Top 6

Thank Yewww!

Thanks to everybody who helped out with the spoilers and rumors these past couple of days.  Ya all Rawk Hard.  No Lie.  I couldn’t do it without yinz.  Anticipating the show is almost as fun as the show itself.  This week though–I think the anticipation was better.  Besides a few bright spots, tonight’s show was just a’ight. 

Top 6 Performance – Classic Love Songs  –  Recap with Vidcaps!

Ok, I joke around a lot about Paula Abdul being wasted.  But tonight?  I swear, she really was wasted.  Really.

There were two phone numbers for each Idol tonight.  But only six songs.  And the show still nearly ran over…

Hey look!  Stevie Scott in the House!

Ha ha ha.  I had no idea Andrea Bocelli was blind.  I’m not kidding.  Bocelli has released a new CD, produced by David Foster, who also appeared tonight.  Foster produces records for artists like Celine Dion.  He’s won many Grammys.  But I don’t care, because I don’t listen to the homogenized pop music that he produces.  I certainly don’t listen to Bocelli’s brand of classical lite.  I said something similar last week about standards:  I’m a rock chick.  But, if I were interested in classical music, I’d go for the real thing–not the pasteurized processed stylings of someone like Bocelli.

I’ll probably fast-forward through his performance tomorrow.

On with the show.  Sigh.

A picture named Top7Katharinea.jpegKatharine McPhee – “I Have Nothing” – Whitney Houston (written by David Foster) The Fox press release mentioned that a contestant would be singing a David Foster song.  And this was it.  Choosing to sing a Whitney song is always a tricky proposition.  The judges are always harsh–even unfairly harsh–unless the contestant totally hits it out of the ballpark.  Foster seemed to love Katharine, but the judges didn’t.  And honestly, this was a good performance!  She didn’t glory note or trill her way through the song.  But I thought that was a good thing–because Kat has a tendency to go strident on her top notes and miss notes when she attempts the fancy melisma.  Here, she sang powerfully and with emotion, hitting nearly every note.  Maybe the judges just didn’t have the imagination to put Whitney’s version out of their minds.  Or that was some pretty heavy-duty de-pimping coming from the judges.  It was so heavy handed and unfair–I think she’ll get support from casual voters.  Simon finally called Katharine cabaret tonight.  But he meant it in a negative way.  And the dress was beautiful, but that panty-line was not.

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Elliott Yamin – “A Song For You” – Donny Hathaway (written by Leon Russell) – I gotta say up front, that Elliott is looking mighty fine these days.  Between the longer, nicely-cut hair (I doff my cap to thee, Dean) and the great styling–throw in the fact that Elliott now carries himself with more confidence–and I dare say the ugly duckling has turned into a swan.  During Elliott’s little pre-performance chat with Ryan, the Yaminions got a little shout out! YAY.  And then he gave a rather long-winded, nervous shout out to Donny Hathaway–whose daughter happened to be a background singer tonight.  Happily, when Elliott started to sing, the nerves disappeared.  This was another confident performance.  He obviously took all of the good advice Foster gave him and put it to use.  Here’s a guy who is half-deaf, has no vocal training and little performing experience.  Yet, he’s an incredibly gifted technical singer–always in tune and able to navigate tricky rhythms and changes.  But he’s also been gifted with a warm, melodious voice that can infuse a song with soul and passion.  Incredible.  The judges.  Holy cow.  Is there something about week six that causes Pauler to meltdown?  Yes, Elliott was good, but the crying during her critique was ridiculous.  Entertaining–particularly Simon laughing as Paula carried on–but ridiculous.  Randy said, “I love you, you are dope, that was the bomb.” Simon said, “ parts, that was like a vocal masterclass–that was superb.”  Not that he doesn’t deserve it…but…Elliott got pimped!

A picture named Top6Kelliea.jpegKellie Pickler – “Unchained Melody” –  Righteous Brothers, LeAnn Rimes –  Kellie attempts another big song.  And again, she fails miserably. This performance was interminable.  And I swear, when David Foster egged on Kellie to go for that big note?  He was setting her up for a fall.  Because that note?  Was not good.  Kellie was out of tune throughout the song, her phrasing and stage presence amateur.  The performance just plodded along–she had no emotion or connection to the lyrics.  And Foster was right, without the emotion, this song is hella boring. Here she is, Top 6.  And at this point,  Kellie is so far out of her league talent-wise compared to the other singers, it’s ridiculous.  How did she get there?  The producers pushed her through on personality and “charm”.  They gave her tons of screen time, the best scripted lines, and softball judges comments when she deserved to be ripped.  Hers was easily the worst performance tonight (it was the worst last week and the week before as well).  And once again, based on vocal performance, Kellie should be eliminated tomorrow.  Finally, there were harsh words from Simon: “I thought it was like the never ending song…it was so monotonous and so bland there was no heart, no warmth, from your vocal at all.  In fact, you were like a robot during that performance…”  Simon had more, but the music cut him off.  I guess having his favorite song butchered was the last straw.  Seriously though, I’m thinking the girls were de-pimped this week to make way for an all boy final three.  Just like “Aunt Edna” said.  Though I don’t believe the cut phone lines crap.

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Paris Bennett – “The Way We Were” – Barbra Streisand – Young Paris is blessed with an enormous amount of natural talent.  And when she’s on she’s unbeatable.  Tonight, she was a little wobbly on some of her big notes, and the arrangement here was a little dull.  Between the frumpy 70’s hair and the mature lyrics, it all seemed too old for Paris.  This was just a so-so performance at a time when she could least afford it.  Her performances have been inconsistent throughout the competition.  Out of all the contestants left, I think Paris has the weakest fan base.  She’s made several trips to the Bottom 3 already, and I’m afraid that she’s in big danger this week.  The judges, while not critiquing harshly, gave her hurried, lukewarm remarks.  Simon said, “Very good vocal, a bit old-fashioned for my tastes, and it sounded a bit like you were trying to imitate an older artist. Now I’ve finished, off you go…”  Yikes.  That sounded like a premonition, if you ask me.

A picture named Top7Taylora.jpegTaylor Hicks – “Just Once” – James Ingram – Out of all the love songs Taylor could have chosen, I’m puzzled why he chose this one.  Despite Bocelli’s opinion that this was a good song for him, I’m not convinced.  This performance was rough in spots, especially at the beginning when the lower notes seemed a little out of his range.  And he seemed disconnected through the middle of the song.  He was even flat in spots–which is unusual for Taylor.  Toward the end of the tune–particularly when he hit the high notes on the chorus–Taylor was brilliant.  But that brilliance only came in flashes here.  This was not a great vocal for Taylor.  At this point–with some incredible performances under his belt–he’s set the bar high for himself.  I expect a lot, and he usually delivers.  But not this time.  No worries, though.  I have no doubt the Soul Patrol will pull Taylor through this rough patch.  The judges called his performance karaoke.  I tend to agree.  Sigh. Even the jacket was just so-so.  Velvet’s been done better on Idol.

Sidenote:  Did you see the look on Simon’s face when Paula stood up and interrupted him during Taylor’s critique?  He looked pissed.  Man, what was Paula on tonight?

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Chris Daughtry – “Have You Really Ever Loved a Woman” – Bryan Adams – The first order of business was to get passed the hate-on I have for the musical stylings of Bryan Adams, and judge the song on Chris’s performance. Once I did that, I was fine.  Foster gave Chris some really good practical advice about his singing (aren’t the Idol vocal coaches giving him this basic advice?)  I think the exercise where Chris sang while on the floor actually helped his vocals.  And he delivered a very very good performance.  He commanded the stage, connected to the song and hit all the right emotional notes.  Chris was on his game.  With the show running long, the judges only had time for very hurried kudos (and again, what the hell is wrong with Paula?  She was definitely high tonight).  Chris’s fine performance coupled with the pimp spot will keep him safely out of the Bottom 3 this week.

I think we might have an all female Bottom 3 tomorrow, with Paris Bennett going home.  That’s my prediction.