March 22, 2007

American Idol: The Old Bait and Switch?


The bottom two? Shock and awe as Stephanie gets the boot

Top ten. American Idol. Sanjaya - - still on board. Haley - - still on board. Gina - - still on board (although her look of absolute fright and shock at being grouped with Sanjaya and Haley was priceless). Stephanie has to pack her bags. I don't think that Stephanie had enough game to last to the finale, or even the top three, but she obviously has a good voice. And yet, like Sabrina Sloan before her, Stephanie is given her pink slip before the arguably less talented, but follicularly fabulous Sanjaya; the popstar cute but belt-free Haley; and the pink, punked but missing real pipes Gina. What's really annoying about this week's Idol though? Putting Chris R. with Stephanie as the Bottom Two. Seriously? Does Idol really expect us to believe that Chris R. finished behind Haley, Gina or Phil? Chris R. did have the unenviable second spot to sing, and he did sing a ballad, with full praise from the judges - - so it's possible his fan base thought he would be safe. But in the bottom two? I have no doubt that Sanjaya's crazy hatchet job on The Kinks, combined with the weepiest teen girl in Southern California, garnered plenty of votes, which no doubt made Idol producers happy. Sanjaya may be out of his league, but he's publicity worthy and that tour is about to start! Whatever Fox employee decided to plant the teary girl should get a raise.
Anyhow, overall the British Invasion episode showed that the guys finally brought their game. Chris R., the first guy out, showed a different and more relaxed side to himself and showed off his vocals nicely. Next week, Chris R., you need to get back to your energetic self. Blake, IMO, is obviously going to be the guy to beat. He turned in a contemporary, fun performance of The Zombies' "Time of the Season" but wisely kept the overall melody the same. I agree with Paula - - Blake could release this tomorrow and have a number one hit. Even the geeky plaid pants worked. Go Blake. Chris Sligh gave a wandering through the audience performance of The Zombies' "She's Not There" and while not nearly as good as the original (or even Blake's remake of a fellow Zombies song) he was loads better than his Coldplay-esque reworking of "Endless Love" from last week. However, Sligh continues to strike me as someone who has a bit of a full head so I'm not onboard the 'Fro Patrol. Phil turned in a rocking performance of "Tobacco Road". I don't know the original song so I have nothing to compare it to, but at least Phil put on a performance and saved his butt for another week. Sanjaya committed a musical felony on The Kinks "You Really Got Me" but won hours' worth of votes from the prepubescent crowd by virtue of stepping out of his usual bubblegum pop shoes and going outside of his comfort zone. The weakest performance? Undoubtedly, Sanjaya. He shouted more than sang, and it was really nothing more than a glorified karaoke performance, complete with backup band. Best performance? Must give it to Blake, who has shown that he not only has a decent voice but is an awesome entertainer. Now for the ladies . . .
Haley was first up. The kiss of death for Brandon last week proved a charm for Haley this week. She didn't forget the lyrics to "Tell Him" and as far as song choices went, Haley probably made the best song choice of the night. She didn't try to stretch herself too far and chose a song that was perfect for her bubblegum, Barbie voice. Coming out onstage in skimpy shorts, a brief halter top and heels didn't hurt her voting chances either. Stephanie bored everyone with her rendition of, I don't know, something boring by Shirley Bassey. Sadly, Stephanie is a good singer but she doesn't look like she's having fun up there. Simon got it right - - she's losing herself and aging awful quick. LaKisha, I normally like. Stellar set of pipes. Did not like this one. Bad song choice, IMO. Love the cool mil worth of diamonds though. Sweet. Jordin rocks. She may very well be the dark horse of the competition. She's cute, her personality shines through, she's obviously having a great time on Idol and she's continuing to prove her vocal range with each week. Go Jordin. Gina. Meh. I like her sometimes and sometimes I don't. I love the Stones but I'm not too sure I loved her version of "Paint it Black". I know she's supposed to be the rocker chick and all but it seems a weird choice. I think she might have been better off sticking with more of a ballad from them, or even from The Who. Just my opinion, though. I do like her new choppy haircut. Very edgy. I think she needs to work on her poker face - - she barely held it together when the judges didn't fall in love with her performance. Melinda. Also got a new haircut. Girlfriend can sing. No doubt about that. But I'm getting bored. Can she and LaKisha sing anything other than ballads or torch songs? Can they get pop or fun? Melinda seems to be the shoe-in (and obviously the judges' fave) but her boring personality may go against her and allow darkhorse Jordin to sweep in (go Jordin).
Now we're starting to get into the good stuff. Harder eliminations. True talent versus publicity. When will Sanjaya go home?

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