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American Idol Season 4 (2005)

 

April 5 - Musicals

 

Tonight's theme is: musicals.  This on the show where one of Simon's favorite put-downs two seasons ago was, "You sound too Broadway."  Ack.  I love musicals, but this is a train wreck waiting to happen.

Scott Savol (sings "The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha): He's 28, he doesn't know anything about musicals, and he had to ask his mother what to sing.  He's never heard this song before.  And this is what they start the show with.  My fingers begin to tap on the coffee table in irritation.  Scott's pitch is under for the whole song, and by the end of it he sounds like a trumpet player in a two-bit jazz club who's had too much to drink.  That was truly cringe-inducing.  Go home.  Now.

Constantine Maroulis (sings "My Funny Valentine" from Babes in Arms): You know, I'm going to miss Constantine if and when he gets voted off.  He's the only contestant who intrigues me anymore because I never know what he's going to pull out of his hat.  This week, he's singing a jazzed up version of a song that showcases his theater background (he toured with Rent at one time).  He's not the best vocalist up there, and the frickin' sound crew needs to turn up his microphone, but...oh...my...gosh.  He's so hot right now, my tongue is dragging on the floor.  Simon says he has the best "pouting performance" on A.I., and I so agree.  I need a cold shower after that one.  But wait, maybe I don't because here comes...

Carrie Underwood (sings "Hello Young Lovers" from The King and I): Okay, that was mean.  [Slaps self.]  She performs the tune decently, although it doesn't showcase anything about her.  The bland song fits her normal delivery, so in some ways it's a perfect fit.  But please, please, please: the words are "love" and "lovers," not "luhv" and "luhvers."  And here's one more person who knows nothing about musicals.  "The first time I heard this song was last Thursday."  What????  [Insert sound of me smacking my forehead against the coffee table.]

Vonzell Solomon (sings "People" from Funny Girl): First she tackles Whitney, now she goes for Babs.  Only this doesn't work as well.  She bravely smiles all the way through, and she injects some emotion into it, but she's clearly uncomfortable with this song from a vocal standpoint, as evidenced by the fact that she's unusually flat for much of the piece.  Then again, maybe this full orchestra is throwing off the contestants, because just about everyone else has had (and will have) pitch issues, too.  In any case, it wasn't Vonzell's best performance.  But she's very pretty and very sweet, and I just want to hug her.  I hope she's given a chance to redeem herself next week.

Anthony Fedorov (sings "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" from The Sound of Music): I read an article where one of the show's producers said that a guy wanted to sing this song, and the producer asked him, "Do you realize that Mother Superior sings this in the musical?"  "No, I never even heard it before now."  ARGH!!!  He tries to take a page out of Constantine's book and sing a jazzed up arrangement of one of my favorite songs from a musical, and I want to throw the entire coffee table at the TV set.  The last note sounds like a noise our cat makes after she's just eaten and wants to tell the world about it.  That was horrendous.  If Scott doesn't go, Anthony should.

Nikko Smith (sings "One Hand, One Heart" from West Side Story): Finally, someone who says they saw this musical when they were 10.  Thank you, Nikko's parents!  With the exception of that weird vocals-all-over-the-place business near the end, I actually liked the R&B arrangement of this tune. The problem for me is that Nikko just doesn't quite have the voice to pull it off.  His nasal tone starts to grate after a bit.  Oh, and, uh, news flash - the character of Tony was not a member of the Mafia.  Lose the hat.

Anwar Robinson (sings "If Ever I Would Leave You" from Camelot): He gives what is arguably his best performance since he sang "Moon River" in the semi-finals. For once he sounds good through the whole song instead of just the last half.  In fact, from a purely vocal standpoint, he's probably the best singer of the night.  From a performance standpoint, though, it's on the blah side because his eyes are so expressionless.  Dare I say it?  He shows less emotion than Carrie.  Mike doesn't like the instrumentation on this song, either - he says it's too busy, and I agree.  But I didn't want to run and hide in the bathroom as I have for most of the others so far, so I'd say he's safe.

Bo Bice (sings "Corner of the Sky" from Pippin): Poor rocker Bo is not cut out for this genre at all.  He admits that he just chose the song by closing his eyes and pointing at something, which dismays me because I'd hoped he was more knowledgeable than that.  Maybe they couldn't get rights to any of the songs for Hair or Jesus Christ Superstar.  Sigh.  Unfortunately, this song makes it quite clear that Bo has no real range.  We know it, the judges know it (well, except for Paula, who is Ms. Flake again tonight), and Bo knows it.  He's so not into this song that he even flubs up the words.  This is his worst performance to date, and probably one of the worst of the evening.  Fortunately, Scott and Anthony performed much more horribly, so I think (hope!) he's safe this week.

Nadia Turner (sings "As Long As He Needs Me" from Oliver!): She's fine except for the overly dramatic ending that went flat on the last note.  Her snarling expression puts a whole new spin on the meaning of this song (which was sung by a character in an abusive relationship - yeah, baby, she'll stick with ya.  She'll stick it to ya, too.)  Probably the second best singer from a vocal standpoint tonight, after Anwar.  But I was disturbed that she seemed to be trying to channel Vonzell from three weeks ago with the slinky dress and Jessica Rabbit pose.  She needs to go back to being herself.

Despite what I've said about who should go, I'd really hate to see anyone get booted out because of their performance on tonight's show.  I mean, this was the crappiest episode so far this year.  I'd almost rather hear disco.  No, wait, forget I said that.  Please.

It's really hard for me to put people in order here, but I'll try:

1. Constantine (must...follow...Constantine...must...oh, uh, hi, Mike!)
2. Anwar (best vocals of the night, okay performance)
3. Nadia (second best vocals)
4. Carrie (stayed on pitch throughout, but the song was very boring)
5. Nikko (nice song arrangement, voice a little too nasal)
6. Vonzell (okay performance, some obvious pitch problems)
7. Bo (just not there tonight, though he tried)
8. Scott/Anthony (can we have two eliminations this week?)

Eliminated on April 6 Results Show:  Nikko Smith

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

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