came across as authentically Latino. The guy is an natural performer ... no-one played to the camera better. I doubt if he will sell many records, but at least (for tonight) he stood out against very weak competition.

2:57 AM, April 11, 2007  
Blogger JR said...

According to final Dial Idol results, Chris, Jordin, and Lakisha are the bottom three! One thing this tells me is that Lakisha is losing ground to Melinda and possibly Blake. While Latin music night was pretty much a bust for everyone, I think many voters are ready for the diversity of the competition that would come from Blake, Melinda, and possibly Jordin, if she escapes tonight. America has picked their power diva this year and it is Melinda. I have no idea how Phil and Haley escaped the bottom of the pool, but Dial Idol is not 100% accurate, and AI reserves the right to manipulate the votes. So who's going home? Nobody knows!

8:07 AM, April 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting reviews, odd night :)

Phil, for me, was the least listenable/performed song. basically boring.

Haley's song had nothing memorable except the outfit, and who did her makeup? Is she a martian?

Lakisha, didn't work at all. Very cabaret performance. This could be the performance that causes this years shocker voteoff!

Jordin, where have you gone? I'd swear it was the wrong key/pitch for her, and too slow and boring, and just plain a terrible arrangement. Girl, bring back the first 3 weeks or you're going down! Bring it girl, bring it!!

Chris, well, I just don't like Chris, but his wasn't as bad as other nights. I just can't get past the bad nasal tonal quality.

Sanjaya, damn if audition boy didn't show up tonight!! He still has problems with "projection", but that reminded me of the kid with his sister, and thought both would be in the finals! I still don't understand why they didn't keep his sister. Now that would make the show interesting right now!! haha

Melinda looked stunning for Melinda. There is only so much a slightly large lady with no neck can do. And she definitely comes across as a LADY. Beautifully sung as usual, still not out of her song comfort zone, but will keep her around a while. After the last 2 week's debacles by others (Jordin), she may join Blake in the finals. They are the only 2 to have delivered vocally good songs each week.

Blake! Blake! Blake! go boy go! Loved the outfit, he makes hats cool again! Men should never have stop wearing hats, and maybe he can help bring um back :) Good choice, very good vocal. Really wanted to hear him do La Bamba though. Richie rocked! My only problem with Blake? ...bring back the early Blake, rearrange to songs to make them more modern/blakish, through in a touch of the beat box, give it his own touch. I really liked how he did those first 2 weeks of finals, and miss that style he brought.

I think I'm with Jenn, wouldn't fall out of my chair if Kiki drops to the bottom 3, or even gets the boot. This would be the right time for the show to 'shake it up'. Phil probably needs to go, Haley still brings in guy viewers :) Phil just scares people. haha At this point though, as Jenn said, we just can't figure out this season, so I'll be doing some serious conclusion drawing when I see the seating order :)

this is gonna be an interesting night, yes it is.

9:20 AM, April 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

btw, Jen, where are the song links this year?! I miss those! I like listening to them without watching, because I find I can focus on the actual vocals much better if I don't see them visually.


9:22 AM, April 11, 2007  
Anonymous Artificially Intelligent said...

Wow, what a lackluster night!!! I was hoping for some good stuff and it just didn't happen, except for Blake and he, as he often does, rocked!!
My least favorite was Chris.. I was actually squirming in my seat during the first part of his song and couldn't fathom how me might have been able to sing in an even lower key.. it was in a word "terrible"
I love Sway, one of my all time favorite songs and when Peter Cincotti sings it I just want to melt into a puddle, but Melinda didn't give it what it needed last night.. too bad because I really like her.
Kiki... meh!!
Phil, Haley.. go home already!!
Jordin did a good job but not her best by a long shot... she seemed too frantic or something...
Sanjaya... oddly enough I was expecting him to surprise us as lots of Latin songs are slow and mellow and don't require a power singer and he did quite well...
If DI is correct and Jordin is in the bottom three.. I'll eat Blake's hat!!

9:30 AM, April 11, 2007  
Blogger jennifer said...

You get the audio files from rickey at rickey.org. Since he makes them so easy to listen to, I didn't see the need for the expense of hosting them here.

9:40 AM, April 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just don't get it - her i am 40+ - and began hating little Sanjaya - but now I hope he sticks around another couple of weeks - because at least the boy gives a damn - I too am bored with Lakisha, Melinda and Jordin - Goreat review Jennifer - I agreed with everything you said -

9:52 AM, April 11, 2007  
Anonymous Johanna said...

My problem with Latin night is that it seems AI contestants (or producers?) apparently think that "Latin" consists of Gloria Estefan and Santana...

Where was Selena, Shakira, Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, Lou Vega, or, for that matter, Julio Iglesias? Where was the music from the entire "Latin invasion"? How about Christina friggin' Aguilera? Or J.Lo. herself?

Nothing against Gloria Estefan, but those particular songs are TIRED in American Idol lore. Turn the Beat Around, in particular, is the song that finally ousted Carmen Rasmusen in Season 2. I only hope it seals the same fate for our Haley (who actually might have sounded good doing some Selena...)

I'm not a Blake fan, but he's the only one who gets any credit from me for this week.

I AM a Melinda fan, but if she doesn't do something other than a Broadway/Standards number soon, I'm moving to team Jordin!

10:19 AM, April 11, 2007  
Blogger angelof_mercy81 said...

I would have loved to hear Jordin doing a Selena song. I think that would have been a great fit for her voice, particularly the one called "I Could Fall In Love" or something like that. It would have been so pretty.

Last night wasn't pretty, though. Some of it made me cringe. One of the problems I kept seeing was the lack of passion or connection with the song. That could've really made the difference with a lot of the performances--like Melinda's, for example. She has a great voice, but I would've loved to see her really cut loose last night. Safety-wise, she still has no worries.

And Sanjaya...I must grudgingly admit that last night wasn't terrible. In fact, there were moments when it was kind of nice. I have to give him props for even trying to sing in Spanish--and for basically pulling it off. Who knew?

10:44 AM, April 11, 2007  
Blogger Dave said...


It might be an issue of getting the rights, not just the singers picking the songs. I can't imagine that anyone wouldn't license their song for use on American Idol, but some people may be holding out (or they don't want to hear Sanjaya butchering "The Hips Don't Lie").

11:17 AM, April 11, 2007  
Blogger jennifer said...

LOL And after last night, a ton of them are probably in their attorneys' offices now, filing the appropriate paperwork to rescind those releases.


Just as last week as rumors began to spread about a Gina boot and her "stock" plummeted on the betting sites, it's happening now.

Victim: LaKisha.

11:24 AM, April 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I'd rather it be Lakisha then Jordin, but neither one deserves to go. It should be Haley or Phil and of course Sanjaya.
I don't get it, he does one song half good and everyone wants to vote for him. Its a joke! He's a joke!
The night he goes we are partying here all night!

11:48 AM, April 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a night! Sanjaya has actually improved the last few weeks but I still haven't voted for him. Last night I voted for 3 people...Blake, Melinda & Jordin. They should be the top 3 and if Jordin goes home tonight, I'm done with this season. Phil & Haley should definatley be in the bottom 3 tonight and I can't believe that they are rated as high as they are on DI. I don't get it.

Well...Blake will definately get a record contract out of this mess this year. He's really the most marketable of all of them. Technically, I think Melinda is the best singer in the bunch. She's a seasoned pro BUT would I pay to go see her in concert? Probably not.

So...I just don't know what to think about this show anymore.

Jennifer - I do love your blog & you are always right on the money...although this week, I would put Chris above Phil & Haley. He is a cutie patootie even if the song was weak...they all were this week.


11:55 AM, April 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait a minute - Blake was wearing a hat? I thought it was an extra-large thimble.

As far as Sanjaya goes, I have to say [fingers going numb - breaking out in a cold sweat...] that I also heard echoes of his audition last night - particularly when he sang in Spanish.

There are some very good posts out there about VFTW and whether or not it is having any measurable effect. Here's the best of the 2-3 I've seen: VFTW effect.


12:24 PM, April 11, 2007  
Anonymous Robin said...

I voted for Lakisha last night because I figure she'll be in the bottom three and I would MUCH rather see Phil or Haley go home first. Phil makes me want to leave the room - I can hardly stand to look at him. And at least Simon was honest with Haley - she's only here for one reason, and it's not her voice. I'm tired of these two.

Go home Phil!

1:35 PM, April 11, 2007  
Anonymous Johanna said...

Dave -

I agree that all the kids may not have gotten their first choice, but they still lacked originality even if these songs were their 10th choices. (And Gloria Estefan could not have been the only female latin artist existing who was willing to license her music.)

Either that, or the producers put some bogus restriction on it like they did for Broadway night of Season 4 (you know, where all songs had to be from "traditional" broadway and not "modern" broadway)... or how "Try a Little Tenderness" didn't qualify as a "love song" last year...

1:42 PM, April 11, 2007  
Blogger Dave said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:28 PM, April 11, 2007  
Blogger Dave said...

Didn't Mandisa go in the #8 spot, too?

Lakisha getting kicked off would be the kind of "shocker" that we see at least once a year, even though her talent should merit a top 5 finish. I just don't where she has picked up any new voters. With the exception of last night, she turns in basically the same performance every week.

Plus--and I know this isn't the most politically correct thing to say--she's not the most attractive of the remaining singers, and American Idol being what it is, looks count for something, so it would not surprise me if she is in the bottom 3, although I would be a little shocked if she is kicked off tonight.

3:39 PM, April 11, 2007  
Blogger jennifer said...

Mandisa went in ninth; Bucky was eighth.

If I remember correctly, I predicted that this would be the week of one of the divas exiting, but I thought it would be Jordin.

3:57 PM, April 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For whatever it is worth...
oh heck, it is worth nothing, really...but here goes anyway...

If Mandisa goes tonight, I think it because she looked like a pinata in her unflattering dress last night. Apropos for the latin theme, at least.

4:35 PM, April 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mandisa didn't sing last night.

4:59 PM, April 11, 2007  
Anonymous Artificially Intelligent said...

oddly enough, I thought KiKi (not Mandisa :-) ) looked prettier and more alive than I'd noticed in the past.. I still didn't like her performance much, if at all.. I did not like the dress much and don't think she should flaunt the girls quite as much as she does... they're ahem.. noticeable enough..
All that aside I don't believe she's the one who should be going home tonight!! not yet anyway.. but just please don't let it be Jordin...
I remember last year feeling so torn about who should go home each week.. I adored Elliot, and Chris D of course.. I loved Kat and Taylor too... I even liked Bucky and was sad to see him leave.. this year... I don't know.. I just don't care as much!!!

5:00 PM, April 11, 2007  

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