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American Idol Season 4 (2005)

 

April 19 - Dance Music of the 1970s

 

Nadia's gone, which is a shame because she'd probably do quite well with tonight's theme - 70s dance music.  I, on the other hand, am ready to have my mind numbed.  Ugh.

Prior to each performance, we view a short interview with each contestant and see how they dance.  This falls under the category of "Very Bad Ideas," as they all prove they can't dance.  Not one.  Oy-vey.

Constantine Maroulis (sings the Bee Gees' "Nights on Broadway"): I think, "Uh, oh," when he comes out with one of my pet peeves: telling the audience what to do ("Get up on your feet!").  If you're good enough, you do NOT need to do that.  He's the only contestant who is dressed in 70s clothes tonight, but the stubble needs to go if he really wants to pull this look off.  And what the heck is with the eyeliner?  It's like the makeup artist got confused and thought it was last week's show.  We like his performance, in large part because he only mugs for the camera twice.  He gives a nice edge to what is one of the most boring Bee Gees songs ever, but the judges are unimpressed (well, except for Paula, who is impressed by everyone so nobody cares what she says anymore).  I think they're overly harsh on Constantine tonight - I'm convinced that Randy is doing his best to make sure that Constantine does not get to the finals ahead of Bo - but Constantine takes it in stride.  I suspect he's got a big enough fan base not to worry this week, so I'm not voting for him at the end of the show.  Really.

Carrie Underwood (sings Donna Summer's "MacArthur Park"): Okay, the song choice makes me laugh, because no one knows what the heck this song is about, and since Carrie never looks like she knows what she's singing about anyway, it's a perfect fit.  The song starts out in who knows what tempo, which she doesn't even bother to follow, and most of it stays so low that she gets lost in the mix.  The only good thing in this rendition is the glory note that she manages to hold for half an hour.  But honey, one note does not a good performance make.  The judges are praising her left and right - even Simon can only say he hates her clothes - and I get miffed that they are letting her get away with crap for the sake of one note.  Carrie admits to Ryan she has no idea what the song is about and she just picked it so she could sing that note, and I think, "I bet she'd say the same thing about every other song she's done if you asked her."  Hmph.

Scott Savol (sings Carl Carlton's "Everlasting Love"): When we're shown the clip of him dancing, Mike says it looks like someone inflated the Gerber baby, which makes me laugh and feel ill at the same time.  Scott tells the audience to "Come on! Come on!" and I start twitching like that evil chief of detectives in the Pink Panther movies.  Vocally, this is a good song choice for him, but I can only say this because I closed my eyes for half of the performance.  He's just horrible to watch on stage.  "Open up your eyes," he sings, and I yell "No!" at the TV while our cat crawls off to hide in her bed.  In his post-performance interview, he has now admitted for the second time that he has no musical knowledge and that his mother picks all his songs for him.  At least he's a little more gracious with the judges this week, but...shudder.

Ryan utters his best line of the night: "Behold the unholy sight of Anthony Fedorov shaking what his mama gave him!"  That about sums it up.

Anthony Fedorov (sings Tavares' "Don't Take Away the Music"): He tells us he wants to shake his boo-tay.  I wish he wouldn't, because it's affecting the smoothness of his delivery.  Overall, though, it's a decent performance for him.  He looks like he's relaxed and having fun, and he admits as much afterwards.  Good for him.  That's what you need to do with these tunes, because no one is going to remember them in the morning.  Simon now proceeds to inform the nation that "insipid" is a compliment.  I'll have to remember that: "Simon, I think you're insipid, but I mean that in the nicest possible way."  After the judges' comments, Anthony starts dancing like a reverse-bobblehead toy until Ryan smacks him.

By the way, what is with these weird song endings?  I realize that on albums, these songs go on forever and fade out, but couldn't they have figured out something better than these horrible, key-changing stops?  Jeesh.

Vonzell Solomon (sings Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman"): She is the third person to tell the audience what to do, but that's almost become her trademark now and somehow it doesn't bother me as much as it does with the others because she's so adorable when she does it.  Once again, she sounds an awfully lot like Whitney - maybe too much so - and she over-relies on the background singers during the chorus, but she's always such fun to watch that I don't really care.  I agree with Simon that her personality carried the song, which is certainly a lot more than I can say for some of the other contestants (I'm speaking to you, Carrie).

Paula's drugs have kicked in, because she's dancing drunkenly with every performance now.  I really wish that Simon and Randy would just pull her down and cover her with the five thousand signs in the studio audience.

Anwar Robinson (sings Earth, Wind & Fire's "September"): I was beginning to get worried about Constantine this week, but Anwar mangles this song sufficiently to keep him safe.  Mike is a big Earth, Wind & Fire fan, and he's quite annoyed by this arrangement.  At the beginning of the song, Anwar proves what I've always suspected: he cannot keep a tone straight and keep it on pitch.  He also cheats by allowing the backup singers to sing Philip Bailey's vocals on the chorus and only coming in on a few words an octave lower.  Granted, no one can sing Philip's vocals without having a pin stuck in their derriere, but that just tells me he should have chosen a different song.  It does not make me feel better that he once sang this with his band, the name of which I've already forgotten.  I'll grant that he looked like he was having fun, but it's not his best performance.

Bo Bice (sings the Ides of March's "Vehicle"): This is a dance song?  I don't recognize it, and the diction is so bad that I can't understand any of the words in the verses, but Mike knows the tune and says that Bo did a good job with it.  I'll take his word for it.  Bo does look a little less like he's phoning it in this week, but I'm not quite convinced he's giving it his all.  I'll cut him some slack, though, because this was not his week for song choices.  He gets the biggest lighting production of anyone, while the judges, horrified that he was in the bottom three last week, fall all over themselves praising him.  I don't think he'll be in the bottom three this time around, but stranger things have happened.

I have a tough time rating people this week because, after seven dance tunes in a row, they are all starting to meld together in my mind into a "Nights-on-Park-Everlasting-Take-Me-Away-Every-Woman-this-September-in-my-Vehicle" kind of way.  I know who my personal bottom three are, but everyone else more or less made me shrug my shoulders.  In any case, here's my ranking:

1. Vonzell (I expected her to be the best with this theme, and she was)
2. Bo (because Mike tells me he was that good)
3. Anthony (he relaxed and had a good time)
4. Constantine (just to irritate everyone who hates him)
5. Anwar (for shying away from pins)
6. Carrie (for shying away from singing anything but one note decently)
7. Scott (because while he sang well, he needs to go)

Eliminated on April 20 Results Show:  Anwar Robinson

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

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