Tuesday, March 20, 2007
'American Idol 6' - The Top Eleven and the British Invasion
Yo, yo, yo. Check it out. Check it out.
Graphic artist Zoetawny made me a new tag for my American Idol posts and, guess what?
They brought it tonight! Now, this is entertainment.
Think about it. If I grew up with Motown, it should go without saying that I grew up with the British Invasion as well. I had my Peter Noone (Herman) crush and all. This is my music. Those were my times. Well, the times of my youth, that is. I turned the show on with a bit of trepidation tonight and was thrilled to find it the best show of the season... perhaps the overall most entertaining show in many seasons. No, the contestants weren't all perfect, but the overall feel to the show provided me with a lot of entertainment. And, dawgs, dudes, dames... that's what I'm here for. Or there. Well, I'm here, but you know what I mean.
First up was Haley Scarnato, looking all sexy and slinky (and a bit wiggly when she jumped up and down). The girls were coached by British pop singer from the 60s, Lulu. She sang "Tell Him." It was a good choice for her and it's finally a song which matches her bouncing about the stage. She's not my favorite performer, but she put on a good performance, easily surpassing most of her past performances. Randy and Paula both sang their praises while Simon commented that her singing probably won't be the only thing the audience talks about -- "you naughty little thing."
Chris Richardson took the stage next. Peter Noone coached the guys and didn't seem all that impressed with Chris. He claimed he didn't really "hear his voice" and advised him to stick to the melody. Chris sang "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying." Sigh. I didn't care for it although I have the original hit somewhere in my 45 RPM vinyl collection (yes, I still have them). Again, he was nasal-sounding and, reflecting back on all of the performances, I thought it one of the weaker ones of the night. This is bad... I ranked Sanjaya's performance higher than Chris's this week. Yipes. Yet, the judges loved it. So, what do I know? I'm sure he's safe. But his version did nothing for me, nothing at all.
Next up was Stephanie Edwards, who Lulu compared to Beyonce. I enjoy Stephanie. I think she's a strong singer and performer who could have knocked the socks off of Fantasia in that year. But her competition this year from the other women is rough. She sang Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me." I thought she did very well, but the judges weren't as pleased with the performance as I was. Randy called it pitchy. Paula mumbles something about "notes falling off." Simon thinks she's losing her edge, losing her soul, and is too old for herself. Say what? I think she's probably safe.
Then there's Blake Lewis. Each week I'm respecting and enjoying this kid more and more. He's not the powerhouse voice of a Lakisha or Melinda, but he's innovative. He sang "Time of the Season" by the Zombies. I loved it! I thought he was teensy bit off pitch a couple of times, but he mesmerized me. It was a perfect song for him and he Blake-ized it well without destroying the original. Who's your Daddy? Oh, it was so good! Randy said it had "massive yo factor" and was brilliant. Paula said he raised the bar. Simon said it was a million times better than last week and proclaimed it the strongest performance so far of the evening. Blake ain't going anywhere.
Lakisha Jones sang next, singing a song which doesn't thrill me -- "Diamonds Are Forever." Hey, if she's going to sing a James Bond movie song, I want her to sing "Goldfinger." Can you imagine her singing that song? She could bring down the house with it. Instead, we got bling. She sang it well, but it wasn't my favorite performance of hers. I think she displayed excellent quality performance skills. But, but, but... it wasn't the show-stopping Kiki! The judges seemed to think along the same lines as I did.
Phil Stacey sang "Tobacco Road." I liked the start and some bits in between, but my overall impression was "So?" I'll say that I do think it's one of his better performances, but Phil doesn't give this girl a thrill. I can't help but think of Uncle Fester (same time as the British Invasion) when I see him. The judges were a bit more positive than I was about his performance, but I think he's on thin ice this week.
Jordin Sparks, the 17-year-old powerhouse, was next with "I Who Have Nothing." She's another one I see improving week after week. Are we sure she's just a kid? Have we checked her ID? My gosh, she did well. The judges were as impressed as I was. Good girl, Jordin! (Lulu was very impressed with her, too.) Simon mentioned how gloomy the song is, but said she sang it beautifully. She sure did.
When they said we'd see the "wild side" of Sanjaya Malakar, I thought that meant he'd sing "Wild Thing" by the Troggs, but nope. Close, but instead he went for The Kinks' "You Really Got Me." And, though I still want him gone, he did an excellent teenybopper heart-stopper version. He moved in other than his silly floating stuff; he reached down into growls and everything. Oh, no. He's not a Melinda or Lakisha, not a Blake or a Chris Sligh. But he actually showed some spark tonight. For that, I won't even mess with his picture. Hey, are teeth really that white? Randy called the performance his best to date. I agree. I think that he's going to be around next week.
Gina Glocksen hit the stage next looking as punk as punk can be. I'm a tad upset with her. She chose a song which I thought defined me in my teen angst years. She chose "Paint It Black" by The Rolling Stones. Keep in mind, I saw the Stones sing the song live in their prime on more than one occasion. She sang it wrong. She kept losing the melody. She sang like she was doing a bad impersonation of Joan Jett doing a bad Mick Jagger impersonation. She mumbled words. The judges were a bit less harsh than I was just now, but Simon deemed her vocals "not good enough." 'Nuff said. Based on that performance alone, she should be a shoe-in for the bottom three. Her past and audience might save her butt, but she better not screw up a song I like again! Sanjaya was more loyal to the Kinks. Sheesh!
Chris Sligh talked with Peter Noone about singing "Henry the Eighth" and I was so hoping he would! "I'm Henry the Eighth, I am, I am. I got married to the woman next door and she's been married seven times before. And every one was an Hen-er-y." That song always makes me smile. But, instead he went for "She's Not There" by the Zombies. It was a good song choice. It wasn't my favorite performance of his, but it was light-years better than Phil Stacey or Gina Glocksen! Second verse, same as the first... the judges enjoyed it. I couldn't but help noticing that a family member or friend of his had a sign playing with Timberlake's song -- "Bringing chubby back."
They saved the best for last. Ah, Melinda Doolittle. Why hasn't she been out there making records for years at this time? She amazes me. She can sing songs I really don't like and make me sit there in awe of what she does to them. She said she was going out of her comfort zone and chose a song from Oliver - "As Long As He Needs Me." Now, my favorite song from that show is "You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two." So, you can see where I stand. Well, consider yourself a star, Melinda. Consider yourself part of the furniture... or something to that effect. Randy told her, "Dude, you're a pro." Paula said she's in her own league. Simon said it was sensational, impeccable vocals, and said she's indeed as nice as she seems.
I think we'll see Phil Stacey going home this week. What do you think?