Despite the fact that the performance shows were taped over the weekend, there are no song spoilers, except for Phil Stacey, he is reported to be singing Edwin McCain’s “I Could Not Ask For More”.
I am night-before-vacation excited that the Top 24 is starting tonight. Yes, I’m very aware that’s kinda lame. What can I say…
UPDATE: According to USA Today, Fantasia will be the surprise guest on Thursday’s results show. Fantasia will step into the role of Miss Celie in the Broadway production of “The Color Purple.” No doubt, that’s the good news she’ll be announcing.
OMG! My Tee Vee sez I can download “bad” audition ring tones!!!1111!
Why the eff would I want to do that? Geez.
Claire, one of my intrepid readers counted for me (thank yew):
- 9 breaks
- 67 commercials
Holy Carp! These two hour shows kill me. I think 90 minutes would have been a perfect amount of time to fit in all of the performances plus the video packages. But then, s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g out the proceedings = 67 commercials and more moola for TPTB. So there ya go.
Now, on with the show.
Oh my. Oh no. None of the guys brought their A game tonight, and a few of the performances were either downright bizarre (Sundance), boring (Sanjaya) or just plain bad (Paul). Even the better performances either lacked zip or were pitchy.
An inauspicious start to the season, to be sure…
OK, I’m rewatching the show and I’m fast-forwarding through the copious filler. Finally…
Rudy Cardenas – “Free Ride” by the Edgar Winter Group – Rudy seems like a really nice guy. He chooses to sing a classic rock tune from the 70’s and I have to say I did not expect that at all. He’s very peppy, but the performance does seem, as Randy says, “really corny.” When Rudy hits the stage he’s all “c’mon ya’ll!”–The performance is wedding-band bad. The hip wiggles are creeping me out. A bad performance in the #1 spot, coupled with no pimpage from the judges, could put Rudy in danger.
More filler: Ryan “chats” with the guys on the red couches. Chris Sligh says the buzz tonight is all about the guys looking pretty. Ryan mentions that Brandon has sung backups for Christina, Usher and Justin Timerberlake as a segway to introducing him.
Brandon Rogers – “Rock with You” by Michael Jackson – Brandon’s got the whole looking-soulfully-into-the-camera deal down pat. I have to say, I find myself not immune to his charms. Ahem. Brandon displays that beautiful tone I heard in the auditions, but unfortunately, he’s flat in spots, and his performance is lethargic. The kid has a ton of potential, though. I think he’s definitely got it in him to step it up. Simon said it was safe and predictable, and, “You are better than that.” I agree.
Sundance Head – “Nights in White Satin” by the Moody Blues – Hello, weirdness. Sundance’s video package is all about how he brought it in his initial audition, and then delivered a load of suckage during Hollywood week. Sundance says he thought Hollywood would be a piece of cake, but then he realized he was scared to death. A little humility check, there. Sundance performs “Nights in White Satin” like it was a lounge song out of a David Lynch movie. The set goes all blue and Sundance’s eyes go all scary. He reaches out to the camera with his chubby little fingers and smiles inappropriately. He’s wearing a t-shirt with bugs on it. And I swear he’s wearing white shoes. He sings, “I loooove yoooooahhh” I feel a little freaked out watching him. Paula says, “You picked the wrong song.” Ya think? And Simon, “I don’t like you tonight.”
After the break, Ryan tells us that, “One of our most famous alums is going to perform and break some very exciting news to us…we’ll tell you who that is tomorrow.” Hmmm.
Paul Kim – “Careless Whisper” by Wham! – Oy. The shoe thing. Little quirks like not wearing shoes when performing are better discovered rather than run into the ground during video packages. I’m just sayin’. Right off the top, Paul’s got the jazz hands going, and it’s really lame. He’s got a rich tone, but his approach and his phrasing are really cliched and he oversings. He completely misses the note when he goes for the falsetto. Randy says he loves his voice, but “doesn’t like the song” on him. Simon is blunt–he tells Paul to put his shoes on next time. When Ryan takes the stage again, he’s barefoot. And very short. He tells Paul he can hook him up with a great pedicurist.
At this point, the judges express their displeasure with the performances. So far, the show is pretty dire.
Chris Richardson – “I Don’t Want To Be” by Gavin Degraw – I’m reminded by Chris’s montage of audition performances that his voice really irritates me. He’s the first contestant to perform with a little verve, but everytime he opens his mouth to sing, he sounds like he just inhaled a shot of helium. Plus, he’s got a very distracting vibrato. And damn, again with the jazz hands. Gah. Stop that. Me no likey. He makes matters worse by performing a song done very well by two past Idol contestants, Bo Bice and Elliott Yamin. The judges are more impressed than I am. Randy says, “I feel like the show just started right here!” Simon is the voice of reason, “I thought it was a bad vocal, personally.” And then, “The girls are gonna vote for you.” I believe they will.
Nick Pedro – “Now and Forever” – Nick’s performance is pitchy and dull. And stuck right smack dab in the middle of the pack, he’s sure to be forgotten as well. Randy calls the performance boring. Paula says the magic fell flat. Surprisingly, Simon sticks up for Nick. He says that while the performance lacked liveliness and confidence, his voice was not “too bad”. And, “I definitely think you’ll be back next week.” Is Nick being damned with faint praise?
Blake Lewis – …Somewhere Only We Know by Keane – First things first. Blake, lose the hat: Thanks a bunch. The fact that Blake’s got great taste in music is reason enough to vote for him. Well, maybe not. But, I’ll admit I was impressed and delighted that he chose a Keane song to sing. We finally get to hear Blake sing tonight, and I have to say I love his voice. While the vocal certainly isn’t perfect–it’s pitchy and he loses his place in a few spots–Blake brings something beautiful and authentic to his performance. I feel the stage light up for the first time tonight. Randy digs it. Paula is proud. Simon thinks it’s the best vocal of the night so far. I agree.
Sanjaya Malakar – “Knocks Me Off My Feet” by Stevie Wonder – Such a beautiful song, but tough to sing. And, like the teenagers usually do, he just doesn’t have the maturity to give the song any emotional heft. He smiles his way through the song without comprehending the lyrics. And his performance is slowed up, like it’s on downers. Sanjaya has a nice voice, but it’s limp–it doesn’t have any oomph. Randy says it was a poor song choice. Simon calls it dreary and boring. Sanjaya looks like he’s about to cry. HE’S TOO YOUNG. I hate this crap. Please people, do the boy a favor and send him home.
Chris Sligh – “Typical” by Mute Math – Chris says he had to sing “Sweet Home Alabama” like, 37 times at the Birmingham auditions. He didn’t like the song to begin with, but now if he ever hears it again, he says, “I’ll probably go postal.” Chris admits that his humor has gotten him far on the show. That’s true, but he can really sing too. Like the rest of the guys, he’s not at the top of his game tonight, but his performance is energetic and displays strong vocals and a good range. Randy says, “I am a Chris fan, I loved it, I like you, I think your going baby.” Paula says, “You strategize well, you are anything but typical.” Now, here’s where things go a little off track. Simon says, “I agree your humor’s got you here…I like you…I think you are a fantastic personality, but I felt like I was at some weird student gig.” Then Ryan yells something from the audience and Simon says, “who’s asking you…you do the links sweetheart, and I’ll do the judging.” Ryan says, “don’t call me sweetheart” as he joins Chris on the stage and looks visibly irritated. The argument does not look scripted. Things get even weirder when Chris makes a crack about Il Divo and the Teletubbies, and Simon retorts, really irritated now, “You could always do the latter.” Sidenote: It’s always REALLY risky to diss the judges, even when the contestant is in the right–particularly this early in the competition. It really turns folks off. And one more thing, playing “the game” is smart–just don’t make it obvious. If folks sense they are being played, they hate that too. Anyway. Chris apologizes, but Simon stays mad–at Ryan in particular. Really, Simon is behaving exactly as I expected. Simon does not like the “entertainers”. He’ll dog Chris for being a “personality” rather than a singer as long as he’s in the competition. He treated Taylor Hicks the exact same way last year, so don’t sweat it, Chris…
Jared Cotter – “Back at One” by Brian McKnight – The biggest surprise tonight is the cannon fodder. Jared had very little screen time, and what little we saw, it didn’t seem like he’d make much of an impact. He is actually one of the better performers tonight. At the very least, he seems confident. He’s the kind of smooth R&B singer that the ladies swoon over. I don’t think he’ll be leaving the competition right away. Randy and Paula liked it, but Simon was critical, he thought it was unadventurous and nasally. Wow–Simon still looks pissed.
AJ Tabaldo – “Never Too Much” Luther Vandross – More surprising so-called cannon fodder. AJ displayed some personality in his performance. His voice is slight–I think Jared and Brandon are both superior R&B singers, but AJ isn’t the total bore I was expecting tonight. Randy and Paula are complimentary. Simon thought it was ok, but predictable, like a theme park performance, but then adds, “Maybe you are better than I originally thought.”
Phil Stacey – “I Could Not Ask For More” by Edwin McCain – I understand why Phil wears hats. At a straight-on angle, he looks odd and pale, and his ears stick out. It’s a little distracting. Phil starts off badly, he’s off key and shaky, but as the song gathers momentum, he gets back on track and pulls off that all-important glory note rather nicely. As he sings, the camera keeps cutting to his wife beaming in the audience. Ohh, Phil’s getting some pimpage! Simon, says the beginning was “monstrous” and it wasn’t necessarily the best vocal, it was just Ok. Simon, I swear, is STILL pissed. When Ryan gives Phil the chance to challenge Simon, Phil says that he agrees 100%, and that he knows there’s room for improvement. Smart boy. Between the pimp spot, the loving wife, and the show of humility in the face of Simon’s criticisms, I do believe Phil will live to see another week.
Tonight: The Top 12 Girls perform.