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American Idol Season 4 (2005)

 

April 26 - 2000 to Today

 

It's a good thing that Anwar is gone, because I think he would have been totally lost with this week's theme - music from 2000 to today.  For that matter, I'm lost, too, since I basically stopped listening to any current music on the radio around 2000 unless I just happened to stumble across something catchy in the car.  So this should be interesting.  Or boring.  Or a disaster.  Or all three.

Prior to each contestant's performance, we see a short video about that contestant set in his or her home town.  Much crying by parents ensues.  Gag.

Carrie Underwood (sings Martina McBride's "When God Fearin' Women Get the Blues"): We learn that she's from a boring town in Oklahoma that no civilized person would be caught dead in and that she loves animals more than people, which would probably explain the lack of connecting with her audience over the past six weeks.  This song takes her back to her country roots, and she's a lot more relaxed with it than she has been with anything else for a while.  She smiles, she moves a little, she shares some of that love that she's only shared with her pet bunny before. The kids over on Nashville Star could still blow her away, but I personally think that this is one of her better performances - and, mind you, I'm not a country fan.  The judges miss the glory notes, though, and generally bash her, and she doesn't help matters by telling Ryan that this selection wasn't much of a challenge to sing.  Still, her fans will rally around her.  She's safe.

Something weird is going on here.  Paula is actually criticizing people tonight.  She's not bouncing around like a druggie.  And Clay Aiken is in the audience.  Coincidence?  Hmm.  "Clay Aiken. He'll calm you down."

Bo Bice (sings Gavin DeGraw's "I Don't Wanna Be Anything"): We learn that Bo is an all-around nice Southern boy who loves his guitars as much as his girlfriend, but that's really no surprise, right?  He comes out wearing this screaming psychedelic outfit that makes me cry out in horror, "My eyes! My eyes!"  The lyrics of the song fit him quite well - it could be his theme song - and the overall performance is great, but the singing doesn't really impress me.  The song is too low for him, and the vocals suffer from all his stalking about on stage.  Oddly, I have a fleeting thought that Constantine could do this better, except in his case the lyrics would be totally inappropriate.  But I am in the minority here, as the crowd goes absolutely wild.  The judges don't care about the mediocre singing, even though - as Randy will say later - this is a singing competition.  They don't care because it's all about honesty and being who you are and staying in your nice, safe box.  Eh.  Whatever.  There are worse people who could win this show.  Judging from the audience reaction, he's in no danger whatsoever this week.  Oh, and love the way you twirl that microphone stand, Bo.  You rock.

Vonzell Solomon (sings Christina Aguilera's "I Turn To You"): Vonzell is a mail carrier who knows karate, so don't let your dogs mess with her!  I agree with Simon's assessment of this performance - it's not as good as Randy and Paula think it is, partly because of some pitch issues at the beginning and the fact that it's set in a too-low key to enable her to hit the high notes later.  I don't know the song, but I suspect that Christina performs it better.  Still, Vonzell is the same cute, classy girl she's always been, and I like watching her.  The thing that worries me here is that this will turn out to be (for me) the most forgettable performance of the night, which usually means that person will end up in the bottom three.  That's fine, though, as long as someone else goes home on Wednesday *coughScottcough*.

Am I supposed to care that Heather Locklear's little girl likes Anthony the best?  Is she representative of his core fans?  Millions of six-year-olds are power voting for Anthony.  The mind boggles.

Anthony Fedorov (sings Celine Dion's "I Surrender"): "Behold, the unholy sight of Anthony Fedorov shaking..."  Oh, wait, that was last week.  Anyway, in his video, we see lots and lots of crying by his Ukrainian parents who are so proud of their little boy, and we hear far too much of the first recording of him "singing" when he was one and a half.  Please, kill it.  While I don't care for Anthony's song tonight (which pretty sums up the way I feel about all Celine Dion songs), I would say that he gives one of his best vocal performances to date.  He reminds me a little too uncomfortably of Clay in his mannerisms, though, and I find myself wondering what Clay is thinking right now sitting in that audience.  Probably something along the lines of, "Gimme that microphone and I'll show you how a pro sings schmaltz."  And, really, I could have gone the entire evening without Ryan commenting on how much Anthony is working out and how great his biceps look.  Just...no.  Anthony is probably safe unless those six-year-olds become complacent (do they even know what the word means?).

Constantine Maroulis (sings Nickelback's "How You Remind Me"): We learn that he was a good Greek Orthodox kid who was active in church until that demon rock'n'roll sucked him in and made him a pop star and a pain as a teenager.  Yeah, uh, okay, thanks, Mom.  As far as his performance goes, I have mixed feelings.  It's not his best, obviously.  Not until he goes to sing with the backup singers do I feel he's really into it, and for the first time he seems a little lost on stage as he keeps looking for a camera to kick.  The judges don't like the song because "it's a singing competition, dude"  (THUNK! - the sound of my head crashing against the coffee table in frustration) and the song is more about shouting than singing.  I'll concede that they have a point.  In fact, I was thinking that Constantine and Bo should have switched songs this week, from a vocal standpoint.  But Constantine performed the song the way it's supposed to be performed, and, frankly, this is one song that when I hear it on the radio as I'm flipping through stations in my car, I will stop on that station and crank it up.  So I enjoy this performance more than I probably should.  The judges universally pan him, though.  Oh, well.  I'm a bit worried about him possibly landing in the bottom three this week, but I suspect the judges' negative comments will only make his fans vote that much harder for him, so in the end I think he'll be safe.  Oh, the lyric, "living with me must have d*mn near killed you"?  Priceless.

Scott Savol (sings Luther Vandross' "Dance With My Father"): After seeing Scott's video, I don't know what's scarier - learning that someone once thought he'd make a good priest, or the idea that there are a million of him walking around Cleveland.  Shudder. He comes out wearing Anthony's pin stripe jacket over a T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers.  Where are the Queer Eye guys when you need them?  Oh, right, I'm supposed to be commenting on the performance.  Um...it stank.  There are pitch problems all over the place, and it's the most uninspiring drek to come out of this evening.  Closing my eyes doesn't help this week.  The judges want him gone so much that no one can say anything good about him, not even Paula.  That's usually a bad sign, especially when you've been in the bottom three for several weeks in a row.  He's definitely going to be there again Wednesday night.

I'm having a tough time ranking people this week.  I only recognize two songs, I really don't care for any of the tunes except maybe one, and no one really wowed me.  In fact, the only thing I'm sure of is that Scott will be in the bottom three.  As for who will join him, I think anyone is fair game except Bo.  Even Carrie or Constantine with their rabid fan bases could end up sweating bullets with Scott.  But that wouldn't bother me at all, as long as Scott finally goes.  (Please???)  The rest?  Throw them up in the air and let them fall where they will, and that's their ranking from me this week. Twenty-first century music stinks.

Eliminated on April 27 Results Show:  Constantine Maroulis.  And the Lowhorns went into mourning.

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

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