Tuesday, May 01, 2007

"American Idol" 05/01: The Musical Legacy of Bon Jovi

After spending three hours last week earning roughly $70 million for charity, "American Ido" is sufficiently over its altruism that Ryan Seacrest can start Tuesday (May 1) night's show by referring to the judges as "our three needy children."

The Top Six are "celebrating the music of Bon Jovi," which seems too restrictive to me. Couldn't we have just dedicated a night to '80s Hair Metal? Let's face it, RATT is never going to have a full night to itself and if you think anybody's ever going to sing "Cherry Pie" for another theme, you're fooling yourself. But fine, let's pay tribute to "Moonlight and Valentino" star and Arena Football League icon Jon Bon Jovi.

The night's performances:

Singer: Phil Stacey
Song: "Blaze of Glory"
My Take: Phil says he's been practicing this Young Guns hit in the mirror for 15 years and what he delivers is exactly the kind of enthusiastic shtick you do in the mirror. He has to launch his performance walking by one girl with a "Jordin!" sign and another clutching a picture of Blake. There's too much business to Phil's performance -- he's strutting, point at the camera, bumping fists with Randy. Until he gets onto the stage, he's most drowned out by the band and unnecessarily backing vocals. I'd have taken a "less is more" approach with both the arrangement and performance. Once he's center stage, Phil becomes more animated and passionate, saluting to his wife and her uniformed escort.
Goneril, Regan and Simon Say: Randy's happy for Phil for many reasons, not the least of which being that he helped record the song. He says it's Phil's best besides Country Night. Paula raves that Phil was living his inner kid and that it was the season's best opening. Simon thought it was OK, earning audience boos. He criticizes Phil for overacting and says he hasn't done enough to last. Phil salutes both the judges and viewers at home.

Singer: Jordin Sparks
Song: "Livin' on a Prayer"
My Take: How sweet was it of Ryan to walk up to Gina Glocksen in the audience, commenting about how missing this rockin' week must be killing her? And how sad is it that the visit with the season's lone semi-rocker comes seconds before newly crowned favorite Jordin has her first total flop in weeks? Workin' the big Rock Video Girl hair, Jordin's song isn't a good pick for her voice. As warned in the pre-song clips, the track is simply too low for Jordin and she mumbles through the verses. Also, whoever choreographed her to be penned in-between two anonymous guitarists should be fired. She looks and feels contained, but not in a fun cage-dancing way. Finally at the end Jordin steps away from the guitarists and it isn't surprising that suddenly she sounds better.
Goneril, Regan and Simon Say: Randy thought the verses were rough. Jordin can only nod and smile. This is one of those awful situations where she must have known she was dead before hitting the stage. Paula thinks Jordin's problem was that she had to workshop it with a hot guy. Simon invites the boos by saying Jordin's look was "like something out of The Addams Family" and finally declares that the vocals were shrieky and terrible. Ryan makes a Munsters joke. Dude, they're totally different shows.

Singer:LaKisha Jones
Song: "This Ain't a Love Song"
My Take: If Jordin has become this week's poster girl for poor song selection, LaKisha comes off as an utter genius, particularly since no singer worried me as much this week. It's another song that starts a bit too low, but it becomes bluesy and soulful almost immediately. Finally it's the perfect medium for the misapplied belting she's done the past two weeks and after seemingly losing that inner fire, there's a spark in LaKisha's eyes tonight. I'm not sure I endorse the deep knee bends in those tight black pants, but after two so-so opening performances, the night can finally begin.
Goneril, Regan and Simon Say: Randy thought she was pitchy at first, but that by the end she "blew it out da box." Paula suggest LaKisha gave everybody a little somethin'-somethin'. Simon goes so far as to suggest he could actually kiss her. And, true to her word, he does. It's either a cute moment or a woefully inappropriate moment (i.e. How queasy would we get if Paula asks Blake to make out with her?).

For my full recap and my opinions on the night's two best performances, head on over to Zap2it.

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