Top 9 Performance

The Top 9 sing the standards….with Tony Bennett as their coach.

Tony  Bennett has charted hits in every decade since the 1950’s.   Now that’s impressive.   I grew up with my parents spinning Tony  Bennett records  in our  living room, and  today I can turn on the radio and hear him duetting with Bono and Elvis Costello.   That’s quite a career.

Apple Watch Series vs Suunto 9 Peak...
Apple Watch Series vs Suunto 9 Peak | @purlp

The kids always shine on standards night–not because the era they come from is so superior, but because the pool of songs they have to choose from are the best of the best of the song’s era.  

Blake Lewis – “Mack the Knife” – Tony says that he hopes Blake slows down the tempo a little to give each line more impact.      Tony says he needs to understand the lyrics of the song.   And at first, Blake seems to be all Blake-style over substance–his vocal in the first part of the song lacks verve.   But, midway through the song, Blake starts singing the song like he actually understands the lyrics, and it turns into a performance that would make Kurt Weill proud–a performance more modern than standard.   As always, Blake is easy and natural as he performs up on the Idol stage.  Simon likes the band more than Blake, but generally good marks from the judges all around.

After the break, Ryan has more details to share about the big charity broadcast April 24-25. Keira Knightly, Hugh Grant,  Helena Bonham Carter, Forrest Whitiker, Pink, Gwen Stefani, Rowan Atkinson, and Daniel Radcliffe are all confirmed for the special. The broadcast will be split between the CBS studios where American Idol is filmed and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Kelly Clarkson will also sing live.

Phil Stacey – “Night and Day” – Phil says that Tony Bennett is his hero. Tony thinks Phil is a “real good singer.”   Tony tells Phil to put “a little beat behind it.”   The judges are hard on Phil.   Randy says he didn’t feel any “real connection or passion.”   Paula tells Phil he reminds her of a “young Frank Sinatra.”   She doesn’t elaborate on that, but adds that he needs to   “warm up his vocals.” Simon says, “it had all the joy of someone singing in a funeral parlor.”   I think the judges are hard on Phil.   His vocals are  good, he sings with feeling, but maybe a little too studiously–like he  is concentrating too hard.  Also, he didn’t quite take Tony’s advice to put  a “little beat behind it.”  A little bit  of  jazz phrasing would have improved the performance.   But still, a very  strong vocal from Phil.

Melinda Doolittle – “I Got Rhythm” – Ya. What’s not to love about Melinda?   She’s got an incredible voice, presence and phrasing, and this Gershwin classic is tailor-made for her. Tony tells her she’s the best singer all day, and of course we get what’s now become the patented Melinda Doolittle wide-eyed look. These days, Melinda catches herself and stops.   I’m waiting for the day when she finally takes a compliment like she believes it. Simon finally criticizes her…a little.   He says, “I didn’t like the first half of the song, I thought it was a bit cabaret…”   Yikes! Simon uses the “C” word.   He goes on to say, “I thought the last half was great, personality fun…”   It hardly comes off as criticism.   Melinda is dependable, she delivers one good performance after another, week after week.

Chris Richardson – “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” – Chris gets a “viewer question.” What do you consider most when you choose a song?   His answer is very politically correct–he considers himself, the audience and then the judges.   Whoa.   Chris is good tonight.   He keeps the goatie vibrato and unnecessary runs at bay, he’s got some cool moves that don’t look cliched.   He’s relaxed and smooth.   I agree with the judges, he modernizes the song quite nicely.   This Duke Ellington classic is a perfect fit for Chris.   I have to say, Chris seems to be in this to win.   He pays  attention to good advice and then acts on it.   Improving on his performance week by week will keep him going in this competition.

Jordin Sparks – “On a Clear Day” – Jordin says she is excited to sing “On a Clear Day” because it’s “cute.”   Cute?   Despite describing the song like it was a stuffed animal or a puppy, Jordin still brings a lot of feeling and energy to her performance.   Tony approved of her embellishments and improvisations.   Indeed, Jordin seems to have an innate sense of how to sing a song, despite her young age and lack of experience. Tonight, she is sensational.   This young girl has great stage presence and style.  Plus, she’s adorable.  Simon says she didn’t make the song “young and current.” But, so what?   Jordin did just fine.

Gina Glocksen – “Smile” –   I got chills.   Not when Gina sang, but when Tony chokes up when he  says that when he sings it, he thinks of 9/11 and the soldiers in Iraq right now, “praying that they come home.”   Me too Tony.  Not to take away from Gina’s performance, however–she delivers a nice, simple well controlled vocal.   I like Gina much better when she isn’t posturing or trying to please the judges.   Her biggest problem is that she hasn’t quite found her identity yet, which can be a problem in this competition and beyond.   Gina has talent, she just needs to figure out who she is.   Randy and Paula compliment Gina.   Simon, rather pointlessly compares her to Jordin and Melinda, rather than judging her on her own merits.   He says, “I can’t rave about the vocals because two girls came on before you and completely outsang you.” Stupid, Simon.

Sanjaya Malakar – “Cheek to Cheek” – OMG.   When Tony meets Sanjaya he says, “I’m a big fan of yours.” Tony says, “Sanjaya shows up and comes up with something every week. It makes him interesting…he dares to be different.”   Sanjaya says his goal this week is to show America that he actually can sing. Sanjaya at least remembers all the words this week, but he’s still flat, off the beat,  and lacking stage presence.   Sanjaya performs exactly the same way (except for his wig-out performance of “You Really Got Me”  British Invasion week) every single week.   And it does not matter.   Sanjaya is an unstoppable force for now.   The judges have all but given up critiquing him at this point.   Simon actually didn’t even bother to comment, except for a sarcastic “incredible.”   I think Sanjaya, while he won’t win the competition, has a least a few more weeks to ride this crazy merry-go-round. Beyond that, I have nothing more to say.  The media circus around Sanjaya has become really boring.

Haley Scarnato – “Ain’t Misbehavin'” – Haley answers a viewer question.   Is she more nervous singing before the crowd or receiving the judges comments?   She all but says that Simon’s comments are the only ones that matter.   Tony calls her out on singing the song without comprehending the lyrics at all.   This is one of Haley’s problems–she smiles and shakes her booty and winks at the front row, but her interpretation is ultimately empty.   “pageanty” is what the judges called it.   At this point, Haley is relying on her “assets” (not the vocal ones) to propel her through this competition, and you can’t really blame her, ’cause it’s working.   Randy and Paula seem a little miffed at her brush off.   They immediately defer to Simon, who says she has nice legs, and then follows it up with the pageant remark.   Randy agrees.

LaKisha Jones – “Stormy Weather” – Why are people not listening to Tony’s advice?   He tells LaKisha not to tag “…ain’t no sunshine when he’s gone” to the end of her performance, and she does it anyway.   Tony was right, the tag adds nothing, she should have stuck with the big ending. This is not a great performance in my opinion.   LaKisha’s phrasing is strange, and she seems disconnected from the lyrics.   She doesn’t bring anything special to the song. The judges disagree…with me.   Simon calls it a “sassy, great performance.” I think that Melinda and Jordin are out-singing her.

a big big thanks to pj for helping me out last night.   I appreciate it!


  1. Curses! Why is no one talking about tonights performances? Prithee! Are they all in chat? Hmmm…

  2. Hi Longsong!! Here’s where I ranked them tonight:

    Melinda Doolittle
    Gina Glocksen
    Lakisha Jones
    Chris Richardson
    Jordin Sparks
    Blake Lewis
    Phil Stacey
    Haley Scarnato
    Sanjaya Malakar

    Recap here.

    Can I just say – I want to SMACK Haley every time she makes one of those faces. If you don’t want someone to to comment about your legs, wear a dress that isn’t short enough for everyone to see your business. Oh – and sing better. THEN they’ll talk about your singing!

  3. Rena – I agree SO MUCH about Haley tonight. She is very clearly trying to get by on her legs and boobs. Throw in the stripper music and the shimmies and I want to DOUBLE slap her for her “Niiiice” face. For some reason she didn’t look as pretty as she usually does either – although I don’t consider her to be naturally pretty in the first place.

    I’m sad about my boy, Sanjaya. He did poorly tonight. I wanted him to really go for it.

    ETA: Completely forgot to comment on Haley’s singing: it sucked.

  4. Last week I said if I was Sanjaya mother I would yank him off the stage. Tonight Haley. She said she makes the Sign of The Cross b/4 she goes on. Well, she better be doing a little more then that. Loved Paula’s “You did your thing” oh did she and we all know what that thing was. How cheap. Please don’t think I’m some old lady, who is so out of it. Hey, Lakisha was showing a lot of the “girls” — but she isn’t using that to get votes. That is what makes it so cheap.

  5. Rena – just read your recap and agreed with most of it. I thought as well that Lakisha was wrong to go against Tony Bennett’s advice and keep that run in at the end of the song. She was OFF for it and it totally detracted.

    So…..who do you think is going home tomorrow night? I gather from your sigh you don’t think it’s Sanjaya. Hmmm…

  6. Hey, Lakisha was showing a lot of the à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“girlsà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’  but she isnà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t using that to get votes. That is what makes it so cheap.

    Plus, Lakisha’s “girls” are so much nicer. Plus, she has talent to back them up.

    Yep, the most obvious negative of the night for me was Haley trying to use her “assets” and then, as Rena pointed out, getty pissy when she was called on it.

  7. My dvr went ape right after Gina sang. I missed Sanjaya and Haley completely. Will have to check them out on Rickeys or something. How weird!

    General criticisms: Melinda didn’t do anything for me this week. I hated Gina’s hair! Ufta! Jordin’s presentation was a bit old. Liked that I could actually hear Blake sing. And Chris R was non-nasally. I liked his energy. Phil would have been better if he had moved around just a bit. But the song has a somewhat dark melody. I thought he did well towards the end.

  8. Here’s my top 9 performances in order:

    Blake — his voice is so pure. It always surprises me how good his voice is.
    Phil — Love his voice. And Simon, it’s a love song…
    Jordin — good on ya. Don’t think she was outsung by the other all.
    Sanjaya — sorry, the guy finds a key and sticks with it (unlike many of the other singers). Plus he no longer cares which is at least interesting.

    Big Jump

    Gina — sounded just like last week
    Haley — vocals-meh, but at least it had personality
    Lakisha — here’s your box, stay in it. Didn’t she sing this week one and was last then too?
    Melinda — how many times can you sing the same Broadway song?
    Chris — man, that was bad. Can’t understand why the judges are pushing him.

    As usual, I live in an alternate universe than the judges.

  9. Ufta!

    Where ya from, rher?

    I could see what the judges were saying re: Phil. He DID have some notes that were reminiscent of Frank Sinatra, but he didn’t mooooove me. Clearly he needs a stronger image than his wife, or else he needs to think OF her when he sings, rather than TO her. Or vice versa. Whichever works.

    Clearly whatever he did tonight did not.

  10. Melinda Doolittle – Pro, not fair to the rest of them
    Jordin Sparks – Pro, young, but seasoned
    Chris Richardson – Good, not bad
    Gina Glocksen – OK, too safe
    Phil Stacey – Emotionless, boring
    Lakisha Jones – Boring, heard it a ,1000 times
    Blake Lewis – Weak, thin vocals, bores me intensely
    Haley Scarnato – Ms. Texas, pagent queen
    Sanjaya Malakar – Sucks major ass……

  11. I felt that, for the first time, everyone brought his/her A game. I even thought Phil was good. (I cannot BELIEVE I said that!) A very nice, understated rendition of that song, but the judges are making it clear who they want to go.

    I will disagree with the judges on Lakisha. She overdid and oversang and flat ruined a song I just love. I didn’t much care for her stage prowl either.

    I really like Blake. But I really think he is a lightweight.

    Chris R actually sang pretty well, but I did hear the Justin seeping out now and again.

    I thought both Jordin and Gina brought it. Really good vocals from both, even though with the tongue stud in, Gina was doing a lot of thith and thath with her ThSmile vocalth.

    Haley was good vocally but she irritates the hell out of me and I wish she would go along with Phil. Double elimination next week would be fine with me.

    Sanjaya. Uhhhhh….Sanjaya. Sanjaya.

    Melinda D phrases better than anyone I have ever heard on Idol — all 6 seasons. She really does teach a lesson every time she sings. She was slipping back into the Melinda Doolittle School of Humility lesson plan, though.

    I do think this was the best vocal night for Idol 6 overall, though.

  12. A great week – but how can it not be when they’re singing the standards??

    I think its clear they want Phil to go home – although I really thought he crushed it vocally. Wear. A. Hat.

    Haley – very pageanty.

    Chris R – I don’t get it. I think his personality carries him, because if you weren’t watching him and only hearing him for the first time you’d think it was a high school kid on garage band. And it seems like he does the same little dance moves and walk across the stage every week. Oddly, I like him, even with all this criticism. Maybe that’s the thing about him….

    Blake – I like him. A lot. But it was hard to remember this performance by the end. He’s very cool and seems so comfortable on stage and I look forward to seeing him every week. Somehow his vocals need to be a little “deeper” or something – but he’s still my overall favorite if you’re talking total package.

    Sanjaya – He’s definitely better than he was earlier on, and is totally playing up his Sanjaya-ness. He *was* entertaining, you have to give him that. I hope he’s taking everything in stride and having fun with it and doesn’t spent the next ten years in therapy over the whole Idol thing.

    Melinda – Clearly a master class – she seems out of place here, she’s so pro.

    Jordin – I LOVE Jordin. She’s spunky, great voice, fun, versatile – I really hope she’s the last diva standing. Even though she’s not really a diva if you ask me.

    Lakisha – Obviously she can sing…there is just something weird about her to me, and I can’t put my finger on it. And good grief – I’m over the big jugs every single week. Yikes!

    Gina – I liked her vocal, hated the hair and makeup. I think she’s more talented than I originally thought, and there’s something about her I really like.

    Who I think will be America’s three: Haley, Phil, Gina
    Going home: Phil

  13. Listening to the end recap bits from a different room, i thought Haley, Blake and Sanjaya were the weakest voices with Haley the worst by far.

  14. I loved Blake but sorry he had to be in 1st spot again. They’re really not pimping him tonight. Jordin was also pretty good and this was first time I actually liked Chris R. My rankings would be:

    Blake (maybe not the best vocals but the best performance for me)
    Melinda (great vocals but yawn)
    Chris R
    Haley (please go home)

    I thought Haley, Phil, Melinda, and Lakisha were boring and the last two were predictable.

  15. I think Haley is a goner this week. When the best thing a judge can say is “great legs”, it doesn’t bode well.

    I enjoyed Blake (no surprise) and Chris, which is a lot coming from me since I’m not exactly on the JT Lite train.

  16. My ranking from best to worst


    Melinda rocked it, she picked a great song after a few weeks of kind of blah picks (but great performances) and really delivered.

    On the bottom end, Phil sang better than Sanjaya, but I thought he was really boring (and has a pretty good chance of going home tomorrow).

  17. Longsong, I’m from OH but living elsewhere now. My husband uses that word ufta.

    Many thanks everyone for their recaps. I agree Ladybug that Blake is lightweight. Although a completely different style, we all remember how Clay powered thru Mack the Knife (and youtube helps with trips down memory lane). I liked Blake’s stage work, however. Not so much Lakisha’s swishing of the dress.

  18. Melinda blew the rest of them out of the water tonight.
    Seriously, it’s not even close.

    Some have compared this season to season three. If so, we’ve got one Fantasia and eight Diana Degarmos. Great voices, but none match up to the power, sincerity, joy, and depth of the best.

    And for those who say “I’m sick of her humility,” apparently you’ve bought into the selfish, me-mentality, cash-driven arena of pop music today… and shame on you!


    Overall, this was one of the strongest performance nights this season. I didn’t think anyone was flat-out bad as in recent weeks…

    I’d rank them:

    Melinda (see above. LOVE.)

    Lakisha (she was a little pitchy, yes, but she slid into this genre like a well-fitted glove. The stylization of her “God Bless The Child” and “Until You Come Back To Me” returned, and thank goodness, because it adds extra depth and uniqueness to her sound. As good as she is, she needs to up the personality while performing. I wonder if she practices in front of a mirror? That would help.)

    Chris (Chris isn’t one of my favorites, but I felt that tonight was one of his best. The nasal quality of his voice was down a little, so props on that. I enjoyed his performance, a solid vocal… now, I’ll never vote for him, but I did recognize the worth of this showcase)

    Jordin (such a sweet girl with such a great voice. She’s really got the potential to make it big in the pop/Disney arena and even move past that after a couple of years. Her performance tonight was solid… not as spellbinding as her “I Who Have Nothing,” but still a good performance)

    Gina (I’ve realized who Gina reminds me of vocally… Natalie Maines, lead singer of Dixie Chicks. Hopefully Gina will be able to generate enough buzz to advance to country night with the top seven and give the DC a whirl. This was an excellent vocal showcase… she displayed some solid technical technique, which improved her sound. She’s doing the best she can, I think, although it probably isn’t enough to crack the top three)

    Blake (I’ve got to give Blake props for a stylish, smooth performance… but the vocal was just a little to hushed for me. This song deserves to be bold and brassy, and if not, it needs a certain intensity that Blake didn’t deliver. More chest voice, please, Blake)

    Haley (poor girl has realized she’s going to have to rely on more than her voice to have any chance in this competition. She’s got a nice voice, but I’d rather see her go this week in favor of stronger-voiced contestants)

    Sanjaya (probably his best performance. The problem is that he’s just too young… honestly, he’s got a good voice, but it lacks any sort of depth or power. In 3 or 4 years, he might actually have a shot, but this year, he’s out of his league)

    Phil (still a mystery to me how such a great voice can come across so bland… given the chance, I wouldn’t know what to tell him to improve)

  19. Good thing Blake has built up a big fan base who continues to excuse him for delivering his second merely adequate performance in a row.

    Would love to see LaKisha’s exit reel include all the advice she’s been given by the professional mentors and subsequently ignored.

    I’ll never understand fans who are bored by “great” vocals. Poor Melinda. And how dare she sing a “standard” yet again. Tony B. should have mentored her to sing a cover of Missy Elliot’s latest just to mix it up.

    I’ve had it with Haley too. How many female singers do we have to endure reminding us that they are actually more attractive than the average woman? Just because almost every other young woman singer since the advent of the 80s has followed the blueprint set by Madonna using some element of sex appeal for success does not give Haley license to do so. No wonder fans repeatedly say they “hate” her.

    On the plus side, who knew Chris had guns like that? Nice forearms. Oh and he’s shown steady improvement throughout the competition.

    Gina had a nice week — last week. This week she reminds us yet again that “rocker girrrrl” emcompasses a wide gulf between Melissa Etheridge and Avril Lavigne.

    Phil is one contestant who would most benefit from some seasoning. He is a pretty darn good singer but he really needs some vocal coaching and some more performance lessons under his belt. Would be interesting to see him over the course of another few weeks — which unfortunately is unlikely to happen.

    Honestly, the only elimination that would disappoint me at this stage would be Melinda. Nothing else would even surprise me.

  20. My ranking:
    Melinda- another solid performance
    Jordin- each week I like her even more than last
    Blake- love the uniqueness about him
    Lakisha-I’m bored with her but homegirl can sing
    Chris- I dont like him or his nasal voice
    Gina- she did not stand out tonight
    Haley-shes not that bad, but shes not that great

  21. Didn’t bother to vote since Sanjaya is safe and the rest were all pretty good. Melinda was a 10 – gave me chills upon chills. Thought Chris was the best guy tonight. Jordin was 2nd best, from there – kind of all the same with Sanjaya bottom. Why vote? I am beginning to understand the negativity of not voting…. yawn. Listened to my Elliott all day long – chills upon chills – and wow – even listened to Daughtry and Taylor (and of course Elliott) on the way home. Much better voices than this season’s group. Even Kat’s Over It is better than these girls. Except Melinda. She is in a class by herself… Can we just skip to the finale and crown her idol? And bring back our guys from last year to make it interesting.

    Gotta get to bed — but – has anyone else gotten thrills from Elliott’s bonus track “I’ll Make You Dance”? Yum, what thoughts run thru my head (and other parts) while I listen to that tune…. sigh, groan. Ufta.

  22. How many singers would DIE to coach with Tony Bennet?? How many contestants failed to listen to him????

    Blake Lewis – “Mack the Knife”. “Mack the Knife” was originally from Kurt Weill’s operetta “The Threepenny Opera”. In the show Macheath, “Mack the Knife”, was a notorious and menacing gang member. Mr. Bennett pointed out to Blake that Mack was a mean gangster and that Blake needed to convey that. Blake, however, didn’t believe Mr. Bennett and sang and danced in a lighthearted and fun way. Perfectly fine, but Blake was no Mack the Knife.

    Phil Stacey – “Night and Day”. Paula was right. Phil does hint at Frank Sinatra in his voice. I actually thought the same thing while he was singing. I thought it was his best performance vocally, but was a bit flat. I think it was because he was singing to his wife, rather than to his audience of millions. When you sing to millions, the emotion has got to be bigger.

    Melinda Doolittle – “I’ve Got Rhythm”. Melinda does know how to turn a musical phrase and how to pace a piece of music like a pro. She did a great job with the song. However, the stylists continue to dress her like a middle aged woman from the 1950’s or early 1960’s. Melinda, call your friends – they did a better job for you.

    Chris Richardson – “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”. Gee, Chris. You’re coaching with one of the greatest singers of a generation and you don’t know your lyrics. How can you coach with anyone without being prepared?? Really bad form. It was an okay performance. He still sings through his nose. If one were to close his eyes and listen, one would not be that impressed.

    Jordin Sparks – “On a Clear Day”. Most interesting comment of the night by Mr. Bennett – “She sings in tune, which is rare today”. A real condemnation of the industry. Jordin was really brave to take on a song immortalized by Barbra Streisand. I think she did a great job vocally. It was a bit stilted, but I was impressed with her voice.

    Gina Glocksen- “Smile”. I really thought Gina gave a truly heartfelt interpretation of this wonderful song. There was a lot of heart and thought behind this performance, and vocally it was subtle and well-shaded. Despite Simon’s dismissiveness, I thought this was one of the best performances of the night.

    Sanjaya Malakar – “Cheek to Cheek”. Sanjaya meets Goodfellas tonight. Another vocally weak performance. He seems smug and pleased that Simon has entered the “Universe of Sanjaya”. Whatever. I’ve made a lot of money betting my foolish husband each week that Sanjaya won’t go. He doesn’t understand how he loses each week and Sanjaya doesn’t get eliminated. I don’t understand it either, but I’ll continue to take his money.

    Haley Scarnato – “Ain’t Misbehavin'”. How dumb are you to not understand that words “I’m saving my love for you” doesn’t mean “and you, and you and you?” How can you want to be a singer and not understand and love working with words? How can you be indignant when people only mention your legs, when each week your dresses get shorter? How can you not have a clue that your singing is terrible when people only want to talk about how you look? How can you add a hoochy bridge to a song about a girl who is being good while waiting for her man to come home? How can you be so totally clueless???

    Lakisha Jones – “Stormy Weather”. Before you were on Idol, you worked in a bank. Tony Bennett coaches you on how to end a song and you don’t listen. Gee, guess he doesn’t know anything after being a musician for the last 60 years. His ending was right. It would have blown everyone out of the water. Vocally you were great, but you lose points for failure to listen to the master.

    How I rank ’em:


    I have no idea who will go home, since this is Sanjaya’s Universe.
    “The world’s gone mad today, and good’s bad today and black’s white today and day’s night today”, from Anything Goes by Cole Porter.

  23. Top 9 Night – Standards

    A) Standards night is usually great because Standards become standards because they are great songs.

    B) Tony Bennet is awesome. Not much with the advice, but it’s enough that such a legend popped in to give a listen.

    C) Lakisha gets to end the show again. Blake gets to start it again. That’s fair. NOT. Blake, Gina, Sanjaya and Haley have yet to have the pimp spot. Two people have had the pimp spot twice and almost half the field has never had it? Okay, then.

    1) Blake Lewis – “Mack The Knife”. I love this song. What a hepcat. Blake looks great and really swings it. Shows he can adapt to the theme. He really knows how to work the stage. Great fun.

    2) Phil – “Night and Day” – Tony likes him. Where is his Fedora? I HATE his phrasing. Listen to Tony you git. Pitchy to start with. Great glory note at the end. Simon and Randy hated it more than me. Early performance slot with lots of criticism, could spell doom. His fan base should be energized by the bottom 3 slot last week. Good answer with the wife Phil.

    3) Melinda – “I’ve Got Rhythm” – Tony thinks she’s great. Very sultry to start. Then lots of brass. Fantastic phrasing. Lots of pep and personality. Great! The crowd goes WILD!

    4) Chris – “Don’t Get Out Much Anymore” – Not digging the suspenders trailing behind him. He merged his style with the standard. The dancing is still lame. Good vocals. Why doesn’t he get criticized for messing with a standard? Is the Diana Ross song book more sacrosanct?

    5) Jordin – “On a Clear Day” – Singing in tune is rare, is it Tony? Interesting. Bit breathy in parts. Lots of spunk, but she was like a skater that just manages to hang on to some of the landings. A few of the notes seemed close to sliding out on her. She’s so pretty.

    6) Gina – “Smile” – This is a great song. Doesn’t seem to connect with the sadness of this song. It was just okay for me. One of the Idol Chatter coaches suggested this song for her.

    7) Sanjaya – “Cheek to Cheek” – Is Tony a Fanjaya? (lots of nice comments) His vocals started out weak, but he seemed to gain confidence throughout the song. Simply the most charming guy in this competition. He has a really sweet presence and can dance while he sings. Nice try Simon. Won’t work.

    8) Haley – “Ain’t Misbehavin'” – Tony tells her not to be too flirty. She stays in tune. That’s rare these days. She might have dug deeper for some of those notes. Lots of personality. This is a great genre for her. The judges were RUDE. Could help her.

    9) Lakisha – “Stormy Weather” – Tony likes glory notes. I don’t like her phrasing either. Girl can belt. Decides to ignore Tony about the glory note. Why do the coaches bother to offer her any advice? Why do they keep showing her ignoring the coaches? Are they creating a story arc for her?

    Top 3: Melinda, Blake, Chris
    Bottom 3: Phil, Sanjaya, Gina

    Who Should Go Home: Phil
    Who Will Go Home: Gina

  24. loved Blake but sorry he had to be in 1st spot again. Theyà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢re really not pimping him tonight. Jordin was also pretty good and this was first time I actually liked Chris R. My rankings would be:

    I have no idea either. Last week he was clearly pimped, even by Simon. This week it was so different. They put him first and you have to admit the Standards theme is not very favorable to Blake.

    Anything modern and he is the BEST. The last couple of weeks have been pretty amazing for Blake. LOVED LOVED Time of The Season and Love Song. Blake is just too contemporary to sing these type of songs. They don’t go with him. He is too contemporary.\
    I still think Blake will be the most successful of them all outside AI.

  25. I just don’t get the big love of Chris. He is good but nothing to write home about. I wonder if it sounds different live. Well, I’m sure it does. What I mean is if none of them sound as good on T.V. Have any of you gone to a live show, then saw it back and was surprised st how different it was?

  26. Randy , Paula and Simon marked Phil to be sacrificed this week to save Sanjaya. Is he so fragile that he can’t be criticised ? They should be honest , the kid stinks up the place.
    Phil has a great voice and it’s a shame that he will leave before Sanjaya Malacrap.
    Lakisha really screwed up that song , that ending was awful and off key. Listen to Lena Horne sing that song like it should be sung and you’ll see how bad Lakishas performance was.
    Chris R did a good job tonight .I was pleasantly surprised.
    Melinda was strong and as usual consistant. That gal can sing.
    Jordin -sang well , song just ok.
    Gina – meh ! , Haley- meh ! , Blake – meh !
    Sanjaya just horrible. He should be in a high school musical and not on AI. Thanks Simon , Paula and Randy for bringing such a rare talent to the world (my ears are bleeding ).
    Who goes next ?? sorry to say Phil.

  27. I know this is not going to be a popular sentiment–but I felt like Phil’s comment about “just singing for my wife” was a kind of pandering for the sentimental vote after a not so great performance.

    Kind of an emotional version of Haley’s skimpy dress.

    Maybe if I were more of a “Phil fan,” I would have been more moved by it.

  28. I am so sick of Sanjaya!! I think it is the lamest thing that people who can actually sing go home every week and he stays on, wbo is voting seriously. My honest opinion he shouldn’t have even made it to the top 12!! Seriously, who cares about his stupid freakin hair!!! Also, Melinda rocks, she can totally sing and is a full on pro! Also, I’m bored with Lakisha, loved her at first know she is cocky, won’t take advice and shows her big boobs every week.

  29. Even if it’s Tony Bennett dishing it, the singers gotta do what they gotta do. Take advice or your own instincts? Trickier than you might imagine.

    I keep watching this show with great expectations, but feel let down at the end. Part of it’s probably the commercials. They just interrupt the flow so bad.

    Anyway, got a few thoughts to add here:

    — Jordin’s lack of breath control scared me. She’s adorable, poised, her pipes are great. But you could really hear her almost gasping for air between lines. Not a good thing, in performance terms or health-wise. Needs a good vocal coach.

    — Phil’s “Night and Day” was indeed funereal. The guy can’t swing. not fair to compare doughnuts with creme caramel, but listen to the guy who originated the song sing it seriously but with wonderful elan (Fred Astaire).

    — Haley did the cutie pie thing with “Ain’t Misbehavin'” but did anyone else think it felt entirely phoney, like a little girl strutting around in Mommy’s high heels? Or, god forbid, one of those beauty pageants for children pretending they’re sexy? Creeps me out.

    — Chris has a way about him, a kind of devil-may-care quality that’s very attractive. Vocals very imitative of Bobby Darin, though.

    — I refuse to hate Melinda for being a pro, and being a great singer! So why isn’t she already a star? Hey, think of all the other Idol winners/finalists of real merit, and you remember this is a harsh, harsh business where a lot of terrific talent is never “discovered,” or never gets the “pimp spot.”

    Lakisha ditto. I continue to believe she’s actually very scared, and quite shy, which makes it hard for her to loosen up. I wish she had Jordin’s joie de vivre and confidence.
    But ever read her quotes about not having enough money at the end of the month to feed her kid, despite working hard? About having to ask friends for loans just to get by? Not sayin’ she should win Idol because she’s had a rough road. But I sense there’s a real artist and substanial spirit in there, who can’t find her way out into the sunshine like some of these other kids — most of whom appear to have had a much easier time of it. OK, sure, Fantasia had it tough too, and sparkled anyway. But I imagine for Kiki, it’s just amazing to come this far, and she’s terrified of blowing it. I hope that doesn’t keep her from getting what she really deserves out of this: a great singing career.

    Anyway, onward and forward. I think my favorite moment of the night, actually, was when Tony spoke of hoping the GIs in Iraq come home safe, and it brought him to tears. Me too.

  30. Who is “pj” and what has he/she done with “mj”?

    Is pj MJ in her jammies? P.J. Harvey? P.J. O’Rourke? P.J. Proby?

    This mystery is more interesting to me than AI w/o Sligh. Sigh.

    As Phil was singing one of my all-time favorites, I told my husband, “He sounds like a young Sinatra.” Poor Phil. Now he’s getting the Sligh treatment. I thought it was a “wow” performance and almost felt compelled to vote.

    I still like Blake, but his mini-moonwalk didn’t suit the genre.

    The other highlight for me was Gina calling Simon on his lazy insults that pass for criticism. Hallelujah. I abhor when Simon says, “Two girls came on before you and outsang you blah blah blah blah.” He may as well just say, “You are expendable and not worth the time it would take to sober up my last two brain cells.”

    Bless her heart, Gina replied, “That’s why it’s a competition. You have so many different kinds of vocals.”

    Bottom three: Phil, Gina and Haley.

    I knew the season 3 malaise was coming to AI6, but I didn’t expect it so soon.

  31. Inexperienced as these contestants are, taking advice is a good thing. Master classes are where you learn to develop your musical instincts. Tony Bennett knows how to interpret and sell a song.

  32. Just a gut feeling about bottom 3: LaKisha, Gina, Haley with LaKisha going home.

  33. I had also hoped that Phil would wear the Fedore tonight. The theme was perfect for the suit and hat. I listened to Frank Sinatra version and it wasn’t uptempo. Maybe Tony thought Phil would receive a better review by changing the beat. Simon did refer to Phil not listening to Tony without actually saying it. The simple word…funeral.

    It’s a shame because Phil is the best male vocalist! Unfortunately, I think he’ll be going home tonight.

    This was a good show and almost everyone did a nice job!

  34. Colette, is it possible Jordin had a bad cold? I also noticed the breathing problems tonight. It was distracting. I still believe she’ll be in the Finale, probably with Blake.

  35. Tonight the remaining Idols attempt to tackle songs from yesteryear with coaching from Moses. Ià ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢m sure the final nine loved being coached by Tony Bennett and hearing that they were all competent. Actually the exciting news tonight was hearing that the original American Idol Goddess Kelly Clarkson will be back to possibly perform her new single “Never Again” on à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“the Save the children from Sanjayaà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  night in April.

    Blake Lewis à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Mack the Knifeà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ I thought that it looked like Blake was struggling with this song and didnà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t quite know what to do with it. I think that he was trying to fit into the theme without resorting to any of the à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“tricksà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  and still be the cool Blake that we all know and love but I think that heà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s way better then what he did with this song.

    Phil Stacey à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Night and Dayà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ This song is all about passion and obsession and Phil as usual had absolutely none of either one of them. I actually called it a funeral dirge during the performance and way before Simon said it. If I were his wife I would not have been happy if thatà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s what he was thinking of when he yawned this out.

    Melinda Doolittle à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Ià ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢ve Got Rhythmà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ STAR!!! I think the only problem with Melinda is that on American Idol we like watching someone grow into a star before our eyes instead of just always being one. If you think back to Kelly, Clay, Vonzell, Katharine, and Elliott those kids grew into stars after many performances. The biggest drawback with Melinda is that she has started out great and can’t really go any higher. I loved the way this song just built up to that huge showstopper and with this and her take on “My Funny Valentine” proves that she can handle anything (except possible a current type of song.)

    Chris Richardson à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Donà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t Get Around Much Anymoreà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ Ià ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢ve been hard on Chris all season (pun intended) but I think he turned in a personal best tonight and even I liked it. I still donà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t care for his singing voice but I think overall he turned on every ounce of that megawatt charm that he has and even finished with his trademark smile that can do no wrong. If he turns it on like this will do very well for himself and finish higher then I thought.

    Jordin Sparks à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“On a Clear Day You Can See Foreverà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ Funny for a devout Christian Jordin certainly was trying to score the gay vote with this Barbabra favorite. I hated the jazzy pop arrangement of the song that she sang but I thought that overall she sang it with beauty and a lot of power.

    Gina Glocksen à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Smileà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ Gee Tony gave her a great lead in mentioning the troops and 9/11 for votes. I think that Gina is too much of a suburban girl to be a true rocker at heart. I thought she sounded great while singing and sounded the best that she has in a long time but the entire time I thought that she was a good singer in the Mickey Mouse club instead of a powerful singer in a Rock Show.

    Sanjaya Malakar à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Cheek to Cheekà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  I love Bollywood as much as the next person but this has to stop. I watch Sanjay every week and laugh with all of America but still get disgusted when more talented people like Sundance Head (?) get voted out over Sanjaya. I take comfort that with his smarting off to the judges, ultra white suite, pencil thin mustache, used car salesman hair, and sadly lastly even truly awful singing voice that all that added up will get the best of him one day and we will be put out of our misery.

    Haley Scarnato à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Ainà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t Misbehavinà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ Haley is an insult to the memory of Katharine McPhee. I have wanted to like her because the judges are brutal but sheà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s so intent on proving that sheà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s a 70à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s variety show performer in her short skirts and Belle like singing voice that I just canà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t get into her. I do believe through that if she does last one more week and if her skirts get any shorter then all of America will probably get into her.

    Lakisha Jones à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Stormy Weatherà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬’ I finally saw some life in Lakisha tonight that I havenà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t seen since her à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“And Ià ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢m Telling You.à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  I noticed that when she connects to a song and decides to à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“performà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  it instead of just singing she becomes more then the copy of a copy of a past Idol. I thought that last big night was thrilling and this was a great surprise choice for her.

    So how did the Idols do on the annual standards night? I think overall they were better then I had thought with some standout performances. I always think that this is a hard night for a bunch of singers tryng to sound current since Simon loves to throw out the “cabaret” insult to them but if I had to rate them this week I would probably list them as

    Melinda Doolittle
    Lakisha Jones
    Jordin Sparks
    Chris Richardson
    Gina Glocksen
    Blake Lewis
    Haley Scarnato
    Sanjaya Malakar
    Phil Stacey

    And if I had to pick a bottom three I will say that ità ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢ll be Phil, Haley, and Sanjaya (if not Gina through I think sheà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s picking up some fans with her actual ability to sing) with Phil going home tomorrow.

  36. Hey StevenD — good on you, giving some props to LaKisha! Yeah, I want that sass back too, and if she can just open up and let it loose maybe her inner Etta/Aretha/Patti will come out.

    Think you got somethin’ on Gina there too. What if she isn’t such a bad girl after all? Sorry, staring at her tongue stud grosses me out. (I know a doc who has spent way too much time treating kids for related infections.) But what if she’s really more Jewel than Pat Benatar? A wholesome kid wrapped in wannabe-punk clothing?

    Grammie Kari: maybe Jordin was sick tonight. Only heard it in the breathing. And was surprised the judges didn’t pay attention to that.

    In fact, are they paying attention in general? Sometimes they seem stumped for comments because they weren’t listening….Considering the per episode salary they probably get for showing up each week, you think they might tune in a little more……

  37. You know what gets me? When the singer doesn’t know what the song is about. Last year it was Kat with Over The Rainbow, This year Gina with Smile. Both the songs are not happy little songs. They are about not giving up. The end of the song should be like your reaching out, trying to believe things can get better but really not knowing if they will. They are both very moving songs- didn’t feel it at all with Gina. I’m not sure if this makes sense…. can anyone explian it better?

  38. enna1961 — at the risk of sounding like an old crank, these are songs that tell stories that are deeply emotional. A criticism I have of the Top 40 music today (not the great indy stuff) is how shallow it is, how much the lyrics tend to be about she-done-me-bad, he-done-me-bad, now I’m over-it, over-it.

    So if that’s what you’re used to hearing, sung in voices with lots of pyrotechnical ability but little emotion, even a simple but poignant story like the one in “Over the Rainbow” or “Smile,” which is really about dealing with tragedy, or “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” which is a witty tribute to a love you’ve given up your bad ways for, is kind of dashed off as a lark.

    just my opinion….

  39. Unlike most of you, I thought Haley did VERY well although I’m curious about the ‘green dress’ comment Paula gave her. I thought Gina did great, too.

    I wonder why Lakisha NEVER takes ANY of the mentors’ advice. Once, ok but every time? That’s not good for business.

    As much as I enjoy Blake, Phil has the better voice but he’s not the popular choice.

  40. For me, Blake again was one of the few who stood out. Love his style, loved the song choice. But he did not seem to understand the lyrics — the vocals were way too light and airy.

    Haley’s performance was like the talent portion of a local beauty pageant. (And why on earth did her dress need to be THAT short? Too too much).

    Phil sounded like he was immitating some old singer with a deep voice – it’s almost like it was satire.

    Gina didn’t do much for me, but I completely agree with her comment to Simon – the competition is not just about big voices but different styles.

  41. Just a gut feeling about bottom 3: LaKisha, Gina, Haley with LaKisha going home.

    Without listening to “Rickey” and reading the reviews I had a sinking feeling you might be right. This whole thing sounds like a setup. If Tony hadn’t commented on changing her performance would anyone have said it didn’t work? I thought it was good and she was showing some personality. Sounds like TPTB have an agenda to make her look bad with some destructive editing. That’s the second time they have done that.

    but the entire time I thought that she was a good singer in the Mickey Mouse club instead of a powerful singer in a Rock Show


    There is just the mp3 of her performance and I thought she sounded passionate but a bit flat.

  42. It’s sad when I’d rather see Blake do just an okay performance over seeing Kiki do a great one or Chris R do a better one.

  43. Btw, I think Haley DID throw the “You…and you….and you” in there, over Mr. Bennett’s advice. I think she wanted to keep as many men in there as possible in a desperate attempt to stay in the competition.

    I don’t think it worked. Bye Haley! Don’t let the door hitcha!

  44. Well, Standard night wasn’t half bad!

    I’m ENTIRELY over Lakisha. What is it about her? I can’t figure it out. There is just SOMETHING that rubs me entirely wrong about Lakisha. I have no idea what it is. All I do know is that the pimp spot was BORING. I can’t believe she went against Tony’s advice and did what she wanted to do anyway. That can’t bode well. And please, Lakisha tuck in your jugs a little better.

    Other than that, it wasn’t too bad. I liked Jordin, even if she was a little old fashioned.

    I don’t get Haley. She makes a pissed off face when Simon comments on her legs, but she decides to show them? I GET why she is showing them, but if she wants serious comments don’t strut out in a hooker dress. Actually, I thought that was one of her personal best performances. It still didn’t make it good though.

    I don’t get Chris R. and I never will.

    Blake was good.

    Melinda was good, but I’m kinda over her not stepping out of her comfort zone. And MY GOD the pimping of Melinda. What did Simon say? He can’t even say a mean thing? Or something along those lines. Can we just stop watching this season already and crown her winner since that will be what will happen anyway? She’s had NOTHING bad said about her aside from her outfit comment once. Whoopie. I mean technically she hasn’t done anything bad, but why isn’t she getting the “You’re old fashioned” or “You’re doing the same thing every week and you need to change it up a little.” Frustrating.

    Gina. I didn’t like it. I found it boring. Was totally distracted by her hair.

    Phil. PUT ON A HAT. Not only was I frightened by his performance, the whole thing sucked.

    Sanjaya. Hee.Hee. Totally entertained by him. Did his singing suck? Not as bad as usual. He seemed to sing above a whisper and heck he danced with Paula. The comment Randy made about not even bothering to comment on the singing anymore, I thought was pretty rude. They are pretty rude to Sanjaya. They are like WHY ARE YOU HERE? They surely can’t understand it, but they are the idiots who put him through…

    I really think it will be Haley or Phil. I don’t see Sanjaya leaving yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lakisha joins them, honestly.

  45. The reason Paula commented on Haley’s green dress – because it is obvious that Haley sucks as a singer and is getting through on her slutty/trampy performances and outfits each week. Only Haley could take a classic standard and turn it into something that requires a pole,chair and whip.

    Sanjaya sucked as usual.

    Melinda was the bomb.

    I liked Blake and Chris the best of the guys.

    I love Jordin, and think she will go quite far.

  46. Phil sounded like he was immitating some old singer with a deep voice – ità ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s almost like it was satire.

    Frank Sinatra. It was immitative at best. I have a very hard time with Phil because I think he has a good voice, but he just seems so very… ordinary somehow. Except that his head is EXTRA shiny. Powder it or wear a hat, Dude. He bored me.

    Gina kind of bored me too. The vocals were good and understated but seeing a tongue stud with that outfit while she sang Smile just distracted me so much I had to stop watching her. She sounded nice. Just… meh.

    Haley is the Disney Princess/Pagent Queen/WhatEV. She seems to start every performance as a whisper, and I think it’s nerves, but she doesn’t ever really do much vocally to stand out. She does have great legs though. That won’t save her.

    Sanjaya was not the worst last night. There I said it. Sue me. His voice is not up to the best in this competition and sounds like it needs a few years to mature, but he was mostly on key and tried to be entertaining without being goofy. Well, the suit was a little goofy, but so what? A for effort, C- for execution. I still don’t think he deserves to be number 3 on Dial Idol though.

    Chris gave an energetic performance dressed in holey jeans and weird suspenders. I wanted to rip that stupid hat off his head and give it to Phil. Okay. I understand that people think this was his best performance. I suppose I agree. He was only pitchy in places. He wasn’t singing through his left nostril. He looked like he was having fun. I just don’t hear anything surprising or special about his voice and I can help comparing his runs to Elliott’s, so… Ain’t doing it for me. He’s the JT horse that the PTB don’t yet have in their Idol stable.

    Jordin’s performance was better than last week’s, imo, but nowhere near as good as she’s capable of. She seemed lost or something. Vocally it was good, but a little strident. I don’t know, I can’t explain it. It was okay. She looked cute.

    Lakisha sang one of my favorite songs and acquitted herself well, with just a couple pitchy notes in the beginning. There was a little more spark there than usual too, but I agree with others that it would have been better if she had taken Tony Bennett’s advice.

    Blake sang one of my favorite standards. He has a nice sweet voice. It was a fine performance, and vocally I preferred him to Chris. He showed some personality in his performance – as always – although he looked a tiny bit unsure. I liked it.

    Melinda – ah, sweet Melinda. I know she’s been choosing some tired songs lately, but on American Standards night she chose a great song and show all kinds of emotions, sultry, sassy and SEXY. I liked her outfit better than last week’s and her hair looked cute. Masterclass.

    I love Tony Bennett. I really do.

  47. “How many singers would DIE to coach with Tony Bennet?? How many contestants failed to listen to him????”

    MaryR, my husband and I said this after every damn performance.

  48. MaryR, Kirsten, Colette, and StevenD:
    Thank you so much for your well-thought-out and spot-on recaps!

  49. Ladybug–you said “I really like Blake. But I really think he is a lightweight.”

    Perfect description. I feel the same way.

  50. I was pleasantly surprised on this weeks theme and the performances of the top 9…In all the years that I have watched Idol, I have always been amazed at the level of talent out there. This year has had its controversy, but I do believe that this showcase brings forth many singers who would have otherwise had a slim to none chance of getting the public eye…even only for a few minutes. I think that they all did well, considering that most of the songs were probably recorded before any of the idols were born. As usual, Melinda just blew it out of the water! I am so impressed with her ability to not only tell a story, but to do it in a way that makes it seem effortless. Vocally, she impresses me every week with her ability to “make every song her own”. It is so refreshing to know that there are singers out there like Melinda who get into the song and what it stands for, and are able to convey that feeling to those who are listening. She is truly in a class all by herself. No matter what happens, she is already a WINNER!

  51. I wasn’t all that impressed by Tony Bennett last night. He didn’t seem that helpful to me. I think the coaches only get a very short time with each singer and spend more time on the video comments afterward. I know I should be but have never been a fan of his or the standards except by a select few such as Sinatra. It probably goes back to my Grandma making me watch Lawrence Welk when I was little, lol.

    Blake’s appeal isn’t that he has the strongest voice (obviously) but I do like his voice and love his performance every week. Of course he does better in more current genres but still think he did a fine job last night and I did enjoy it more than the ones we all expected to do well such as Melinda & Lakisha.

  52. Blake may not have the strongest voice but he sure is a fab performer. I love the song he sang. I’m quite new to this genre but Mack The Knife has been on constant repeat on my itunes since last night. I’m gonna buy Blake’s studio version of that song and I might get the Ella one as well.

  53. I wasnà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t all that impressed by Tony Bennett last night. He didnà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t seem that helpful to me. I think the coaches only get a very short time with each singer and spend more time on the video comments afterward

    I think thats because since they packed the show to 1 hour they had to shortened the clips and such. I’m pretty sure they actually got a lot more time with Tony (and Gwen) than what we saw.

  54. colette….
    That is it totally. I really think the young adults don’t get it. They hear a song, know the words, know the beat but don’t feel the story. Any time I hear a Master sing it is like they are singing to you. The feeling is so deep. I was born in ’61, even then ( 70’s, early ’80’s) the singers had it. But now they just don’t get it. I think it is very sad.

  55. I thought I heard last week that Gwen only had about 45 mins. total with the singers, Widjayaman.

  56. Longsong – in answer to your question WAY upthread, i fear it will be Phil Stacey. He just doesn’t seem to click with the public, great voice notwithstanding.

  57. Question to all watching the show: who was the (drunk?) guy Ryan was talking to/holding up near the end of the show?

  58. Stefunny, I think that was Sanjaya’s father. Not certain, but I believe so.

  59. Too Many Divas

    I’ve read through the comments to the thread and I’m interested by the comments I see about Lakisha. No one seems to doubt that she’s talented, but what comes through loud and clear is that she fails to surpass Melinda (primarily) week after week. I made a comment in my recap that Melinda makes you BELIEVE, week after week, that she wants to be there at that moment singing that song. You believe that she is entirely present, in the moment, when she’s on that stage. I think Lakisha suffers by comparison, yet Lakisha also gives incredibly good performances (not just vocals).

    At the beginning, we had four outright divas and one diva-in-waiting: Melinda, Lakish, Stephanie, Sabrina, and Jordin (waiting). That’s just too many divas. Jordin won’t go anywhere because she’s the young, fresh, enthusiastic almost-diva. That leaves Lakisha and Melinda with the outright diva crown, and I don’t think both of them will survive through to the end (think about Kelly C. and Tamyra). It’s not that one is so far ridiculously better; it’s that one is just across-the-board slightly better and American only seems to want one diva.

    So yeah – I think Lakisha’s in some serious jeopardy this week.

  60. Boring! Highlights for me were Phil & Jordin, vocally, and Chris for his performance. Meh on Lakisha and Melinda, and Blake’s throwaway perf.

  61. I am DONE with Lakisha ignoring the coaches’ advice. It’s getting very annoying. I though Gina was way better than what the judges gave her credit for. I also thought Phil sounded pretty good. My hubby was in the next room and he thought Tony Bennnet was singing. Haley completely wrecked Aint Misbehavin. If there is any justice, she’s going home. I was not that impressed with Chris R. It was good FOR HIM but not really all that good. Melinda was great.

    My bottom 3 prediction:
    Haley, Phil, Jordin or Gina

    Going home:

  62. I really don’t think that getting voted off is entirely due to vocal ability. It is stage presence and their ability to get to us.

    Many of us are getting tired of the diva route and Melinda is the best of that group. So LaKisha, Jordin and to a lesser degree Gina are vulnerable. LaKisha has been set up the last few weeks, so I really think it will be her tonight or if not tonight then soon.

    I liked Gina’s voice but she sure did not look the part to be singing that song. That and the tongue stud will put her in danger.

    Haley is not that bad, but the faces are childish. I think she is getting votes to counter all the crap people are saying.

    The navy must be the only thing keeping Phil around. I really don’t like him, his look or his singing.

    Sanjaya’s time is coming, but everyone has to let the joke blow over first. Maybe 2 weeks left.

    I am hoping for a final 4 of Blake, Chris, Melinda and Jordin.

  63. Well listening to Phil’s mp3 his vocal was very good and put the rest of the guys to shame.

    Can’t comment on the performance I haven’t seen it.

  64. When did the dictionary start defining “Diva” as any random combination of “black female singer” because that is the only thing I see in common between Melinda, Lakisha, Stephanie, Sabrina and Jordin (“diva in waiting”)? I see them as five very different looks, personalities and artists.

  65. Zap2it fast TV ratings just in:

    A night of standards on “American Idol,” with guest Tony Bennett, delivered a 15.3/25 for FOX at 8 p.m. “NCIS” came in second for CBS with an 8.7/14. NBC’s “Dateline,” 4.1/7, took third. ABC went with reruns of “George Lopez” and “According to Jim,” which beat out a “Gilmore Girls” repeat on The CW.

    Looks like a definite downturn.

  66. comments in no particular order:

    Melinda- While she can’t really move out of her comfort zone on Standards night, I’m glad she picked something upbeat & lively. Did great. Dress is huge improvement over last week.
    Jordin- I think she’ll win in the end, but I hated the song.
    Blake- I like Blake as he is entertaining, but I thought he could have done more w/ this song.
    Lakisha-Sang very well, but as soon as Tony gave her the advice to lose the tag, I knew she’d keep it. She ignored all the advice from the other coaches too. I have no clue as to her personality. They never talk to her.
    Chris- This is the first time I even liked his performance a little
    Gina- Unusual song choice – I thought she did well, but she is solidly in the middle of the pack.
    Haley-I thought she did better than other weeks. The guy on the radio today said he thinks she’s hotter than McPhee.
    Phil – I can’t look at him if he’s not wearing a hat. I hate that song. I’ve not liked him at all anyway.
    Sanjaya- I just want the kid to hit one out of the ballpark before getting voted off. He’s obviously not shy, so it can’t be nerves. He can sing in tune. He just can’t PROJECT. Bring it Sanjaya. And we’ll happily vote you out!

  67. I heard Blake on the radio this morning, and honestly, it didn’t sound that great. I like Blake, but I think he has a lot riding on performance.

    Here’s what I don’t get. Tony Bennett says Blake needs to understand what the song is about. Judges love Blake. Tony Bennett says Phil is one of the best singers he’s heard in awhile. Judges bash Phil for the thing Blake didn’t do either and was instructed to do in the video. Ugh.

  68. LisaB…I agree about Phil’s voice. Very very nice on the mp3. He needs to wear a hat and get a good feel for how to perform and I think people might think differently about him….the bald head, though, is a bit distracting.

  69. When did the dictionary start defining à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Divaà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  as any random combination of à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“black female singerà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  because that is the only thing I see in common between Melinda, Lakisha, Stephanie, Sabrina and Jordin (à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ diva in waitingà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ )? I see them as five very different looks, personalities and artists.

    Now that’s just downright ridiculous. Christina is considered a diva. Celine is considered a diva. They have different looks and personalities and they are certainly different artists. Just so happens that Gina and Haley don’t exactly have the vocal chops to be in the same world as singers such as Melinda, Lakisha, and Jordin – or Stephanie for that matter though she’s gone. They are divas – they sing big songs and hit big notes which is something that Haley and Gina can’t really pull off (though Gina’s closer). Gina has appeal as the rocker, Haley’s clearly selling her ASSets to the viewing public. Hell, Phil’s closer to being a diva with his “big note at the end” singing than Gina or Haley.

    Being black has nothing to do with it. Being an excellent vocalist with a powerful voice and a penchant for singing big songs (Christina’s early success in the pop-tart genre notwithstanding) is what makes a diva. Just so happens that on AI this season, none of them happen to be white.

    Don’t go manufacturing a racism controversy where there is none. Referring to someone as a diva is validating the style of the individual artist, not obsessing over their skin color or demeaning their talent by inferring that they’re clones.

  70. StopBeingWeird – I complete agree.

    Melinda, Lakisha and Jordin are singing very similar genres, with the exception of Jordin who is a bit more contemporary. The fact that they are all labeled ‘diva’ has nothing to do with race — all 3 are basically singing in the same style. And it is a style that we’ve seen before many, many times on idol.

  71. I am DONE with Lakisha ignoring the coachesà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢ advice. Ità ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s getting very annoying.

    People seem very pissed with Kiki, like she’s a bad girl in school who won’t listen to the teacher or something, and should be flunked out. I understand — Like Lulu, I really wanted her to sing “You’re My World,” not that Bond mess. But you Taylor fans must remember the times he seemed to be taking advice, then got up and did his thing anyway. Maybe he just seemed more polite and solicitous with the guests, even when they were ludicrous choices themselves!

    Tony Bennett is a fantastic musician and human being. He doesn’t teach voice. And his music is very different from that of all of the finalists. He loved Phil, I think, because he heard that sweet, high tenor voice — which is, yes, a beautiful instrument. What he didn’t see was the guy as he’s performing: his physical awkwardness, his lack of musical uniqueness and vocal dexterity.

    I have to accept that what many voters want in this contest is somebody to love based on what we’re seeing in two-minute segments. That can be deceptive, though. I mean, you can admire Taylor, but many who meet him say he’s no cuddly bear but a self-possessed, ambitious, somewhat introverted pro.
    There are dangers to the celeb fantasy. (Consider certain politicians voted in because they seem like great guys to have a barbeque with…)
    But, awright, that’s show biz! I guess I’m way outnumbered here in not being “over” Kiki (or Melinda), and wanting to spank or ground them or something. I’m also incapable of lumping them into some vague “diva” category that includes every other soulful, power-voiced black woman singer with attitude who ever showed showed up on a stage.

    Maybe America just wants or needs someone cute and cuddly to wear the crown, someone the equivalent of a hipper David Cassidy — Chris, Jordin, Blake.
    In that case, Nina Simone would not have won this competition (the smiles were rare on that lady in performance). Nor would have Aretha (famously shy with audiences early in her career). Ray LaMontagne with his great music but brooding shyness? No way, babe. Or a lot of other people who had the technique, power, and soulfulness to make fine music, but not the warm fuzzies.

  72. By the way, where do you get the performance mp3’s?

    I would recommend listening to Bobby Darin’s original Mack the Knife — it is a very biting song and has to be attacked aggressively. I still loved Blake’s performance, but he could have done more with that fantastic song.

  73. I don’t think it’s anything approaching a “racism controversy” but I have to agree with Marco. I’ve never heard the word “diva” on AI applied to anyone but a black singer and I’ve always been curious about that. If Melinda, Kiki, Stephanie, Sabrina, and Jordin were white, no one would call them divas. And I don’t think that Jordin and say, Melinda are ANYTHING alike except in their skin color. This is nothing negative at all–just an observation.

  74. I think the whole diva concept started in Season 3 with LaToya/Fantasia/JHud. They had never had female singers of their caliber before and it was just a way to distinguish them from the Diana DeGarmos of the world. Carrie wasn’t a non-diva because she was white, but because she was country. Katharine wasn’t a diva because the only diva-like song she did was I Have Nothing. She mainly stuck with ballads and softer songs. Just sayin’. :blink_tb:

  75. I actually have to agree with Marco in the sense that, at least in this competition, being black, female, and hitting big notes will get you tagged “diva” faster than anything else. Kelly Clarkson and Diana Degarmo are examples of non-black females with similiar voices that did not seem to get the same tag (at least not having it stick).

    That said, I don’t think there’s any need to get upset about it. I think there is an image in people’s heads that go with sterotypes like “R&B Diva” or “Pop Princess”. And I think just because race may be a factor in determining that image, that is not the same as being racist. Does that make sense? It’s really not that big a deal to me, there’s no reason to be defensive at all.

    Another factor that may be working here with all the ladies getting lumped together is that if you are not familiar with a genre, it all sounds the same to you. I’m not a country fan, so if AI had 5 country singers one year I’d be bored silly. But if one was Reba-like and one was Shania-like and one was Gretchen-like, they’d actually be very different singers to a country fan. Sabrina, Jordin, Melinda, Stephaine and Lakisha were all black and could hit glory notes, which made them all seem very R&B to a general audience. But really, if you listen to such music, they seem very different – Lakisha is way more gospel growl/Patti Labelle -ish, Melinda is Anita Baker -ish, Sabrina was Whitney Houston/pop-R&B like, Stephanie was Beyonce/modern urban radio-ish, and Jordin was whatever she wanted to be, as long as it was bubbly.

    Anyway, race can be a factor without it being THE factor.

  76. The meaning of “diva” is apparently in the eye (and ears) of a beholder….From Wikipedia:

    originally used to describe a woman of rare, outstanding talent. The term derives from an ancient Italian word meaning “goddess”, which, in turn derives from the feminine form of a Latin word divus, meaning “divine one.”

    The term sometimes is misused to imply a negative connotation, implying that a pop star who labels herself a “diva” is arrogant, difficult to work with, high-maintenance, or demanding.

    TIME magazine observed in its October 21, 2002, issue: “By definition, a diva was originally used for great female opera singers, almost always sopranos.” Often today “diva” is used to describe any extremely independent and talented woman; however, the term still applies to the classical arts.

  77. My problem with Kiki– the only emotion she really knows how to portray is the scorned or sad and angry woman– last night was a re-tread, acting wise, of the Dreamgirls song.

    She does that piece to a ‘t’ but she was chewing the scenery on
    Stormy Weather– it’s meant to be a more subdued, poignant piece– not an angry one.

    I didn’t like her at all on this piece– she is becoming this year’s Mandisa– great talent, not nearly flexible enough outside a certain performance range.

  78. NEW YORK – Dolly Parton has been selected by the Songwriters Hall of Fame as this year’s recipient of the Johnny Mercer Award.

    The award is presented to a songwriter “whose body of work is of such high quality and impact, that it upholds the gold standard set by the legendary Johnny Mercer,” the organization said Tuesday in a statement.

    Parton will be honored June 7 at the annual awards dinner in New York.

    Previous honorees include Kris Kristofferson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Hal David and Burt Bacharach.

    Hits by Parton, 61, include “I Will Always Love You,” “Here You Come Again” and “Why’d You Come in Here Lookin’ Like That.”

    She was inducted into the hall of fame in 2001.

    American Idol needs it some Dolly! And while they’re at it, how about Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Carole King — most of whom, sadly, would probably rather be caught in a sex tape scandal than appear on AI……


  79. “we get whatà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s now become the patented Melinda Doolittle wide-eyed look” – great recap by the way MJ…BUT

    If I have to see Melinda “not take a compliment” one more time, I may lose it! I just don’t understand that “lost” look on her face, does she really believe she’s bad? Her reactions and mannerisms just seem odd – even after the performance, most contestants look at the camera, wave to fans in the audience, show the “fingers” for the number contestant they are, interact with Ryan, etc…Melinda does NONE of that, she just stands there, doesn’t say a word, no emotion – DRIVES ME NUTS! Yes, she can sing, probably one of the best voices AI has had, but her lack of “humanism” (for lack of a better word) is downright annoying, and could cost her the title.

    I am a HUGE Jordin Sparks fan – and the main reason is because of her personality, and the way she portrays herself on stage, and after the performance, the whole package is there for such a young girl – I really hope she gets a chance at the finale.

  80. If I have to see Melinda à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“not take a complimentà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  one more time, I may lose it! I just donà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢t understand that à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“lostà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬  look on her face, does she really believe sheà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s bad?

    I completely agree. I mean maybe she truly had no idea she was good before she came into this competition (which I find hard to believe), but surely after hearing good reviews week after week, we can do without this fake sense of humility.

  81. Thank you tinawina. You said it much better than I did. In my awkward way, I was asking about previous posts which had tended to group together Sabrina, Jordin, Melinda, Stephaine and Lakisha together in a way that I thought was a disservice to each individual performer.

    On another point, I agree we need some Dolly Parton! Now that’s an old-school Diva! I grew up watching her on the Porter Wagner Show promoting boxes of Breeze detergent…

  82. I hated all of the songs last night. So boring and old fashioned! Why are they torturing America and the contestants by making them sing this crap? I did not like a single song. This theme is the second worst all time, second only to show tunes. Whoever thought of that diaster? Anyway, this is not nursing home idol it is American Idol and if they wonder why the ratings are down then this week’s theme as well ast he Gwen Stefani theme is why. What about music of the 90’s? Music of the 2000’s, 60’s, 80’s, 70’s like they’ve had in the past?

  83. marco5ny – I’m not sure if you’re specifically referring to my” too many divas” comment, but if so, you’ll note that I referred to Kelly Clarkson as the winning diva in the Kelly – Tamyra diva battle.

    So to specifically address your comment, no they don’t have to be “black female singers”. While you may find them all very different, my point was that most of America likely do not. They are all women with big voices and the ability to hit big notes who sing similar types of material very well.

    Whitney, Mariah and Celine are all “divas” who don’t sound alike, yet I suspect that the three of them, as unknowns on American Idol, would compete for roughly the same fan base and, therefore, two of the three would go while one would survive.

  84. mosheeaka:

    What music from the2 000s and ’90s would you like to see done? I’m genuinely curious what you think would work for this array of singers? I think it’s been tough to find those songs that can work for a lot of different people, because of the recent emphasis on rap/hip-hop and the hard-to-match vocal ranges of singers like Mary K. Blige, Beyonce, etc.

    There’s so much music to explore, at different times and for different moods! For your sake, I hope you can really hear what’s lastingly great in those jazz standards someday.

    Right, it’s not the geriatric Idol. But it’s a show designed to appeal across the generations and musical spectrum, or 30 million people wouldn’t be watching it. For instance, I’m indifferent to most country music, but a lot of AI watchers dig it and so it turns up on the show.

    And really, there are plenty of young folks in their ’20s who enjoy new rock and pop stuff, but also adore and perform timeless standards (many of which are showtunes, by the way ). Here’s just a few of the best to check out, if you don’t know them:

    Jane Monheit (age 29)
    Peter Cincotti (23)
    Madeline Peyroux (33)
    Jamie Cullum (28)
    Sarah Gazarek (23)
    Norah Jones (28)
    Sasha Dobson (26)

  85. I thought the standards show was one of the best of the season. Everyone did at least pretty well.

    What I did not like was these so-called future stars who just don’t get it–whether it’s matching the mood to the song lyrics or misinterpreting the lyrics. Not being prepared when performing for the guest…not professional!!!

    I don’t like Melinda’s “who me?” attitude but it’s far better than the unprofessionalism (is that a word?) that many of the others are showing.

    I also don’t like them ignoring the coaching. I can see that happening once but it’s becoming a pattern for LaKisha. Maybe someday, when she sells 20 mil CDs, she can do it but for now, she should listen. People have helpful comments for her but she won’t listen. She is rapidly approaching Sanjaya as least favorite in our house.

    Very excited to see Michael Buble tonight. Saw him in concert last year and he was great!!

  86. Stefunny Apr 4th, 2007 at 12:45 pm
    LisaBà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ ¦I agree about Philà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s voice. Very very nice on the mp3. He needs to wear a hat and get a good feel for how to perform and I think people might think differently about himà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬ ¦.the bald head, though, is a bit distracting.

    I listened to all the mp3’s BEFORE I watched the video clips of the show. I did not understand the judges at all.

  87. don’t look now, but Lakisha is in the bottom 3 on dial… wow, what a shocker that would be!!

  88. I read on the Popwatch blog (link in daily chat) that Blake’s performance was better in person than on tv and gave the reviewer “goosebumps”.

  89. Blake’s performance wasn’t good, sry2sy. He just didn’t “get” the meaning behind the song. And when he did, it was already too late in the game. He needs to learn that not EVERY song can be “Blake-ized”. It didn’t work for Chris Daughtry last season and it’s certainly not working for Blake this season.

    Melinda and Jordin were the best of the night.

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