Nigel Lythgoe’s Weekly Interview with TVweek.com
Nigel recaps last night’s performances:
Elliott – “Open Arms”, “I thought it was ok…for me to be quite frank with you, I’m not a huge lover of the song. It sort of stays…along …the…same…sort… of… notes…But he sang it brilliantly, I’ve got to say. I love his voice.
Katharine – “I Can Believe I Can Fly”, “I loved the first part of it, I thought she went overboard with the second part. I think she held it together. But she does go where other people fear to tread. She just about held on to it for me.”
Taylor – “Dancing in the Dark” – “Great song, good for his voice. I was sitting next to Rod Stewart last night when he heard this. We watched it on television together. And he applauded him and said ‘that’s great, you sounded great’ he said.”
Elliott – “What You Won’t Do For Love”, “It’s a great song. Again, for me it doesn’t go anywhere, it stays along one cool vibe. It doesn’t really do anything. Again, it sort of reminds me of an Al Jarreau type song–great groove, great vibe but didn’t impress me and Elliott needed to impress last night.
Katharine – “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, “It was one of those Idol moments for me from the series. I think when we come to choose the greatest moments of the series, that will be one of them. I remember a young American lady named Eva Cassidy who broke in Europe and didn’t really break here, then unfortunately died at a very young age who sang this song beautifully, and it reminded me of that. I like the way she was sitting on the stage, very much like Judy Garland used to do when she sat on the…stage. And I loved the way that she sang the verse…we don’t often hear the verse, and she sang it acapella and came right in on the note. A beautiful moment, I think…you could hear a pin drop in the studio last night when she sang that.”
Taylor – “You Are So Beautiful”, “[I think] ‘Dancing in the Dark’ was better. He seemed to have an angry face on…it’s like telling a woman ‘you’re beautiful’ with an angry face. It didn’t really work for me. It does show what a great voice he’s got.”
Elliott – “I Believe to My Soul”, “It was the Ray Charles, and not really known. I just think he’s got a great voice. I think he did a good performance last night. It isn’t a song that I would have chose had I been in that situation, I think you’ve got to give the public a song that they know at this stage and something that shows you off to your best. I thought he sang it very very well, indeed.”
Katharine – “I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But the Blues” – The interviewer wondered if Katharine’s song was more well known since it was an Ella Fitzgerald song. Nigel said, “I didn’t know it. I thought Katharine after ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ had the right to steal the evening and I think she threw it away with this song.”
Taylor – “Try a Little Tenderness” – “Perfect song for him. It allowed him to start gently and then give it all that sort of ‘Taylor’ soul that he’s got. He had a lot of fun with it. It felt a bit like a Blues Brothers presentation for me But, again, I think it showed him off to his best. Overall I think Taylor came through with three good performances. The highlight for me was ‘Dancing in the Dark'”.
“I think Katharine just about got away with the first, did a brilliant second and I didn’t really like the third. But stole the evening with me with ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’.
I think Elliott’s were three great grooves and vibes and probably was the best singer of the night. I’m just not sure if the choices were right for Elliott to get him through or if Katharine let herself down in the end. I don’t know, and I would suggest that probably Taylor will be there in the Final from last night, and then it’s anybody’s choice from the other two.”
Nigel wouldn’t talk about the finale. He mentioned that they got over 50 million calls last night–setting a new record for a non-final. Tonight, each contestant will sing a song from the Season 5 CD.
I’ve heard that Katharine’s version of “Over the Rainbow” is very much like the Eva Cassidy version. ETA: And Gray Charles has an MP3 of her version for download–plus a version of the song by Jane Monheit…
I’m very surprised at Nigel’s reaction to Taylor’s “You Are So Beautiful”. He didn’t seem to like it at all. He seemed to really like Elliott, just not his song choices.
Katharine and Elliott are obviously the Bottom 2, but we knew that already.