Alright, you know the drill: we’re at 20 semi-finalists, working our way to the Top 12, and that is way too much TV to deal with in this one little space. So I get one hour–ONE HOUR–to write as much as I can about this week’s Idol sing-offs, and I do it all from memory. So only the stuff I remember gets included.
And I have lots to get off my chest this week. So I’m typing fast. Here we go. Start the clock! (click!)First of all, some things I missed from last week:
1) Stevie Scott will be a Judge’s Wild Card pick. At least I hope. She deserves to go on the Idol tour. Maybe Eeyore too. But definitely Stevie.
2) Whoever left a comment saying Elliot reminds you of Alf: please never leave comments like that again. Because now, every time I see Elliot, I think “Alf.” And then he sings, and I think “Look, Alf is singing.” Now I have Alf on the brain, and I’d rather not have him there. It’s not Elliot’s fault his parents didn’t get him braces. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. Let’s all hope Elliot doesn’t read this, because I think he’s great and I’d hate to hurt his feelings. Do you think Elliot would know that I lauged out loud when I read the Alf reference? And while we’re on the subject, why isn’t Alf on Nick At Nite?
3) I’ve been spelling Miss McPhee’s name incorrectly all this time. It’s Katharine, not Katherine. Sorry, K-Phee. For the record: I have no idea if I’m spelling Elliot’s name correctly but I don’t have enough time to go check.
4) Why is Paula’s doctor (alledgedly) still writing prescriptions? I don’t understand why it’s legal to give someone pills to the point that they make no sense. Drug companies pay politicians lots of money, I guess.
…speaking of Lady Abdul: After Simon called her out for “being annoying” (read: “high on pills again”) during the girls’ Tuesday sing-off, Paula jumped on her Huffy bike and switched chairs with Randy–which put her in position to comment first. And she mysteriously pulled it together. She was articulate, insightful, and blunt. No more “Your light shines from within” crap. I loved it. She needs to go first from now on, so she doesn’t feel pressure to be nice. Who knew that would make such a huge difference?
Although on Thursday’s results show (alledgedly) she was just totally wasted or something. But that’s good. Booze is better than pills. It’s an easier withdrawl process when you’re in Betty Ford. Pills are a nasty habit to kick, stay away from them.
First up: Katharine McPhee–”All In Love Is Fair”
She has the most electrifying control over her voice, she packs power into even the softest, bluesiest notes. And she’s gorgeous. Apparently she saw Ace’s performance last week with the brooding stares and thought I can do that. ‘Cause K-Phee was all over that camera lens. The judges didn’t like her song, and I don’t understand why. I loved it. Although she’s worked the piano-bar standards thing for all it’s worth; time to do something new. Can she sing more upbeat songs? We’ll see. What a shame if she was a one-trick pony. But it’s a good trick nonetheless.
Kinnik Skye–”Here For The Party” (or something like that)
Kinnik…how do I say this politely?…There is this gay club here in Austin called Charlie’s, where all these black queens dress in drag and prance around on stage, and make crazy facial expressions while they shriek and scream and lip sync songs. They’re interesting to watch, simply because they are such spectacles. Do you get where I’m going with this?…Kinnik, the weird clothes, the screaming of the songs for no reason…if you did your performance at a drag pageant, everyone would believe you were one of those queens. Because this week, you looked like a dude.
I’m just sayin’.
Lisa Tucker–”Who’s Loving You”
Great voice. Cute girl. High school talent show. Otherwise knows as “The Next Jasmine Trias.” NEXT–
Melissa McGhee–”Why Haven’t I Heard From You”
She looked good this week–hair away from her face, moderate makeup, cute outfit. And her song? Fantastic…technically speaking. Her voice is perfect for recording; close your eyes and listen, she’s lovely. But for a while, I couldn’t put my finger on why she’s not “connecting.” It’s no fun watching her perform. Perhaps it’s the fact that she always, always has this halfway, non-committal smile on her face that isn’t the slightest bit exciting. It’s not even a real smile. It’s just there, looking unobtrusive and agreeable in a passive way. She needs to laugh more, or stop smiling entirely, or something.
And then when she finished singing, Idol went to commercial break, and an ad came on for that movie starring Amanda Byrnes. And then it hit me. Melissa looks exactly like Amanda Byrnes. And Amanda Byrnes could, quite possibly, be the most boring actress on the planet. Not good. Melissa really, really needs to go back to blonde.
Oh please. I’m sending her my cleaning bill, for making me barf all over my couch. “Hero?” NEXT–
Brenna Gethers–”Last Dance”
Cheshire Cat. Be gone.
Paris Bennett–”Wind Beneath My Wings”
This week, Paris sang just to hear the sound of her voice. And she wanted to make sure she was loud enough for her voice to come out of TVs that weren’t even tuned to Fox, so everyone in America could hear her voice too. I can imagine all the morons watching According To Jim being very confused by the sound of Paris Bennett coming out of their speakers while Jim Belushi was on screen. But I imagine the Jim Belushi crowd is easily confused anyway.
Okay, we get it, she can blow out all the windows in the building. Every Baptist church south of the Mason-Dixon line has a choir filled with women who can do the same thing. But when Mandisa and Chris Daughtry do it, the result is electrifying; when Paris does it, she’s just loud. Last week, without hitting a single “power note,” she put on a show, and was much better. Don’t get me wrong, this week she was alright…but I greatly prefer melodic Paris over power-note Paris.
Oh, Lord, I’m falling behind. Need to speed it up:
Kellie Pickler–”Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About”
Unique, back on pitch, and her throaty-squeaky vocals sounded great. Her performance was fun. And the fact that she’s not “powerful” doesn’t mean she’s not good. Because she really is. Now I remember why I love Kellie Pickler. She’s a star. And she wins Perfect Song Choice for the night, as well as Best Performance.
I hate this song even when Faith Hill sings it; I much prefer “Breathe,” as Faith Hill power-ballads go. The rhythms of the “Cry” three-count beat are really weird for some reason. So I wasn’t a fan of this performance, by default. But again, by singing country, Mandisa is shaking things up and showing her versatility, proving she can do anything. She’s so smart. Granted, she keeps singing sharp, and her vibrato gets out of control sometimes–but when she’s on, hitting those notes, she is IT. Her vocal tone can slice through steel. So fierce.
Oh damn, I forgot Ayla–
Ayla Brown–”I Want You To Need Me”
Here’s the thing with Ayla: she is a great singer. The sight of her standing there in that dress, looking like she was attacked by a Mary Kay commando, was a joke. She’s hot, but she needs to come out in some old jeans, a t-shirt, and some sneakers, with her hair in a ponytail, and she needs to sing some angry, fun song like the big
lesbian tomboy that she is. The judges keep saying she’s so “mechanical,” and they can’t figure out why; it’s because she’s not being real. We don’t want her to be girly. We already have Ryan Seacrest Kellie Pickler for that. If she would be natural and butch it up a bit, at least she’s be original. And maybe I wouldn’t forget her.
On to Wednesday, with the dudes:
Taylor Hicks: “Easy” (or is it “Easy Like Sunday Morning”?)
Started great. Then he started going “Whoo!” after every stanza like he was in a bar doing Jaeger Bombs with his buddies. He needs to just sing and quit the rest of the crap. He’s turning into a characiture of himself. Whoopee, people think you’re weird and that’s cool, blah blah blah. Now quit with the Tourette’s Syndrome ticks and just sing, dude.
What was the name of his song? He said it too fast. Whatever, I know it was something by Stevie Wonder and Elliot sang it GREAT. Singing the ups-and-downs of Stevie Wonder R&B/jazz could be a nightmare of mush-mouth sloppiness, if you don’t keep every single note in key. Usually when singers do “runs,” it’s to hide the fact that they can’t hit and sustain the correct note. But Elliot can. He can hit every note you throw at him. Where was this guy during the audition episodes? I think they didn’t put him in because he looks funny. And that’s a shame. Damn, he’s good.
Ace–”If I’m Not Made For You”
Okay, I’m going to say it: Ace crashed and burned. It makes my fingers feel pain just typing it. Daniel Bettingfield sings this song with the aid of a computer tuning his voice; Ace needed that computer, as he trudged through his vocals like he was walking through mud. Really badly-tuned, off-key mud. And the judges liked it, which I didn’t get. Awful awful awful. He’s lucky he’s foxy.
Gedeon McKinney–”A Change Is Gonna Come”
Gedeon is great. Forty years ago, he would have been a hit. Today, would you buy his album filled with Motown and gospel-wannabe songs? Exactly. God bless.
Kevin Covais–”I Heard It Through The Grapevine”
In his intro video clip, he excitedly detailed all the Clay Aiken-style female attention he’s been getting, exclaiming “It’s kind of like I’m a sex symbol now!” Kev, when girls say you’re “cute,” they mean it like it’s “cute” when a Chihuahua barks at the neighbor’s Rottweiler. It’s funny. It’s endearing. And it’s delusional. Josh Groban! Josh Groban! Sing Josh Groban!
He tried to go totally straight and legit this time, after his shenanagins last week. Big mistake, since we don’t care about Sway unless he’s blinging and pimping us all to death. And singing a Stevie Wonder song on the same night that Elliot is singing Stevie Wonder is the fastest way out of the competition. Oops.
We respected Will. And then he said “I got to meet Justin Guarini!” like he was excited about it. Oh, dear. For me, he might as well have come out on the stage and taken a huge dump. Because now all I see is the the male Heather Cox.
And the Ryan Seacrest turned into Chester the Molester and started rearranging Will’s twig and berries, saying something about “you need to untuck your shirt” or one of those standard porn movie excuses to get into somebody’s pants. And I forgot all about Will’s singing, and his naivetÃƒÂ©, and his lack of any sort of musical sophistication, and I just felt dirty. It was all just a bad moment for me. And for America.
Bucky Covington–”And The Thunder Rolls”
I didn’t care about Bucky until halfway through his song, when he flipped a switch somewhere in his vocal cords and started using his grunge voice again. And it worked! This whole “grunge-country” thing he’s got going is original, it’s fun to listen to, and it’s the only thing that makes him unique. Well that, and his bad ponytail, but maybe that’s how people wear their hair wherever they’re from. Whatever–he needs to stick with it. Think about it. This whole thing with Bucky kicks ass. It’s like when metal bands sing pop songs. I love it. And he better do SOMETHING, because otherwise, compared to Chris Daughtry, he’s toast. But I’m not at Chris yet, I need to keep control of myself. Deep breaths.
David Radford–”The Way You Look Tonight”
David, say it with me: “Thank you, ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to Las Vegas! Be sure to tip your waitress!” NEXT–
Now that I’m here, I don’t know what else to say.
Never mind the fact that Chris Daughtry is the worst thing to happen to Rogaine, ever. Listening to him sing causes a visceral reaction within my person. I feel like a teenage girl watching The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. And I take great satisfaction in remembering how Simon gave him a “no” in his initial audition. Yet Simon keeps referring to his judging skills as a “10.” Ha.
Not that I’m saying Chris Daughtry is a musical genius like The Beatles. We don’t know what he’s all about yet. Just as with Katharine McPhee, I’m interested to see if Chris can do anything other than this rocker thing. But who cares?! He’s so exciting and raw, at least you want to see what he can do. And that’s the biggest compliment he can get. More, more, scream at us more, please.
Mandisa is the only vocalist who has the power of Chris, and she tries to pull it off, but she sings off-key once in a while. And I don’t fault her for it, because wailing like that, while making it sound like actual music, is the hardest singing to do. At least Mandisa has the chops to give it a shot. Chris, however, has the chops to nail it. I want to shave my head and scream into a microphone and be Chris Daughtry when I grow up.
The judges said his was the only male performance to stick out; I say Elliot’s was also excellent, so that’s not a fair statement. For the guys, it’s a race between Elliot and Chris. And Kevin. Just kidding. If you don’t watch Idol, please do so just to watch Chris sing.
I’m totally out of time, so I’ll make this quick: David Radford and Sway got the axe from the menfolk, and Heather Cox and Brenna Gethers were kicked out of the ladies. Kinnik Skye and Kevin Covais were next in line. Any questions? No? Of course not. See you next week when we say goodbye to Kinnik and Kevin for good.