60s Night

I didn’t know that Neil Sedaka is Liberace’s younger brother… He sure looked and acted the part last night. He also became the first judge to ever make critiques by reading them off his notes. I’ll be kind and say he wrote them down as the singers performed, but I get the feeling they were pre-fed lines. UGH.

In any case, last night was 60s night/Sedaka night. Two things became clear. (1) Things are getting really really good. (2) Joshua Gracin has outstayed his welcome. He’s just not good enough. He could get by in comparison to some of the other questionable talents the show has had in the round of 12, but when he’s up against the other four — and with Kimberley Locke and Trenyce making moves at the top — he just can’t compete. I also think he wants out. He’s getting more flippant towards Simon now, even though his wisecracks are funny. He doesn’t look like he’s having fun anymore, but just going through the motions. With any luck, he’ll get the much-needed mercy kill tonight the way Carmen got it last week.

I won’t do a full breakdown this week, but I will say that I had goosebumps for the first time this season with Clay Aiken doing “Solitaire.” They staged it perfectly, and he sang it well. I just wish they had let him do the full version of it. He’d also be insane not to take up Sadaka on his offer to write a song for him. Let’s hope that the American Idol people don’t screw up Aiken’s recording career the way they have Kelly Clarkson’s.

Lots of good songs this week. Aiken’s “Build Me Up, Buttercup” was great, and Locke’s “Where the Boys Are” was perfect, save for one pitchy moment (on the word “Valentine”). I remember that song as sung by Kath Soucie doing her Fifi LeFume voice for a TINY TOONS tape a decade ago. It was good stuff then, and it’s still great stuff now. Trenyce (a/k/a Lashundra Cubbins) did a great job with both of her songs, even with the most annoying background singers in AI history. I’m definitely getting bored of Ruben, though. He’s a nice guy and all, but it’s not my thing. He hasn’t stood out in weeks, while Kimberley, Clay, and Trenyce have all had powerhouse performances. That could hurt him. (Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part.)

I think the theory that doing poorly gets you more votes than doing well works in the earlier rounds, but I think the affects this far down the line are minimal. There are less people to vote for, making it easier for people to start truly voting for who they think is the best, and not who they think needs to be saved. I think Josh is gone this week. After Josh, it might truly be anyone’s game. I’m still rooting for Clay, although I had Kimberley down as a very early favorite.


One Response to “60s Night”

  1. John
    30. April 2003 at 10:02

    I thought Sedaka was the only guest so far to offer up anything resembling actual critiques, and didn’t get the impression at all that his notes were anything but him doing what a judge SHOULD do – write down thoughts as the singer performs. He actually took the idea seriously, I thought.

    Gracin’s second song was worse than his first; if he’s not voted off tonight he may (should) voluntarily quit.

    For the life of me I still don’t get the Aiken love, from this or any other quarter. He sings EVERY lyric in exactly the same way. He’s got a powerful instrument that he commands very, very well, but you could create an “Aiken Emulator” to predict exactly what he’ll do with any song; he didn’y evidence (to me) any understanding of Solitaire last night, but sang it exactly the same way he sings everything. Bleh. I still peg Locke as the best, she does more towards actually interpreting a lyric than any of them; she pays the most attention to the song. When Clay or Rueben or Trenyce sing, it’s about THEM – hey, listen to me!, not the song or any meaning the lyric and melody are trying to convey. Kim seems to actually be thinking about the song and its lyric.

    On that note what I’d really like to see, especially with only four singers left, is a theme night based, not on an era or style, but purely length. Make these singers sing a full, unedited song that’s five minutes or more long. A long song would force them to stop leaning on the money notes and vocal tics we know by heart by now and really try to get across the song. A pipe dream, I know.