A temporary home and repository for television and film critic Daniel Fienberg, formerly of HitFix.com and Zap2it.com and one half of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
"American Idol" 03/27/07 -- The Top 10 Perform Songs Gwen Stefani Let Them
The theme for Tuesday (March 27) night's American Idol performance episode was announced as Pop Music. Then producer Nigel Lythgoe narrowed it down to any music that influenced the night's guest mentor, Gwen Stefani. But at least three of the performers opted to sing No Doubt songs, which implies that Stefani's biggest influence is herself, with a little Donna Summer and Police on the side. It made for an oddly limited night of songs.
Singer: LaKisha Jones
Song: "Last Dance"
My Take: LaKisha has mostly stuck to a simple formula this season -- walk to center stage, clutch the mic, belt. Part of the reason for that is that she has a difficult time maintaining her breathing when she moves too much, a problem that strikes the second the song picks up. Eventually, she finds control and her performance is solid, albeit not nearly as exciting as the Spider-Man 3 trailer that immediately follows.
Dusty Bottoms, Lucky Day and Simon Say: Randy declares that LaKisha was like a fly diva. Paula thought she did well with the tough Donna Summer material. Simon loved LaKisha's boots and announces that she's 30 years younger this week.
Singer: Chris Sligh
Song: "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"
My Take: Who knew that Chris Sligh had a so-so Sting impression in his back pocket? He starts sharp and nasally, which isn't pleasant. It gets worse. Stefani warned that the tempo would be Chris' problem and she proves a wise soothsayer. Initially it's the brutal reverb that throws Chris off, less than 10 seconds in. Then the background singers chime in, but they're singing with the band and not with Chris. He's not even close and it becomes uncomfortable to listen to. I don't know that I've ever seen an Idol contestant get so lost and do so little to try to correct the problems.
Dusty Bottoms, Lucky Day and Simon Say: Randy liked the song choice, but calls Chris on the tempo problems. [It can't be a good song choice if it's a song he couldn't sing, Randy.] Paula compares it to an auditory eyesore. Simon calls it a mess. Three people boo, all probably related to Chris. The curly-haired clown goes, "My bad."
Singer: Gina Glocksen
Song: "I'll Stand By You"
My Take: Gina's lucky to be following Chris. Still reeling from the Police brutality, I'm on edge, but Gina sets me right by being completely competent. She's reassuringly on-beat and the notes are in tune. She looks great in a short skirt and high boots and though this is far from her most performatively dynamic turn, it's her most vocally assured. The crowd roars in appreciation and relief.
Dusty Bottoms, Lucky Day and Simon Say: "This must be boot night," Randy announces before calling it one of her best performances ever. Paula says that Gina is improving each week (a blatant falsehood) and calls it her best to date. Simon's all "Gina, it wasn't one of your best performances," everybody boos, "It was your best performance." Oh Simon, you wily prankster! He adds that the comparison between Gina a few weeks ago is literally "chalk to cheese."
Singer: Sanjaya Malakar
My Take: I am loving Stefani. She basically rolls her eyes and says that the song will probably be too hard for Sanjaya, but it was his choice. Also his choice? A faux-hawk comprised of a long row of individual ponytails. Sanjaya's demeanor suggests that he's trying to have fun tonight, but his vocals are flat and inexpressive. Because we have low standards for Sanjaya, I'd say this was among his best moments, but that may have something to do with the fact that I keep needing to repress what came before. I'd planned to make Ashley the Crying Fan into a running joke, but she's already become an overexposed little tweener.
Dusty Bottoms, Lucky Day and Simon Say: Randy calls the hairdo interesting and admits that he's speechless. Paula thinks Sanjaya didn't quite go for it enough. "Well, I presume there was no mirror in your dressing room tonight," Simon begins. Sanjaya responds, "You're just jealous you couldn't pull it off." Simon throws up his arms and says that there's nothing he can say that will make any difference with "If people like you, good luck."
Singer: Haley Scarnato
Song: "True Colors"
My Take: Haley starts by sitting on the edge of the stage, with the cameraman noticeably creeping towards her, equipment aimed low to check if he could see up her short skirt. That's another public service from the network that brought you The Littlest Groom. The answer? No. But enough objectification. Time to look away from the screen and just listen. It turns out that Haley's voice is very thin, but she sounds nice enough. She also seems to have taken Stefani's advice to mostly just sing the song. Sight unseen, I would describe her performance as simple, not unpleasant and inoffensive, defined mostly in the absence of glaring negatives.
Dusty Bottoms, Lucky Day and Simon Say: Randy wasn't jumping up and down. It was just aight for him. Paula wanted a younger performance, rather than adult contemporary. Simon calls it "sweet, but forgettable." Haley gives a big smile and bats her eyelashes.
But what of the rest of the night? Who soared? Who came crashing down? Check out the rest of the recap at Zap2it.
Labels: American Idol, TV
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