It's a weird group of finalists on "Idol" this season -- Just weeks ago, the singers butchered an assortment of contemporary hits, but on Tuesday (April 18), the standards found in the American Songbook highlight some talented performers.
Singer: CHRIS DAUGHTRY
Song: "What a Wonderful World"
My Take: Chris' dead-eyed intensity makes this into the most threatening version of "What a Wonderful World" I've ever seen, as if he's just daring the universe to fall anywhere short of wonderful. When I'm looking away from the television, it's easy to appreciate the respect he's dedicating to the tune. His on-stage contributions, though, amount to wandering over to the guest guitarist, swaying in time for a few measures and then making his way back to the middle of the stage. They should have hired a Korean animation workshop to insert little colorful woodland creatures to sit on Chris' shoulder and hum along. It's always valuable to hear the voice behind the mascara
Bewitched, Simon and Bewildered Say: Randy proclaims that Chris' display of his sensitive side was da bomb. So Paula went on Jay Leno last week and did a parody of her current persona, which implies that her current persona wasn't already some form of parody. Tonight, she seems like she's doing a parody of her parody of her parody. Somewhere lost in that sea of post-modern brainlessness is a compliment for Chris. Simon takes credit for Chris' decision to mix it up and calls it a great performance.
Singer: PARIS BENNETT
Song: "Foolish Things"
My Take: Unless a "Jazz Vocals" night is coming soon, Paris couldn't have asked for a cushier theme, but it's only a solid showing. On a technical level, she's often outrageously good. There's a tone and variety to her voice that is without parallel in this competition. I'm struck by how obviously she looks like she's trying to enunciate and yet the lyrics sometimes come across as mumbled and vague, not nearly as precise and articulated as the individual runs and melodic embellishments. Performance-wise, the fluttered eye-lashes, minor hand gestures and pleading eyes don't add much.
Bewitched, Simon and Bewildered Say: Randy thought it was her greatest night ever and drops his second "da bomb" of the evening. Paula's falling out of her top. Somebody should put a Coke bottle in front of her. Simon is bewildered, but in the best way possible.
Singer: TAYLOR HICKS
Song: "You Send Me"
My Take: The Soul Patrol may lynch me for raising this issue, but did Taylor peak over a month ago? He's coasting on being likeable and charming, but he hasn't shown improvement in either his vocals or his stagecraft. That being said, this was another perfectly amiable Taylor performance. It sent me to my iPod in the commercial break to listen to the Sam Cooke original, which actually made me feel even better about Taylor's rendition, because the guy seems to get the meaning of the song, the rapture and the playfulness. Plus, have I mentioned lately that Taylor once dressed up as the Easter Bunny?
Bewitched, Simon and Bewildered Say: Randy's pleased and somehow takes credit for Taylor. Paula's sure the Soul Patrol will be enthusiastic. "It started and I thought 'OK, lame cabaret' and then... magic," is Simon's comment.
BUT WHERE'S THE REST OF THE RECAP? WHERE?!?!?!?! AS ALWAYS, IT'S UP ON ZAP2IT.COM. HERE.