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Eep.Ãƒâ€š It’s tough for me to wrap my mindÃƒâ€š around recapingÃƒâ€š the Final 3, because while the show was broadcast here on theÃƒâ€š East coast, I was actually in a club watching Elvis Costello and the Imposters put on a kick ass show.Ãƒâ€š I’m on a giddy Elvis highÃƒâ€š right now, but I’ll do my best toÃƒâ€š concentrate.Ãƒâ€š Here we go.Ãƒâ€š
It’s the big Final 3, and as Ryan says, tonight there are Ãƒâ€š 3 contestants, 3 songs, 3 phone lines and 3 judges.Ãƒâ€š Yay, Ryan can count.
What a difference a week makes.Ãƒâ€š Ãƒâ€š Top 4Ãƒâ€š was simply dire, with the contestants appearing completely lost singing songs from the Bee Gee’s catalog.Ãƒâ€š This week, in a complete turnabout–theÃƒâ€š Final 3Ãƒâ€š put on a great show.Ãƒâ€š The kids are given the opportunity to sing songs that suit their individual performing style.Ãƒâ€š We really get to see them at their best.Ãƒâ€š This is a worthy FinalÃƒâ€š 3.Ãƒâ€š However some are more worthy than others, and I will get to that in a minute.
Traditionally, theÃƒâ€š Final 3 contestants sing 3 brand new songs.Ãƒâ€š This year, both Jordin and Melinda chose to reprise past performances for their personal choice.Ãƒâ€š I know they had a hectic weekend, but kids, are we in this to win?Ãƒâ€š I think Blake is.Ãƒâ€š Ãƒâ€š Mad props toÃƒâ€š him for rehearsing and performing a newÃƒâ€š song.
Here’s a delightful turn of events.Ãƒâ€š No Clive Davis tonight.Ãƒâ€š I guess he decided to stay in the crypt tonight.Ãƒâ€š Or maybe he’sÃƒâ€š so busy reviving crack-ho Whitney’s career, he can’t squeeze a night of Idol in.Ãƒâ€š No loss.Ãƒâ€š What we get in place of “Clive’s choice” is theÃƒâ€š catch-all “producer’s choice.”Ãƒâ€š And with no Clive, no mentors and no big celebrities, the focusÃƒâ€š is finally on the kids, where it belongs.
Things that cracked me up:Ãƒâ€š In the videoÃƒâ€š clips ofÃƒâ€š hometown officials announcing the judges choice songs, they’ve always just “received a fax” straight from the judge–but then read the choice off a yellow piece of production letter head.Ãƒâ€š Tonight’s show features two, count ‘em two songs about prostitution.Ãƒâ€š Blake shakes his bon bon with Sir Mix Alot on “Big Butts.” Ryan recites the lyrics to “mmmbop” (shhh, that song is a guilty pleasure of mine).
Jordin Sparks – Simon CowellÃƒâ€š chose “Wishing on a Star” by Rose Royce – The song doesn’t give Jordin much of an opportunity to show off her voice.Ãƒâ€š I’m not sure what Simon was thinking when heÃƒâ€š handed her this song–it’s not very challenging.Ãƒâ€š She performs an updated version–Beyonce style.Ãƒâ€š She’s competent, if a little generic.Ãƒâ€š Randy says, “That was hot.” Simon says, “You sang it brilliantly, Jordin, but I just wish we hadn’t done the weird jazz arrangement with it…I like the purer version of the song…it wasn’t one of your better performances.”Ãƒâ€š JordinÃƒâ€š holds up her fingers and makes faces at the cameraÃƒâ€š as Ryan calls out her numbers.Ãƒâ€š The cuteness factor alone could propel her to the finals.
Blake Lewis – Paula Abdul chose “Roxanne” by The Police – This is a tricky one.Ãƒâ€š After last week’s Bee Gees beatbox disaster, Blake decides to sing this one without any beats or fancy stuff.Ãƒâ€š His take is unadorned and straightforward.Ãƒâ€š While his vocal is excellent, I tend to agree with Simon–it’s hard to do this song without sounding like an imitation of Sting.Ãƒâ€š Blake does not successfully come out of Sting’s shadow here.Ãƒâ€š But, hisÃƒâ€š confident performance, complete with a few cool dance moves, saves the song from becoming a bore.Ãƒâ€š Ãƒâ€š A solid, ifÃƒâ€š a bitÃƒâ€š generic, effort.
Melinda Doolittle – Randy Jackson chose “I Believe in You and Me” by Whitney Houston -Ãƒâ€š I love that Randy never misses an opportunity to name drop.Ãƒâ€š He makes sure that everyone at Belmont University knows that he worked with Whitney.Ãƒâ€š It’s bad enough that Randy’s pick isÃƒâ€š a Whitney Houston song–but it’sÃƒâ€š one of the worst songs from her catalog.Ãƒâ€š I gotta say, dawg, the vocal isn’t perfect–she hits a few clunkers–but Melinda gets the emotion of the song and keeps it from sounding too sappy.Ãƒâ€š All in all a very good performance.Ãƒâ€š I love what the stylists did with her hair tonight. She looks really pretty.Ãƒâ€š Randy says, “You blew it out the box…that was hot.” Paula says it was one of her best performances all season. I wouldn’t say that. Simon says, “I think it was your best performance in the last 4 weeks…round one goes to Melinda…”
Jordin Sparks – The producers chose “She Works Hard for the Money” by Donna Summer – Jordin answers a viewer question: Her favorite song of all time is Hanson’s “mmmbop.”Ãƒâ€š When the audience laughs, Jordin says “What? I’m only 17.”Ãƒâ€š Ãƒâ€š Really? She’s only 17? I did not know that! Har.Ãƒâ€š Ok, now I’m thinking the producers really don’t want Jordin to win this.Ãƒâ€š They could not have picked a worse song for her.Ãƒâ€š Fast-paced up-tempo songs tend to trip Jordin up.Ãƒâ€š She’s OK here though, but nothing spectacular.Ãƒâ€š Randy thinks Jordin can sing anything.Ãƒâ€š ”Fantastic” says Paula.Ãƒâ€š Simon thinks it was a very good vocal and that “the money note at the end was very good.” I dunno, at this stage of the game, the kids really need to come out swinging, and so far, Jordin is just “a’ight.”
Blake Lewis – The producers chose “This Love” by Maroon 5 – Blake’s answer to a viewer question: Jim Carrey would play him in a movie, and it would be called “Organized Chaos.”Ãƒâ€š Nice, nice vocal, and the beatboxing Blake throws in really enhances the song. Ok, maybe the producers WANT Blake to advance to the final, because this was a really good song pick for him.Ãƒâ€š Tonight, we really get a sense of the kind of record Blake might make, and it’s pretty obvious that his vocals–though not of the rangy glory-note variety–has commercial appeal.Ãƒâ€š I think that whether Blake moves any farther or not, he’s going to get signed.Ãƒâ€š Randy tells Blake that’s the kind of music he should be recording and “That’s a good vibe for you.”Ãƒâ€š Paula says, “this is a good night for you.”Ãƒâ€š Simon likes this one, “You sounded very comfortable, didn’t sound like a copycat performance…that was good.”Ãƒâ€š Blake is coming out fighting…
Melinda Doolittle – The producers chose “Nutbush City Limits” by Ike and Tina Turner – Melinda’s grandparents are in the audience.Ãƒâ€š Her question: Who was your idol growing up, and why” Melinda says “I would have to say my mommy…we’ve been hanging out since I was a little girl.” The producers pick, surprisingly, an obscure Ike and Tina Turner song.Ãƒâ€š Well, I’m sure the kids have never heard it, anyway.Ãƒâ€š Melinda tears the place up.Ãƒâ€š Really, she definitely has an inner rocker chick going on that does not seem put on or phony.Ãƒâ€š At one point she even picks up the microphone as she wails.Ãƒâ€š An excellent song choice for Melinda–tonight’s song selections prove again that Melinda can, indeed, sing anything.Ãƒâ€š Simon says, “I love that side of you…another brilliant performance.”Ãƒâ€š Randy thinks Melinda took the round.Ãƒâ€š Simon thinks it’s a tie.Ãƒâ€š I think Melinda and Blake took this round.
Ewww. Paula and Simon kissing.Ãƒâ€š Ryan says, “Stop that, it’s not LaKisha.”
Jordin Sparks -Ãƒâ€š Personal choice is “I Who Have Nothing” by Shirley Bassey -Ãƒâ€š The mall where Jordin used to work placed a plaque forÃƒâ€š her at the bottom of an escalator.Ãƒâ€š Jordin quips, “People can walk all over me now.”Ãƒâ€š Her reprise of “I Who Have Nothing” is very good, just like it was the first time.Ãƒâ€š But, hardly a revelation at this point.Ãƒâ€š For Jordin toÃƒâ€š make an impressionÃƒâ€š this week, She really needed to choose something new–another ballad that shows off her ability to emote a torchy song.Ãƒâ€š It would have set her apart from Melinda and Blake, and would have also offset the meh quality of the the first two songs.Ãƒâ€š Randy thinks it’s her best performance of the night.Ãƒâ€š Paula says something that made absolutely no sense.Ãƒâ€š Oh, how I love incoherent Pauler. Ãƒâ€š Simon says she sang it very well, but “there was a part of me that hated the fact that a 17 year old was singing a 60 year old song.”Ãƒâ€š Actually, I think that song is only 40 years old, Simon.Ãƒâ€š And hold on a minute…Jordin is only 17??? Yer kidding!Ãƒâ€š Anyway.Ãƒâ€š Jordin timidly points out that his song choice for her is from the 70′s and Simon looks none too pleased.
Blake Lewis -Ãƒâ€š Personal choice is “When I Get You Alone” by Robin Thicke -Ãƒâ€š Blake’s hometown clip has him duetting with Sir Mix Alot on “Bit Butts.” OMG. Sir says, “You now have a new king of Sea-town baby.”Ãƒâ€š Blake is working the plaid pants.Ãƒâ€š I like it.Ãƒâ€š Whoa, this is pretty hot.Ãƒâ€š Very contemporary, and I mean really contemporary. It’s a tricky song, and Blake pulls it off.Ãƒâ€š He throws in some beatboxing mixed in with the singing at the end, and it’s perfect.Ãƒâ€š This is how you win a competition, people.Ãƒâ€š You take a risk, go out on a limb, take that extra time to rehearse an original song rather than re-hashing an audience favorite.Ãƒâ€š Very very smart move for Blake to end with a new song.Ãƒâ€š Blake has sung and performed his way into the finals tonight.Ãƒâ€š Or at least he should have.Ãƒâ€š Randy liked the Maroon 5 song better.Ãƒâ€š Simon gets it, “I actually really liked that. This is what I have liked about you throughout the competition…you don’t play it safe, you take a risk, you actually look like you are having fun.”
Melinda Doolittle – Personal choice is “I’m a Woman” – We see that Melinda’s college has named a street after her. Although Melinda brings back a song she sang previously, she does mix it up a bit.Ãƒâ€š I think this latest version is better than the first. The backup singers are dressed for the part, and come out to join Melinda on stage.Ãƒâ€š I have to say, I love this growly, rock side of Melinda.Ãƒâ€š Like Blake, I think Melinda has sung her way to the finals.Ãƒâ€š Simon says, “We’ve known each other now for 11 weeks..if I’m going to award a place in the final for the person who has consistently delivered week after week it’s you.”Ãƒâ€š Wow, I think Melinda is being pimped big time tonight.Ãƒâ€š So much for the gamblers who predicted she’d be leaving this week…
Who do the judges think will make it into the finale?Ãƒâ€š Randy says he thinks it will be two girls if it’s based on singing. Paula won’t answer. Simon says, “I want to see my girl Melinda in the final.”Ãƒâ€š
Group hug and we’re out…
The Jordin train seems to have stalled on the tracks tonight.Ãƒâ€š Ask me on Monday?Ãƒâ€š I woulda said Jordin in the finale, without a doubt, with a probable win.Ãƒâ€š Ask me on Tuesday?Ãƒâ€š I’m not so sure.Ãƒâ€š Jordin’s performances were good,Ãƒâ€š but lackluster.Ãƒâ€š Simon appears to be pushing for a MelindaÃƒâ€š win, and she definitely got the highest praise from the judges.Ãƒâ€š Ãƒâ€š She performed last–impeccably and then some.Ãƒâ€š Why, IÃƒâ€š think the wind has just changed direction.Ãƒâ€š Blake pulled out 1 good and two great performances tonight.Ãƒâ€š He is definitely back in the game.
I would love to see a Blake/Melinda finale, and after tonight’s performance, I believe it’s possible.Ãƒâ€š Dial IdolÃƒâ€š has all three running neck and neck.Ãƒâ€š The results, peeps,Ãƒâ€š are gonna be a nail-biter.
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