"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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.