Wise Man Say, Fools Rush In

I always get nervous when American Idol has theme nights where they attempt to tackle songs that are so iconic, such as tonight’s Elvis Night.  So many of these songs are so ingrained in our heads that it becomes really difficult to put your own unique, individual stamp on them.  Of course, when you’re talking about American Idol, “unique” and “individual” aren’t concepts that should be expected, so what difference, eh?
The Wise Man in this post’s title refers, of course, to Simon Cowell, who absolutely got his criticism perfectly right for each of the performers.  He was spot on with each and every song.  And the Fools Rush In part refers, of course, to the voters who will vote Katharine through, and vote Elliott home this week, based more on their looks than on their talents.
It’s pretty obvious to me that Elliott has been the cream of the crop these past few weeks.  (or, creme de la crap, if you’re not a fan of his).  Yet, he doesn’t stand a chance of going any further than this week, I don’t think, because he’s not the poster boy for Idolation.  Both his songs tonight were fantastic, I thought.  It will be interesting to see if his decision (I assume it’s *his* decision and not a handler’s) to sing lesser-known songs will work to his advantage or his disadvantage.  On one hand, he sang them beautifully and with emotion and feeling (something the other three lack, I think).  On the other hand, people may go “is that even an Elvis song?  I don’t like him for not singing my favourite Elvis song and for making me think.  And for making me look at his face, as it contorts into weird shapes.  And that tooth-gap.”
So, good luck, Elliott.  I will be totally amazed if you make it past this week, but you absolutely deserve to.  I wasn’t a fan early on, as you never really seemed to reach the potential of your voice.  But lately, as Randy would say “Dude, you brought it!”
Taylor, quite simply, has got to stop doing that silly little step-dance-step dance thing that he does when he sings up-tempo “fun” songs.  It’s an ill-fitting suit, that dancing, Taylor.  His performance of “In The Ghetto” started out okay, but as soon as he stood up, he seemed to lose the honesty of the song and tried to fake the emotion for the rest of it.  He lost me at that point.
Chris, again, did a really good job, but, again, he seems to lack any sense of emotion, or connection to the lyrics that he’s singing.  But he fakes emotion really well.  I suspect that America will buy it and be satisfied with him as their Idol.
Katharine, in my opinion, deserves to leave the show.  I doubt she will, though, because that would mean no more women left, and we can’t have that.  The last few weeks, she seems to be really reaching to find the truth of the songs she sings, and ends up, for me, over-singing.  That’s what she did tonight.  While Paula may like the fun and bouncy Katharine from the first song, I did not.  I don’t think fun and bouncy is her forte.  Sexy and seductive is her forte, whether we like it or not.  Her rendition of Can’t Help Falling In Love missed the mark for me, too.  I’d say it suffered from the Rita MacNeil Syndrome.  If you’ve ever seen Rita sing, she always has a smile on her face, regardless of the content of the songs she sings.  Her smile often belies the sadness that is inherent in a song.  Katharine, too, falls prey to that effect.  Can’t Help Falling In Love is a tricky song, when you look at the lyrics.  It’s not really a straight-forward love song.  It’s not like the singer is embracing the love that s/he is in.  It’s just that s/he can’t help feeling the love.  As she was singing that song tonight, I thought that the perfect direction to give a singer who’s singing that song is to imagine that you’re singing it to someone you love, but who is, say, physically abusive towards you.  I think in that direction, the sad truth of the lyrics could come out.
Anyway,  Katharine was, by far, the weakest tonight.  But she should be safe because she’s the last female in the competition.
Elliott will go, because I sense that America just doesn’t have the love for him that they do for the other three.  And American Idol is all about that love.  It’s not so much about the ability to convey emotion or a sense of understanding the lyrics of what you’re singing.   Just look pretty enough, honey, and the voice pitch machine will fix all the rest.

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3 Comments

  1. Wow. Nice work, Rob. And the more I roll it over in my head, the more I think your direction onf “i Can’t Help Falling In Love” would have been perfect, and would have made that song so diffeent and delicate and fragile and unique …

    Alas.

    I’m not so sure, though, that Elliot will go home. For once, this season hasn’t produced monumental shocks – I’d say people got voted off when they sucked and stayed around when they shone.

    Kat bit the big one tonight, and we’ll see if this season’s pattern holds.

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  2. Poor Elliot. Just when he starts turning it on, America will probably award him by sending him home. The fact that his first song was my favourite performance of the night, and that it’s the only Elvis song I didn’t recognise, is a testament to his talent. Taylor is the wild card for me. I dug his vocal performance of In The Ghetto, not so much his other one. I agree that his emotional connection to the song waned as it went along, but then again, it’s probably the best we can expect from a bunch of middle-class Americans in their 20s.
    Watching Katherine, I was thinking that she seemed like the only one who will be devastated if she doesn’t win. Suicide devastated. She’s been after this her whole life, doing everything her vocal and performance coaches have been telling her to do since she was three. And it’s all come down to this. If she doesn’t make it, it’s cyanide time. I don’t get that vibe from the others. She’s getting desperate and it’s starting to show. Her “it’s okay, vote for me” smile after Simon’s slags gets weaker every show. Chris is starting to remind me of a monkey that you wind up that performs the same tricks dependably every time. The toy all the kids want for X-mas but grow tired of a month later. In other words, he can’t lose.

    I’ll go out on a limb here and say Taylor’s going home. Just for some drama that won’t happen.

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  3. Poor Elliot. Just when he starts turning it on, America will probably award him by sending him home. The fact that his first song was my favourite performance of the night, and that it’s the only Elvis song I didn’t recognise, is a testament to his talent. Taylor is the wild card for me. I dug his vocal performance of In The Ghetto, not so much his other one. I agree that his emotional connection to the song waned as it went along, but then again, it’s probably the best we can expect from a bunch of middle-class Americans in their 20s.
    Watching Katherine, I was thinking that she seemed like the only one who will be devastated if she doesn’t win. Suicide devastated. She’s been after this her whole life, doing everything her vocal and performance coaches have been telling her to do since she was three. And it’s all come down to this. If she doesn’t make it, it’s cyanide time. I don’t get that vibe from the others. She’s getting desperate and it’s starting to show. Her “it’s okay, vote for me” smile after Simon’s slags gets weaker every show. Chris is starting to remind me of a monkey that you wind up that performs the same tricks dependably every time. The toy all the kids want for X-mas but grow tired of a month later. In other words, he can’t lose.

    I’ll go out on a limb here and say Taylor’s going home. Just for some drama that won’t happen.

    Like

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