Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"American Idol" 02/28/07 -- Top 10 Women Perform

On Tuesday night, the Idol Men raised the bar to somewhere below where the Women already were last week. On Wednesday (Feb. 28) night's American Idol, the best of the women raised the bar to a place the men couldn't reach if they tried.

Singer: Gina Glocksen
Song: "Alone"
My Take: Gina starts off in a coma, letting her va-va-voom red dress serve as the lone expression of her personality. The Heart song builds to a climax and for a brief period, Gina comes to life before botching the end of the song, coming in sharp on each and every note. I won't add any commentary about the enthusiasm with which A.J. was singing along on the side.
Wynken, Blynken and Simon Say: She started pitchy for Randy, but worked it out. Paula references Carrie Underwood's version two seasons ago, but concludes that Gina was excellent. Simon correctly notes the forced closing vocals and warns her to figure out who she wants to be. He wants her to be edgier. Ryan ends with an awkward plea for Gina's boyfriend to propose. Ryan Seacrest: Preventing Contestants From Becoming Old Maids Since 2007.

Singer: Alaina Alexander
Song: "Not Ready To Make Nice"
My Take: Did anybody really get "Mad as Hell!" out of Alaina's occasional hand-flapping, limp-wristed manual stop-signs and her anemic attempts to shout over the superior background singers? At times Alaina circled the melody of the song, but I'm not sure she's ever actually there. She lacks the brassy assuredness of the Dixie Chicks original. She lacks any confidence at all. Going back to the first auditions, we've never gotten any indication of what the judges have seen in her.
Wynken, Blynken and Simon Say: Randy says it started off good for the first couple bars, but Alaina lost the tune and pitch early. Paula agrees that it was pitchy, but not so awful. "It was like Randy taking part in a 100 meter sprint, i.e. three-quarters of the way through the race, he would run out of steam," Simon deconstructs. They agree she looks fine.

Singer: Lakisha Jones
Song: "Midnight Train to Georgia"
My Take: Last week, Lakisha came out of nowhere and blew everybody away. She lacks the same shock factor this week, but Lakisha delivers a strong reproduction of the Gladys Knight original, easily standing out from her fill-in Pips. However, in the future, Lakisha should make sure that the production team isn't going to light her so that she blends in with the wall.
Wynken, Blynken and Simon Say: Randy stutters about her spirit and vibe, telling her not to be nervous. Paula expresses love. Simon is less a fan of Lakisha's dancing, but he calls her a phenomenally good singer. He tells her the outfit was distracting and that she should think she's a star. Ryan and Simon engage in an awkward debate on whether Lakisha's shirt is salmon or orange.

Singer: Melinda Doolittle
Song: "My Funny Valentine"
My Take: Remember that awful version of "My Funny Valentine" that Constantine did a couple seasons ago? If you don't feel like throwing on an old Blue Note Chet Baker record, this is an excellent (and different) alternative. Some of her mannerisms are a smidge too torchy, too put-on, but her vocals are out of this world. It's a beautiful cover, modulated and textured to a degree that no other contestant this season (or last season [or since Fantasia, really]) could approach, including Lakisha, who seemed to have a temporary lead last week. This is the season's first truly defining performance, Melinda's "Summertime."
Wynken, Blynken and Simon Say: Randy asserts that Melinda is in it to win it and the one to beat. Paula praises her phrasing and applauds her. "That was incredible," Simon gushes.

Sure, Melinda was great, but how did Dan make fun of the far-less-great Antonella Barba? And why do stupid internet pervs keep searching for "Antoinette Barba"? In any case, check out my full recap over at Zap2it.

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