AI4 – Group of 9

Quick wrap up of last night’s show here, since I didn’t take notes and I’m doing it all by memory now. The order is approximate, but incorrect. The theme is Broadway showtunes. Thankfully, nobody danced to them.

Scott sucked. That’s two weeks in a row he couldn’t hit a note. And it’s a damned shame because that’s a great song. I would love to see Clay sing it.

Carrie was great again. Kid can’t hit a bad note. Remarkable.

Anwar saved himself this week. That’s the best he’s sounded in at least a month. He put the playbook away and sang a good song, without relying on the money note at the end.

Speaking of which, Simon is just now realizing that contestants rely on the big note at the end to save their performance?!? That’s been happening since season two. . .

And Paula needs a month in dry dock. She’s so wasted.

Constantine was better this week than last, I think. (I might be biased; I like “My Funny Valentine.”) I also think the judges are right that he should consider dropping the rocker thing for a crooner thing.

Anthony can go now. “Climb Every Mountain” takes a special arrangement to work for AI. And it’s not so much that he didn’t get the arrangement the song needed. He just didn’t do terribly well with the one he had to work with.

He should also put the glasses back on.

Nikko was all right. Or, as Randy might put it, “a’ight.” I don’t know West Side Story past a couple of the more famous songs, so I didn’t recognize this one. It sounded to me like they added a little R&B feel to it for him, which worked out nicely for his voice. This is one arrangement of a song I can’t complain about.

Vonzelle is amazing. I agree with Simon, though: It came up just short of Fantasia’s “Summertime,” a song which I mentioned as we watched the episode. It was a strong performance, but not a powerful one. It lacked one extra bit of power — emotionally or dramatically — that would have made it a contendor for Most Memorable Performances of All Time category.

Bo was not good. I’m not sure if I believe the “I picked a song with a random point of the finger” story, but it would make an awful lot of sense.

Nadia is not as impressive a singer as Carrie or Vonzelle, but she certainly makes up for it by looking comfortable on the stage. I don’t mean that as a put down — she sounded great last night for the most part. But I caught a couple of off notes that I didn’t hear from Carrie and Vonzelle.

From best to least: Carrie, Vonzelle, Nadia, Anwar, Constantine, Nikko, and then a steep drop off to Bo, Anthony, Scott.

Who will wind up in the bottom three? Partially, it depends on America’s reaction to Scott’s non-felonious police record. If his fans rise up to support him, he’s safe. If it draws viewers away from him, he’s in trouble. Going first this week didn’t help him, so I’m going to put him in the bottom three, along with Nadia (who sadly can’t seem to find a strong fan base), and Anthony (ditto, but less sadly).

Bo is on the bubble.

26 thoughts on “AI4 – Group of 9

  1. This was a horrible, horrible theme! I was actually bored to tears. Thankfully, Bo did something more upbeat to save me from going comatose. I believe the correct theme was “classical musicals”, which is why we didn’t see more popular/newer songs being performed (ie Rent, Hair, Lion King, etc).

    Constantine was understandably the most comfortable last night. The problem is how he keeps molesting the camera. After seeing him perform, I tend to feel violated. I want to run take a shower to wash away all the ickiness!

    Nothing really impressive about last night. “Musicals” could have worked in past seasons, but it really sucked last night with this group of contestants.

  2. At this point, I want Scott to go just so your objectivity can return, and you can quit carrying on about him, Augie. He’s this season’s what’s-her-face…the young Hawaiian lady from last year whom you hated with a passion and harped on weekly (not Jasmine Trias, the other girl with the wristband whose name I can’t remember).

    Anthony was FAR worse than Scott last night and Carrie can hit a bad note. She was boring last night, as was Anwar.

    I was finally able to put her finger on why Constantine is so bad: He sounds like someone pretending to sing badly, a la Bill Murray as the Lounge Singer on SNL.

    I could NOT stop laughing at him (in a bad way) last night, and I kept singing “Star Wars…nothing but STAR WARS…” during his performance.

    Also, when Ryan Seacrest is making fun of you for constantly looking into the camera, it’s probably not a good idea to visibly struggle to not look into the camera, then finally give in and make your “sexy” face while looking into the camera.

  3. Basically, everyone was crap last night.

    Carrie and Nadia sang without emotion, or the wrong emotion.

    Constantine sang (as always) with too much emotion. And yes, I also totally felt the need to shower after watching him. He comes across as some weird kind of crooning stalker. And not in a good way.

    Scott and Anthony are outclassed by everyone. I give Anthony some credit for trying that arrangement. It was something different. A better singer could probably pull it off.

    Vonzell, Nikko, Bo, and Anwar were competent.

    I’d give Bo some bonus points for not singing a ballad.

    My bottom 3 picks: Anthony, Nadia, and Scott. I say Nadia goes.

  4. I’ve decided that Anthony is the long lost brother of Nick and Aaron Carter. The “boy” belongs in a boy band…..not on American Idol.

    Hmmm….if Anthony is ousted tonight, then we will be left with all the twenty-somethings. This should make them reconsider raising the age bar – not just the age limit.

  5. Showtunes night was a train wreck.

    Scott – on the next plane to outtie, not only because of his poor performance but his overall lack of charisma and his new-found wife-beater status.

    Carrie – Great vocals. Dog boring performance. “Laundry powder commercial” was spot on.

    Anwar – Right up there with Carrie on this one: Great vocals. Boring song.

    Constantine – Have hated this guy from the start but he was the big winner last nigh. Fantastic rendering of that song (except for the very last “daaaaayyyy”…thought he lost it there).

    Anthony – Man…how the mighty have fallen. May be saved by the Scott factor but he better get his shit right next week.

    Nikko – I thought was terrible. The judges disagreed.

    Vonzelle – Nice work but it didn’t blow me away.

    Bo – Liked Bo last night only because he stood out from the rest of the dreary songs.

    Nadia – My favorite so far, making a come-back after a few weak weeks. Looked and sounded great.

    My bottom three: Scott, Anthony and Nikko with Scott leaving.

  6. Best perfomance yet from Anwar, who stayed in a more comfortable lower register for much of the song. Very controlled. Nice.

    Nadia was also strong, and I enjoyed Constantine. Carrie and Vonzell were fine, but unspectacular. I actually think both of them did sing out of tune at times, but since they didn’t reach much for big notes, it was less noticeable.

    Bo looked completely lost, though his voice is strong enough that he still stayed in tune throughout. But the performance had no spark.

    Anthony was pretty weak, as always, but not as bad as Scott and (especially) Nikko, who were both completely awful. In a just world, all three of those are at the bottom, with either of the latter two taking a hike. Instead, I predict that Anthony’s spot will be occupied by Vonzell or Nadia (probably the latter, since the judge’s didn’t have time to give her due praise).

    Disappointing week overall. Broadway should’ve been a great theme, even for this pop-weaned lot, but since they once again showed their near-total ignorance of music — which continues to irritate me — they didn’t pick songs that might’ve suited their styles better. There are plenty of uptempo and edgy songs, even in “classic” Broadway. Hell, there are a half-dozen songs from WEST SIDE STORY better than the one Nikko chose.

    What a waste.

  7. Didn’t see Scott; and sounds like I should be glad, since Impossible Dream is simply a brilliant song.

    Constantine was much better in this mode than in his very generic “rock” mode, but it was still all style over substance. For a truly new take on that song listen to Elvis Costello’s version.

    Carrie can’t hit a wrong note, sure, but she also might as well be singing nonsense syllables. No fee lfor the song whatsoever. See, here’s where “showtunes” can be much trickier than they appear. That song in the King and I is sung by a character (Anna) who has just come to a foreign country. It can easily be sung as a generic “ain’t love grand” kind of song, but the music, given the situation in the play, is pushing towards a more melancholic reading; Anna is wistful about her own chances for love and the loss of her husband. Carrie clearly had no notion of playing with that aspect, and so turned in a very generic, if pretty, performance.

    Nadia, on the other hand, with a slightly less strong voice, sang her Oliver number as if she had given some thought to what it was ABOUT. That’s why she should win.

    Bo was out of his element and it showed.

    Anthony was horrid, very simply. Atrocious song choice.

    Anwar was very good, and he needed to be.

    Vonzelle was good, but the song itself didn’tgive her much to work with; leaving her to settle for “pretty.” Poor choice.

    And Nikko was very good, actually conveying (some) of the song’s meaning. He was helped greatly by a gentle, unobtrusive arrangement, much unlike the lion’s share of the otehrs’.

  8. Thanks, John. I was waiting to see what you had to say about the show, since I knew you’d be the one to know the material best around here. I appreciate your comments.

    Wes – You’re thinking of Camille. She was horrible EVERY week. Scott has a good voice at times, although he’s difficult to watch. These past two weeks have been sheer torture for him. That’s not harping on him. That’s honesty. …which is such a lonely word. (Now I’m launching into Billy Joel.)

    Robbo – you’re dead-on right about Constantine’s last note. I noticed that last night, too. Damn me for not taking notes!

    Anthony is fast reminding me of Lindsey Cardinale. Has a great voice, but isn’t using it right in the competition at all. And I say that as someone who thinks he’s sung very well in previous weeks.

  9. Not sure Lindsey was ever good. She just hung on for a bit. Did anyone see that darned arch again last night?

  10. This is one of my favorite themes, because it is so difficult. You have to show some feeling and it’s noticeable when you can’t follow the melody. Anthony, Scott Nikko,and Bo all had the melody problem in spots, just proving that they have never really listened to these songs.

    My irritation this week was the same as Noel’s….their complete lack of musical knowledge. and from what I’ve seen on Idol’s website, all of them have had some sort of training, other than Carrie. So, how can they seem to have no knowledge. Besides, if you have a true love of music, don’t you grow up experimenting and trying out everything?

    I remember people talking about Pink Floyd and George Thouroughgood and Barbara Striesand and Ronnie Milsap……I had to try it all! Now, at least I know why I can’t stand George.

    I was really hoping Carrie would do “Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match, Find me a find, catch me a catch…..”

    Or how about Bo, doing a little Jesus Christ Superstar……?

    Do they even have advisors? Or mentors?

  11. Carrie’s “Aw, shucks, I’m so humble, gee garsh, I’m just a farm girl from Oak-lee-homer” act is getting WAY tired and transparent. It was never more obvious in her pre-performance interview last night. She has basically repeated herself every show: “I’ve never done this before. I’ve never heard this music before. This is all so new to me. It was a really hard decision. Look how wide I can make my eyes.”

  12. Coffee up my nose is not a good feeling Wes, thank you very much.

    I was bored to tears by everyone except Constatine who comes across either incredibly sexy or creepy stalker.. I’m not a girl, I can’t tell. He seemed the most comfortable with the material and did an outstanding job.

    Scott hurt me physically with his singing for two weeks in a row. Nadia came back and Vonzell has finally found her stride. A-Fed was simply atrocious. Nikko was off-key. Carrie sings every song with a country twang, except for the Heart song which was in my opinion the best song by any performer this year. Anwar is boring. Bo was clueless on what to sing and it showed.

    Showtunes was not the theme. CLASSIC showtunes was the theme otherwise there would have been at least one Grease song and something from the Lion King or Rent.

    I’d like to know exactly who picks their clothes, arrangements, songs. The producers have to have people helping these guys. Whoever told A-Fed to lose the glasses should be fired.

    Scott HAS to be gone, but it could be A-Fed or unfortunatley Nadia (who is one of the best performers, just not the best voice).

  13. One minor complaint about Nadia last night: She put an “h” before every word that began with a vowel. My wife noticed it right away, and pointed it out to me, and it nagged at me for the rest of the song. Still the second or third best performance of the night, though.

  14. I missed BROADWAY NIGHT?!?!?!?! ARGH!!!! Stoopid wedding!!!!! :) Augie, is there a way to send me a Tivo file?? ;)

  15. EDIT: Okay, I just went to research what everybody sang. Because I have nothing else to do. :)

    I really liked the song selections, but is it true that Anthony SNAPPED HIS FINGERS during “Climb Every Mountain”?? Say it isn’t so! That’s a hugely…Huge song in terms of the inspirational quotient…why in God’s name would you snap your fingers?

    And I am so so so upset that I missed Nadia singing “As Long as He Needs Me” – that is one of the greatest dramatic songs in theatre. It’s been done to death, but it’s still a great great song. I would think she would have been just fantastic with that.

    What was the cut-off date for the musicals? Pippin doesn’t predate Jesus Christ Superstar that much…”Gesthemane” would have been a great dramatic choice for someone like Bo, for instance….

    John, thanks for your description of Carrie’s rendition of “Hello Young Lovers” – another great song which can just become bland without the proper context/delivery.

    Okay, I’m just going to have to find this online somewhere for download. ;)

  16. Nikko’s rendition of the WSS song was a near copy of Tevin Campbell’s about ten years ago on an album called (oddly enough) “Songs of West Side Story.” That having been said, it was a good arrangement, just not a terribly original one.

  17. I’d hate for them to chop Gesthemane into bits though – that’s a long song. Over the various seasons of AI, I have often been compelled to pull out a favorite version of a particular song that’s just been sung and play it, to “cleanse my palate” as it were. Last night I was tempted to play Betty Buckley’s rendition of Hello Young Lovers. Not only does she nail the emotional context beautifully, but the arrangement is much harder-edged than the sing-songy one they used last night. I was wincing as each judge blamed the song, not the singer.

    So, did “Classic” Broadway night foreshadow a “Contemporary” Broadway night? I’d REALLY like to hearConstantine do a Rent song, as I simply can’t picture him in the show.

  18. Was anyone else bothered by Seacrest last night?

    I honestly enjoy Simon’s reactions and metaphors, and he was given no time to respond at all. Seacrest cut him off completely a few times, seemingly to “protect” the contestant from SImon’s nasty words. Isn’t that the best way to improve?

    And…if it’s not Ryan, it’s Paula. I really think Simon should be getting more time to talk now that there are fewer contestants. otherwise, really….what’s the point of having the judges say anything?

  19. Seacrest’s sweater bothered me last night. From behind, it looks like his rib cage is drawn onto it. From the front, it looks like a mind-numbing, yet dizzying circular pattern.

  20. Last night was a bad night for everyone. Not one person did an outstanding job. Anthony hasn’t been able to hold a note since he found himself in the final 12. The only reason Anwar is still in the lineup is because he is a teacher and has a rather large fan base.

    Carrie is a perfect singer and even she had a hard time pulling off that song last night. Nadia is skimming by with everything that she does. She may have one good week, but every other week has been horrible. Nikko should thank his lucky stars that he is even in this thing. As long as he sticks to the “usher” type of songs he can stay in. Anything that may have some difference or range is beyond him.

    Vonzell is the best one yet. She is better than anyother American Idol ever choosen. As far as Scott is concerned. The past is the past. He has had his good and bad days in the competition. What makes him special is that you look at him and instantly see a gang member. Then when he opens his mouth and sings to you; you can only wonder where it comes from.

    Bo and Constantine are what they are. They are both rockers who are trying their best to sing different eras. I think they have been pulling it off pretty well so far.

    My prediction for the top three is “Bo, Constantine, Carrie and Vonzell”

  21. Here’s a little point of trivia re: Anwar. He’s a first year teacher at his school in West Orange. So he has a huge school fanbase rooting for him, but it might not be as strong as you might imagine… We’ll see.

  22. I agree Augie- ryan’s shirt was killing me. I was like, “Stop turning around!” It was freaky!

    Can’t wait for tonight….

  23. scott does not suck this ios my from best to worst 1 carie 2 VONZELL 3 bo 4 anwar 5 constantine 6 scott 7 naudia doesnt deserve to be in the yop 24 8 anthony neither does he (hate both of them)

  24. Why is Anthony still holding on! HE CANT SING. PLEASE GO HOME! I will miss Nikko. He did not deserve to leave before scott, anthony, or nadia

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