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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

American Idol: Mar. 14

Oh, damn. Stevie Wonder.

I just called to say shut the hell up and shove that ebony and ivory right up your Ma Cheri Amour. If you take my meaning.

Ace sings “Do I Do” while Stevie battles blindness and live. Which is nice or just sort of awkward. Whichever. It’s a mediocre performance of a perfectly putrid song. It delves a little too deeply into the “I can sound like Stevie” well.

Randy is unimpressed. Paula is an idiot. Simon makes mean sounds.

So, yeah, I understand why other people like Stevie Wonder’s music. I’m just not one of them. In fact, my bias against these songs is so strong that I’m pretty sure I won’t be particularly objective about these performances.

Just so you know.

Does it occur to anyone that Kellie Pickler, that naughty little minx, isn’t very bright? Singing “Blame it on the Sun”, she almost managed to sound good. Not quite, though. She goes flat a few times, sounds tentative, and looks gorgeous. Not that her looking gorgeous will make Wonder any happier with the singing of the song.

Since he’s blind, you see.

Randy is underwhelmed. Paula agrees with Randy about the song and with me about the gorgeousness. Simon agrees with Randy on the song and disagrees about the gorgeousness.

Poor little minx.

Then we get Elliott--to be known henceforth as the “crier"--singing “Knock Me Off My Feet.” Starting the thing seated was an error; his problem playing to both the crowd and the camera while seated was almost comical. He does, though, sound better than the others. I wonder why he was so tentative throughout, though.

Randy is polite, although not completely impressed. Paula just strokes a little Elliott ego. Simon goes the Randy route.

Mandrisa. I love this woman and her laugh. Her performance of “Don’t You Worry About the Thing” started rough, but really hit me when she attacked the big notes. Very nicely done. Maybe not quite, as Randy notes, “amazing,” but very good. Paula and Simon both agree that it was the best so far.

The thought of Bucky singing “Superstitious” is pretty funny, to tell the truth. It just doesn’t fit him or his style. Amazingly, he actually has the voice and the attitude to carry it off, makes only a few mistakes, and makes up for it by injecting just a taste of southern rock personality. I enjoyed it.

Rand didn’t like the vocals but enjoyed the performance. Paula was polite. Simon actually liked the song, but took the opportunity to brutalize Bucky’s hair.

“Lately” as interpreted by Melissa McGhee is a gift to insomniacs (somewhat like my writing style). Boring even through its impressive awfulness. On top of inept, she forgot the lyrics. Ouch.

Randy is nicer than I am. Paula is nicer than Melissa deserves. Simon is even nicer.

Shocking. What were they watching?

Lisa Tucker is boring in another way entirely. She sounds good enough in a bland and typical way. I didn’t get any connection or emotion, though, and she hit a really nasty note in the middle. Whish is why it’s so surprising that Randy says such nice things, Paula said even nicer things, and Simon really seemed to love it.

Kevin. I’m not even bothering with this bit except to note that a whiny twelve-year-old singing “Part Time Lover” is strangely disturbing. Creepy even--especially when combined with his stiff stage presence.

Bizarre. Is he just here for comic relief?

Randy laughs and enjoyed it more than I did. Paula, too. Simon is perfectly cruel--and the little Muppet deserves the jibe.

I don’t like chirpy. I really don’t. Katharine is chirpy. Lucky for her, she sounded good enough to make me forget the pre-song interview. Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t actually enjoy the song or her singing. I just think that, with the exception of some sharp moments toward the end, she did a bang up job of interpretation. Randy, Paula, and Simon all agree. A lot. Except they probably enjoyed the thing.

“Living for the City” was a good choice for Taylor Hicks. It fits his style and his voice, and his performance was a damned fine thing. Kind of the polar opposite of the Muppet boy. The only bad thing for him is that his vocals got a little lost behind the rest of the production. I actually enjoyed the performance and the song and Hicks’ smile after it was all done.

Either he has a lot of supporters in the crowd or the audience really loves this guy. Randy, Paula, and Simon are all in his corner, too. I think Paula was almost in tears.

Paris Bennett is my favorite on the show--a girl who I think could grow up to be a hell of an artist. She has the best voice in the contest, she can perform, and she has a unique spark that really sets her apart. She’s running right with Hicks for best of the evening; the crowd and the judges absolutely love her.

After all that, Chris rocks out in what has to be the most aggressive performance in the history of the show. It isn’t perfect, but it’s a nice change of pace for the show and it proves that there’s room for a little bit of individuality in the show. I was expecting a let down, but I got a really nice surprise.

Best of the night? Maybe not quite, but damned good.

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