Is it bad luck or poor planning that the departure of Ace Young has left "American Idol" with a noticeable Pretty Void just in time for Tuesday's (April 25) Love Song Theme? Would the six remaining "Idol"-ites still be able to make viewers swoon?
Singer: KATHARINE MCPHEE
Song: "I Have Nothing"
My Take: You don't have to have followed "Idol" from the first episode to be aware that few song choices are as inherently stupid as covering Whitney Houston, because when you cover Whitney you just know that nobody's going to go "You sang that one so much better than Whitney-On-Crack." No. People only make comparisons to Clean-and-Sober Whitney, which is just unfair. This is pure speculation, but I'm nearly certain that Katharine sings this one much better than Whitney-on-Crack hypothetically would. In a plunging yellow dress, Katharine looks spectacular (far superior to Whitney-on-Crack). Her voice, a musical theater voice as always, is very different from Whitney's or from any of the other legion of wannabe-divas who have attempted to do Whitney on "Idol" and it takes a while to get used to the idea that she isn't just doing simple karaoke.
Cupid, Erato and Simon Say: The judges, it turns out, wanted karaoke. Randy thinks the song was too big for her and accuses her of trying to copy Whitney, which she wasn't. Paula heard pitch problems and notes, correctly, Katharine's tendency to oversing. Simon also accuses her of not being Whitney and says she went backwards. The judges may need to go back and listen to this one again.
Singer: ELLIOTT YAMIN
Song: "A Song For You"
My Take: Writer-producer David Foster is a pretty harsh taskmaster for a guy who starred in one of the worst reality shows ("The Princes of Malibu") in FOX history. That has nothing to do with Elliott's performance, which is vocally outstanding. He's sincere and passionate, absolutely radio-quality. Plus, this is the least distracting he's been visually. Perhaps he's figuring out how to avoid the awkward smiles, or perhaps the directors are realizing how to shoot him.
Cupid, Erato and Simon Say: Randy hated the arrangement, which overshadowed the vocals a bit, but still describes him as "da bomb." Paula is bawling, mascara running, blubbering about how Elliott has always moved her. OK. He was good. But he wasn't that good. Simon, unsure how to follow Paula's collapse, describes it as, in part, a "vocal masterclass."
Singer: KELLIE PICKLER
Song: "Unchained Melody"
My Take: Kellie Pickler, evil genius, staved off elimination last week by admitting she stunk and playing the humble card. This week, Kellie Pickler, evil genius, preemptively avoids any chance of elimination by batting her eyes, starring into the camera, pouting and admitting that she doesn't currently have a boyfriend, but she's looking. Noting her song choice, she tells us that she's looking for somebody to "play pottery with." She's looking at all of the males in the audience and saying, "Vote for me and we might have sex with clay." That's just brilliant. How about the performance, though? Well, I've never seen an "Idol" contestant go as completely dead in the face as Kellie does here. If her face was shot up with tainted can of Vichyssoise-worth of botulism, she couldn't be less expressive. She's flat on the low notes and sharp on the high ones and she mumbles the words.
Cupid, Erato and Simon Say: Randy calls it very strange. Paula keeps waiting for Kellie to get better, but she isn't feeling any greatness. Simon wonders why Paula didn't cry tears of pain at that one and dubs it bland and monotonous. The music plays him off.
FOR THE REST OF THE RECAP CHECK OUT ZAP2IT.COM. THEN COME BACK AND SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS.