Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"American Idol" 05/02/06 -- The Final Five Perform

It's that time of year where "Idol" recappers get to double their pleasure and double their fun, as Tuesday (May 2) marks the season's first multiple performance episode. Does it get any better than that? Yes. We hope so.

Singer: ELLIOTT YAMIN
Song: "On Broadway"
My Take: The song starts off simply and Elliott tries to overcompensate for the simple melody. He improves as he goes along, as the arrangement lets him throw in a few runs and the sort of jazzy twists he does best. In an ill-fitting gold metallic suit, Elliott is trying to look dapper, but it's a slippery slope for him, and when his hair isn't properly styled and his goatee isn't properly groomed, he comes across as disturbingly scraggly. The more he resembles the most talented homeless man in Santa Monica, the less likely he is for mainstream viewers to embrace.
John Doe, Jane Doe and Simon Say: He started rough for Randy, but worked it out. Paula, who can't pronounce "vibrato," wasn't reduced to tears this week. Simon thought it was a bit disjointed and warns Elliott that he's lucky to get a second chance.

Singer: PARIS BENNETT
Song: "Kiss"
My Take: Hmmm... Am I more distracted by Paris' return to Medusa hair or by the gigantic bejeweled cross weighing her down? Paris tries to strut, which mostly reminds me of how grateful I've been this season with how rarely the "Idol" singers have felt the need to play to the crowd in this manner. This is less distracting that other times Paris has tried to be playful, but she's noticeably and problematically out of breath at the end.
John Doe, Jane Doe and Simon Say: Randy thought it was "nice," which is pretty soft praise. Paula goes into her "I know you can sing, but..." mode. Simon calls her "screechy and annoying." Is he providing her with an eTicket home as well?

Singer: CHRIS DAUGHTRY
Song: "Renegade"
My Take: See, I can't write mean things about Chris, because I'm afraid he might kill me. Once again, he looks right on the verge of snapping, which may actually be appropriate for a song about a guy on the run from the law. Like Paris, he takes to the audience, but unlike Paris, he carries the mic stand on his journey, just in case he's tempted to bust some heads as he travels. This song gives Chris more to do than previous rocker tracks he's attempted. He goes so far beyond his standard barking that there's even a hint of a falsetto. His subtle upper register comes across as a direct attack on long-gone squealers Ace Young and Anthony Fedorov, both in the audience tonight.
John Doe, Jane Doe and Simon Say: Randy warns viewers that we're in the presence of a hot one. Paula says he's on his path. Simon calls it a million times better than the first two performance.



Singer: KATHARINE MCPHEE
Song: "Against All Odds"
My Take: Because Katharine uses the word "ironic" correctly, I'm going to forgive her for starting the night in a dress that even she compares to a garbage bag. I'm unclear if Katharine is confused by the pace of the song, or if the orchestra is a little confused. She's off-rhythm and a little flat early. She finds the melody, shows off for a bit and then has to work her last note into shape.
John Doe, Jane Doe and Simon Say: Randy things the key was off for her as well. It wasn't Paula's favorite performance either. Simon, who apologized last week, says the song got away from her. He still calls it one of her best performances. Katharine knows she was off and admits that she couldn't hear herself. Meanwhile, Simon has to clarify that it actually wasn't one of her best.

Singer: TAYLOR HICKS
Song: "Play That Funky Music White Boy"
My Take: Taylor just shouts his way through the entire song. I'm not sure there's actually a single note being sung the entire time, but at least he's having fun and embracing the oddity and the jagged edges he's tried to smooth out in recent weeks. I suspect that this is exactly the kind of performance that both his fans and his detractors will point to for confirmation. He was either awful or awfully fun.
John Doe, Jane Doe and Simon Say: Randy felt like he was in a bar and had a couple. Paula says this was the authentic Taylor she loves. Simon, like Randy, is without words, but he says, "I liked the end, when you collapsed."

For the second half the recap, check out Zap2it.com. Then feel free to come back and let me know what you thought.

7 comments:

  1. I may be in the minority on this one, but I thought Taylor was exceptional, both with the vocals and the stage performance. Best thing I've seen and hear on this show since Bo's "In a Dream," and I actually choked up a bit.

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  2. Yeah. Glancin' around the 'Net, you most certainly are in the minority on this one. Taylor was good by Taylor standards, vocally speaking. Nothing more. He bellowed when he should have sung at certain points and he didn't add much presence-wise. You've been so desperate to find a defining moment this season, but you *really* went out on a limb for this one. I'm less enthusiastic about Taylor every week, but if the good people at DialIdol are correct, his posse is fully mobilized this week.

    If they're also correct, it's been Paris and Katharine for departing this week. I know that eventually I'm going to have to make peace with Katharine leaving, but this isn't the week...

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  3. Paris is just so odd to me - she's trying SO hard to be older than her age that she seems like she's trying to act (and sing) middle-aged. I really think it's her age, and the fact that people are willing to cut her a lot of slack because of it, that she's still with us. (And Alan, you're smoking crack.)

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  4. [Whitney Houston]Poor people smoke crack. I am not poor.[/Whitney Houston]

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  5. I thought Taylor did what he needed to do in the two song format: one crazy dancy song + one slower, more soleful song.

    The praise that Taylor got at the end, though, had nothing to do with the quality of Taylor's performance, and everything to do with the fact that this is the first time ever that anyone's done a Beatle's song on Idol.

    Until now, the people who control the catalog (MJ and Sony?) have never cleared a song for AI, and you could tell from the judge's reactions (Randy's "We should have a Beatle's night") that they were trying to coax the rights holders into letting them do this again.

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  6. Crack is whack.

    Regarding the clearances for the Beatles song, I guess my question is if the Lennon-McCartney catalogue has a different ownership from the George Harrison catalogue. My understanding is that Wacko Jacko only owns Lennon-McCartney and perhaps there hadn't been the necessary interest in a Ringo or Harrison song at any point?

    I could be TOTALLY wrong on this. I'm just guessing.

    And while I'm not a person who's allowed to make jokes about typos, when you called Taylor's performance "soleful," Andrew, were you contrasting it with Katharine's previous shoe-less performance, or were you saying that it was fishy that he got to sing the song at all?

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  7. And, on a side note, Clay Aiken *did* sing "Here, There and Everywhere" in the penultimate episode of his "Idol" season, so all talk of the "First time a Beatles song was sung on 'Idol' isn't quite true...

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