This week's theme was the music of Queen. Each contestant got to rock out with Queen in preparation for the show. But if you can't sing, no amount of preparation - even with a great group like Queen (and I use the word great loosely) - is going to help you win American Idol.
Bucky Covington contributed to the show's lackluster start by butchering Fat Bottomed Girls. The man cannot sing in tune to save his life. Yet somehow every week, he gets through. What he doesn't have in voice talent he makes up for with unfaltering enthusiasm. He ends being enjoyable to watch because he has a genuinely good time performing. But he still can't sing in tune.
Ace Young was up next. He sang We Will Rock You - the kinder, gentler version. Simon's comment best summed up his performance. "It was like We Will Rock You gently." He even managed to screw up the lyrics. This song does not have complicated lyrics. If you watched him last night, you may have noticed that he was wearing eye makeup. Very strange. And completely unnecessary. He's a good looking 25 year old man. He doesn't really need much in the way of eye makeup.
After his performance, just before Ryan cued the judges, the camera cut to Mickey Dolenz - former Monkee - in the audience. I couldn't help but get the idea that someone is suggesting that Ace Young is like a Monkee - ready to be exploited for what little talent he has.
Kelly Pickler did a decent job performing Bohemian Rhapsody. Simon said something that confused her as usual. So he simplified his critique by saying she sang good so she could understand him. She is pretty naive and it's really starting to annoy me. She doesn't understand metaphors, puns or anything with double meaning. But she sure is sweet - stick your finger down your throat sweet - and I don't think I can take the naive schtick anymore.
Chris Daughtry rocked the shit out of a song that Queen never sings live. While he was singing, the rear screen projector was showing some weird matrix like imagery. But he sang his song really well. The song was one I'd never heard but it was soooo complicated that to sing it well means something. He chose Innuendo. He could win this thing. I'm quickly shifting my loyalty from Taylor Hicks to Chris Daughtry. He might just have the better voice of the two. He does this great Eddie Veder thing with his voice that really works. He was another victim of the American Idol makeup artist. Way too much eyeliner for a straight guy.
This brings us to the very pretty Katherine McPhee. Between Daughtry and McPhee the camera cut to Camryn Manheim of The Practice fame. I couldn't tell if she was excited about Daughtry's performance or McPhee's upcoming one. McPhee sang Who Wants to Live Forever from the soundtrack of Highlander - a forgettable 20 year old movie. She sang this song well. She's a Broadway kind of singer - she belts. Except I thought the judges were being generous when they described her as having pitch problems. The truth is that instead of belting out her high notes she was shouting them and you could really hear it. She was straining, yelling, stretching her voice beyond it's limit. I wouldn't be surprised if she was in the bottom three again tomorrow night.
The very charming, but not so handsome Elliot Yamin sang Somebody To Love. It was nice to hear a familiar Queen song after the previously mentioned performances of two obscure ones. He did a great job. He really knows how to vocalize. He sings. I like him. But sadly he won't win in spite of his natural abilities.
Taylor sang Crazy Little Thing Called Love and kind of made a fool of himself. He can sing but sometimes he gets carried away with the dancing. Graceful he is not. He did mike stand thing that completely fell apart and made him look pretty stupid. And the song was kind of blech. I've long been a fan of his but since the competition began he's kind of lost what it was that I loved about him. He had an "it" quality about him that is missing now. He's becoming too much of a ham. He doesn't know how to play it cool.
Paris Bennett blew everyone away with her incredibly awesome and weirdly inappropriate performance of The Show Must Go On. I say inappropriate because there is just something strange about watching a cute, wholesome 17 year old sing like a cynical adult. Simon commented on it too. She is great but there is something weird there. She's still my favorite to win. Her talent is so far beyond anyone else's on the show. She can't be topped.
Overall the show was pretty good. It was definitely more entertaining than last weeks Kenny Rogers themed show. That show sucked for me because country music is not my favorite.