Wednesday, March 29, 2006

AI Review, 2006/03/28

I waited all week for that?!?

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


  • 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. :)


  • 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?


  • 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.


  • 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.)


  • 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 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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


(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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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, 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


  • 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.


  • 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


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


  • Elliott: Damn, that boy can sing.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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 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.


  • 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.