April 04, 2007

American Idol - Nine Singers Left

Last night's hour of competition passed by quickly not only because it was good but because Jon and I had saved the show on our DVR. We were able to fast forward through the miles and miles of commercials that pay the salaries of everyone working on the American Idol assembly line and most likely half the executives at FOX.

Guest mentor Tony Bennett provided the contestants with solid and practical advice. Some of them listened and some of them didn't. He was very nice and said something nice to everybody which you could tell gave them all a boost.

Blake Lewis opened the show with his mostly on key rendition of Mac The Knife. Although his wasn't the best performance of the whole evening, I thought he did a good job. At this point he is my favorite male contestant. It is a weird song. It wasn't until a night of karaoke at a bar in Jamaica, when Jon and I were on our honeymoon, that I learned that Mac The Knife is about a hit man. The lyrics are a dark contrast to the jazzy hip music. And it's a weird song. He wriggled a little too much for my taste. I often think that contestants would do better if they would just stand still and sing, but they often insist on moving around.

If you missed Phil Stacy's performance last night, don't feel bad, because you didn't miss much. He put me to sleep with his Frank Sinatra imitation style rendition of Night and Day. I was surprised when Tony Bennett said that Phil Stacy was a good singer. He may be. But I just don't like him. I still think he looks creepy like that nice boy, serial killer who might be living next door to you. And I hate his cocky swagger. I just dislike him in general. With that said, I can hear his training when he sings and would agree that, technically, he MAY be a good singer. He just doesn't have a good voice, in spite of his training.

Melinda Doolittle gave the most polished performance of the evening with her interpretation of I've Got Rhythm. I like listening to her sing and I like watching her perform. With the perfect combination of talent and training, she does everything right. A naturally good voice added to training and practice creates get great singers like Melinda Doolittle. Phil Stacy may have the same training but he just doesn't have the same talent. And he'll never be the American Idol. If this competition is really about talent, then Melinda Doolittle will definitely win.

Chris Richardson butchered Night and Day while simultaneously hypnotizing the judges into believing that he was good. His performance was mediocre at best. He's another one who looks creepy enough to have buried his neighbor's dogs in his mother's backyard, yet every week, he manages to convince the viewing public that he's worthy of their votes. I can only hope that we don't have to endure his smug face and limited vocal range for much longer.

Jordin Sparks delivered the second most polished performance with On A Clear Day. She sang with joy and lit up the stage with her youthful enthusiasm. She's just good. She's got talent and she has clearly had some training and did some practicing. See the above description of Melinda Doolittle's performance. I don't want to repeat myself. If American Idol is about choosing the youngest person with the most potential for a singing career then Jordin Sparks will be the next American Idol.

Gina Glocksen almost brought me to tears with Smile by Charlie Chaplin. I thought it was a great performance - sweet, sensitive, modest - and she connected with the lyrics. I hope she's makes it to the final four. I'm not sure she will but I really hope she does. She's gets better every week.

Sanjaya Malakar represented himself well with his version of Dancing Cheek to Cheek. His was my second favorite male performance of the evening. He definitely sounded better than Chris Richardson yet the judges wouldn't even comment on his vocals. Why are they so hard on Sanjaya? I guess being an awkward teen is too much of a reminder of what adolescence was like for most of us. And Sanjaya is displaying an in your face kind of awkwardness that makes everyone uncomfortable. If only he would just stand still and sing. I think his voice is lovely but he's not ready for this competition. He needs a couple more years to percolate.

Haley Scarnato looked pretty.

Lakisha sang Stormy Weather. She is an example of someone with a lot of talent but not enough training. You can hear the missing technique from time to time like in last night's performance. The opening was all over the place when it came to pitch, but she found her key again during the middle and end of her performance. She's got the confidence but I really hope she'll benefit from the coaching I imagine the contestants receive on a weekly basis. I like her but I think she'll be a third place finish in the end.

Okay. That's my weekly wrap up of the American Idol.

I have to go back over to the August Wilson theater for another performance of Jersey Boys. Don't be envious. It's not my favorite show and I don't have anything to read.

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