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American Idol Season 6: Round Three

March 28, 2007

THE IDOL HOPEFULS TACKLE ‘POP MUSIC’ WITH MIXED RESULTS

american-idol-2005_1903.jpgThis week, I have decided to address the performances before the results are announced.  It allows me an opportunity to critique the performers without knowing whether or not the voters agreed with my assessments. Plus, it gives me something to write about on a slow Wednesday.

You will never find me listening to Gwen Stefani, or her band No Doubt, unless I have a reason to be playing their songs.  Like when you need to take extra measures in order to drive crows away from your garden or to hasten the end of some hostage crisis.  Gwen is attractive, if you go for the flat-chested, bitchy kinds of girls.  She seems liek the type of girls that would date you long enough to get a couple of free movies out of the deal.  Her voice leaves little to be desired and the way she mangles classic songs in order to create her pop ‘masterpieces’ can induce dry heaves.  (Did we really need to hear a rewrite of ‘If I Were A Rich Man’?)

With those kinds of credentials, it is no wonder the producers of American Idol felt she was qualified to coach the contestants.  Surprisingly, I found myself agreeing with most of her recommendations.  Chris Sligh needs to follow the music?  Damn straight.  Haley Scarnato should avoid over-singing?  Hell, she should just go ahead and avoid singing altogether.  I was amused to see Gina Glocksen so star struck when she met her ‘coach.’  Frankly, I would buy anything Gina would release ten times before I would even consider illegally downloading Gwen’s music.

Here are my observations for the evening:

  • Lakisha Jones-  She sang one of my all-time favorite Donna Summer songs, “Last Dance”.  The judges seemed to enjoy it, saying they were happy to see a younger sounding Lakisha show up this week.  I couldn’t disagree more.  She over-sang the song, something I always thought she avoided in her other performances.  There are parts of that song that need to be belted out,  but I thought the whole performance seemed strained.  Lakisha will make it another week, but of the three ‘strong’ singers, I could see her leaving first.
  • Chris Sligh- This dude’s attitude gets worse as the weeks progress.  He should spend a little more time actually listening to the song he picks and less time coming up with his pathetic excuses.  When the show started he had a sense of humor about the competition.  That seems to have gone away and it has been replaced with cockiness.  The fact that he has a rather pronounced lisp in his singing voice did not help with a song like “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”.  It is one of the few songs by The Police that I can still enjoy after more than one listen.  Chris butchered it with a horrible vocal and his inability to follow the songs meter.  I wouldn’t shed any tears if he went home tonight.
  • Gina Glocksen- Wow! This would have to be my favorite performance of the night.  I have enjoyed most of her performances, but this one was (by far) her best to date.  I didn’t think she had the pipes to pull off a song like the Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand By You.”  It is nice to be proven wrong, especially by someone as likable as Gina.  If she continues to make great choices for her songs in the coming weeks she should make it to the final three or four singers, at least.
  • Sanjaya Malakar- AI’s favorite poster boy for mediocrity did what he does best and that is inflame the self-proclaimed media pundits reporting on the show.  Yes, Sanjaya sucks to high heaven, but there have been plenty of bad performers on the show’s other seasons.  I still can’t see pictures of Diana DiGarmo without having flashbacks, and that fool made it all the way to the finals.  Sanjaya performed one of No Doubt’s songs (that I am ignorant to) called “Bath Water”.  It is no wonder Gwen said she wanted him to perform another song.  Imagine if he had actually been better than her (which I don’t see as much of a stretch.)  At least we got another memorable hairstyle out of him for the night.  Just don’t scream too loud if he makes it through another elimination.
  • Haley Scarnato- She chose “True Colors”, a song made famous by Cyndi Lauper.  Haley failed to deliver a memorable performance and only highlighted her obvious weaknesses.  She lacks a unique voice and desperately needs to find it if she has any hope of staying in the competition.  I hope she leaves sooner rather than later.
  • Phil Stacey- This guy seemed like a creep even before he chose the stalker’s anthem, “Every Breath You Take” as his pop song.  There is something Rita Cosby-ish or Cher-like in his voice that drives me nuts.  I just want to take his stupid little hat and shove it in his mouth so I don’t have to hear him sing.  It scares me to see him escape elimination every week and it makes me wonder who is wasting their time voting for the guy.  Go away, baldy!
  • Melinda Dolittle- She has such a great voice, it is a shame that she can’t get beyond what we already know of her.  I am starting to get tired of the songs she picks.  Has she even tried to sing something written in the last ten years?  Melinda (like Lakisha) picked another Donna Summer song, “Heaven Knows” and delivered it like only she can. Even though she is great, it is just not enough for me.  It would help if she could find a song that could get her out of the corner she has unfortunately backed herself into.  I do love her, freakishly big head and all.   If only she could ‘wow’ me again.
  • Blake Lewis-  I like him, but he is most certainly benefiting from the judges ignorance of the group 311.  Last night he performed 311’s version of the Cure’s “Lovesong” and was praised for his originality.  (Remember when Chris Daughtry did a version of Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line”?)  Blake is an original (most of the time,) but he owes an explanation to the viewers who may not know about 311’s version of “Lovesong”.  You can see it here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=mZqEqypU4cs
  • Jordin Sparks-  Maybe the judges were hearing something I missed last night during her performance of No Doubt’s “Hey Baby”.   She looked uncomfortable and seemed to move around a little too much.  She was lacking the energy in her vocals that I believe the song requires.  Simon, Paula, and Randy were kind to her, hopefully they rethought their comments once they saw the replay.  It may have been an off night or proof that uptempo songs are her Achilles heal.  I don’t think she has to worry about leaving, yet.
  • Chris Richardson- He chose No Doubt’s dreadful “Don’t Speak” and nearly pulled it off.  It wasn’t horrible, but he faltered during the middle part of the song.  He did manage to finish nicely and redeem himself.  In light of last week’s poor finish, Chris may be sweating it during tonight’s show.   I expect him to advance another week, but you never know.

So there you have it, my take on American Idol’s Pop Music week.  I think we may see Sanjaya, Chris S. and Haley in the bottom three.  You could substitute Phil for any of them and probably be safe, too.  My guess is that Sanjaya will be able to spend more time with his sister after this week, if not, we may say ‘bye-bye’ to Haley.   I will cover the aftermath tomorrow. 

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