Tuesday, April 03, 2007

American Idol Top 9: Bang, Zoom, Fly Sunjaya To The Moon

It's "Classics" night on AI, and Tony Bennett has put everyone in a swingin' mood, especially Paula, who is sporting some kind of Pink Lady-meets-P.T. Barnum ensemble. Despite that eyesore, I'm looking forward to tonight's show. Mostly, I'm hoping that someone does a rendition of
"I Love Things That Are Great."

Blake Lewis kicks things off with his cover of "Mack The Knife." Immediately, I notice that Blake is taking this "music for seniors" theme a bit too far with his powder blue blazer, striped tie, checkered pants and, yes, socks with sandals. The performance is a bit shaky in the beginning, but Old Man Lewis really gets into the groove midway through. Overall, I think it's pretty good. The Dawg and Paula think Blake's a real hep cat and Simon thinks the band saved him from what could have been an average performance. What was he going to say? He couldn't use the "cabaret" insult. This song is the very definition of cabaret.

Always the suck-up, Phil Stacey proclaims that Tony Bennett is his hero. Look, Philly boy, Tony doesn't need his ass shined. He just wants you to sing "Night and Day" the right way. Much like the last few weeks, Phil's voice sounds fine, but he's not exactly moving anyone...unless it's to get up to go to the bathroom. Randy and Simon don't dig it either, but Paula boldly announces that Phil reminds her of a young Frank Sinatra. This just in - Hoboken, New Jersey has just declared war on Paula Abdul. More at 11.

Melinda Doolittle could just phone it in at this point, but instead gives us her take on "I Got Rhythm." Watching her do the Melinda Shuffle around the stage, I'm not quite sure this is true. Still, she's got pipes, and that's all that matters. Like every week, everyone loves Melinda, but Simon admits that he has a lot of pent up aggression stemming from his inability to say anything mean about her.

Now we're treated to "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," courtesy of Chris Richardson. You may notice that I just called him by the name his mama gave him, and not Chrustin Richardslake, the one I inflicted on him. There's a simple reason for that - Chris is doing a great job. This is the first night he hasn't served up Timberlake Lite. He's not singing through his nose. He's not killing me with all those annoying runs. He sounds...nice! Even his outfit is kind of hip, unlike recent weeks. I think Chris is reading my blog! Right now, it seems like he's fixed everything I've said was broken. Stick with me Chris, and you'll be fine. By the way, I always have liked younger men. Just saying.

Jordin Sparks comes out onstage looking like a hotel bar waitress, but once again knocks everyone out with her amazing voice. Her rendition of "On A Clear Day" earns her the prestigious title, "magnet of joy," from Paula. Yo, you know what I'm loving tonight? That Randy has started every critique with "Yo, you know what I'm loving tonight." Know what else I'm loving? Simon calling The Dawg and P-Ab "Squiddly and Diddly." I have no idea what that means, but it's funny. Unless he's trying to compare Randy to Bo Diddley, and then that's just wrong.

Gina Glocksen obviously wants to keep her momentum from last week going, so she does "Smile," another pretty ballad. I don't think it's as good as her version of "I'll Stand By You," but her voice sounds much better than it did at the beginning of the competition. It's not a bad performance, I just feel like she should be infusing the song with some of her "rocker girl" style. She's just doing it straight. The judges think it's nice, but Simon goes all "Dad" on her with his jabbing "Why can't you be more like Melinda and Jordin?" critique. Gina whines something about how it's okay to be a different kind of singer. I guess she's not getting the car keys tonight.

Sunjaya Maladroit wants the world to know that he can "actually sing" (good plan for Week FOUR of the Finals) and thinks he can do so with "Cheek to Cheek." Wait. What's this? Oh, hell no. I know he isn't wearing some bastardized version of Tony Manero's suit! Okay, since Chris reads my blog, Sunjaya probably does too. He must. This sacrilege is obviously targeted directly at me. First of all, kid - wrong decade. Secondly - burn that suit. Immediately. This better not taint any future viewings of Saturday Night Fever or I'm gonna be pissed. Sorry for the tangent folks, but do I really need to talk about the performance? Let's just have a sing-along. "Hell...I'm in hell/And my head hurts so that I can only shriek/How the hell do you get votes from week to week?"

Tony Bennett listens to Haley Scarnato's rehearsal of "Ain't Misbehavin'" and lays it on the line for her: "Hey baby, stop being such a little tramp and sing the damn song right." I may be paraphrasing, but that's close enough. He must've scared Miss Texas straight, because she actually doesn't sound too bad tonight. Her dance moves are ridiculously cheesy though. Celine Dion is probably sitting at home taking notes. The judges all tell Haley that she's gorgeous, in case she forgot since last time. How were her vocals? No one is saying.

Closing out the evening is LaKisha Jones with her version of "Stormy Weather." She actually is a bit nasally at the beginning, but LaKisha finds that big voice of hers and finishes strong. But if we're pitting girl against girl, this was the weakest performance of the Top 3 (Melinda, Jordin and LaKisha). And I'm not sure why she ignored Tony Bennett's advice on how to end the song. I can just picture Tony sitting at home, sipping cognac and talking to a picture of Dean Martin. "She'll never work in this town again, baby!"

Who will be "steppin' out" of the competition? I predict that the Bottom Three will be Sunjaya, Haley and Phil. Haley will continue to just squeak by. I'm afraid that Sunjaya will be with us for a bit longer, unless something heavy falls on his head. And even then, he's probably got a force-field of hair products to keep him safe. Phil Stacey has no such protection, so I think he'll be heading back to the mothership tomorrow night.


Travis said...

Great job as usual.

I'm just a little verklempt at the moment from watching a group of women dancing in men's shirts on the results show for Dancing With the Stars. OH MY THUMP.

I have decided not to say the evil one's name anymore. He is now Kid Rooster Head for me.

For me, it's still Melinda/LaKisha/Jordin.

Writeprocrastinator said...

I love that, "Hoboken declares war on Paula Abdul!"

As far as the Manero suit miscarriage? Maybe somewhere, Johnny T has dusted off his Vinnie Vega outfit and there's payback to be had.

Bond said...

Terrific review...as you know we agree on the bottom three... I vacillated on Haley or Phil and went the Haley was since I though she was just so horrible - McTata did it all last year, but actually could sing.. Haley - not so much.

I think tonight Paula will explain she meant Frank Jr.

Angell said...

Love your review. Gotta agree with everything that was said. LOVE the Hoboken NJ remark - so witty!! Wish I'd thought of it for mine... :D

My Side Of The Bed said...

There has been a lot written about how it is actually better to NOT win American Idol at this point. Coming in second, third, or fourth these days seems to be just as good if not better because you're not locked into a serf-like contract with the American Idol people. Is this just an internet theory or do you agree?


Les Becker said...

I can't believe you didn't email me to let me know that Tony Bennett was going to be on! I would have watched for Tony (he's my hero, you know)!

Actually Dean (the original Wazzzzzuuuuup) Martin is my hero, 'cuz he drank on stage and got away with it, but I imagine Tony is as close to the Rat Pack as AI will ever get.

BeckEye said...

Travis - I think it's Melinda/LaKisha/Jordin for most of the hearing public. Tweens and jackasses not included.

WP - Johnny is a Jersey boy too, so he might take out Sunjaya and Paula, and kill two turds with one stone.

Bond - Maybe Paula was comparing Phil to a REALLY young Frank Sinatra, like when he was a baby with big ears and no hair.

Angell - Hoboken is actually now famous for being "frat boy central" but the old-schoolers are still there. They take their Frank and their baseball seriously.

Blake - Oh, definitely. No one would sign up for a show called "Be Clive Davis's Soulless Slave for Three Years." American Idol sounds so much nicer. But winning can be a curse. Although, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood have done pretty well for themselves.

Les - I didn't even know Tony was gonna be on until I started watching. Watch it tonight because he'll probably perform. They usually have the special guest from Tuesday night perform on results night.

Deb said...

I'm awaiting. I think the bald guy is done for good. The voice is acceptable, but the charisma just 'aint there. At lease he presented himself with a suit; the other one (Chris? sorry don't know all of the names by heart), appeared in an ever-so-nice popular hole-in-jean look. His voice is only so-so in my opinion. My favorite is still Melinda - major pipes and seems to be coming a bit of her shell each week. Next for me is LaKisha - good pipes also, but she has the plus-size image going against her. Remember Madusa (sp?) last year, excellent voice, but a little chunky. I'ts almost like a hex. I guess we judge on looks - forget the talent.

We'll see after tonite.

Enjoyed your write-up on last night's AI, and excellent blog, will take a peek again. Have a good day.


LoraLoo said...

Once again, you nailed the review. I really hope Sanjaya is out, but I have a feeling he'll be safe, AGAIN!

Dale said...

Nice link, I hadn't seen that sketch before! Nice recap like everybody said although I had a few differences of opinion.

BeckEye said...

Deb - Thanks for stopping by. Looks like Baldy made it out alive. Last year's contestant you're referring to was Mandisa. Medusa was that chick with the killer stare. :)

LoraLoo - Sunjaya can't be voted off. He must be destroyed.

Dale - Alec Baldwin is hilarious. And what do you mean you disagree with me? You're not allowed!

Shelly said...

*LOVE* the Sunjaya Maladroit comment! Perfect. I don't watch the show, so I really enjoy your detailed review. I particularly like that you list the song title and artist. That makes all the difference when you haven't seen the show.


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