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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

American Idol: The “Doesn’t This Seem a Little Inappropriate?” Edition

First: it does seem a little awkward to be doing an American Idol post on the day after a horrible tragedy. It makes the trivial seem even tinier than normal. And, yet, creature of habit that I am, here it is; maybe I’ll just be a little nicer than normal.

Second: Country night is usually more than a tad painful. I wonder if today will break tradition?

Phil Stacey starts out the night and sounds pretty good. Vocally, country is a fit for Phil and the performance isn’t bad. Pop country tunes still leave me cold, though.

Jordin Sparks is a letdown by comparison. Bad song, marginal vocals, boring performance. One of her absolute worst--although Randy disagrees, Paula loves her, and Simon offers wild praise. Sorry, but I didn’t see it.

Sanjaya (I’m Sorry) looks bad. All of his hairdos flirt with the ludicrous, but the bandana n’ frizzy fringe steps way over the edge. And then there’s the lazy, lackluster performance and vocals. Oh, please Lord, let this be the worst of the night.

Watching him at this point is a little like going over to a good friend’s house and having their ten year old try to put on a show for the guests. It was about as bad as it gets.

Which is why it was nice to hear a little brutality from Randy, a useless sidestep from Paula, and “utterly horrendous” from Simon. “I know this has been funny for a while...”

Lakisha is okay probably because half of it counted as her most restrained performance. In fact, I liked it better before she really started pushing (and hit a few ugly notes).  It wasn’t great by any means, but it was better than I expected. The judges were unanimously negative.

Chris sucked very nearly as much as Sanjaya. The style was uncomfortable and the vocals an ugly whine. Why can’t we vote both of these guys off the show? In fact, why aren’t we in the business of voting people off instead of on? The judges are more kind than he deserves, but that comes from the fact that he is one of the singers that they’ve been pushing for some time.

Melinda continues with a strong showing--in fact, it was one of her most fun songs ("Trouble is a Woman") and a damned decent vocal performance. For some reason, it reminded me a little (stylistically) of Esther Phillips take on “No Headstone on My Grave”. The only song of the night that I actually, fully enjoyed.

Blake is way out of his territory doing a country song. He has a compelling quality to his voice that saves him even when he can’t quite pull the whole performance together, which is good on a night like tonight where is obviously a little uncomfortable. As imperfect as it was--some missed notes, a little lackluster compared to his best--it was one of the better songs of the night. Not great, but far from bad. 

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