Top 7

Top 7 Performance – Recap.  Finally

The Idols do the Classics

Rod Stewart inexplicably showed up to coach the kids with his wife and baby.  I don’t quite understand why he’s pimping his family–the baby is cute as babies go, but the wife?  Is she someone famous?  Am I supposed to care?  ‘Cause I don’t.   I liked Rod when he was with the Faces, way back in the day.

ETA: Ahhh, so the rehearsal was at Rod’s home? In my sleep-deprived haze I missed that.  I still could have done without the family-pimping.

A picture named Top7Chris.jpegChris Daughtry – “What a Wonderful World” –  I like Chris when he’s not screaming.  I really do. This song started out with a simple acoustic guitar (ok, not exactly traditional) then some strings kicked in.  And it was all rather understated and lovely.   Chris got a little strident and goatie on the top notes, but otherwise, he delivered a beautiful and subtle performance.  One of Chris’s best–along with “Making Memories of Us” on country night.  So Chris, please stop yelling at me  It’s so unecessary.  You can really sing, dude.  When Chris is on, he delivers with both heart and passion, and he has great stage presence.  The judges raved, and it didn’t feel like pimping.

A picture named Top7Parisa.jpeg

Paris Bennett – “These Foolish Things” –  Paris’s performance here hearkened back to when she auditioned in Greensboro and she wowed us with Billie Holiday.  If she only had 24 hours to rehearse this–the girl done good.  Everything I remember loving about Paris back then was apparent here–the unique covered tone, the sophisticated phrasing,  her style and confidence–the young girl who sings like an old soul.  And she looked just terrific tonight.  In a few years, this girl is gonna be sensational.  Randy said it was her “greatest night ever.”  I would say this was her best performance so far in the competition.

Right after Paris finished, Ryan asked what was in Simon’s cup.  Randy said, “Simon must be drunk.”  Was that some weird backhanded way of addressing Taylor’s displeasure with Simon’s “Are you drunk?” remark during his critique last week?

A picture named Top7Taylora.jpegTaylor Hicks – “You Send Me” – Rod defended Taylor’s dancing in his clip (of course,  rock ‘n rollers move, but Simon doesn’t get that).  But Taylor didn’t dance this week.  That’s fine.  I like Taylor when he dances, and when he doesn’t.  Actually, as much as I loved last week’s performance of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, I think it’s really important for Taylor to mix in performances that focus purely on the vocals.  The dancing is awesome, but it can distract from the singing, and after awhile could come across as a gimmick or crutch.  Tonight, Taylor stood mostly still while he delivered this Sam Cooke classic.  The arrangement began all smooth and silky and Sam Cooke-like,  but then Taylor switched it up, belted out the last verse,  and transformed the tune into a Taylor-style souled-up rave.  If he hadn’t turned it up a notch, the judges probably would have declared it boring.  But, those Taylor-made glory notes caused Simon to dub the performance “magic”. 

A picture named Top7Elliotta.jpeg

Elliott Yamin – “It Had to Be You” – Rod says in his clip that Elliott has “A wonderful blue-eyed soul voice”  That he does.  And his performance?  Whoa, for the first time in weeks, Elliott came out of the gate brimming with confidence.  The microphone death grip was gone, and a twinkle replaced that bit of fear in Elliott’s eyes.  And his smile was infectious. He worked the stage like a pro. He finally relaxed and sang the song like he owned it.  It was a great vocal performance from Elliott.  Like Randy said, it was an excellent song choice–Elliott really seems to shine on these jazzy upbeat standards.  Elliott said to Paula, after her critique “I feel like I’m locked in, finally.”  And it showed.  Simon thought the performance “lacked a degree of personality” and said, “I’m slightly concerned for you.”  Was that some sort of de-pimping on Simon’s part?  Not only do I disagree, but I’m wondering if we were watching the same performance.

A picture named Top7Kelliea.jpegKellie Pickler – “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” –  In Kellie’s clip with Rod, he keeps repeating that she’s got “a lot of personality”  And then Kellie says she doesn’t know the difference between “words” and “lyrics”.   Actually, the way she interpreted this classic, she might as well have been reading out of the phone book. Kellie attempted to twang up this classic tune.  She started off ok, but then struggled with the tricky melody, and never got back on track again. By the end she was hopelessly out of tune.  As Simon would say, this song was “too big” for her. Way too big for her.  Even Simon couldn’t spin the mess, although his remark, “it wasn’t great” was certainly an understatement.   Even Kellie knew she didn’t sing well.  “I butchered it” she said.  I agree with Paula, though–the red dress was fabulous. 

A picture named Top7Acea.jpeg

Ace Young – “That’s All” –  When Rod and the judges complimented Ace’s performance, it was obvious that their validation was extremely important to him.  When he brings that vulnerability to his performances,  he hits the mark.  And when he has the right song, Ace proves he can sing.  He did a nice job here.  He was a little out of tune on the bridge,  and his vocals could have been a little more powerful.  But other than that, his interpretation was sweet and tuneful, and I’ll bet he had his fangirls giddy and swooning.  Randy said, “Your false is your money dude.” Randy cracks me up with the lingo.   And then Simon said, “it wasn’t bad.”  Actually, it was pretty good.  And then he said it was “a charming performance.”  Agreed.  I loved the suit, but the bun needed to go.

A picture named Top7Katharinea.jpegKatharine McPhee – “Someone to Watch Over Me” –  Rod said in her clip, “Katharine was born to sing the standards.”  And I’ve said this before–standards are Katharine’s niche.  She’s a superb cabaret singer.  She’s got a natural feel for these classics and tonight, she phrased and colored her performance beautifully.  In her clip with Rod, she tried out, “I Only Have Eyes for You” as well as the tune she actually performed.  But this song was a great choice for her.  No need to belt or push her head voice.  She sounded gorgeous through the whole song.  Although, Simon’s remark, “You made the others look like good amateurs” was overstated–Katharine was superb, but so were most of the others.  She was completely deserving of the pimp spot tonight.

Who goes home tonight?  It’s tough.  On performance alone, Kellie deserves to get the boot.  But we all know she ain’t goin’ nowhere.  I actually don’t want to think about this.  I haven’t looked at the dialidol stats, but I’m thinking Ace, Elliott and….Paris? will be in the bottom 3 tonight.  But right about now–we’re ripe for a good old fashioned AI shocker.  We’ll see what Nigel has to say in his weekly post-performance interview with later today.