Tuesday, April 17, 2007
"American Idol" 04/17 -- The Top Seven and the Corpse McBride
What were the odds of Tax Day and Country Night coinciding? All I needed to make Tuesday (April 17) complete was a dentist appointment. Throw in the fact that American Idol got rid of one of its more viable country performers last week (Good bye to Haley Scarnato and Haley Scarnato's legs).
A nod of respect, quickly, to Idol for beginning Tuesday's performance episode with a recognition of those impacted by the Virgina Tech tragedy.
Now, on to the performances:
Singer: Phil Stacey
Song: "Where the Blacktop Ends"
My Take: Phil was already in danger and getting stuck with the opening slot on Monday may only contribute to his downfall. This genre isn't ill-suited to Phil's voice and though the song offers no real challenge, he handles it without the strain that we heard last week. Accused of being too serious (read: threatening and creepy-looking) in past weeks, Phil has a light touch and plays to the crowd, and on Country Night, anything that doesn't cause me pain is a win. The judges rave, but within seconds of his finish, I've forgotten everything about Phil tonight, which is bad news for show-openers.
Manny, Moe and Simon Say: Randy says that it was hot and that Phil could have a career in country music. Paula agrees that this is a good genre for him. "Well it's only taken 10 weeks, Phil," says Simon, who agrees that the song and style were all quite respectable.
Singer: Jordin Sparks
Song: "Broken Wing"
My Take: Guest mentor Martina McBride tells Jordin to just stand in place and sing, which is pretty dull advice, if you ask me. Does that mean I can't blame Jordin for coming across like a stone pillar (in an unflattering high waisted dress) tonight? It's not an accident, though. Jordin begins slow and expressionless and opens up as she goes, building to an expression of freedom and relief by the end. I'm just going to assume that that's the narrative of the song as well, in which case, nicely played. Jordin also sounds like a studio recording artist, delivering pure notes and clear diction, even throwing in a bit of a twang. She's impressive without being showy.
Manny, Moe and Simon Say: Randy thinks it was a difficult song to sing, but that she was da bomb. Paula loved how Jordin told the story. Simon announces that for the first time, he thinks she can win. He's a little late to the program here. I believe we can all agree that Jordin is pretty much the favorite at this point.
Singer: Sanjaya Malakar
Song: "Let's Give 'Em Something To Talk About"
My Take: It's Country Night, so Sanjaya is rocking a funny bandana. It's a funny song choice, because when I like of Bonnie Raitt covers, Sanjaya immediately comes to mind. It's every bit as funny as we've come to expect from Sanjaya. He wanders through the crowd, plays around with background singers and even tries a few woefully anemic runs. He mostly isn't painful to listen to, just thin, negligible and utterly without vocal personality. He makes me a bit nervous, but that may just be carry-over from watching Dice-K try to work out of a bases-loaded jam.
Manny, Moe and Simon Say: Randy, insisting that he merely aspires to keep it real, and calls it bland and boring. Paula notes that Sanjaya thrives on adversity, which is meant as neither a compliment nor an insult. Simon calls it "utterly horrendous," comparing it to the season's worst auditions. Simon also warns that the joke is pretty much up. Will America take heed?
Singer: LaKisha Jones
Song: "Jesus Take the Wheel"
My Take: It's one of those rare instances of an Idol contender singing a song written for an Idol winner. I give LaKisha credit for not cheating the theme and for wearing a dress that makes her look good without scaring me with her cleavage. Maybe she should have tried to cheat the theme a little more, because LaKisha's voice is bigger than Carrie Underwood's and she never lets us forget it, oversinging the heck out of the song that's really less about wailing than touch. Maybe she felt it too much? The runs and bellowing are showy, but they detract from the overall performance.
Manny, Moe and Simon Say: Randy asks her to check it out and repeats her name a number of times. He notes pitch problems and says it wasn't his favorite vocal. The crowd disagrees with Randy, but Paula agrees and calls her for shouting. "It's like eating a hamburger for breakfast, you know it doesn't go together," Simon says and warns that LaKisha's losing momentum.
For the rest of the recap, including the evening's best non-Jordin performance and worst non-Sanjaya performance, head over to my Zap2it recap...