Ten rushed songs, few memorable moments.
The most memorable thing about this episode of American Idol is that there was very little that was memorable. No great performances, no train wrecks, no judge infighting (with the exception of Randy’s always fun booing of Simon to start the show). Yes, each singer got to sing two songs, and Ryan sported two lapel microphones for the occasion. The entire show seemed rushed, uninspired, and uninteresting. I think everyone – singers, judges, and audience – is looking forward to having a bit more time. Ten songs in 40 minutes is a bit much.
Singing order was Elliott Yamin, Paris Bennett, Chris Daughtry, Katharine McPhee, and Taylor Hicks.
Here’s how I ranked them, from best to worst, using their combined scores. With the exception of Chris, everybody improved from their first round (songs from the year of your birth) to the second round (something from any of Billboard’s current charts).
1. Taylor Hicks (19.5 + 20 = 39.5/50). Taylor sang “Play That Funky Music” in the first round, which is not really a singing song. And he sang the heck out of it. He was laying down and singing on his back (taking Bocelli’s advise to Chris from last week’s show?), which was odd. So was his outfit. And the band was too loud.
In the second round, Taylor sang “Something,” a Beatles song that, through the accounting magic of the music industry, is on the charts this week. The song is older than Taylor, but he did it justice and put his own spin on it. He was a little sharp at the beginning, and I didn’t like the humming at the end. It was good but not great.
2. Elliott Yamin (18.5 + 20.5 = 39/50). Elliott sang “On Broadway” in the first round. He sounded tentative at the start of the song, maybe because he had to sing first. This sort of song does not do a good job of showcasing his voice. Not enough sustained notes, too many runs, and Elliott put too much vibrato into it. And what’s up with the fat tie?
In the second round, Elliott sang “Home,” which was much better than his first song. Plus he lost the tie. He was sitting instead of strutting and was much more comfortable. It showed in his voice, which was smooth, powerful, and confident. I actually preferred Elliott’s version to the original.
3. Chris Daughtry (20 + 18.5 = 38.5/50). Chris sang “A Matter Of Time (Renegade?)” in the first round. I like Chris but he rarely gives a memorable performance of a great song. He’s no Bo Bice. The whole song seemed monotonous to me. The last phrase of the song was the only one that he sung with any noticeable personality. It was good, not great, and was still the best in round one.
In the second round, Chris sang “I Dare You,” a song that will surely mystify a large percentage of the audience. Where does he get these songs? He sounded hoarse. Sang too loud. And had a yelling moment in the middle of the song. Chris was the only singer who did worse in the second round, which accounts for his third-place finish.
4. Katharine McPhee (18 + 20 = 38/50). Katharine sang “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now),” and it was a dreadful arrangement. She sang off key at the start and the modulation was awkward. There isn’t any bad song that can’t be made worse by adding a modulation, and this song is no exception. It was exceedingly, painfully boring.
In the second round, Katharine sang “Black Horse And A Cherry Tree,” which was too low for her at the start of the song (a common problem with songs this season). This is a fun song with a Bo Diddley beat to it that I’ve been enjoying on UK radio for a long time. Katharine did a nice job singing it and, oddly, sat or kneeled on the stage for the entire song. She had a strong finish to the song.
5. Paris Bennett (18 + 19 = 37/50). Paris sang “Kiss,” a Prince song, in the first round. This is not really a singing song, and Paris had to resort to saying “Come on!” to fill in the blanks. This song did nothing to show off her singing range, but she performed it well. Paris told Ryan “I love all the opinions” after thanking the judges for their mixed reviews.
In the second round, Paris sang “Be Without You,” which was too low for her at the start (again). And she said “Come on!” (again). Where is the melody in this song? Paris sung the song well, but it was not a memorable performance. And a memorable performance is what Paris needed.
I expected more from this show and was disappointed with the results. Maybe everybody needs a week off. Someone will be getting time off next week. And even though all of the performances are closely ranked, I think that Paris will be going home.
Erik’s blogging promise: I hereby swear and affirm that, as always, I have not consulted other blogs (including DialIdol.com) before making my predictions. I am linking to others here, for your convenience, before having read the opinions of the other pundits (which I’ll be doing shortly).
Erik’s rankings (best to worst): Taylor, Elliott, Chris, Katharine, Paris.
Erik’s pick to go home: Paris.
(erikjheels.com is 82% in picking the bottom American Idol contestants over the past four weeks.)
|Erik’s List of American Idol Pundits|
|Pundit||Bottom 2-3 Accuracy||Bottom One Accuracy|
|DialIdol.com||91% (10 for 11)||50% (2 for 4)|
|Erik J. Heels||82% (9 for 11)||25% (1 for 4)|
|The Woes and the Prose of an American Idol Junkie||82% (9 for 11)||25% (1 for 4)|
|Reality TV Magazine||73% (8 for 11)||75% (3 for 4)|
|Various and Sundry » American Idol||64% (7 for 11)||50% (2 for 4)|
|USATODAY||64% (7 for 11)||50% (2 for 4)|
|High Lord Dave’s Blog||64% (7 for 11)||25% (1 for 4)|
|American Idol Season 5 Blog||55% (6 for 11)||25% (1 for 4)|
|Flipping A Coin||50%||50%|
|Vote For The Worst||18% (2 for 11)||25% (1 for 4)|
|Simon Cowell||NA||50% (2 for 4)|
|Zabasearch.com – Most Searched American Idol Contestants||no historical data||no historical data|