David Foster is a bastiche. And I love him for it. They should bring him back every season to play the “cranky contestant coach.” He reminded me a bit of Barry Manilow, in that he has a deep musical knowledge. Barry was nice about it, though. Foster growled and grimaced and shot the kids down. It was fun to watch.
It also helps answer the question, “How do you make a full hour out of six songs?” Easily: You extend the video introductions to each song, and you let the judges ramble on until time runs out and you can’t say boo about Chris. As a bonus, give more air time to [tag]Coca-Cola[/tag].
Oh, yeah, Andrea [tag]Bocelli[/tag] was there, too, but more as a figurehead promoting an album than an actual musical coach. He seems like a nice enough guy, but all they needed was David Foster. The problem would have been that Foster wouldn’t pull in the middle-aged woman audience as much as Bocelli does with his legion of [tag]PBS[/tag] fans.
[tag]Katharine McPhee[/tag] began the night with a really strong rendition of [tag]Whitney Houston[/tag]‘s “I Have Nothing.” It was a little breathy in spots and perhaps she smiled a bit too much, but it was a strong vocal with some personal flair added to it. That’s why I think the judges are absolutely off-their-rocker nuts with the comments they gave her. It’s the trap of being the first contestant — everyone else is left, so the judges don’t want to peak too soon. What if the next contestant is better and you just told the first one she’d be hard to beat tonight? So the first contestant almost always gets the worst of it, in an attempt to set a baseline. The judges were all over the place trying to put her down for no good reason. The comments that they think she’s trying to say she’s better than Whitney in her pre-crack prime by singing that song are ridiculous. Randy thought the song was too big for her, which it clearly wasn’t.
Katharine wore a yellow dress that didn’t exactly make her look pregnant. Her breasts were on full display, held as tightly down to her chest as they could be.
If McPhee goes home, it’ll be a damn damn shame. I find it funny how just a couple of weeks ago, people commented about how obvious it was that the judges wanted McPhee to win and so they shaded all their comments in that direction. I’m wondering what those people think after her unwarranted brutal slamming this week?
On the other hand, the judges’ comments worried me enough that I spent a lot of time on the phone dialing in votes for McPhee. I must have gotten through a couple dozen times. Chris’ lines were jammed during the same time frame. It’s never a good sign on Idol when your favorite’s phone lines are so easy to get through on.
I’d like to think I exemplified an IDOL voting pattern — if the judges blast you, your fans will get their revenge by dialing even harder. Maybe that’s exactly what the judges had in mind with their nasty comments?
Oh, and Sasha Cohen is in the audience! I actually don’t know how you get into a taping of AI, anymore, unless you’re a star. That place was packed more than the ED SULLIVAN SHOW in its grand old days. Not all the stars had FOX sit-coms this time, either.
[tag]Elliott Yamin[/tag] went with Donnie Hathaway’s “A Song For You,” after explaining why he chose it at great length in the first of several Coca-Cola moments in the show. (That’s another good way to pad out the hour.) The prepackaged video showed him working with Foster on the singing of the word “remember.” Foster went over it a dozen times before Elliott did it right. Then, Elliott did it differently in the performance. Go fig.
It was an impressive vocal, although the song bored me. Randy didn’t like the arrangement, so maybe that’s what threw me. Elliott was more understated than usual. He stood mostly behind the mic stand, dressed in a suit and tie (that matched Ryan’s), and didn’t go bendy at the knees with his hands shaking out like a hip hop superstar. That was nice.
Paula then went into the first of several displays of her insanity, as she wept openly during her comments. If you don’t believe she’s on drugs, then you’re only fooling yourself. Why AI renewed her contract is beyond me. She’s an embarrassment. They might as well have Whitney Houston up there on the judging platform. Your odds of seeing a sober judge are the same.
[tag]Kellie Pickler[/tag] crashed and burned again this week. She’s by far the weakest singer on the show and she knows it. There’s one every season, and she’s it this year. Her pain and agony in singing songs she knows she’s not capable of singing will, I fear, linger on for another couple of weeks. That’s the pattern we’ve seen on Idol before. She’ll go out either fifth or fourth, and everyone will breathe a sigh of relief. Some will just be angry that their favorite got ousted first.
Her first mistake was in picking a song we’ve known for years is Simon’s favorite, “Unchained Melody.” She might have saved herself by doing a country version of it, but she couldn’t even pull that off. The performance was flat, off-key, boring, routine, karaoke, monotonous, dull, disconnected, and garish. Other than that, her country twang was strong.
The makeup was too much again, and for the life of me I’ll never understand why people think they look good with their hair up like that over their foreheads. I’m convinced nobody wears it that way because they like it, but because they’ve seen other people do it and feel like they must conform to current fashion trends. It doesn’t work for anyone. Ick.
Paula remained sober enough long enough to point out that Kellie failed to raise the bar. That’s a good way of putting it. Kellie has a voice, but it’s untrained and unsure. There’s a lack of confidence behind it right now. The only thing keeping her in this competition is that whole “America’s Sweetheart,” and people are even turning on her for that now, too. We’ll see how long it is before enough people turn to push her out.
Oh, look, there’s Sela Ward!
[tag]Paris Bennett[/tag] did Babs’ “The Way We Were.” Did the Fran Drescher-wannabe last season ever sing this one? I think she missed it.
In any case, Paris had a strong vocal throughout, and impressed me with her emotion in the song. You could see in her facial contortions and in her voice that she can feel the song.
Unfortunately, it’s a boring song and I thought it had a weird arrangement. Foster taught her to play “the first eight bars” very soft to bring the audience in before going for the power. Once she got on stage, though, she forgot the whole “soft” thing and went straight for the power, anyway. Sure, it might have been soft for her usual voice, but it wasn’t soft enough.
I think she sounded fine, but she might get lost in the middle of the pack here this week.
[tag]Taylor Hicks[/tag] was a great big disappointment. He chose “Just Once,” which is the absolute perfect song for him. In the video before the performance, he sounded great. Once he got on stage, though, he was boring and repetitive. He “brought out the Taylor” too late in the performance and not strongly enough. I think he even had a few missed or flat notes in there. Simon called him “uptight,” which I think is about right. I’d like to see him do the song again, but with a little more wildness earlier on.
It’s a wasted opportunity. The song was made for his voice. The lighting was that perfect dramatic single spotlight bit with the black background. He could have really nailed this one and been the star of the night. Instead, he winds up only a step ahead of Pickler.
Oh, look, there’s Tori Spelling!
[tag]Chris Daughtry[/tag] ended the show with Bryan Adams’ “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman.” It’s the perfect song choice for him, and he was spectacular. He sang softly when he needed to. He controlled his voice when it came down to go to the power. You could tell he understood the song and the lyrics and emotions in it. He sold the song.
I’m on the fence as to whether he just had an “Idol Moment.” Will this be the performance of the season? It’s a contender, but I’m not sure I’d rank it past “just really really really great.”
The judges ran out of time to give a proper critique, but they all quickly fawned over Chris with praise. I wonder if the lack of a full thirty seconds of strong judge comments will affect the voting at all? Probably not. Most people will likely remember Paula’s bizarre antics, though, standing up and shouting, “We all love you” or something over and over again. She should go on OPRAH and try that on her couch sometime. . .
Oh, look, there’s Chris’ band! That’s a first — a rock singer on Idol whose band actually traveled out to Hollywood to see him perform. That’s so not rock.
Then we cut to the recap of the night, and they forget to shut Ryan’s microphone off. If you listen carefully to the background in the first two song highlights, you can hear a few random voices muttering random things. Nothing bad. But Paris’ voice is easy to pick out. It sounded like Ryan is telling them to be quiet and huddle up or something. I couldn’t make out enough of it. Crap.
From best to least: I’d rank Chris and Katharine at the top. I could make arguments for either getting the #1 slot this week. Most people will likely give it to Chris. I won’t make a big argument over that, but I’d have to put Katharine a close second. Elliott is a close third in either case, followed by Paris. Not surprisingly, I’d put Taylor in fifth and Kellie in a distant sixth.
Who will be in the bottom three? While I don’t think she’ll be voted off yet, I think the support is starting to weaken enough that Kellie will be in the bottom three, with Taylor and Paris. In an IDOL shocked, Paris goes home tonight. She wasn’t great enough to bring out the vote, nor was she bad enough to rally her fans to “save” her. She was caught in the middle this week between two bad performances. I’m afraid she might be lumped in with them, unfairly.