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It was a little awkward, but I suppose somethingÃƒâ€š needs to be said beforeÃƒâ€š anÃƒâ€š eventÃƒâ€š as inconsequential andÃƒâ€š trivial inÃƒâ€š the BigÃƒâ€š Scheme of Things asÃƒâ€š American Idol gets underway tonight.Ãƒâ€š Ryan stands on the darkened stage, he sendsÃƒâ€š out “thoughts and prayers” to all who were affected by the Virginia Tech tragedy.
Indeed, the hype, hysteria and attention all seems a little silly, put into perspective, doesn’t it?
On the other hand,Ãƒâ€š I’m grateful forÃƒâ€š trivial diversions likeÃƒâ€š American IdolÃƒâ€š thatÃƒâ€š can take us out of a sometimes sadÃƒâ€š reality for a bit. Yes?
On with the recap
Disclaimer: *waves hand* Not a country music fan here. Not at all. In fact, I can’t say I’ve heard any of the original songs here.Ãƒâ€š Except for Bonnie Raitt (who ain’t country) and Carrie Underwood (of course).Ãƒâ€š So, I really don’t have the normal frame of reference I usually have for judging the performances.Ãƒâ€š I’ll try not to be like Simon andÃƒâ€š allow my country-hatin’ to get in the way of my judgement…
Martina McBride is the guest mentor this week.Ãƒâ€š SheÃƒâ€š tells the kidsÃƒâ€š that country music is all about “storytelling” and that the singer has to “connect to the lyric” and forget about everything except “telling that story.”Ãƒâ€š That’s essentially the advice she gives to each of the contestants.
Phil Stacey – “Where the Blacktop Ends” by Keith Urban – Whoa, I think Phil has found his gendre (heh heh) in country music.Ãƒâ€š WhileÃƒâ€š his Leanne Rimes performance was a bust back in the semis, he seems comfortable and assured for the first time tonight.Ãƒâ€š The typical vocal problems that have marred his prior performances–weak lower register, bad phrasing, over-reliance on the glory note–are gone this week.Ãƒâ€š In fact, he finishes his song with a “big” note, but it serves as a nice highlight for a good performance, rather than a diversionary tactic.Ãƒâ€š Phil seems totally in his element tonight.Ãƒâ€š And it’s a good thing, cause he really, really needs a good performance this week to stay in the game.Ãƒâ€š He’s been on the cusp of elimination for a few weeks now.Ãƒâ€š Tonight’s performance should earn him at least another week.Ãƒâ€š The judges all give him high marks tonight.Ãƒâ€š Ãƒâ€š When Randy says, “You could have a career in country music, brother” Phil says, “That’s what I want brother!”Ãƒâ€š Looks like Season 6 DOES have a country music contestant…
Jordin Sparks- “Broken Wing” by Martina McGraw – Jordin sings a Martina song and wisely says, “Martina gave me some great advice, and I’m really going to take it to heart…”Ãƒâ€š Ah, finally a contestant who listens.Ãƒâ€š Jordin starts off beautifully.Ãƒâ€š She taps right into the emotion of the song and tells the story, just like Martina tells her.Ãƒâ€š The first 2/3rds of the song are chill-inducing.Ãƒâ€š Unfortunately, she oversings the last bit, and goes all pitchy on an unnecessary run–keeping theÃƒâ€š performance from being the home run it could have been.Ãƒâ€š The judges don’tÃƒâ€š call her out on the pitchyness. Probably because, asÃƒâ€š one of the more marketable contestants this year, they are anxious to see her advance.Ãƒâ€š Ãƒâ€š Simon, in fact, says that he believes she could win American Idol.Ãƒâ€š That’s some might big pimping,Ãƒâ€š right there.
OMG, it’s Constantine Maroulis in the audience!Ãƒâ€š I have a really good Constantine story.Ãƒâ€š You guys would get a kick out of it, I think. *evil grin*
Sanjaya Malakar- “Something to Talk About” by Bonnie Raitt – Tonight, Sanjaya is wearing a bandanna, with his hair sticking straight up behind it.Ãƒâ€š Channelling Corey Clark are we?Ãƒâ€š Not a smart thing.Ãƒâ€š Sanjie answers anÃƒâ€š at-home audience question this week.Ãƒâ€š If he had to pick a song for one of the judges to sing?Ãƒâ€š He’d make Simon sing “Shiny Happy People” so he could show his true personality.Ãƒâ€š From one Shiny Happy dude to another…Ãƒâ€š Sanjaya is now unselfconsciously and blatantly playing off his own hype.Ãƒâ€š He explains that he chose “Something to Talk About” because heÃƒâ€š often “gives people something to talk about.”Ãƒâ€š Hardy har har.Ãƒâ€š Ãƒâ€š IfÃƒâ€š he hasn’t already, he just jumped the shark.Ãƒâ€š Martina tells Sanjaya to “sing out” more, but to no avail.Ãƒâ€š Sanjaya sings the song lazily, is flat throughout, hits many off key notes, and is just terrible in general.Ãƒâ€š Ãƒâ€š The last noteÃƒâ€š is especially excruciating. Animals are howling acrossÃƒâ€š America.Ãƒâ€š Simon says it’s “utterly horrendous.” When Simon attempts to critique Sanjaya some more,Ãƒâ€š Ryan interrupts to stickup for Sanjaya,Ãƒâ€š starting what sounds like aÃƒâ€š totally scripted argument with Simon. Lame, lame lame.Ãƒâ€š While this week’s performanceÃƒâ€š is neither fun nor funny, and Sanjaya seems to be developing an almost arrogant attitude–I swear he isn’t even trying out there–could tonight’s performance spellÃƒâ€š the end of the road for him? I don’t want to answer that.
Lakisha Jones- “Jesus Take the Wheel” by Carrie Underwood -Ãƒâ€š Picking a hit song by a beloved and popular Idol winner?Ãƒâ€š Probably not a great idea.Ãƒâ€š Lakisha tells Martina that she picked the tune because she relates to the lyrics.Ãƒâ€š She sings the verse beautifully–it’s obvious she does connect to the lyric–but when she hits the chorus, her voice becomes really shrill and shouty.Ãƒâ€š It’s the first time I’ve heard Lakisha sound like she’s really pushing out her voice, and it isn’t pleasant.Ãƒâ€š The judges nail her.Ãƒâ€š Randy doesn’t like the song choice for her.Ãƒâ€š Paula agrees with Randy.Ãƒâ€š Simon says it’s like “eating a hamburger for breakfast, it doesn’t go together.” What?Ãƒâ€š Uh, in other words he didn’t like the song choice.Ãƒâ€š Lakisha looks really disappointed.Ãƒâ€š The judges are minimizing her performance–it wasn’t terrible–at this point it’s obvious she’s no longer a favorite.Ãƒâ€š She may not last into the Top 5.
Chris Richardson- “Mayberry” by Rascal Flatts – Chris says he’s comfortable with country.Ãƒâ€š Martina thinks he could be a country singer.Ãƒâ€š Ãƒâ€š And indeed, Chris looks comfortableÃƒâ€š singing this song, but he’s nasally and flat throughout, especially towards the end.Ãƒâ€š Ãƒâ€š Randy said he didn’t feel a sense of “connection” as he sang the song.Ãƒâ€š Paula misses the “joy and the love,” which makes Simon start laughing at her.Ãƒâ€š Simon says, “What I heard was a very nondescript, nasally, tinny vocal, which had no impact on me at all.”Ãƒâ€š Ouch. Unwisely, Chris chooses to talk back to Simon.Ãƒâ€š Incredibly.Ãƒâ€š He says, “Nasally is a form of singing…I don’t know if you knew that.”Ãƒâ€š WHAT? OMG.Ãƒâ€š “Oh, so, it’s intentional?” asks Simon.Ãƒâ€š “Yeah,” says Chris, looking visibly pissed. Oh please Chris.Ãƒâ€š Just. Stop. Then he shifts gears and says, “my heart and prayers go out to VA Tech.” Whoa.Ãƒâ€š The sudden shift makes his shout-out seem like pandering, although I believe he was sincere.Ãƒâ€š ”I have a lot of friends over there…be strong.”Ãƒâ€š The cameraÃƒâ€š cuts back to Simon, whoÃƒâ€š rolls his eyes in response.Ãƒâ€š Eep.Ãƒâ€š No one is looking good here.Ãƒâ€š Chris is another contestant who has been on shaky ground.Ãƒâ€š He could be in trouble tomorrow.
Melinda Doolittle – “Trouble is a Woman” by Julie Reeves -Ãƒâ€š Melinda gets to answer a question, “Have you ever run into any crazy fans on the street?”Ãƒâ€š In her typical self-effacing manner, she makes herself the crazy person in the story.Ãƒâ€š Melinda, Melinda, Melinda…Ãƒâ€š Martina had never heard this song before, which surprised me. (more about Julie Reeves here).Ãƒâ€š Ãƒâ€š It’s a great song–perfect for Melinda.Ãƒâ€š She finally steps out of her box, and the risk pays off, handsomely. The only issue–the song is wordy and she rushes her phrasing a bit.Ãƒâ€š But other than that? Another masterful performance from Melinda.Ãƒâ€š She can sing anything.Ãƒâ€š Randy calls her “the resident pro.” Simon asks her to lose the surprise when he compliments her, “great choice of song…I saw a little bit of Tina Turner going on there.”Ãƒâ€š Melinda manages to keep the surprised look off her face when she smiles and says, “Thank you.”
Blake Lewis – “When the Stars Go Blue” by Tim McGraw – Blake wears plaid this week! Martina says she was talking to Tim the other day, and he was hopingÃƒâ€š one of theÃƒâ€š contestantsÃƒâ€š would sing this song.Ãƒâ€š I have no idea how country sounding the original is.Ãƒâ€š The song was written by alt-country artist Ryan Adams, who writes tunes with cross-over appeal.Ãƒâ€š Blake’s version is “Country goes Keane” (thnx beesims!).Ãƒâ€š Not that there’s anything wrong with that.Ãƒâ€š When I download the mp3 recording of this song from americanidol.com, I have no doubt I’ll play it eleventy-billion times in a row.Ãƒâ€š Ãƒâ€š It’s a great song choice for Blake, and a great arrangement.Ãƒâ€š Ãƒâ€š However, while Blake’s performance here is sweet,Ãƒâ€š it’s real, realÃƒâ€š pitchy.Ãƒâ€š More weirdness.Ãƒâ€š When it’s Simon’s turn to critique, he gives Blake some lukewarm props, then abruptly addresses the VA Tech tragedy,Ãƒâ€š ”on behalf of the three of us, we’d like to offer our heartfelt best wishes and support to the families as well…it’s been a tricky week for you guys.”Ãƒâ€š Huh?Ãƒâ€š Damage control for that eye roll during Chris’s critique.Ãƒâ€š Awkward!
Tonight’s eliminations?Ãƒâ€š I think Melinda, Blake and Jordin are safe tonight.Ãƒâ€š Beyond that, I am not going to attemptÃƒâ€š a guess.Ãƒâ€š Can this season get any weirder?Ãƒâ€š It probably can.
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