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American Idol Season 4 (2005)

 

February 28 (Semi-Finals: Men)

 

It's guys' night again.  Two down, ten left.  Simon's catch phrase of the night is, "If I'm being honest with you," which is usually followed by, "I can hear the same thing in any club in L.A. - any Portuguese nightclub - insert your city's club here."  After about the fourth time, I tuned him out.

Mario Vazquez (sings the OJays' "I Love Music") - Wow!  Fez from That 70s Show sings a 70s song!  He said before this that he was going to prove he wasn't bald, but he keeps his silly hat on throughout the song.  This is a nice opener - he has fun with it - but please, folks, don't tell me to "Come on" or to put my hands together.  I'm a grumpy 40-year-old.  I'll get on my feet if I like you, not because you tell me to.

Anwar Robinson (sings Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On") - We didn't feel this was the best song choice for Anwar's voice, and there were some surprising pitch problems that the judges didn't seem to hear.  Like last week, he seemed a bit tentative at first, but once he got into the groove he wasn't too bad.  I like the way he genuinely enjoys himself on stage.  I wish they'd turn up the volume on the contestants' microphones, though.  They always have a problem with the first one or two people in that regard, which is really unfair.

Joseph Murena (sings Al Green's "Let's Stay Together") - He still reminds me of a stereotypical Vegas performer, but at least he didn't seem as creepy this week.  It's hard to be scared by someone who's bouncing on stage bow-legged like he's riding a horse.  He's fine, but not particularly memorable.  He also gets the award for the most times urging people to "Come on!"  Stop it!

David Brown (sings Stevie Wonder's "All In Love Is Fair") - Someone forgot to tell David that we buried Stevie Wonder's songs last week.  We sigh and roll our eyes.  David seems nervous, and he's relying on his vibrato to stay on pitch (as in, hitting a straight tone off-pitch, then going into a vibrato to get it right).  Not a good sign, and not a good song choice.  I think he's in danger unless he's developed a strong fan base.

Constantine Maroulis (sings Otis Redding's "Sure Hard To Handle") - Okay, it's better than last week, even though he does a lot of screaming.  Can one karaoke this song?  Because that's kind of what it sounds like.  It looks like he's just performing rather than putting real emotion into it.  He's lost most of the rocker poses, though, except for opening the left side of his jacket at key moments.  Why does he do that?  I don't know.  It's not like there's anything to see.

Scott Savol (sings Luther Vandross' "Never Too Much") - The sunglasses and beard are an improvement, even though Mike thinks they make him look like Christopher Cross (next week: "Sailing"!).  He's slowly improving his stage presence, but there's not that much dynamic range to this song, and he's really not that exciting compared to the other singers right now.  He needed to buy a personality along with those shades.

Travis Tucker (sings Lionel Ritchie's "All Night Long") - Please.  No.  Lionel.  Ritchie.  I'm gagging.  Travis has worked out all these neat little Michael Jackson-esque moves to go with the song, but bad moves do not make up for a bad song choice or off-pitch singing.  Incomprehensibly, the judges think he's great, which leads me to wonder what's in those Coke glasses on their table.  He's probably still in because I suspect he has a bigger fan base than some of the other singers.

Nikko Smith (sings Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On") - Oh, dear.  Why doesn't someone just go ahead and sing "Sexual Healing" while they're at it?  I don't much care for this song, but he does a really good job, even if - as Simon says - he looks an awfully lot like Bobby Brown right now (which leads to the best comment of the night from Randy, who says Simon could be Whitney Houston).  At least his voice is different enough this week that I don't think Marvin is singing off-stage.  He's also the first singer of the night to both stay on pitch consistently and show some dynamic range.  I'm beginning to think there's some hope for this show.  Thank you.

Anthony Fedorov (sings Foreigner's "I Want To Know What Love Is") - Despite a few pitch problems, Anthony really impressed me tonight.  While he's been touted as the next Clay Aiken, he showed with this song that he has his own voice.  He looked and sounded quite professional.  The only snarky comment Simon could make was about the torn jeans (and he was right - they didn't really look right on clean-cut Anthony).  This guy's going to go pretty far in this competition if he can keep having good performances like this one.

Bo Bice (sings the Allman Brothers' "Whipping Post") - A great way to end the show.  The difference between Bo and Constantine (the two "rockers") is that Bo puts genuine emotion into his performances.  He doesn't just have fun with the songs, he owns them.  As Simon pointed out, this is reminiscent of Fantasia from last year.  The difference, of course, is that Bo isn't a single mom with a grating voice who people will be annoyed with because of a supposed "attitude."  He's got a quiet, humble personality.  It will be interesting to see how far he goes.

Overall, the guys did much better this week than last week, and they've really raised the bar for the women tonight.  Our top three of the evening are Bo, Anthony, and Nikko, in that order (although it's really close between Bo and Anthony).  Our bottom three would be David, Travis, and...um...a toss up between Constantine, Joseph, and Scott.  But anything goes here.  We'll find out what happens on Wednesday.

Eliminated on March 3 Results Show:  David Brown and Joseph Murena

 

Review 2005 by Patricia Lowhorn.  For comments, e-mail tricia@lowhorn.org.

 

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