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American Idol Season 4 (2005)

 

March 15 - The 1960s

 

Oh, such drama! Nikko was one of the contestants eliminated last week.  Then Mario decided to drop out for "personal reasons" (I hypothesized that he saw Constantine finally remove his jacket and was traumatized for the next six months).  Now Nikko is back.  Will he redeem himself (maybe)?  Will the show milk the situation for all it's worth (probably)?  Will Constantine keep his jacket shut (doubtful)?  Does anyone care?  If so, read on...

The theme is the 1960s - any song, any genre.  This is a smart move on A.I.'s part because it allows the singers to showcase whatever their strengths are, assuming they make wise song choices.  I mean, I just can't see Bo or Carrie doing Motown, you know?  The show is also, thankfully, putting the names of the songs up on the screen for me to write down...er, for the audience to know what each contestant is going to sing.

Jessica Sierra (sings Smokey Robinson's "Shop Around"): She's letting loose with those great vocals Mike and I have come to expect from her, but she's got a much bigger stage to move around on this week (it's larger than the stage was at this point in previous seasons) and she's just rooted in one spot.  She gets a basic "eh, so what" from the judges, but I think it's a decent start to the show.  I'm expecting better, though.

Anwar Robinson (sings Burt Bacharach's "A House Is Not a Home"): He comes out in a cool black jacket that reminds me of what an immortal would wear in the Highlander series.  I expect him to pull out a sword and proclaim, "There can be only one!"  Unfortunately, he settles for a lackluster performance (for him, anyway - he's still better than most of the other singers).  Another slow song, another tentative opening that blossoms halfway through.  He's got a great voice, but he risks being seen as too old-fashioned for the younger voters if he keeps up this type of song selection.  And just once, I'd like to be wowed by him from start to finish.

Mikalah Gordon (sings Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man"): Did she raid Paramount's costume museum?  She looks like one of Captain Kirk's exotic love interests from the original Star Trek series.  I mean, yes, I suppose it's thus a 60s outfit, but this girl isn't even 18 yet.  I wouldn't exactly call this the best song choice for her (a little disturbing for someone who's still underage, actually), but it does showcase more of that "bubbly" personality the judges are so fond of.  She gives the song her all, she manages to stay on pitch for most of it, and her (singing) voice is nowhere near as annoying as it's been the past two weeks.  Now, please don't talk, dear.  No...please...no... STOP!!!  Argh!!!

Constantine Maroulis (sings Blood, Sweat & Tears' "You've Made Me So Very Happy"): I am all set to loathe this performance.  My poison pen waits with glee.  He's setting up his best Jim Morrison imitation, and my eyes start rolling.  And then, and then... wait.  What's this?  This person can sing, and sing well?  This person can stay on pitch?  This person is wearing just a shirt, no jacket?  Woah.  Who are you and what have you done with Constantine?  No, wait, don't tell us.  Let me find my jaw.  I think it just rolled under the coffee table somewhere...  I am shocked, and for once, I have nothing more to say about him.

Lindsey Cardinale (sings Eddie Floyd's "Knock On Wood"): Unfortunately, the downstairs neighbors decided to pick this song to crank up their own home theater system, which made it hard to appreciate this performance.  Lindsey seems to look and sound okay, but she doesn't knock me out.  Sort of mediocre, actually.  I'd say she's in the most danger so far, but it was hard to tell with that stupid bass line going on downstairs.

Anthony Fedorov (sings Neil Sedaka's "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do"): It's too easy to compare Anthony to Clay with this song, and Anthony comes up short.  He has some unusual pitch problems, which doesn't bode well.  And I'm ashamed to say that the scar from his childhood tracheotomy is really starting to creep me out.  I keep staring at it the way Austin Powers stared at the mole in Goldmember.  I wish Anthony could keep that covered somehow, but I suppose that would be a little difficult to do.  I know I shouldn't judge him on something that he has no control over, but he needs to pick better songs and give stronger performances to make me forget that thing.  (Two weeks ago, for example, I wouldn't have cared.)

Nadia Turner (sings Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me"): Aaaaaahhhh...thank you.  A slower selection than in previous weeks, but one she performs very well, thus proving that yes, she does have some versatility in her.  She always knows how to take control of a song, although there are times she looks like she's snarling and I want to say, "Okay! Okay! I'll step away from the stage now!"  Simon tells her that in a competition full of hamburgers, she's a steak.  I'm wishing for a better analogy right now, because that just made me really hungry.  Hmm...Outback Steakhouse...yum...

Bo Bice (sings Blood, Sweat & Tears' "Spinning Wheel"): I think Constantine must have tried to stab him, because that tattoo or whatever on his chest looks like it's bleeding.  But he obviously recovered, because he's all over the stage, into the audience, behind the judges.  This is classic Bo.  Everyone else has this huge stage and barely moves around on it, but he takes it over and looks so comfortable.  As Simon says, it looks like he's been doing this for twenty years.  I love this guy.  A definite highlight of the evening.

Vonzell Solomon (sings Dionne Warwick's "Anyone Who Had a Heart"): Her dress and her stance remind Mike of Jessica from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, which totally makes me lose concentration as now I'm waiting for Roger to bounce onto the stage and cry, "P-p-p-p-lease, Eddie! You gotta help me!"  Okay, I'm back.  Vonzell does a good job with this song, but she's like Nadia's shadow in this competition.  She needs to step it up a notch to do something really unforgettable.  And I mean a good unforgettable, please.

Scott Savol (sings the Temptations' "Ain't Too Proud to Beg"): He has one of the best vocals in this competition, and I love listening to him with my eyes closed, but man!  It's still hard to watch him.  It's not a matter of his weight, it's just that he's not as comfortable on stage as Ruben was.  It's like he's too nervous that people will pick on him.  I know he's had a rough time of it - his father told him he'd never make anything of himself, etc. - but he needs to open up and trust the public more.  I think the audience will support him if he gives them the chance.

Carrie Underwood (sings the Everly Brothers' "When Will I Be Loved"): She says she chose this song to "show her personality," and...well...I'm sorry, but I start to laugh.  I'm just not seeing it.  Certainly not with this performance.  What I see is someone who is trying so hard to rise to the top of the pack that she doesn't feel the lyrics.  This song might have been too risky for her, too; although the last notes were really good, there are some pitch problems sprinkled throughout the piece.  And once again, like so many others tonight, she doesn't use the stage that much.  I'm not impressed with this performance, although Simon's right - she definitely knows what her niche is.

Nikko Smith (sings the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back"): Okay, this week he sounds like Stevie Wonder channeling Michael Jackson.  But I suppose that's better than trying to channel Michael Jackson directly these days, and he has such fun with this song that we can forgive him.  I daresay we enjoyed his performance more than we would have enjoyed Mario - probably because, as he stated prior to the song, he was so glad to be back.  He just radiates joy.  One of the better performances of the night, and a good choice to end the show.

Our top three contestants of the evening would be: Bo, Nadia, and a 3-way tie between Nikko, Scott, and Constantine.  Yes, I said Constantine.  I still can't find my jaw.  Bottom three would be Lindsey, Anthony, and Mikalah, in no particular order.

Eliminated on March 16 Results Show:  Lindsey Cardinale

 

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

 

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