Archive for February 28th, 2007

American Idol: Top 10 Girls

Quickie recap, because, unfortunately, life beckons.

Simon warns the contestanst against “not giving themselves an identity” — i.e., not pigeonholing themselves into some preconceived stereotype. Heh. Heh heh.

Gina Glocksen’s song is dedicated to her boyfriend, who encouraged her to try out for Idol again. He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to her, blah blah blah. She sings “Alone” by Heart in a very cool red dress. She’s got major pitch problems, and…whoa…talk about karaoke. Talk about drunk karaoke. Not sayin’ that Gina’s drunk, but instead sayin’ that this is the type of performance you usually get when a gal gets drunk at karaoke night. She barely hits the major note at the end. Randy likes it, Paula calls it excellent (? I don’t think she hit like half the notes), Simon says that the vocals felt forced at the end and that he’s a little confused as to “who Gina is.” Sigh. Seacrest uncomfortably implores Gina’s boyfriend to propose to her.

Lakisha Jones tells Seacrest that she’s pretty unaware of all the media buzz surrounding her performance. Alaina Alexander, looking very pretty in her curly hair and slate-blue dress, dedcates her performance to her mom, who worked four jobs (well, “like four jobs”) to support her children. That’s great. She sings The Dixie Chicks’ “I’m Not Ready to Make Nice” and as much as Alaina’s mother is really sweet, Alaina is just not a good singer. She’s still fish-out-of-water gaspy, she’s very shouty, and I don’t think she’s hitting a single freakin’ note. It’s just bad all around. At the end, she has this really sad, pissed-off look on her face. Why? I dunno. Randy says she lost the tuning and the pitch at the chorus, and calls the song “a mess.” Alaina makes Katharine-McPhee-like “bitch, whatchoo talkin’ bout?” faces, clearly buying into the delusion of her own greatness, and firmly cementing my hatred for her. She even throws in an “I had a little trouble hearing” excuse toward the end of Paula’s critique. Gah! Simon says she ran out of steam three-quarters of the way. The “she looks amazing” criticisms dribble out of Paula’s mouth as Alaina makes more nose-wrinkling “how dare you critize moi” faces. Ugh. Get off my TV.

Lakisha Jones dedicates her performance to her grandmother, who doesn’t let her walker slow her down. Awesome. Lakisha looks killer, as her short skirt and shapely-but-not-clingy top accentuate her full figure in a surprisingly pleasing way. Her “Midnight Train to Georgia” sounds effortless in the beginning, but is — as I feared — kind of one-note throughout. Randy loves it, Paula loves it, Simon calls her a “phenomenally good singer” but doesn’t think had the “I’m in it to win it” attitude she had last week. He implores her to “act like a star” and tells her that he didn’t like her outfit, calling it “too colorful.” In the words of Dr. Evil, “rrrrriiiiggghhhttt.” Seacrest and Ryan continue their “we are totally heterosexual” banter by debating whether Lakisha’s sweater is orange or salmon.

Melinda Doolittle dedicates the song to her two best friends, a vocal coach and a stylist. I wish MY two best friends were a vocal coach and a stylist. She’s dressed in a fantastic shiny denim suit that I covet, but would never wear on American Idol. She sings “My Funny Valentine,” all classic-soul style, and while she’s still having perma-smile issues, her voice is nearly flawless. It does amazing dips and peaks and valleys, and I think she’s one of the few belters I’d actually listen to recreationally. Randy loves it, Paula is amazed by her unique phrasing, Simon calls it “incredible” and the best vocal in the competition so far. Aww.

Alaina Alexander Antonella Barba (well, aren’t they practically just the same person anyway?) says she’s picked a better song this week. She dedicates the song to her brother, a musician. “Because You Loved Me” is her choice tonight, and it’s not really much better than last week. She’s really just not that great of a singer. And her dress looks like something I bought at Wet Seal ten years ago. However, when she hits the high note, she sounds really wonderful. So maybe the solution here is to get her singing in her higher soprano range. But I don’t think the note was enough to save the song. Randy says the song is too big for her, and Alaina makes this face like “eh, maybe so, Jackson, but I’ve firmly secured the Horny Males of America vote, muahahaha!” Simon says Antonella was worse than last week. Antonella says that she’ll listen to the judges, but that “Simon was wrong about Jennifer Hudson, so…” Jeebus, what is it with these obnoxious chicks and their entitlement? Why are Antonella and Alaina so convinced of their own greatness when, in fact, they are middling talents at best?

Jordin Sparks dedicates her song to her brother. She’s singing “Reflection,” which I will forever associate with Ayla Brown and Teenage Botness, but Jordin does a serviceable job, and tears up at the end. Randy really likes it, Paula calls her “infectious” and a “good human being,” and Simon says it wasn’t her best, but it was excellent compared to a lot of other people.

Up next is Stephanie Edwards, singing the first song of the evening I don’t recognize, “Dangerously in Love,” I’m going to take a wild stab and say it’s something by Mary J. Blige, though. It sounds Mary J.-ish. (ETA: Oh, Beyonce.) Anyway, I don’t think Stephanie is that great on it, unfortunately. She’s got a lovely voice, but I don’t think she can quite keep up with the stattaco pacing of the verses. Ah well. Randy calls it “Beyonce light,” Paula says it was fantastic, brilliant, bla blah blah, Simon really liked it.

Adorable Leslie Hunt recognizes that her “flapping” works for gigs, but maybe not for the Idol stage. She dedicates her song to her grandfather, calling him “the definition of unconditional love.” She sings Nina Simon’s “Feeling Good” (yes, the same song AJ drag-queen-revued last night). Her miniskirt-and-leggings combination is a little trend overload for my tastes. I love her voice, and I think she sounds fantastic, even if her Nina-esque scatting kind of tends to lose it towards the end. Randy says it’s good to see Leslie return to her jazzy roots, but that the song was pitchy, which I disagree with. Paula loved it. Simon compares Leslie’s scatting to Paula’s talking, and says that Leslie’s getting a little bit lost in the competition because of all the belters. Which maybe is true, but doesn’t make her any less talented, and besides, some people don’t friggin’ like to be yelled at every week. Seacrest cutely reads the scat lyrics as prose. Sometimes Seacrest is awesome. I hope Leslie sticks around, although I have a feeling that should she go far in this competition, she could be as polarizing as Taylor Hicks was last year. At this point in time I hope that photos of Leslie rubbing her naughty bits against a revered memorial surface, if that’s what it takes to keep her in the competition.

Haley Scarnato dedicates the song to her fiance, then launches into “Queen of the Night.” She’s better than Alaina and Antonella, to be sure, but I don’t think that’s saying a whole lot. This is a singer who gets lost in the mix, to me. At least Leslie has something to make her stand out. This is just blah to me, and kind of like she’s channelling Nicole Tranquillo from last night. Randy doesn’t think it was great, and Simon says she’s vulnerable tonight. Haley is crying, which is sad, because she seems like a sweet girl, but she’s still just meh.

Sabrina Sloan is another one whose personality rubs me the wrong way. (Yeah, remember when I wrote last night that Chris Richardson was the only one so far who actively annoyed me? He’s gaining some competition.) She seems entitled to me, and she has this very forced coy/sexy vibe about her. Anyway, this is another song devoted to dear grams. She sings something, I don’t know what. As far as the belters go, I think she’s outclassed by Stephanie, Lakisha, and Melinda. Also, when she hits the modulation, she starts getting very, very strident. Definitely not as good as last week. Randy calls it “very nice overall” with somem pitch problems here and there, Paula loves it (what doesn’t Paula love?), Simon says she was right on the limit of confusing power with shouting, but that she’ll be back next week.

Vote Leslie, kids. Let’s round out this competition with a little something interesting. Or, if you must choose a belter, go with Melinda, whose my pick to win it all, and who will get all my (dispassionate and uninvested) support should Leslie get the boot.


Mobile lurves Taylor (well, obviously).

The Press-Register reviews Taylors Hicks’ Mobile concert:

By any measure, the enthusiasm was off the charts. Many an artist with more critical acclaim struggles to generate as much fervor in an audience. Hicks has drawn his share of criticism since Fox’s “American Idol” launched him to national stardom, in particular for his herky-jerky dancing and for a soul-music affinity that strikes some as derivative. Still, millions voted for him in the televised talent program. And as he performed Tuesday, it was easy to see why: The man seems to have found a way to bottle exuberance…But in the music, he let himself go. The staging was minimal and the sound quality was no better than average, but on sheer personal energy Hicks kept many of his 1,900-plus listeners on their feet throughout…More to the point, perhaps, was the way Hicks delivered “Just to Feel That Way”: face anguished, body straining, at times standing on tiptoes on the edge of the stage. For an audience of avid fans who indeed just wanted to feel that way, Hicks was just the man to take them there.

February 2007
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What the kids are sayin’

"I hate them all. The judges, TPTB, the blatant manipulation, the songs, the contestants, everything. I'm a die-hard Cook fan, but for the love of god, at least try to look like you're enjoying yourself up there! Please? Syesha was awesome but she ruined it by being completely shameless and disgusting. Yes, being on American Idol is exactly like the civil rights movement, except for the part where you're fighting to make the world a better place."

"All I can say after the disgusting display tonight of favoritism towards the mediocrity that is David A. - good luck trying to market and make money off of that kid, American Idol. (Not to mention good luck dealing with his father.) All the teeny boppers may buy up his American Idol coronation single, but they will quickly forget about him before the album comes out. And I shudder to think of a David A. album - song after song of unrelenting sameness and heavy breathing. Why they are pimping him for the win is beyond me."

"This show was simply a hot buttered mess tonight. And Jason "needs to be arrested for what he did to I Shot the Sheriff. But I hope he stays. He amuses me. "