Tuesday, March 13, 2007

American Idol: The Scary Diana Ross Edition

Wow. Seriously scary Diana Ross. It’s in the hair, the clothes, and the vacant look in the eyes. It’s like looking at Paula Abdul twenty years in the future.

Jerry notes in the comments: “I don’t care if the contexts are totally different, there IS no comparison between Diana Ross and Paula Abdul.” He’s right. I’m wrong. Sorry, Diana.

Brandon sounded okay at first and then he fell down seriously. Missing the lyrics killed what was an otherwise decent performance--the kind of performance that could have kept him in the show since he’s such a good looking and likable guy. The dancing really was bad. I really want him to do well, but he keeps not living up to his voice’s potential. Er. If you know what I mean.

Poor guy took it on the chin tonight--deservedly--and can’t be feeling good right now. Luckily for him, most of his competitors aren’t so hot, either.

Hopes remain high that Melinda will be with the show all the way to the end. Her song was, for me, a bad choice, though--a slow, bland, and very safe. Her saving grace is her voice--she’s powerful without having to yell, she’s controlled, and she’s charismatic.

Paula needs mood stabilizing drugs. Stop crying, you over-emotional wreck.

“Endless Love” by the self-assured Chris Sligh might have been a mistake. He changed it enough that it lost its familiar feeling and the changes weren’t good enough to make it better than the original. He’s better than Brandon if only because his personality comes through in his singing, but he isn’t scoring points for making “Endless Love” into a Coldplay cover (which, damnit, that’s close to what Randy just said). There’s enough good will there to keep him in the show, but he’ll need to be better next week. Brave but stupid.

Good Lord, Diana Ross scares me. If I saw that head bounding toward me in a dark alley, I would be terrified.

Gina’s “Love Child” (heheh) isn’t as good as last week. She yells through the big bits, she throws in a kind of odd “woo-woo”, and she, overall, seems to take a step back. That performance didn’t really connect, did it? Almost as disappointing as Chris Sligh’s song.

How tiny is Ryan Seacrest? I mean, he’s like a 3/5ths scale man. With very nice hair.

Ah, poor little Sanjaya. Poor little feller. “Ain’t No Mountain High” is just so much bigger than him--he can’t carry it off vocally and his performance (which is always restrained at best) is like watching a little kid playing at being a singer. It wasn’t anything approximating good. Randy and Simon hit him a little harder than he deserves (maybe), but they are right: Sanjaya isn’t good enough to be on this show.

About the hair: the g-phrase liked it, I thought it was better last week. He looks the part of teen idol without having even the modicum of real ability that might translate into a real career. I’m beginning to think that my earlier belief in his potential was seriously mistaken.

Haley Scarnato, escapee from a Disney musical, will never be my favorite singer. Mostly because she sort of sucks. I mean, easily the worst of the night--which, when you’re on the same show as Sanjaya, is as cruel a statement as I can make. I think Simon was utterly wrong: it really was that bad.

And what a horrible dress.

I"m getting more and more bored by Phil. He’s taking on a Haley-like blandness, although he doesn’t step over into the blatant badness of her performance tonight. In fact, his vocals are strong, but in a tremendously forgettable, lounge singer kind of way. A good lounge, though. Not one of those lounge singers who plays in the middle of the casino to a cast of depressed octogenarians who’ve just lost their prescription copay at the slots and can barely hear him over the clanking of the coins in video poker machines. No, it’s more like the lounge at the casino where people sit and make small talk while drinking overpriced martinis when the opening act for the overpaid, fading star waits to take the stage.

Know what I mean?

“God Bless the Child” is the kind of song that was made for someone like Lakisha. It really gave her an opportunity to stretch her voice--and, mostly, it worked. She still oversings some parts and adds flourishes where they aren’t needed (listen to that beginning again). It was a very good night for her, though.

And you did check out Andy’s commentary, didn’t you? Because if you haven’t, you’re a total dummy. And what about Kate? You didn’t forget to check out her thoughts, did you?

I like Blake. He reworks “You Keep Me Hanging On” and makes it not-sucky. Which is a minor miracle, if you ask me. He isn’t great, and it definitely wasn’t his best vocal performance, but at least he adds a little something interesting to the thing. Paula got it right: Chris and Blake both tried to make a classic song something new, but Blake came a lot closer to being successful.

I like Stephanie less as time goes on. The yelling, a few pitch problems, and a little lack of charisma left me unmoved.

I don’t like, have never liked, and will never like Chris R. He embodies so much of what I hate about contemporary music: marginal vocal talent matched with a whiny, nasal voice and a seemingly endless supply of misplaced self-confidence. I just really don’t like the style, can’t stand his voice, and wish like hell that he would be kicked from the show.

Jordin Sparks is a lot closer to good, normally, but she fell down tonight with a song that didn’t quite work for her. The quiet parts were timid, the bigger parts were screamed, and none of it sounded particularly good. It didn’t help that the song was some refugee from soundtrack hell.

Not a good night for Jordin. In fact, not a good night for American Idol--there were only a handful of good performances tonight. For two hours worth of show, that wasn’t much of a payoff, was it?


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