Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Idol Re-Cap: Finals, Week Six

Tonight is "American Songbook" night, and after the agonies that were Queen night and country night, please, for the love of pete, SING SOMETHING, people! I have such high hopes for tonight because the songs themselves are so memorable...and I don't think I have another week of Idol disappointment in me. So fingers crossed, and away we go.

Chris Daughtry - "What A Wonderful World" - Could it be that Mr. Daughtry is actually going to sing AND NOT SCREAM? And with only the accompaniment of an acoustic guitar? It's EXACTLY the performance that he needed. It was subtle, classic, and he shined. He could record this song as a single tomorrow and have a hit. Awesome. I've been tough on him the last couple of weeks, but he had A Definite Moment tonight. Here's how much I liked it: I didn't type at all while he was singing. Not a single letter. David just said that we could actually hear the depth to CD's voice tonight because I don't know if I mentioned it, but he wasn't screaming. Loved it.
Paris Bennett - "Foolish Things" - See, I think Paris does best when she keeps it simple. The last month or so she's been all over the place, trying to show us how "versatile" she is. But tonight, she stood on stage in her simple suit, toned down make-up, with nary a hint of jewelry, and she flat nailed her song. This performance reminded me of why I liked her to begin with - and of what she SHOULD HAVE been doing all along. Good for her.
Taylor Hicks - "You Send Me" - OH MY WORD I adored it. It was so controlled at the beginning - but not boring at all - and the arrangement at the end of the song was PERFECT for Taylor. I had a smile the size of Texas on my face at the end of his performance. Simon said it was "magic" - and I agree with him. I had chillbumps almost the entire way through the song. WHOO, Taylor! Soul Patrol! :-)
Elliott Yamin - "It Had To Be You" - I love this song, for what it's worth. And Elliott's voice is ideal for this genre of music. As I'm watching him, I'm thinking that he would have fit right in with the Rat Pack - and he reminds me a lot with Harry Connick, Jr. Once again, the arrangement was great for him, because it gave him a chance to show off a little bit at the end. Simon's right, though - Elliott doesn't have as much "likeability" as the other contestants, so a great performance may not be enough.
Kellie Pickler - "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" - There is absolutely no way that Kellie won't make it through to the next round, because I have contended for several weeks that she could get on stage and sing "Blah blah blah blah blah" and receive more votes than anyone. It was just so obvious, though, that vocally she's out of her league compared to the other contestants. And somehow she got about two measures ahead the music and forgot her lyrics. I do appreciate that she knew that she "butchered" the song and didn't make excuses...which is kind of refreshing in this era of "performers" who think they're all that and a bag of chips.
Ace Cannon, er, Young - "That's All" - Is the ponytail his way of trying to pull off "suave"? I don't understand. I do appreciate that he stepped outside his normal "earthy" look, and I will say that this performance was his best in several weeks. BUT, like Kellie, he's not vocally at the same level as the other contestants. But he didn't seem to do the whole wide-eyed / deer caught in headlights routine as much, so that's, um, positive. I guess.
Katharine McPhee - "Someone To Watch Over Me" - This song is one of David's favorites, so we may have to replay it later and do a little dancin' in the living room. :-) And young girls of America, TAKE NOTE OF HER MODEST ATTIRE and the fact that she looks STUNNING. She did a beautiful job with the song...in fact, I don't think anyone could sing it any better. Best performance in a night of great performances.

Here's the thing. Tonight was far and away the best of the season, because the SONGS were far and away the best of the season. David made the point that when these songs were written, melody was so important because the songs were heard on radio and records - "performance" and "image" didn't factor into the entertainment equation the way that they do now. The lesson, I think, is that good songs make good singers great - and that was so apparent tonight. Plus, the contestants had more TIME, so they didn't have to do such cut up versions of their songs. It was an enjoyable night indeed.

Should go: Pickler
Will go: Elliott, I'm afraid - though I wish it would be Ace Cannon.


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