Wednesday, July 12, 2006

CI Review, 2006/07/10-11

Once again I must rant about how generally unimpressed I am with the playing field this year. So meh.

Da girls

  • Stephanie
    Brilliant song choice. Brilliant. This song suited her right down to the ground. And then...she screwed it up. This song is a wonderful, carefree ditty about joyful abandon and happiness in love. Yet she played it only as "oh I'm so cute". That bit with Brandon was ridiculously contrived...in fact, I find all her performances quite contrived. She never seems to let herself go and be real.

  • Ashley Coulter
    In danger tonight. She hit a lot of bum notes. On the plus side, I agree with Jake that it was obvious she really felt the song. Plus, when she was in tune, she sounded quite good. However, I'm worried that the voting audience will have found the song too dull. I'm also beyond pissed off with Zack. One week he tells her to move out of her comfort zone or she's doomed, this week he tells her she should keep singing songs that she'd make a record with or she's doomed. Buddy, you are not being helpful, you are being contradictory. Pick an opinion and stick with it.

  • Ashley Coles
    I disagree with the judges, I thought that vocally she did pull off the song quite well. She also brought a good performance. The problem I had was with the arrangement - which probably wasn't her fault.

  • Eva
    At last! Something that forced me to sit up and take notice of Eva! I don't know what the judges were on about, I thought it was the best thing she's done so far. She sounded great, she infused the performance with some spirit and voom, and she had a good time.

  • Nancy
    I want to like Nancy, I really do. She has an intensity and spirit that really, really belongs in the top ten. I can even get over that blaring horn-like Alanis quality in her voice by thinking of it as her 'unique sound'. But it's that GODDAMN STUPID WIGGLE DANCE MOVE SHE DOES THAT DRIVES ME AROUND THE FREAKIN' BEND!!! I can't stand it.

  • Kati
    I thought the performance was quite good, with appropriate intensity and feeling. I believed what she was singing about. The problem I have is that I just don't think her voice is that great. I thought she was weak at her first audition and nothing I've heard has changed my mind since.

  • Sarah
    Stand-out performance of the night. She blew everyone else COMPLETELY away. I have no idea what drugs Zack is on - she was AWESOME. Everything was perfect - her look, her voice, her intensity, the feeling in the performance, the 'Star Search' moment at the end - that was top ten material, baybee.

Top two girls, in order: Sarah, Eva

Picks to go home: Stephanie and I don't know who else...Canada will probably pick one of the Ashleys.

Da boys

I didn't bother to vote because I honestly didn't know which ones should go home. The playing field was quite level tonight. Everyone was either kind of average or was good in some ways and bad in others. Dull night, no stand-outs.

  • Craig
    NOTE TO ALL IDOL CONTESTANTS PRESENT AND FUTURE: For the love of all that is holy, do NOT do Bohemian Rhapsody. Just don't. I know you want to, I know you think it will be cool...trust me, it won't be. Craig's performance was painful to watch. Dude...do not take that long to take off your jacket. In fact, unless a contestant has the intensity and charisma of Chris Daughtry, stripping is a bad idea, period. Also, Craig, if you're not feeling the agony, don't go down on your knees, it doesn't work. And do not mix up the lyrics to a classic song - people will notice. All that having been said, I must give Craig props for being the only contestant ever to sing this song and sound really, REALLY good. As much as I detested the performance aspect, I must admit that my ears were delighted throughout the whole thing. I've said it before, I'll say it again, the boy can really sing.

  • Brandon
    Despite the judges panning him, I thought this was quite good. He sounded good, and he brought an honesty to the performance that was very pleasant to watch. The hip-hop affectations bugged me a little bit, but not too badly. What may work against him vote-wise is that the song itself is not very exciting or memorable.

  • Keith
    I'm a bit worried for Keith this week. I think he deserves to be in the top ten because he's a great personality, he's got wonderful stage presence and performance ability, and a lovely voice. Oh, and I like red hair. :) But as decent as this week's performance was, it wasn't blow-you-away fantastic, and it also wasn't that memorable. Being unmemorable doesn't get you the votes. Hopefully his fan base is big enough to pull him through.

  • Chad
    Excellent emotion and performance from Chad this week. Frankly, I'm very impressed that he could do something intense like that at his age. My problem is with his voice. Sass said that she would instantly be able to identify Chad's voice if she heard him on the radio...yeah, well, lady, that's because he sounds like a freakin' FROG! Like he's got phlegm coating the back of his mouth. My VCR missed recording his song in week 1, so except for last week (which was awful), I've never really heard him sing...is that his real voice? Does he always sound like that? Because I don't know how much I could take of hearing the frog thing week after week.

  • Sheldon
    I think Sheldon has a great voice, and a great look, and a pretty good vibe. I liked his performance and his singing quite well this week, but the problem is that he didn't go deeply enough, he didn't get low-down dirty and gritty. That is a fun, nasty and seductive song...at the end of the performance he should have had all the girls screaming at their television sets, "YES! Please light my candle!" He went there just a teeny bit, but not all the way, and the performance was lacking because of that.

  • Tyler
    Sounded great, had fun, definitely an entertaining performance. But he's gotta stop with the awkward high school dance moves.

  • Rob
    At last! AT LAST! Rob took the pickle out of his ass and lightened up! Way to go, guy! That may just have catapulted him into the top ten. Good going. Morever, he put his own spin on the song and made it his own, which was great. The complaint I had is that this week his voice didn't sound as great - too shaky.

Picks to go home - totally undecided, but I think Canada will send Chad, Tyler and Rob through. I also think Canada will send Sheldon home.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

CI Review, 2006/07/04

Definitely a better night than the boys had yesterday. But only because there were fewer people that were really bad. I'm still not seeing consistent greatness.

Ashley Coulter

I really love this girl's voice. I especially love how it comes out of that tiny body, and how she has a wonderful prepossession - she comes off as very together and mature. I liked the performance alright, except that she didn't totally commit to it. It's an anguished song and yet there were some pixie little audience-flirting smiles.

Eva

I'm just not getting what the big deal is about Eva. Yes, she can sing, but she's not the best singer I've ever heard. Yes, she can bring some emotion to a song, but not as well as could be done. I just think she's very middle-of-the-road. Her performance was likely good enough to send her into next week, but so far I'm just not jazzed.

Alisha

If I have to watch one more person who has no concept of what heartbreak is about trying to perform this song, I may lose it. Alisha sounded good because she's got a kick-ass voice, but where a song like this is concerned, she has about as much depth as a kiddie pool.

Sarah

I really like Sarah's voice. I agree with Zack that technically she is probably the best singer. And, like Ashley Coulter, she has a great maturity and sense of herself. But I don't think she's connecting with the viewing audience. Her performance was good but she didn't go whole-hog and really pull it out - which could have made it FANTASTIC. I think she's got it in her to do that kind of thing, but I don't know if we're going to see it.

Steffie

I'm not sure whether I liked this or not, although at least it was interesting. Steffie's voice is good, and she can perform, and the song did have some good moments...but...maybe it was just a little too Broadway for me. Actually, more high school musical than Broadway, now that I think about it. There was some sincerity but mostly I think it was just acted.

Kati

Like Steffie's performance, I'm not sure whether I liked this one, either. There were good things about it - it sounded okay, it was fairly sincere and decently performed. But there's a shaky instability to her voice that I don't like, it was kinda boring, and I do agree with Zack about the fact that her eyes were closed too much while she was singing.

Ashley Coles

Best of the night. Like Jake, I have no idea how someone that young knew how to convey the blues like that, but convey she did. Sass' comment about making the audience strain to hear a whisper was also bang-on. Ashley has some powerful pipes, and it takes smarts to know when to turn 'em on and when to tone 'em down. Ashley did all the right things tonight and I thought it was great.

Alyssa

Alyssa, Alyssa, Alyssa. Sigh. I like her tremendously. And she has a very sweet voice. And that was a really, really brave song choice, as Jake said. Unfortunately, she failed to pull it off. I see how she COULD have pulled it off - the potential was there. But she held back big-time and didn't go there, and consequently the whole thing just didn't work. Sass' comment about not enunciating in a song like that was also very accurate.

Nancy

I am so conflicted about this girl. On the one hand, I sometimes think she is the only spark of genuine 'wow' that we have this season. She really gets into the music and definitely knows how to perform. And she can sing. So in those respects, she's awesome. But a lot of her 'moves' - especially when she flails one arm into the air - are just weird and they bug me. And that nasal edge to her tone - Zack can call me deaf all he likes, but I find it super-irritating. On the other hand, it also makes her really distinctive, which is awesome - so again, I'm conflicted. There's also a kind of smugness about her performances that gets my back up. But objectively I'd have to say that yes, she deserves to go on this week and ultimately should probably be in the top ten.

My top three, in order: Ashley Coles, Nancy, Ashley Coulter

My picks for bottom four: Kati, Eva, Alisha, Alyssa

My picks to go home: Alyssa, Kati

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

CI Review, 2006/07/03

Yeesh. Pretty mediocre night last night. I'm sorry, but so far I am not tremendously jazzed by the contenders this season. I have no idea where all this 'depth of talent' we keep hearing the judges rave about in the media is. I'm just not seeing it.

Greg

The judges may not have liked it, but I think he did a pretty decent job. His stage presence and performance were fine, he sounded good, and he did manage to infuse the song with his own style. That said, it was very typical 'matinee Idol' kind of stuff and I do see the merits of Jake's comments that it highlighted some of Greg's deficiencies, but I think it was enough to keep him around another week.

Tyler

Ouch. He didn't stay on key, his voice wobbled in a lot of places, and he didn't get into the performance too much. There was a moment where he did kind of shine, but a few good seconds out of an entire song is not enough to get my vote.

Chris

Personally, I like Chris. He's fun. But Jacob Hoggard he sure ain't. First of all, Jacob can really, really sing, whereas Chris is one of the weakest in that area this year. And second of all, I am pretty damn sure that Jacob would not try to be funny in a song about equality and freedom. That just pissed me off. Moreover, Jacob's 'showmanship' is just a natural outpouring of his personality. When Chris does it, it seems really put on. So I just did not like the performance.

Craig

Alright. I'm going to be honest - Craig's high voice creeps me out. Particularly, it's his high speaking voice. Daryl Brunt from last season, who also had an astonishingly high voice, I could deal with, because puberty obviously hadn't hit him full on yet. But Craig is a bona fide young man, he's pretty built, and yet when he speaks, it's very Michael Jackson. I just find it weird. However, despite all this, I cannot deny that the boy can really, really sing. And he has some stage presence, too - certainly more than a lot of the other guys he's competing with this year, anyway. So as much as he creeps me, I must admit that he deserved lots of votes this week.

Sheldon

I liked this. There were times when it was lounge singerish, but there were also a fair number of moments where he turned on some genuine magnetism and charm. Plus, he sounded very good. I liked it.

Chad

Chad didn't sound good, he didn't move well, he didn't express well, and he didn't perform well. I thought it was bad from beginning to end. I can't believe the judges compared him to Jacob Hoggard. I can only think they were confused by the fact that he looks like him. But there the similarities end. There is a difference between good cheese and bad cheese. Jacob does good cheese. Chad's performance was the worst kind of cheese. I found the whole thing painful.

Rob

I am beginning to see why McMaster and James were a one-hit wonder. To his advantage, Rob has great tone, a really really good recording voice. And, as much as I try to consider appearance irrelevant, I cannot deny that he is extremely easy on the eyes. But his problem is that he does not have stage presence. I don't know whether this is because it's not in him or because he is extremely nervous. But either way, it is not making him likeable. Nothing I've seen so far shows me that he has anything approaching 'It'. He's just a regular joe who can sing very well. So far I haven't seen stage presence.

Brandon

Before he even opened his mouth I was saying "No, no, no noooooo!" to my television upon hearing his song choice for this week. It's one thing to break out of your comfort zone, but it's quite another thing to do something that actively works AGAINST your vibe. The whole song was just wrong for him.

Keith

Stand-out winner of the night. That. Was. Great. I agree with Zack that the evening was completely devoid of anybody rocking the house, but this was one performance that I did NOT want to rock. Keith's performance was sincere, honest, and very, very beautiful. And his voice sounded absolutely delightful. Way to go, Keith. You topped off an evening of mediocrity with genuine professionalism. I loved it.

My top three, in order: Keith, Craig, Sheldon.

My bottom four: Tyler, Chris, Chad and Brandon.

My choices to go home: Chad and Brandon.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

AI Review, 2006/05/16

Great show. This is the kind of Idol I want to see!

  • Elliott: Sigh. I love Elliott's voice. He certainly brought it out this week and sounded glorious. However, although there was nothing actually wrong with his performances, he didn't really bring it all. There was no special spark, no magic moment, no big oomph. We're at a level of the competition now where that's vital. Last week he came out fighting and it really paid off. This week he seemed to leave that fight at home.
  • Katharine: First song sounded fine, was nothing to write home about. But that second song...ho. lee. shit. When I heard that Simon had chosen 'Over the Rainbow' I thought the man had finally lost his grip on reality. By the end of the song I thought he was a freakin' genius. Katharine's second performance was one of the most memorable moments in Idol ever. It was special, beautiful, superb, magical, and perfect. I honestly didn't know she had it in her. Brava. The third song was a bit of a let-down from that high (unsurprising, since it would have been near impossible to equal that kind of quality) but I thought it showcased her voice fantastically, it was fun, spirited, sexy and great.
  • Taylor: Taylor didn't do as much with 'Dancing in the Dark' as I (or Clive, I'm guessing) would have hoped, but he sounded terrific, way better than the Boss. It was his second and third performances where he really brought it out. Randy's song choice for him was really good and Taylor showed he could bring seriousness, tenderness and meaning. That was beautiful. Finally, he ended his third performance on a total high, having brought the audience with him on an awesome buildup of energy. I loved it, I loved it, I loved it.

Predictions

As good as he is, simply put, Elliott just was not on the same level as Katharine and Taylor this week. I think Simon was right - his performances were good but not enough to push him into next week. I like him immensely, I think he's had a fantastic run, I think he's done extremely well to get this far, but I don't think we'll see him in the finals.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

AI Review, 2006/05/09

Best. Show. Ever.

Not perfect, but still really, really good. Kudos to the show for having such a super-strong top four. It makes for great TV and wonderful music.

  • Chris: The biggest criticism I had tonight with Chris was that he needs to improve his control over his microphone swinging technique. :) Other than that, both performances were really good. He had some excellent tender-and-sexy moments in his first song. In his second song, I really liked how he brought out a completely different voice for the first part. I think he could have put more into the first part to ramp up interest, but it was still quite good. And I adored how he really pulled it out and rocked it at the end. Exciting to watch. And I'm not just saying that because he's hot as hell.

  • Elliott: I agree with Simon that Elliott went into tonight as the underdog. He has a spectacular voice, but he just isn't on the same level with the other three in terms of the 'it factor'. However...MAN did he fight for it. I was really worried at the beginning of his first song, because it did start out like a bar mitzvah performance like Tommy Mottola said. However, something switched over after about twenty seconds and it just got really good. Beautiful vocals. And then! Did he ever turn it on for his second performance! UNBELIEVABLE. Superb vocals. REALLY put himself into it. It was great. I didn't believe for one small second that he really was 'trouble', but I certainly believed it could be enough to send him into the three.

  • Katharine: Except for the part where she muffed the lyrics, I really liked her first performance. It was exciting, fun, really well sung, and overall a very entertaining performance. And then...came her second song. I agree with Simon, it started out beautifully, and then she completely overdid it, also pushing her vocals into a place where they didn't sound so great.

  • Taylor: I see absolutely no reason why he shouldn't come back next week. Both performances sounded amazing, were performed exactly as they should have been, and my love-fest for Taylor continues.

Predictions:

Tough to call. I went into this week assuming that it would be Elliott's last, but like I said, he fought really hard. Plus, Katharine screwed up. And history has shown that when she screws up, she's vulnerable. I don't think the Paris votes will be going to any one particular person, so I don't think that's too much of a factor in determining who goes this week.

I still think that Elliott is vulnerable, but I also think there's a hefty chance we could see the last of Katharine this week.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

AI Review, 2006/05/02

We're lucky at this point to have an extremely solid group of Idols left. Everyone still in the competition is really good in their own unique way, and that's a terrific thing.

  • Chris: First song was classic Chris - sounded great, rocked it out, put something into it, the whole deal. I didn't feel it was stunningly fabulous, but still very solid. The second song I winced through. I don't know whether he was pushing his voice too much during the song or whether the voice was giving out from overuse, but I started getting really nervous for him that it would crap out entirely up there. Not great.
  • Elliot: A thousand curses. I knew I wouldn't come downstairs from putting my daughter to bed until after the show started, so I set the VCR up to tape. And it did - but thanks to, I don't know, the fact that our clocks are off? That the network started the show a few minutes before 8? Who knows. The upshot was that I completely missed taping Elliott's first performance. So I have no idea how he did. His second song, however, was very nice - he ALMOST hit that spot where he reached out through the TV and into your chest to grab your heart in his hands. And of course he sounded great.
  • Katharine: First song kinda sucked. I agree with the judges, it got away from her and she had a number of off-tune moments. Plus - Against All Odds is a heartwrenching song. When you hear Phil Collins sing it, it just twists you up inside thinking about this poor guy, who had this wonderful love and now it's gone and it's NEVER going to come back to him...heartbreaking. When Katharine sang it, it could've been any old song. Mistake. Her second song, however, was SUPERB. I loved it. That's exactly the kind of thing she should be singing. It was fun, youthful, vibrant, sexy, original, did I say fun? and she sounded glorious.
  • Paris: Her songs weres okay. She sounded wonderful as usual, she did a good 'performance', she looked like a pro. But I felt she was just kind of going through the motions. Nothing grabbed me. I don't know whether this was because she wasn't on top of her game or whether she's simply not at the level of going much further in this competition.
  • Taylor: My favourite of the night. He had two great performances. The first one...well. What can I say. I loves me some Taylor! Could he have picked a more perfect song for himself or WHAT. He is a funky white boy! He sounded great, he worked it out, and I loved it. His second song didn't have as much 'oomph', but it was the first time I thought his attempt at doing something with tenderness really worked. I thought the second song was really lovely.

Predictions

Objectively I don't know whom to pick as the weakest of the night. It wouldn't be Taylor, but everyone else had flaws - Chris' second performance was problematic, Katharine's first performance was problematic, Paris' two performances were overall good but lacking something, and I have no idea how Elliott's first performance went.

So let's look at the logic instead.

Kellie is now gone. Where will her votes go? I highly doubt that they will go to someone whose main strength is pure vocal talent (Elliott). There's also the unnerving fact that a (possibly significant) component of the Kellie fanbase would never vote for someone Jewish or black. However, I think it's a possibility that some of the Kellie votes could go to Paris. More will probably go to Chris. But I think most of them will go to Katharine.

Except...for Vote for the Worst. The VFTW people are now backing TAYLOR. Not because, as they make it clear, they think he sucks. But because they are all about screwing the American Idol machine and the associated record label, and let's face it, Taylor really is so far from the Idol Winner mold they like to churn out that it's kinda scary. Can you imagine Taylor singing the cheezy schlock they always come up with for the winner's first single? Exactly. And that is why he has VFTW support. With that, ,Taylor could go all the way in this competition.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

AI Review, 2006/04/25

Strong

  • Chris: I would have liked to see him emit more raw sexiness during the performance (cough, cough, yes, okay, I would always like to see guys who look like this emit all the raw sexiness they can, but for this particular song I felt it was important to turn on the 'I wanna lay down and do very naughty things with you' vibe). But otherwise I thought it was great. This happens to be one of my fave songs due to the Spanish style, so I may be biased, but I thought he did a really good job.
  • Elliott: I agreed with Randy that I didn't like the arrangement - it was kind of all over the place and didn't highlight Elliott's gifts - but I still think he shone through it.
  • Katharine: I think the judges were on crack. I think Katharine sounded amazing, naturally she looked completely stunning (if I were gay I would have become completely dehydrated from all the drooling) and in places she really turned on the emotional power. The criticism I have of the performance is the same one I've been having lately - she has to STOP FLIRTING WITH THE AUDIENCE and concentrate on the emotion of the damn song.

Weak

  • Kellie: In some spots this sounded quite good. But in other spots she went out of tune, and the biggest problem of all about this performance was that I didn't believe a moment of it. David Foster was right, if you don't feel this, it's one of the most boring songs of all-time. And Kellie didn't feel it one little bit.
  • Paris: Paris sounded absolutely marvellous. But again, a problem with believability. Paula once said that when Paris doesn't feel or connect with a song, there's none of that great magic that makes Paris voom. And I didn't feel she connected with the song this week.
  • Taylor: AUGH! Taylor! My honey, my sweetie...what did you do?!? Okay, I admit, there were bits of that performance that verged on being quite powerful, but otherwise it was kind of boring, amateurish, and didn't even sound very good. I'm very upset. Taylor absolutely should NOT go this early in the competition. But with a performance like that, he might.

Predictions

At this point I have lost all faith in the American Idol voting public to do the right thing and kick Kellie off. However, that is exactly what I would do if I were in charge. I would put Paris, Kellie and Taylor in the bottom three, send Paris back to the couch and boot Kellie into the middle of next week, where she will be viewing the show from the audience.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

AI Review, 2006/04/18

Absolutely FANTASTIC night! At last, an American Idol performance show worth watching all the way through! Great evening of song and entertainment. Two thumbs up.

Super

  • Chris: When my husband found out it was 'standards week' he got really worried about Chris, and whether he could do the softer stuff. I, however, was not worried. I'd seen clips of Chris doing slower, softer and sappier stuff during the audition and I knew he could pull it off. And so he did. That was a lovely performance. His voice sounded fantastic, the song suited his style...or he made the song suit his style...either way, it worked.
  • Paris: Possibly the best performance of the night. That was gorgeous. Her voice sounded effortlessly wonderful, she completely owned the whole performance. She looked and sounded like a total pro. I loved it.
  • Taylor: This started out a little dull (by Taylor standards) and then...he turned the Taylor on full-blast and I was blown away, again. I loves me that Taylor.

Super with some reservations

  • Elliott: I ADORED his leaning on the mike stand bit at the beginning of the song, coupled with a cocky little grin. That was magic. His voice sounded fantastic, his performance was great. However, after showing us some great personality at the beginning of the song, he didn't show much more after that. Plus, this is a song that can start out slow and then really start to whale, which would have been awesome, but he didn't do it. He just stayed slow the whole way through, and I think that was a mistake.
  • Katharine: She sounded glorious. And the song really, really suit her. My criticism is that she spent too much time smiling flirtatiously at the audience - you know, that "Hello, all my lovely darling fans!" kind of thing, instead of getting completely into the vulnerability and yearning of the song. But overall, very good.

Good

  • Ace: Aside from the STOO-pid ponytail, this went off rather well. He sounded good - did go into his whiny register, but it wasn't too bad - and performed pretty well. However, it was not on the same par as most of the other performers of the night because it still came off kind of bland and cheezy.

Ugh

  • Kellie: I have to give her credit for recognizing what a dog's breakfast that performance was. On the other hand, it's not too smart a thing to basically tell your fan base that they shouldn't vote for you. Kellie did not feel the song, she got COMPLETELY off-tempo, and she hit a lot of really rather painful notes. Worst thing she's ever done. Yeesh.

Predictions

If there is any justice in this world, it will be Ace and Kellie in the bottom two tonight, with Kellie going home. However, she's probably picked up a lot of the votes that used to go to Bucky, and she's got Vote For The Worst support, AND a huge fan base to boot, so she could pull through. On the other hand, she sucked goat this week, so it's a toss-up. I'm not sure who the third person at the bottom should be. I suspect it will be Elliott - America doesn't seem to love him, even when he does really well like last week.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

AI Review, 2006/04/11

That was not as bad as I was afraid it was going to be. Plus, great song choices tonight from almost everyone.

Stand out, absolutely no question, total ultimate winner of the evening

  • Taylor: He's BACK! With a vengeance! That was fantastically good. He whooped it up, he sounded absolutely incredible, he was totally into it and gave us Classic Taylor Goes To Town On The Music. Loved it. Simon is on crack. Oh, and I finally figured out who it is that Taylor's moves remind me of - Matthew Perry (Chandler Byng).

Very good

  • Elliott: He sounded really good, and there were some excellent moments during that performance. Nothing to touch Taylor, but I think he was easily second best of the night.

Good

  • Ace: My husband hated it. All the judges didn't like it. Maybe America hated it too, I dunno. But, call me crazy, I thought it was pretty good. Ace moved out of his 'boy band' zone and kind of actually pulled off the rock thing. He sounded great, adapted the song a bit for his voice and style (I thought it was hilarious that Queen refused to do the song R&B), he didn't use his whiny tone...I thought it was good. No, he didn't completely rock it out and absolutely own the stage, but I still thought it was good.

Weird combination of good and bad

  • Chris: Best performance in this category. Chris sounded great, and he brought some meaning to the performance. The problem was the arrangement. The rest of the world may not know "Innuendo", but I know it very well and it is absolutely one of my favourite songs ever. If you'd never heard it before Chris performed it, go get it, it's totally worth a listen. I don't think the problem was that Chris chose a song unfamiliar to the audience. I think the problem was the arrangement of the song itself. Whoever chose which bits of the song to condense together for a version that worked with Idol time constraints SUCKED. They chose the most BORING bits of lyrics! And therefore, for a lot of the song, it was just Chris belting out the same thing over and over - which would have worked with a song that everyone knows, but which doesn't work at all with a song nobody knows. Chris good, arrangement bad. Hopefully it won't screw him.
  • Katharine: Brilliant song choice. BRILLIANT. Excellent decision to change from her original idea. And this was, emotionally, a very powerful performance. What destroyed it for me was how she was utterly out-of-tune on the big, important notes. Painful. Which really pisses me off because were it not for that, this would probably have been her best performance ever.
  • Kellie: I think there were more bad bits than good bits in this performance, but overall it wasn't the nightmare I thought it was going to be. The beginning was quite well done, although her voice was weak. The part after she ripped the mike out of the stand and tried to rock it out, though, was not that great. Kellie, newsflash: walking more purposefully does not equal rockin' dance moves.
  • Paris: At the beginning of the song, I thought, "Oh, this is going to be awesome." She sounded great, worked it out, looked powerful and owned the stage. And then she started with that weird hopping thing, and it just got kind of embarrassing. Then she brought it back again a bit...and then again, she kind of lost it. I agree with Simon, it was just...weird.

At risk

  • Bucky: I certainly don't think that Bucky's performance was bad. He sounded pretty good, he had a good time, his performance skills are improving. However, he's just not improving at the same rate that everyone else is, and therefore he's lagging behind the pack. By contrast to everyone else, his performance was pretty forgettable, and we all know what tends to happen when you're forgettable and you go first.

Prediction

If I were in charge, I would pick Bucky, Paris and Kellie for the bottom three, with Paris going back to the sofa and Bucky going home. However, America might keep Kellie on the couch all night and put Ace in the bottom three instead.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

AI Review, 2006/04/04

"So what's the theme this week?" DH asked as he lowered himself into a chair. The moment I said "Country," he abruptly ceased his descent, got up and almost ran out of the room.

So he and Simon have something in common, I guess. I'm not a big country fan either, but it wasn't too hard for me to sit through the show. There was a nice variety of songs and some interesting choices, but overall I'd say that the last two weeks out I've been pretty disappointed. I like the shows where competitor after competitor makes you sit up and think 'wow'. This, once again, was not one of those nights.

(However, this night did have the distinction of having some actual good comments by Paula. Really! I was amazed. I have a new theory - when Paula likes a performance, and unfortunately, Paula likes almost every performance, her comments are completely inane. But when she has problems with a performance, she comes up with some pretty valid and constructive things to say. Whooda thunk it.)

Best

  • Ace: I thought this week's theme would be a nightmare for Ace. But I was extremely pleasantly proven wrong. Very, very smart song choice. As opposed to 50s Night, where he chose something that clashed completely with his vocal style, this melded beautifully with his voice, he gave a very believable performance, and threw in a really nice mix of strong and soft. Soft to pull you in, some strong to give some power, then some soft again...and finally ending with a falsetto? Great arrangement. I actually prefer Ace's softer voice. When he starts turning on the power we get that horrible whiny quality that I cannot. Stand.
  • Katharine: Very nicely sung, very well performed. She had tremendous fun, she played with the audience, gave 'em a little sexy, a little powerful, a little fun, and a lot of good singing. The criticism I have with Katharine is that her upper register power voice loses the richness we hear when she sings lower, and it's more strained and shrill. Of my two top performers, Katharine was better.

Very good

  • Kellie: A surprisingly intense and serious performance! She abandoned her much-vaunted crazy/quirky style for something more 'I'm gonna getcha' and it actually worked. There were a few weak vocal moments and Yet More Pointing At The Camera (note to Idols: STOP! THAT!) but it was very good.
  • Mandisa: Nicely performed - not fantastic compared to other performances we've seen her do, but compared to all the Idols in general it was good. She didn't get into the groove of the song as much as I think she could've, but it was pretty fun to watch. However, she needs to stay away from her lower register. We've had a lot of guest artists and judges raving that 'Mandisa, you have no range!', but she really does. She does not sound in control in her lower register, it's the upper notes where she does the magic.

Good

  • Bucky: Wow! Bucky ditched the gravelly voice tonight and went with a croon, and I think it worked very well. We have the usual problem of his words getting a bit swallowed and his performance not being as professional as many of the other competitors (and for heaven's sake, dude, lose the hat - you destroy half your credibility as a performer if we can't see your freakin' eyes). However, it was pleasant and I liked it.
  • Chris: Okay performance - I think he struggled to get into the deep meaning of the song and really blow the audience away with the intensity he's capable of. Also there were some missed notes which hurt a bit.
  • Elliott: Obviously Elliott would be the guy who would struggle the most with this week's theme. However, I think Kenny's advice that we saw in the pre-performance interview was excellent and it looked like Elliott took it to heart. He sang well, and his voice was only slightly at odds with the style of the song. He also brought a decent amount of believability to the meaning of the song, I almost did believe he was singing to someone he really loved.

At risk

  • Paris: Sounded good as usual - with some iffy notes - but totally, TOTALLY did not get into the song. Since getting into the song is Paris' bread-and-butter, I found this performance very disappointing.
  • Taylor: Taylor! TAYLOR! What were you doing?!? Where did my Taylor go? Dude. Some advice. If you're not feeling the song, DO NOT CHOOSE THAT SONG. You will suck. Not only was the performance bland and lacking all that wonderful Taylorness that we all adore, but some of the vocal was iffy, too. You could go tonight after that. And that would make me very, very sad.

Predictions

Paris, Taylor and Bucky in the bottom three. Maybe Elliott instead of Bucky. I'm not sure who's going home and my love for Taylor doesn't want to predict him as this week's casualty.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

AI Review, 2006/03/28

I waited all week for that?!?

Gah. I don't even want to review it.

Highlights

  • Elliott: Thank heavens for Elliott. He sounded great (although it sounded like he messed the lyrics a teeny bit at the beginning) and he put out more attitude than I've ever seen from him. Great to see. He seems to be starting to come out of his shell! Way to go. Very good take on the song to fit his style.
  • Paris: While I do kind of agree with Simon that it seemed like someone trying to imitate BeyoncĂ©, it was good performing. Finally, out came someone with voom and pizzazz who was there to win it. I didn't find the song had enough melody to really jazz me, but you have to admit, Paris can perform.
  • Taylor: Not a stunning performance from Taylor, but I liked the vulnerability he put into it and he sounded very good. Plus, it's Taylor. :)

Good

  • Chris: Sounded terrific tonight, and did rock it out okay, but I think with a show like this you have to pick a song that has a little more variety and melody in it. I wasn't that moved, although kudos to him for being the ONLY FREAKIN' IDOL who can meaningfully pull off the point-into-the-camera move when singing the word 'you'. (But still...Chris? Don't do that again anytime soon, 'kay?) I agree that Simon's hypocrisy - one week "it's so great that you don't compromise" and the next "you can't keep doing the same thing" was ludicrous. Pick an opinion, boy, and stick with it.
  • Katharine: Maybe I was hard to please last night (although no one could have been more so than Randy, holy cow) but this song didn't do much for me. She sounded good and put on an okay performance, but I wasn't zinged. She is, however, absolutely safe.
  • Mandisa: Her usual upbeat performance and fantastic vocals, but godrock just doesn't do it for me. Or maybe the song itself just wasn't that great?

Meh

  • Bucky: Biggest problem was that I couldn't freakin' hear him for some of the song! Part of that I blame on the crew, but also, When he goes into his lower register, it doesn't sound so great (or audible). However, what I really, really liked was that he started to turn on a wee bit of charisma and start to be a little sexy, which is what the performance needed. And HELLO?!? He has a WIFE? Did I read that caption right?!?
  • Kellie: Kind of a non-performance. By the end of the night I'd pretty much forgotten all about it. Vocals were not fantastic, song was forgettable, performance was enh. It wasnt exactly bad but if she keeps doing that she will be out of the competition in a hurry.

At risk:

  • Ace: What the HELL was that. TOTAL disconnect between the song and his style, and it didnt even sound that good (although the choruses at the end picked up vocally a tad). And when he pulled aside his shirt to show his scar (which I totally didn't understand until the post-performance interview when he said that's what he was doing) my stomach roiled. No stripping on Idol, please. Yeesh.
  • Lisa: I appreciated that at last, we started to see some serious emotional commitment in a serious song, vs. her usual habit of smiling winningly at the audience while singing about love and loss. Good for her. However, there were some iffy pitch moments and her song choice was pretty dumb. (Points to her for gutsiness, but still...dumb.) It guaranteed that no one would be doing anything during that performance but comparing her to The First Ever American Idol. Very, very dangerous unless you either a) completely out-do the person to whom you're being compared or b) do a completely different take on the song. Lisa did neither.

Pick to go this week

Tough to say. First of all we have to take into consideration the fact that the rabid Kevin fans will be redistributing their votes tonight. Where will those votes go? I think probably they will mostly go to Ace, maybe some to Lisa. Personally I thought Lisa's performance was much better than Ace's (and that Ace's was far and away the worst), but I am not America and I don't know much about Kelly Clarkson...Lisa might well go tonight.

I'm not exactly sure who's going home tonight but I predict Ace, Bucky and Lisa in the bottom three.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

AI Review, 2006/03/21

Good night. Lots of strong stuff, very entertaining.

Winners

  • Chris: Not the best vocals I've heard out of Chris - he was a bit shaky/awkward in the lower register bits. However, his original take on the song and performance of it puts him in the top of the heap. After he was finished, my husband turned to me and said, "Where can I buy that single?" :)
  • Katharine: Laying aside for a moment the fact that Katharine cannot seem to find outfits that don't billow pregnantly at the front, this was a wonderful performance. Her performance abilities are really growing - she owned that stage and everybody in the audience, and looked like she had all the time in the world there to do her thing. And she sounded very, very good. And how pretty is this girl, eh? If I were a lesbian I would be totally hot for her, especially since she has curves and isn't a skinny stick. Anyone else think she looks like Madeline Stowe?
  • Mandisa: I just felt so sorry for everyone else after she was done. :) What a show opener! I don't know how she can just turn on that VOOM every time she gets on stage, it's great. She sounded wonderful, the song showed off her voice, the performance was sexy, womanly, classy, strong and empowered. And her hair looked so pretty.

Pretty good

  • Ace: There were some very good moments in this song, and I really liked his original take on it. What bumped it out of the 'winners' category for me was all the moments where his voice went too sharp and I went 'ouch'. He has GOT to get better control of his voice, and also take more advantage of his soft tone.
  • Elliott: Beautiful vocals. I adore listening to him. And he's starting to open up - he turned on a little bit of charm this week, which was great to see.
  • Kevin: I can't believe I'm putting him in this category, but I did actually like his performance last night. He sang something VERY appropriate to his voice and his style, and with Manilow's help did a good job performing it. (Barry's instincts were right on the money - the soft bits were my favourite part of the song.)

Fine

  • Kellie: I have no idea what the judges were raving about. Vocally it was mostly the best thing I've heard out of Kellie (except for a bit around the middle of the song) but what the hell was with that performance? I mean, I know the song was about walking...at midnight...but does that mean the performer simply walks...and walks...and WALKS all around the theatre as their 'moves'? Her face was expressionless and there was no heartache in it at all, despite Barry's coaching. Also I would like to slap whoever put on her blush.
  • Paris: I was actually kind of disappointed. I saw bits of when Paris did 'Fever' during the auditions, and it looked totally hot and original and she seemed like she was really getting into it. By contrast, this was kind of bland. She kind of got into it at the end, but it could have been really hot, and it really wasn't. Plus vocally at the beginning it was a bit too low for her. However, I don't think she'll have any problems sailing through to the top 10.

Enh

  • Bucky: Argh. This was a frustrating performance because this was Bucky's opportunity to grow and shine. This whole song is all about "I would be such a good boyfriend and you should totally be with me, c'mon, you know you wanna..." Bucky should have opened up and brought out a flirty, sexy side. Combined with his nifty 'country crooning' take on the vocals, that would have been KILLER. Instead he just played it normal, and like Simon said, it was complete karaoke. I like Bucky (which is weird, since I'm pretty anti-country) but he's just being outclassed here. He could go tonight.
  • Lisa: The best vocals I've heard out of her so far. However, I'm not sure what's happened to Lisa - Her debut performance in top-24 week was fantastically strong, and since then her performance quality has consistently gone downhill. This week she seemed extremely unfocused on stage, there was a disconnect between her and the song, and she just didn't shine. She could go tonight, depending on how rabid Bucky's fan following is.
  • Taylor: Quite a disappointment. I agree with Simon - if you viewed that out of context as the first time you'd seen Taylor, without knowing how great Taylor was beforehand, it would kind of suck. Which was a real disappointment, because in his rehearsals with Manilow he sounded KILLER. I don't know what happened - somewhere between that rehearsal and the performance, the arrangement stopped being something which highlighted Taylor's vocals beautifully and became something which was actually kind of unflattering to his voice. Plus the whole thing was just this boring repetitive chorus while Taylor ran around the theatre. I liked it because it was Taylor, but otherwise it did nothing for me. He may be in the bottom three tonight.

Pick to go this week

Bucky or Lisa - hard to say which.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

AI Review, 2006/03/14

Stand-out fave

  • Taylor: There were some excellent performances tonight, but none jazzed me quite like Taylor's. That was AWESOME. He sang really well, he owned the stage, he got into it, he hooked the audience, he turned on that "Classic Taylor Hicks I Loves Me The Music, Woo!" thing that he does so well and it rocked me completely.

Top of the heap

  • Katharine: Beautiful vocals, great stage presence. The only thing I had to complain about was that dress. Ugh.
  • Paris: How that fantastic voice and that incredible stage presence comes out of that girlie-wirlie little thing I will never know. What an entertainer.

Solid

  • Chris: I think Chris struggles with that rock-god-charisma thing. It's something he absolutely has to have for the kind of music he does, but unfortunately I don't think it's something that comes naturally to him. And I felt it was missing tonight. Otherwise a terrific performance.

Good but lacking something essential

  • Elliott: Very good vocals but holy cow, was he ever freaked out by the stage and the audience. You could see it in his eyes - he looked like a rabbit in the headlights. This was very disappointing since the theme this week was totally up his alley and by rights he should have NAILED it.
  • Lisa: The vocals were not totally there. There were a lot of spots in the song where she tried to do something different and impressive...and didn't pull it off. By contrast, we have Paris - also great with the stage presence - who took a lot of vocal risks and COMPLETELY nailed them.
  • Mandisa: Surprisingly, what I found lacking for Mandisa tonight were the vocals. The song took her into her lower register too much and she's not as strong there.

Okay

  • Bucky: He had an opportunity here to shine and kind of blew it. He has a good voice! He should have played with the melodies and done stuff with the song to make it more his and more vocally interesting. Instead...he just sang the song. And someone needs to tell that boy that pauses in the singing do not mean you're supposed to just mark time until it's time to sing again. Perform, dammit. Make every moment meaningful, even when you're not singing.
  • Melissa: Poor girl. She said in her pre-performance interview that she had some kind of cold playing havoc with her voice and yeah, you could hear it. She struggled and fought so hard for vocal control that whole song, it's no wonder she forgot some of her lyrics (although to be fair, I never would have figured that out if Randy hadn't brought it up). Given all that, I admire the intensity she was able to bring to her performance. Hopefully she'll stick around next week and her voice will come back online.

Ouch

  • Ace: Oh, the pain. He was way off-pitch for a lot of the song, he came off as intimidated by the venue, and there just seemed to be a huge disconnect for him with the song. There was no vibe at all. I predict he will make it through based on his sexiness and the fact that in the past, he has proven he can sing.
  • Kellie: The judges had it right. Total snooze-fest. And on top of that, her vocals weren't even that great. Kellie is not a great singer, so she has to make up for that with good ol' country-style spunk, which was not anywhere in evidence tonight. It was just wrong all over.
  • Kevin: Vocally I think this was actually the best I've heard Kevin do...which isn't saying much unfortunately, because I don't think he has tremendous talent in that area. But come ON people, that performance? Those moves? Is it just me or does it seem like Kevin is this year's American Idol practical joke? Which is COMPLETELY unfair to him because he is a GREAT kid. I just hope he gets voted off soon so I can stop wincing.

My pick to go this week

Kellie

(Ordinarily I would say Kevin, but I think his fans will come out in droves for him and I totally think he deserves another kick at the can after dissing Simon so bee-yew-tifully tonight. :) Go Kev.)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

AI Predictions for 2006/03/09

Eliminations

  • Ayla
  • Kevin
  • Kinnik
  • Will

(Therefore) Top twelve

  • Ace
  • Bucky
  • Chris
  • Elliott
  • Gedeon
  • Katharine
  • Kellie
  • Lisa
  • Mandisa
  • Melissa
  • Paris
  • Taylor

Possible surprises

  • Lisa or Melissa could be eliminated instead of Ayla
  • Bucky or Taylor could be eliminated instead of Will or Kevin

AI Review, 2006/03/08

Kind of a bland night tonight. For the first time, nothing really spectacular happened.

Best:

  • Ace: Excellent recovery from last week. He chose something which really showed off his vocals, and he really pulled it off. Very impressive. Closest thing to spectacular I saw all night.

Solid:

  • Bucky: Another solid Bucky performance. I do like the way he sings, even if country is totally not my style. (Although I would really like to hear what he does with some Springsteen.) The problem now is that it seems to be the same kind of thing week after week. I do think he's going into the top twelve, but I don't think he'll stay there if he doesn't change it up a little and show some growth.
  • Chris: While of course it was great seeing Chris continuing to be good, I don't feel this week was up to the standard he set his previous two times out. Vocally it wasn't as good, emotionally it wasn't as hammering. I think he's going to make it into the top twelve no problem, but I hope next week he picks it back up again.
  • Gedeon: His style of Speaking. Very. Dee-lib-er-ayte-ly. During. Thee. Interviews...just cracks me right up. I don't know if he's trying to control a stutter or come off as thoughtful or smart, or what, but it's a little strange. I do find it pretty endearing, though. During the auditions he kept trying to act like he was all that, but I think it's an act. I think deep down he's not that sure of himself. But anyway, about his performance - I thought it was good. As always, The Voice was there, he showed it off, and got into the song.

Good:

  • Elliott: As always, he sounded marvellous. (Although his mike was not turned up loudly enough to hear him very well over the band. Bad crew. Bad.) However, I COMPLETELY agree with Simon, there was a total disconnect between the song and Elliott's vibe. Elliott should be playing intimate, soulful little jazz clubs. Hearing him do Bryan Adams with an electric guitar jamming behind him just felt really, really wrong. I don't think it did anything for him. A more jazzy arrangement of the song would have been KILLER, but unfortunately he didn't do that. I really hope he gets through this week.
  • Taylor: I feel really guilty not putting Taylor in a higher class tonight because he just made me smile SO MUCH tonight. But I have to come down to earth and be honest, it wasn't the best vocally and that crazy manic dancing during the chorus - oh boy. :) Well, you sure cannot say that Taylor does not get into the music. But I prefer his soul-style grooving to...to...to...okay, I have no idea what the heck to call that kind of moving. HOWEVER - I still love that Taylor boy. I really hope America felt the same way tonight.

In danger:

  • Kevin: I realised something as Kevin was singing - I think his voice is much more suited to musicals than modern music. Can't you just see him in in something on Broadway, that moment partway through the second act where one of the male leads is left alone on stage with nothing but his angst, a single spotlight and his big meaningful solo number? That could be Kevin out there. But Idol material I just gotta say, the boy is not. However, I really admire his maturity and personality and I wish him all the best...cuz I don't think he's moving on after this week.
  • Will: This boy's voice is growing on me. After the first week I totally blew him off vocally but last week and this week he has brought me around - I think he has a good sound. And sound good he did tonight. If my eyes had been closed it would have been a winner. But visually? I gotta agree with Simon, it was total karaoke. He seemed really distracted, kinda awkward and the performance just wasn't there.

AI Review, 2006/03/07

Winner:

  • Mandisa: Okay, I mean really, why are we bothering with all this window-dressing? Let's just cut to the finals between Mandisa and Chris and have ourselves a big ol' sing-fest. Who's with me?

Very good:

  • Katharine: She really showed off the beauty of her voice this week. That was an incredible pleasure to listen to. There is something about her performance style, however, that I find too amateur, too much like a giggly teenager unsure of what to do with herself on the stage. Hopefully she'll pick up more professionalism as she goes on. She will, however, sail into next week.

Good:

  • Kellie: There is no doubt that the American viewing audience will vote her in this week. However, I felt that her performance was lacking in a few areas. I don't think her voice is rich enough to be able to pull that song off. And I don't feel that she is emotionally deep enough for the song. Plus, like Katharine, she performs more like an amateur than a professional. The other thing that bugs me about her is that she is so. Damn. DUMB. It's driving me CRAZY. I mean, she's obviously a lovely person but come ON, must we continue this trend America has these days of idolizing the stupid?
  • Melissa: Wow. After hearing her in the top 24 performance, I wrote that I wanted to hear Melissa's voice singing some really classic rock stuff. This week she granted me my wish, and I was totally not disappointed. She sounded awesome and her performance was adequately intense for the song, except for two things. One, and I noticed this last week too, she's too frenetic in her movements on stage. Her arms move around too much without any seeming purpose, and I find it distracting. Two, Simon did have a bit of a point regarding the way she ended the song off - I thought she cut the performance aspect short even though she was still singing. Her stage presence just kind of...died away before the song actually ended. Mistake. She needs to see it right through to the end. However, overall I think it was enough to send her into the top twelve. This is a very big deal since I think the mass audience perceives her as a bit forgettable, even though she has a terrific voice. EXCELLENT song choice, very smart. Good on ya, Melissa.
  • Paris: Great performance as always, I thought she pulled the song off really well. However, there were a few vocal/arrangement choices in there that I thought were weird and distracting. Also, it wasn't as oomphy a number as I know she can lay out when she really gets going. Nevertheless, I think she's totally safe.

In danger:

  • Ayla: She sounded pretty horrible in the first part of the song. It stepped up a bit when the song moved into the higher notes and the faster pace, but unfortunately it still didn't showcase her beautiful voice very well, so all we had to go on was her performance...which, while bouncier than we've seen her, was still not fantastic. I think her decision to go upbeat was very intelligent, but I don't think she chose the right song to do it. I have serious doubts that we'll see her in the top twelve.
  • Kinnik: Last week for her. She just doesn't have as much of that likeability factor as the others, unfortunately. Plus she chose a pretty bland song, and to top it off, she screwed it up really badly. I think my ears are still crying. I think she'll be first to go on Thursday.
  • Lisa: Her performances seem to be getting more boring as time goes on. I think the judges were spot-on, she needs to choose things that will appeal to a younger audience. While she has a nice voice, it's her personality that really has the potential to carry her forward, so she has to play to that...and this week, she really didn't.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

AI Predictions for 2006/03/02

Going this week

  • Brenna
  • David
  • Heather
  • Sway

Top twelve

  • Ace
  • Ayla
  • Bucky
  • Chris
  • Elliott
  • Gedeon
  • Katharine
  • Lisa
  • Mandisa
  • Melissa
  • Paris
  • Taylor

AI Review, 2006/03/01

Winner:

  • Chris: HELL-o. Really, what more is there to say. Oh, and he's hawt. :)

Runner-up:

  • Elliott: Damn, that boy can sing.

Strong:

  • Bucky: The combination of the redneck accent, overly-blinking eyes and complaints about how confusing good cuisine is just SLAY me. I want so much to mock. And once again, as soon as Bucky started to sing, that all vanished. Very, very good. I particularly liked the vulnerability he brought to the first part of the song. Nice. However, Simon has a point. If we compare Bucky to Chris there really is no comparison - Bucky would be the opener and Chris would be the main show. I do think Bucky will make it pretty easily into the top 12, but if he wants to go far in that group he needs to pack on some star quality. Since I think it's his shyness/modesty that keeps him right now from 'owning the stage', hopefully a few more weeks of confidence-boosting will do this for him.
  • Gedeon: Still loving his voice. And his performance and moves were more 'real' this week. I don't think for a moment that he's going to win this competition but he's definitely interesting to have around.
  • Will: I have no idea what Randy and Paula were on tonight when they criticized Will's performance. I thought it was very good. He chose a song that really showcased his voice, and despite his young age he was pretty convincing with a love song. I think his target audience probably wet themselves during that performance. He's not going anywhere this week.

Good:

  • Taylor: Not so jazzed on Taylor's performance this week. What I really like about Taylor is that when he's in his zone, it's like he's 'preaching the good word', you know? (In a totally joyous and non-thumping way.) And unfortunately there weren't a lot of moments like that for him in this week's performance. Also, too many 'WOO!'s. :) (Chalk that up to nerves, I think.) Hopefully next week he'll jump back up.

Okay:

  • Ace: Ouch. There were a lot of painful notes during that performance. I was impressed with his falsetto but quite a bit of that magnetism that we saw last week was just not there this time. Forgettable song choice.

In danger:

  • David: I think Simon said it best - if you do that genre without confidence, it doesn't work. And tonight...it didn't work. There were one or two short moments where a tiny bit of something happened, but mostly it fell flat.
  • Kevin: I'm glad Kevin had fun tonight. I'm glad everyone wants to squish him. I love that he can laugh at himself. But that song did no favours for his voice and overall the performance was just plain silly. However, of the three guys that I think are in danger, I think he has the best chance of making it through because he probably has a rabidly devoted fan base who are going to go nuts trying to vote him through.
  • Sway: We've gotten to see a fair number of clips of Sway singing in the auditions, and you know, there he had a great voice, good control, performance and style. NONE of that was in evidence tonight. He was pitchy, the song was boring, his stage presence was blah...he's my bet for lowest vote-getter of the guys this week. Which is a shame, because I think he has talent.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

AI Review, 2006/02/28

What a letdown. Weak night tonight. Ugh. There seemed to be a recurrent theme of singing deep, meaningful songs while flashing cutesy happy grins at the audience. What the HELL is with that? If you're singing something raw, play it raw. Geez.

So anyway...

Top of the heap:

  • Mandisa: I don't know what it is about this girl, but when she performs it's like her personality just zooms out of her past the stage to smack you in the jaw. Plus, she can really, really sing. I see where Randy and Simon's comments were coming from tonight but she was still great.
  • Melissa: Really, really well done. I love her voice, and she brought a good intensity to the performance. The whole thing really suited her style. The only complaint I have is that her movements were a bit too frenetic. But absolutely one of the more professional performances of the evening.

Strong:

  • Ayla: A lot of what Simon said was bang-on. She's improving, she's working really hard, but now what she has to work on is becoming less 'perfect' and more raw. Very nice vocals tonight...although she appears to be a card-carrying member of the "Here's my happy smile while I'm singing something serious" club.
  • Kinnik: I actually disagree with the judges on a lot of counts. No, it wasn't the best song to show off her impressive vocals, but I don't think that matters. After last week's performance, I think America was looking for her to show a lighter side, something with fun and personality, and that's exactly what she did. I think it was a smart song choice and a good performance to keep her in the competition another week.
  • Lisa: Well sung, good stage presence as usual. However, she was one of the worst offenders of that "Here's my happy smile while I'm singing something serious" club. It was quite distracting.
  • Paris: I agree with the judges' comments that the song was too old for her young spunkiness. But you know, if ever there was a week for her to do a song like that and prove that she's got The Diva Voice(TM) while still remaining totally safe, this was it. Now she's established that she can really, REALLY sing and she can move on with showing us her real style. Also, I really admire the commitment that she brought to that performance. Very impressive overall.

Not my faves but I'm sure they'll get through:

  • Katharine: Her performance was excellent in spots and really sketchy in others. In some places the oomph and vocals were a delight to watch, and other times my ears were wincing and performance-wise she seemed to be in a bad high school revue. Plus, I found her pre-song interview to be incredibly annoying and all the supposed 'candid' takes of her and Kellie being 'wild and crazy' to be pathetically staged. However, I think America will vote her through to next week.
  • Kellie: I really enjoyed Kellie's vocals tonight, I must admit. It didn't hurt that she sang a song I really liked. If I had been listening to that on the radio, it would have been a total winner. However, watching the girl perform - not professional at all. She's wooden and awkward. What drives me crazy is that America will probably vote her through to the top 12 because America tends to love that cutesie/stupid blonde country girl thang. Shudder.

In danger:

  • Brenna: Paula was totally right when she said the magic just was not there tonight. Vocals were strained, performance was tense - she only started loosening up near the end, and it just wasn't enough. Combine that with her UNBELIEVABLE level of conceitedness but without the claws that last week made her so 'bad-guy' appealing to some segments of the population? I think she's toast.
  • Heather: I must say that her vocals were tremendously improved over last week. This isn't admittedly saying very much, since her vocals last week blew goat. She did sound quite good this week, though, she was nice to listen to. But the judges were right - the comparison of her performance to Mariah Carey was pretty painful. She didn't do anything different with the song, she just performed it much, MUCH more blandly.

Friday, February 24, 2006

AI Predictions for 2006/02/23

Eliminations this week:

  • Bobby
  • Heather
  • Patrick
  • Stevie

Top Twelve

  • Ace
  • Ayla
  • Bucky
  • Chris
  • Elliot
  • Katharine
  • Lisa
  • Mandisa
  • Melissa
  • Paris
  • Sway
  • Taylor

AI Review, 2006/02/22

Another pretty good show. Thank heavens Paula is looking like a human being again.

My faves:

  • Bucky: The whole hick-country-yokem thing he's got made me wince, but once he was on stage and opened his mouth I shut the hell up with the mocking him and started being extremely impressed. He really knows how to use his voice! I agree with the judges that he overused the 'rough' voice during the song, but really that doesn't matter very much. A definite winner.
  • Chris: Total pro. The real deal. Whether or not he wins this, he absolutely has a career in the music industry and I'm looking forward to hearing his stuff.

Very strong:

  • Ace: I utterly agreed with Simon's comment - brilliant song choice. BRILLIANT. If he keeps doing that he might win this competition on smart song choices alone. He also has a voice, sexiness and a genuine intensity (as opposed to Constantine's fake 'I am a glorious man' intense stare into the camera).
  • Elliott: Wow! This boy can sing! And he really gets into it, too. Nice. Taylor: During the audition shows I saw him do a better job of singing than he did last night. However, his performance was still good. I agree with the judges that he is totally original and that is definitely a good thing. He's so appealing! I think it's because he obviously loves music so, so much - he seems to live and breathe it and his exuberance for it just bubbles over in everything he does. That's going to carry him a long way. Plus, he can sing.

Not as strong but very likely still safe:

  • Gedeon: I. Love. His. Voice. That is a huge asset for him - big natural talent. He also has the thousand-watt smile that is so appealing (Simon has no idea what he's talking about - I can't believe he said the smile annoyed him). However, the way he moved really distracted me. The stage presence was there but the movements were pretty gawky and awkward. The fact that he repeated the same set of three awkward moves during the repeat of the chorus just emphasized the un-naturalness of his movements. I hope he can pull it together physically because he has tremendous potential.
  • Sway: Very smooth and stylish. Yeah, okay, it was pimpy - but it did have style. I liked it, but was unfortunately was distracted by all the out-of-tuneness with the falsetto thing. I liked it way better when he used his natural voice - hopefully in future weeks he'll use that instead. That one big high note was awesome, though.

At risk:

  • Bobby: He's my first bet among the guys for not making it into next week. His voice is good, but it was pitchy in parts of the song, and the whole performance was too cheezy and awkward. However, I will say this - I really, really like him. He seems like a totally great guy. But he's not going to win this competition.
  • David: Great voice, cute kid, very charming. Reminds me of my first boyfriend, actually. However, the performance overall gave me more of an amateur impression than a professional one. More like the kind of thing that would be a great performance in high school, but not quite good enough for the grownup world. However, I think he stands a good chance of moving on because of his looks and charm and because of the uniqueness among the competition of his crooner thing.
  • Kevin: This boy is obviously a very likeable, wonderful kid. Unfortunately that's about all he's got where this competition is concerned. His voice is okay, but not stand-out. He has a face only a mother could love. He doesn't exude charisma or sexiness. He just exudes niceness, and I just don't think that's enough in this competition.
  • Patrick: He can sing. He definitely knows what he's doing in that department. However, he was obviously nervous and awkward tonight, so that does work against him. I'm interested to see whether he's more compelling as a performer when he sticks to the 'ballad niche' they were talking about. Because otherwise, he's pretty bland and I don't think he'll last long.
  • Will: I think Simon was bang-on about him. The performance was okay, and he's cute...but the song did nothing to showcase his voice, which came across as ordinary (and of course by 'ordinary' I mean only compared to good singers, not the general population). Also, I felt the performance was a bit more high-school than really professional, so overall I think he's one of the weakest contenders.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

AI Review, 2006/02/21

Interesting night last night! I really enjoyed a lot of the performances.

Stand-out favourites:

  • Mandisa: Wow. She overdid it a bit too much with the power in some parts, but boy, can she ever perform! What a show opener.
  • Paris: Personally I find her a bit too cutesy-wootsey little girl, but she can really crank it up on stage! Great singing, great performance, total winner.
  • Lisa: She doesn't have the strongest voice of the competition (although don't get me wrong, it is a good voice), but it doesn't matter. Her stage presence and star power is fantastic.

Easily cruising into next week:

  • Katharine: Beautiful voice but I didn't get the oomph that my top three above gave me. On the other hand, I was concentrating more on my knitting than the TV while she was singing, so my lack of oomph could be my fault.
  • Ayla: Very, very nice. A very ambitious song that she did pull off extremely well. I was very impressed with how she gave a good balance of strong and soft, and bringing the audience in with her during the soft instead of just marking time until the next big note. Really enjoyable performance, great voice, I'm looking forward to seeing more of her.
  • Melissa: I was very surprised! Her voice is great and she really brought it, vocally and emotionally, during the intense bits. I would LOOOVE to hear her sing some classic rock, her voice would be perfectly suited to that genre.

Probably moving on:

  • Kellie: I think I might find her even more annoying than Brenna. However, I'm betting that a lot of Americans will adore the simple (read: dumb) blonde country girl thing, so they'll be able to overlook the APPALLING out-of-tuneness that plagued a lot of her performance.
  • Kinnik: She has a voice. She knows how to use it. She has stage presence. But her performance seemed pretty staged - point at audience here, raise arm there, now look intensely into camera, etc. She needs to make it more real, as well as to choose song styles that are going to be more popular with the audience - more modern, less Vegas.

In danger

  • Brenna: She sounded good, but the song was a bit bland (especially given her personality) and I think a LOT of people are going to find her totally obnoxious. On the other hand, I think a lot of people are going to vote for her - lots of people like having a 'bad guy' around. Of my bottom four I think she has the most chance of making it through to next week.
  • Stevie: What a disastrous choice. Both in song and in the way she chose to sing it. This is too bad, because I think it would be very, very interesting to see an opera-trained voice in this competition, plus I like her from the interviews. But she's in serious danger after last night because her performance, well, kinda sucked.
  • Becky: She sounded okay, she performed okay, it was okay. Okay, okay, okay. Given the song she sang, which rocks and which I love, just 'okay' is bad. I agree that she may cruise through to next week on her looks. Heather: I would bet good money that she definitely does not make it through to next week. She was terribly out of tune, her voice is nothing remarkable, and I agree with Simon that the performance was utterly forgettable. Bye, Heather.