Tuesday, April 24, 2007
"American Idol" 04/24 -- The Top Six and the Invisible Bono
Tuesday (April 24) night's American Idol is glutted with infomercials, nods to the show's benevolent corporate sponsors and unnerving footage of Simon acting caring, but as the start of the Idol Gives Back event, I'm inclined to just let it be.
For the past few weeks, American Idol has been averaging between 30 and 40 million, but how great would it be to see this week's show pull in 50 million votes or more to make Rupert Murdoch shell out that whole $5 million he's offering?
Vote early and often based on these performances:
Singer: Chris Richardson
Song: "Change the World"
My Take: Even Eric Clapton uses a head-y voice on this song, so I personally wouldn't have recommended it to Chris, especially after last week's debate about the merits of nasal singing as a stylistic choice. He's not as bad as I feared. Yes, it's a bit twee and it's amazing that nobody has taught the kid about singing from his diaphragm (the change when he stands up versus his constricted sitting voice is shocking), but there's a sweetness to it. He's not great either, as I'm struck by how much of the song's power comes entirely from the sincerity Clapton brings to the original. Chris has turned down the smarm, but tonight will probably be a night of performances where all of the work has gone into looking serious, rather than any deep personal connections.
Linc, Julie and Simon Say: Randy implies that Chris is in it to win it. Paula raves about Chris' journey (from awful the past couple weeks to so-so this week?) and says this is really exciting. After last week's eyeroll fiasco (for which he was in no way responsible), it'll be a while before Simon feels comfortable criticizing Chris. Simon claims to have thought it was sexier and more soulful than usual. I somehow missed the sexiness in his "Save the World" message.
Singer: Melinda Doolittle
Song: "There Will Come a Day"
My Take: Another relatively contemporary song for Melinda and a second straight week choosing a country artist. Just close your eyes and listen to how Melinda is modulating her voice to sing with the backing chorus and the band, rather than trying to compete or getting lost. Her polish is outrageous and you'd be hard-pressed to find more than a half-dozen current charting artists who can complete with how much she can do so effortlessly. The fact that we rarely see Melinda struggle will be her downfall eventually. Idol viewers love a journey, while Melinda couldn't have burst from Simon's head any more fully formed.
Linc, Julie and Simon Say: Randy urges Melinda and viewers at home to check it out. He finds her so dope and then he notes correctly that Melinda is here. Who am I to argue. Paula's struck by how magical Melinda is. Simon goes back to the old "vocal masterclass" well, saying that Melinda made it her own completely.
Singer: Blake Lewis
My Take: Am I asking too much if I inquire as to whether there were any available inspirational songs that get more specific than these (admittedly classic) ultra-broad Miss America-style anthems? Everybody's going about their evening's work with the same eyes-wide, jaw-slack expression as if that's the only way of displaying feeling. Melinda did a bit better, but Blake puts me to sleep. He couldn't add less to this rendition. There isn't even a hint of Blake. Just as Chris was Ersatz Clapton, this is barely Ersatz Lennon.
Linc, Julie and Simon Say: It was only OK for Randy. Paula, though, thinks this is the first time they've seen Blake's sensitive side. That's bunk. Simon says it was flat, but praises Blake for singing with sincerity. Tonight's following that old Conrad Birdie classic "You've Gotta Be Sincere" (which was meant as a cynical reflection on pop music, but they're taking it at face value here).
Head over to Zap2it for the rest of my recap, to find out what I thought of LaKisha, Phil and Jordin...