American Idol – 50’s Week Didn’t Suck!

When I learned it was going to be a 50’s theme for American Idol this week, I shuddered at the potential awfulness of the performances.  And then when I learned that Barry Manilow was going to be involved, my shudder became a full-blown fever of fearful expectation.
Well, I was wrong.  Most of last night’s performances were pretty good, and the interpretations of the songs (thanks in part to Barry, who seems like a super smart arranger) were much better than I anticipated they’d be.
Onto the singers:
Mandisa – She always has a pretty face, and last night her very pretty face was surrounded by a fantastic hairstyle.  She wore a slimming black dress that did an amazing job of taking attention away from her oh so large posterior.  Of course, the camerapeople helped too, by not zooming in on it.  (and yes, I realise there’s a joke there about how, with the size of her ass, could the cameras *not* zoom in on her ass – her ass is a constant zoom shot, but I won’t go there.  I just won’t)  Her performance was stellar.  She’s been progressively improving each and every week, and her first week starting point was already top-notch, so she’s a threat to win it all.  Except, you know, she has a huge ass that America will never allow to become top Idol.
Bucky – I realised last night that Bucky doesn’t sing.  He rasps.  And he often rasps out of key.  I thought his performance of Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy” was pedestrian and bland.  While it may have been a good song choice to fit his style and personality, I don’t think it’s a good choice to show off his singing (lackof) abilities.  Hmm.  Since he’s not a great singer, maybe a song that doesn’t show his lack of ability is a great choice.  Anyway, not very good tonight, Bucky.  And I’m partly saying that because I cannot get past your hair, both on your face and on your head.  Awful.  He’ll be Bottom Three.
Paris – She looked fantastic and she sang “Fever” even better.  I thought she rocked.  She seems so incredibly in control of her stage presence that it is frightening to think she’s just 17.  Wow, great performance.
Katherine – I’ve not yet liked anything that she’s worn.  None of her tops seem to fit properly, like she’s trying to keep the secret from her mother that she’s pregnant.  She looked pretty great last night, though, in an ill-fitting dress.  From the introductory segment on her experience with Barry, I was expecting to not like her song and song choice, but she did a super job.  Maybe the best I’ve seen from her.  She’s always in danger of bombing, I think, but last night she more than rose to the occasion.
Chris – My (and others) odds-on favourite to win the competition.  His rendition of I Walk The Line was superb.  If that was recorded today, it’d be a radio hit tomorrow.  Guaranteed.  This guy has it all and should be one of the final two.  Wonderful job.
Lisa – Apart from Kevin, Lisa is, in my opinion, the least talented of the remaining performers.  Some nights she shows glimpses of her potential, but last night it was a pretty uninspired performance.  She’s a Bottom Three finalist tonight.
Taylor – Taylor should be hoping that his fans remember the excellent performances he’s done in previous weeks because last night was terrible for him.  A terrible song choice, much too repetitive and not very challenging, vocally.  He tried to sell it, though, as best he could, but I didn’t buy it at all.  One of the evening’s three worst performances, but he’s built up enough good Karma to not be in the bottom three tonight.
Elliot – This was the most difficult song choice of the night, in terms of being a vocal challenge.  Elliot always seems to choose the most difficult songs and I’m never sure he succeeds in pulling them off.  Last night, he had moments where he seemed out of synch with the music, like he was trying to rush through his lyrics.  He seemed quite nervous early on, but by halfway through the song, he found the groove and was pretty sharp to the end.  I loved his honesty, though, about not really digging Manilow’s songs.  Good for him.
Kellie – I absolutely hated this performance.  Maybe I’m soured on Pickler (get it?), but I seem to have lost any ability to adore her naive stupidity any longer.  I wonder when America will tire of her?  I thought her Walking After Midnight was very much a “by the book” performance, without heart or feeling.  Barry is all about finding the story of the song, and singing the emotion behind that story, and she totally failed, in my opinion.  She should be a Bottom Three, but America will love her ditziness for a few more weeks, before they crash from her sugar-rush sweetness.  No, wait.  I’m changing my mind.  She’ll be a Bottom Three contestant tonight.  America is tiring of her.  Just wait and see!
Kevin – I’ve voiced my opinion of Kevin a few times.  Basically, I don’t think he belongs in the competition, and the only reason he is there is because he’s willing to play along with the “untalented nerd pretends he’s sexy and talented” angle.  Last week, he did an okay job with his song (still it was the worst of the week, IMO).  Last night, his performance was actually pretty good.  Great song choice for him, and performed as well as he could perform it.  Enough to keep him around for another week (or two?).  I loved Simon’s noncommittal comment about how his performance will really be appreciated by those who like Kevin’s performances.
Ace – Oh, Ace!  You are free-falling to the bottom of the talent pool.  Expectations were so high for you a few weeks ago, but a couple of poor performances since have made people look past your oh so pretty looks.  Maybe our ears were blinded (huh?) by your beauty all along.  Maybe you were always just mediocre?  Anyway, this week was a bit better than weeks past, enough to keep you safe from the Bottom Three (unless America has a hate-on for you, in which case you’re sunk).

Bottom Three – Bucky, Kellie, Lisa

Contestant to leave – Lisa

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  1. Jay says:

    Great summary, Rob. Despite the fact most of them have dated production-wise, there are many great ’50s tunes, as we all know. But many of last nights choices surprised me really. One of the bigger mistakes in my opinion was Taylor’s choice. Buddy Holly wrote a lot of great tunes, but this one just sits there. I’ve played it in bands and have experienced it first hand. Why he didn’t pick something like Ray Charles’ first big hit “What’d I Say” is beyond me. He would’ve killed that, no question. I wonder if Taylor could be in hot water over this one.

    About the others, I thought Chris was amazing. I appreciate the risks Elliot continues to take. These songs he’s picking are really technically difficult to sing. Problem is, they may be a little obscure to the general audience member. Of all the contestants, I suspect I’d like to be in a band with this guy the most. Laid back, honest (loved the Barry comment), very talented, with a great diverse musical background. And since he’s not going to win it all, who knows? Paris was good, but is she getting a little yelly? Ace is falling from Grace. But oh, those penetrating eyes. I think I like Kevin more than you do. I mean, he’ll never win, but I do think the guy is a decent singer in certain styles. Last night was a good example. Too bad it reminded me of the mouse singing Somewhere Out There to the stars. I’m gonna stick my neck out here and predict that Katherine will go final 2. Great job last night. I can picture her making music videos. I think America has a huge crush on her. And Canada is fond of her, but is too shy to tell her.

    Bucky, Kellie and Lisa it is. And Lisa goes.


  2. Steverino says:

    Wow. I said the same thing about Fievel to my wife when Kevin started singing that song. It’s like… the Twilight Zone or something. I get a kick out of Rob’s blatant honesty, and your comments, too. I find they echo a lot of what I think. Not all of it, but a lot. Like, for instance, Mandisa’s abnormally-proportioned bottom. It’s like she’s wearing hip-waders that’re full of water, with a fish jumping around inside or something. The top half of her, down to… oh, her belly-button, just doesn’t match that large southern hemisphere. It makes me think of songs… by Queen, Spinal Tap, & Leadbelly. I kind of agree with Jason on Kevin. He could sort of sing. But, his appearance, and the attitude around and inside of him was maddening, as Rob voiced. He was a joke, really. His pale little head with beady little squinty eyes and tiny crooked puckery mouth… and the fact that he seemed to be succeeding and believed in his chance… it was angering for some odd reason. Like we couldn’t be happy with him being happy, like we wanted to see him get chopped down. Let’s just say it’s because he didn’t deserve to be there, and we wanted things to be “fair”. I thought Taylor’s choice was bland, too. Still like him, though. Also like Paris, still, and Chris. The foreseeable problem with Chris is that he seems to have 2 gears… quiet-sensitive-broody, and bended-leg-lean-back-gruff-rocky. He’s got to show some more diversity. That being said, I like him so far, and I liked his take on the Cash tune. I like Elliot, but they still have some work to do on his appearance. I think Ace is rotten. Put him in any other package, and he’d never last. Katharine… my wife HATES her for some reason… I kinda like her, looks and sound. Lisa is bland. Bucky is just too hick-hoarse all the time. And then there’s Pickler. She’s just funny.


  3. Nate Couch says:

    Excellent review Rob. I agree 100%. I especially enjoyed your comments on Chris as they mirror mine. I bet someone is already scurrying to record his Johnny Cash rendition and sell it. I think Johnny might have actually appreciated the performance as well…. Have a great day. Nate Couch


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