During his critique of Chris Daughtry, Simon Cowell told him that he and the other competitors had been playing it safe and giving boring performances of boring songs for the past two weeks. And as he so often is, Simon was totally right.
There really wasn't anything exciting about this week's American Idol, other than realizing that Kenny Rogers has somehow managed to drop 50 pounds. In the order in which they sang:
Taylor: I thought that he would do really well with country, but I thought wrong. As much as I hate his mannerisms, I am at a loss as to why he chose not to contain himself this week--"Country Roads" calls for some dancing around, and he stood almost stock still. He was off-key throughout and had trouble with both the lowest and highest notes in the song. He also lacked power in his voice and, like Lisa last week, it sounded like the song was too big for him. I thought the judges were wrong to blame the song--the problem was definitely the performance.
Mandisa: I was surprised she didn't do better as well. Her upper register generally sounded good, although sharp and screechy at points. I thought her lower register was weak.
Elliott: The song was so boring, and it sounded like his vibrato was a little overactive during the song. It is never a good sign for the Idol contestant when I think to myself, during their performance "who sang this song originally, because it was so much better." (Answer to my question: Garth Brooks.)
Paris: I was excited when I heard she was singing "How Do I Live" (which I generally think is odious*) because it is a good belting ballad and I think Paris has needed to sing that type of song for the past few weeks, and hasn't. It didn't quite live up to my expectations. I didn't think she hit the high note in "sur-vive" quite right, although in fairness I never thought Leann Rimes or Trisha Yearwood got it perfectly either. Gobo thought her version was better than "the original." (He didn't realize that both the Rimes and Yearwood versions came out essentially simultaneously and both were popular at the same time--he hates the song.)
Ace: He always sounds a little flat throughout his songs and I hate his falsetto. It was actually a good performance for Ace, although certainly not up to par with the other performers in the competition.
Kellie: Kellie really needs to stop with the "I sure wish Grandpa got some indoor plumbing so I could stop using this outhouse" squat. It is not attractive. She totally lost her lower notes--I couldn't even hear them. She wasn't the only person who had issues with lower notes (see
Taylor, Mandisa), but I thought that the general praise she got from the judges wasn't quite warranted. She did a fine job, but for someone whose genre this is supposed to be, she surely didn't impress me.
Chris: I thought he sounded best vocally this week, but the song was really putting me to sleep.
Katharine: I didn't know the song and I didn't like it. Before the night started I predicted she would do the best job with country night, and was, again, disappointed with how boring it was.
Bucky: He wasn't awful, but he sounds like he is a little in pain when he sings.
Overall, Bucky and Ace are clearly the least talented people left in the show, with Kellie lunging closely behind. I am a little worried that this will be an upset week, with someone better being eliminated. To that end, I actually voted for Paris tonight, because I fear she might be on the chopping block. And I didn't stop at one phone call. I know. I'm pathetic.
*Sometime in the early 1990s--I think about 1992--MTV ran an interview with Michael Stipe where he discussed love songs, and he said REM had never done a true love song, and that he thought most love songs out there were "odious." The quote always stuck with me because I realized how right he was (I had never put my finger on the fact that love songs were generally crappy, but as soon as he said it, it was a bit of a revelation for me), and I have been reminded by that quote often when listening to the radio. "How Do I Live" definitely helps to prove Stipe's point.
Labels: American Idol, Television