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American Idol Season 4 (2005)


March 7 (Semi-Finals: Men)


Two more men down, eight left.  Can they top last week's performances?  I admit that my expectations were high.  Maybe too high.  Oh, well.

Let me say for the record that having each contestant talk about his zodiac sign before his performance is lame.  Especially when half of them are Taurus, which leads to the inevitable comment of "There's a lot of bull here" from Mike.

Scott Savol (sings the Four Tops' "Can't Help Myself"): He's getting a little more comfortable on stage.  The problem is, he's not as comfortable as the other singers yet, and I still don't see much of a personality.  Close your eyes, he's fantastic.  Open them...well, no, you'd better close them again.  It's not helping that he's performing a song that's been flogged to death on this show.  Is there nothing else in the AI repertoire that they can suggest to these contestants and/or get clearance for?  To make matters worse, we once again have the "first singer's curse" in that the microphone levels are too low.  Grr.  You'd think they'd learn to fix that problem by now.

Bo Bice (sings Edward McCain's "I'll Be"): The theme for tonight seems to be, "Let me sing something that shows I'm versatile."  In Bo's case, it doesn't work as well, at least for me.  This is disappointing considering last week's amazing performance.  He pulls off a decent rendition of this song, and he still owns the stage, but I prefer his more solid Southern rock performances.  I love his attitude, though - humble, genuine.  Take notes, Constantine.  He also thanks the band, and from then on, everyone follows suit.  An officer and a gentleman with long hair.  I love it.

Anthony Fedorov (sings Marc Anthony's "I've Got You"): He performs this song well, although he stays rooted to one spot the whole time (must be leftover glue from the women's performances last week).  I'm not thrilled with the song selection because it keeps him in his upper range, and that can be grating after a while.  Also, I'm getting sick of hearing about his background.  We now know that he came here as a boy from the Ukraine, that he worked really hard to learn English, that he had a tracheotomy and was told he'd never speak again, etc., etc.  The thing is, he doesn't need the "aww-isn't-it-amazing-he-came-this-far" back story.  His voice is fantastic on its own.  Let it speak (or, rather, sing) for itself, okay?

Nikko Smith (sings Ray Charles' "Georgia On My Mind"): Ugh.  Why do the judges like this rendition?  They're insane.  Nothing matches Ray, and this doesn't even come close to the tributes everyone was singing around Oscar/Grammy time.  Nikko has one or two glory notes that sound nice, but the rest of the song is just boring.  As for his performance, Mike thinks he looks like Stevie Wonder doing Ray Charles, which make me giggle.  And why did Nikko come out in a hat only to hang it on the microphone stand?  Is that supposed to mean something?  Just lose the hats, folks.  I want to see you, not your props.

Travis Tucker (sings Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step"): Please, please, will someone tell this guy to work on his singing before his choreography?  Nice dance moves, but he was hardly ever on pitch.  At least he takes my advice and throws his hat into the audience.  I hope no one was hurt.

Mario Vasquez (sings the Bee Gees' "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"): Totally taking my advice, he wears no hat at all!  And now I wish he did, because his hair is scary.  He looks so much like Fez from That 70s Show - Fez with a bad perm, no less - that it's hard for me to take him seriously.  I mean, right down to batting his eyes at Paula.  No, wait, that's a Constantine move.  So Constantine is actually channeling Fez, and he's corrupting poor Mario.  Argh!  Anyway, I'll give Mario credit for singing his heart out on this one.  But I think he might be in danger, because Paula gave him the kiss of death by saying, "This competition wouldn't be the same without you."

Constantine Maroulis (sings the Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"): It takes me a moment to get over my horror at finding out that he's the same sign that I am (I calm down by reminding myself that I don't buy into that zodiac stuff anyway).  He works the crowd well, but once again his song choice is questionable.  I'm sitting there making all sorts of wishes during his performance.  Like, I wish he would take some voice lessons.  I wish he would wash his hair.  I wish he would take that goofy smile off his face.  I wish he would not open his jacket, not even a little.  I wish... woah!  What was that?  I just flashed back to an Icehouse concert I went to back in 1985.  That flirty smile, those dimples - egads, he's reminding me of Iva Davies!  Don't do that!  Stop it!  I will have to like you, and I don't want to do that!  Bad Constantine!  Bad!  (Right now, most of you who are reading this are thinking, "Who is Iva Davies?"  Suffice it to say he's an Australian singer whom I obsessed over in my 20s.  And that's as much as I'll explain.)  Fortunately, the flashback lasts a mere five seconds before Constantine returns to his smarmy self.  The damage has been done, though.  I later get into a long discussion with Mike about how both Constantine and Travis are better performers than singers, but Constantine knows how to "connect" with the audience better and so deserves to stay.  In fact, I'm convincing myself that I want Constantine to remain on this show because I won't have anyone left to pick on if he goes.  Right.  I am so ashamed of myself.  Next, please.

Anwar Robinson (sings Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World"): This song has been a disaster for every Idol contestant who's ever sung it, and when I hear the first notes, I roll my eyes.  But Anwar manages to do what no other Idol contestant has done with this song - make it his own and absolutely wow us.  This is his best performance to date, and hands down the best performance of the night.  No one else comes close.  It almost makes it worth sitting through Constantine.  Thank you, oh, thank you, Anwar.

So, obviously, our top pick of the night is...Constantine!  (Smack! Okay, I'm better now.)  No, the top spot goes to Anwar.  After that, I think I would pick Anthony and Bo, maybe in that order.  The worst three?  Travis tops the list, followed by Nikko and Constantine, although I think Scott is in more danger than the latter two.  At least, I hope so.  (Smack!  Ow!)

And now I need to go take a cold shower.  Whew!

Eliminated on March 10 Results Show:  Travis Tucker and Nikko Smith (but Nikko came back when Mario backed out of the competition)

Review 2005 by Patricia Lowhorn.  For comments, e-mail


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