Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"American Idol" 03/13/07 -- Top 12 Perform Diana Ross

Tuesday (March 13) night's American Idol is packed with more individual performances and more of the sage wisdom of Diana Ross than any human being should ever have to stomach in a two-hour period.

So let's just talk performances:

Singer: Brandon Rogers
Song: "Can't Hurry Love"
My Take: Do you think somebody had the guts to tell Diana Ross what a great job Beyonce did playing her in Dreamgirls? Brandon starts off sharp and almost immediately he's out of synch with the massive orchestra. Uh-oh. This is a disaster. Between the frantic band, the off-beat audience clapping and Brandon's broken-hip dancing, it's a mess. Around the mid-point, a frog explodes from his mouth in one of the worst notes I've ever heard from an Idol singer and then later he forgets the lyrics, smiling sweetly over the awkward silence. Bye, Brandon. It's been fun.
Domingo, Pavarotti and Simon Say: Randy loved the last two notes, but mostly tears Brandon to pieces. Did Paula get fresh collagen or something today? Her face looks extra-paralyzed, as she tells Brandon that he must have had nerves. Simon calls it a complete letdown, saying he came across as the background singer to a background singer.

Singer: Melinda Doolittle
Song: "Home"
My Take: Melinda's contention that she's more of a tennis shoe and sweatpants gal both briefly humanizes Little Miss OCD and prompts a climax to the season-long homoerotic escalation between Simon and Ryan, culminating in Ryan telling Simon to stay out of his closet and Simon telling Ryan to come out. They seem more amused by this banter than they should be. Anyway, I don't want to sound, um, Ryan-esque, but the Idol costumers should be working to elongate Melinda, not make her seem more compact, which tonight's outfit does. I only point this out, because the next three months should be all about polishing the few rough spots Melinda has, since vocally she's pitch-perfect. Again. I'd take this performance over Diana Ross' original any day and not just because I dislike The Wiz.
Domingo, Pavarotti and Simon Say: Randy scores it 1-0 for the girls (Brandon was so bad the girls should get an extra point). Paula's bawling in true Season Three or Season Four fashion. Oye. She'd been so well-medicated this season. What happened? Simon says Melinda reminds him of a young Gladys Knight.

Singer: Chris Sligh
Song: "Endless Love"
My Take: Am I the only one slightly scared by bare-faced Chris? Bring the glasses back. It's interesting to hear Chris sing a song with a straight-forward melody. While he hits a few bum notes at first, he ultimately does a fair impression of a guy who can sing, which isn't nearly the same as an impression of a guy who can perform. There's a lot of emoting, minimal emotional connection and no impact.
Domingo, Pavarotti and Simon Say: Randy didn't like the arrangement of the song, which made the whole thing a mess for him. Paula took something at the break, because she's briefly coherent. Simon thinks Chris turned a beautiful song into a drone. "Even the boos are light," he says, when only a couple fans protest his opinion.

Singer: Gina Glocksen
Song: "Love Child"
My Take: I can't think of 10 songs I dislike more than the lyrically inane "Love Child," but I kind of like the arrangement that lets Gina turn it into a serviceable anthem to illegitimacy. Her voice shows strain throughout, never a good sign this early. When people talk about Chris Daughtry's premature departure last year, nobody remembers how rough his voice was sounding by the end. Rocking Idol-style isn't easy.
Domingo, Pavarotti and Simon Say: Randy didn't feel any excitement. Paula thinks "Love Child" is a feel-good song and Gina's been better. Simon says he doesn't have much to say about the performance and then babbles for a couple minutes.

Singer: Sanjaya Malakar
Song: "Ain't No Mountain"
My Take: Sanjaya is love. So says Diana Ross. She also dismisses the idea that his secret power is in his hair. Once again, Sanjaya falls apart when the song moves out of his two-note comfort zone, and the last minute is an off-key hum (like living under a powerline, with less risk of cancer). But I'll give him some damning praise: This is certainly one of the best four performances he's given since the Top 24 began and he wasn't worse than Brandon. It's still rather embarrassing to see him up there.
Domingo, Pavarotti and Simon Say: Randy's in the nervous giggle mode he got into with Kevin Covais last season, as if he's temporarily forgotten what show he'd judging and he knows nothing he says matters anyway. Paula loves Sanjaya's smile. "When you hear a wail in Beverly Hills, that is where Diana Ross is watching this show," Simon says, complimenting his bravery. Or maybe he said "When you hear a whale..." Sanjay was similarly perplexed.

Singer: Haley Scarnato
Song: "Missing You"
My Take: Good. Somebody instructed Haley that her only shot of avoiding instant elimination is by being this season's Hot Girl, but while she looks fantastic, again I have no sense that she knows what she's singing about or cares (repurposing a song meant as a tribute to the late Marvin Gaye as a love song to your boyfriend is just weak), so it hardly matters when the lyrics vanish entirely for a while. Incidentally, I endorse the short skirt, but that's not a skirt you wear if you're going to mostly be singing from a stool. Between her attire and her blundered and mumbled enunciation, I don't even know if Haley was in tune.
Domingo, Pavarotti and Simon Say: Randy says that it was a valiant effort. Paula says Haley looks lovely. "I didn't think it was that bad," Simon says, saluting Haley's relative poise and presence. Haley's reaction -- half-tears, half-relief, half-who-knows-what -- is shockingly unreadable.

Check out the rest of my recap (with images as soon as TypePad stops SUCKING) over at Zap2it.

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