Jon Bon Jovi was this week's guest mentor which means that all the contestants had to sing Bon Jovi songs. It's too bad he didn't go the way of Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Lopez. They had the decency to NOT INSIST that the contestants only sing their songs. It gave the contestants a much great selection than Bon Jovi's limited book. Not to take anything way from Bon Jovi. It's just that most of their songs kind of sound the same and none of them are particularly good for showing off someone's vocal talents. But with that said, he was pretty nice to the contestants. All the contestants acted excited to be in his presence. I have to admit. He is pretty handsome. But I'm one of those people who actually prefers his acting to his music, so I'm not the most subjective person when it comes to critiquing his music.
On to the show. Opening for the American Idol's menagerie was Phil Stacey in the first spot. I know I've said repeatedly that I'm not a fan of Phil Stacey but even I can't deny him his moment in the "I finally don't suck" spotlight. He finally found a song that matches his mediocre voice and he sang the bejeezuz out of it. I found my listening to him and not watching him. When I listened to him "only" I enjoyed his rendition of "Blaze of Glory", a song I don't know. But when I did watch him, it was difficult. Is it just me or does he look unwell?
Jordin struggled through Living On A Prayer. She shouted her way through the song, like she did last week. Yet. Last week the judges didn't mention anything about her having shouted her way through the song while criticizing Lakisha quite harshly for doing so. That was last week. This week, the judges seem to have forgotten about the "Jordin Sparks Will Be The Next Idol" conspiracy and judged her appropriately. The cool thing about Jordin is she knew she didn't do well. So she was accepting of the judges' critiques - without being defensive - which is always a good quality for an American Idol contestant. I hope she doesn't have to go home tonight. I like her. She's confident and spunky.
At this point, I wondered again, why these poor contesants had to sing these lame songs. But I guess if you can sell a lame song well enough, you can succeed at anything in the music industry.
Lakisha found the one song probably of the Bon Jovi book that was good for her voice. And she sang it beautifully and she didn't shout and she brought a tear to my eye and she restored my faith in her ability to overcome her obvious lack of training. She sang something called "This Ain't A Love Song" a song I had never heard of either. I say either because before her meeting with Jon Bon Jovi, her only experience with him or his music had been an interview she'd seen on Oprah Winfrey. How cool is that? That's like Yoko Ono saying she had never heard of the Beatles when she first met John Lennon. Whether you believe it or not, it was probably humbling for Jon Bon Jovi to hear something like that - which in my opinion was much needed as you'll see in the chapter about Blake Lewis.
In his film clip, Blake was shown displaying his arrangement of "You Give Love A Bad Name" to JBJ and his accompianist. He expressed doubt that Blake's interpretation of his song would be well received because the song was such a familiar part of the rock-n-roll lexicon. He thought that Blake was taking a huge risk. That made me laugh. Because who walks around thinking that "You Give Love A Bad Name" is as untouchable as "Hey Jude" or "Feelin' Groovy". Did JBJ really expect the audience to storm the stage with torches and pitchforks because Blake dared to change "You Give Love A Bad Name"? (Honestly. What hubris.) Blake Lewis nailed it of course. His rendition made the song more interesting that it ever was any time I've heard it on the radio. He took a boring, generic 80's rock song and turned into an excuse to show off his originality, personality and inate abilites. Go BLAKE!!!
Chris Richardson sang "Dead or Alive", apparently employing the nasal technique so lauded during country music week. I'm still don't see his alleged resemblance to Justin Timberlake, either vocally or physically. I don't have anything more to say about him.
Melinda sang "Have A Nice Day". I never heard it before but as I was listening to it, I realized it's one of those tracks that falls somewhere near the end of the album. It would have been song 5 on the B side of the vinyl release. But she sang it like it was the most important song ever written and probably made that song sound better than it ever has or ever will. In other words, I didn't like the song, but I loved the singer.
The show ended with a pre-recorded message from the President and Laura Bush. You may not like President Bush and chances are that you don't because his approval rating is so low, but you have to admit that it was nice of the President to take the time to thank the people who helped raise $70 million last week. He's not running for office again. He didn't have to do that. I thought it was nice.
Because none of the contestants were sent home last week, tonight they'll be sending home two people, which means tonight we find out who the final four American Contestant Idols will be. I predicted a long time ago that Gina Glocksen would be in the final four. I'm sorry that she's not. I'm hoping the final four are (in no specific order) Melinda, Jordin, Lakisha and Blake. I'll be surprised if Phil and Chris make it. But they probably will.