February 21 Review | Season 5 Index | February 28 Review

American Idol Season 5 (2006)

February 22 (Semi-finals: Men) - He has WHAT in his pants?

Let's just get right to it, shall we?

Patrick Hall (sings Melissa Etheridge's "Come To My Window"): Simon had compared him to Clay Aiken, and he doesn't want to be like Clay, so he picks this song and...sounds like Clay Aiken singing Melissa Etheridge.  Which is really weird.  The judges want him to stay in his ballad niche.  I guess I agree.  Not the most promising of starts.

David Radford (sings Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"): He's known as a crooner, but he wants to show another side of himself.  Does anyone see a pattern here? Through this whole performance, Mike was saying, "Hide me, please."  David sings that he's shaking like a jellyfish, and he's right.  That's just creepy.  Please make it stop.  As with Patrick, the judges tell him that he needs to stay in his niche.  He's about to cry.  So am I, but not for the same reason.  Next.

Bucky Covington (sings Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man"): If Nickelback performed Lynyrd Skynyrd, this would be how they would sound.  Except that Nickelback's lead singer would stay on pitch for the chorus.  He's a sweet guy, though, in an "aw shucks" sort of way, and he's the first person so far this season who has acknowledged the band.  Thank you.

Will Makar (sings the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back"): He looks like Peter Brady (Paula says Bobby Brady), so I guess singing a 70s tune isn't out of place.  He's obviously having fun, although singing-wise he's no better than your average high school student on Talent Night.  Eh.

Sway Penala (sings Earth, Wind & Fire's "Reasons"): Um...his parents used to sing this as a lullaby to him when he was a baby?  That must have been a strange household.  Anyway, we give him kudos for attempting to sing this song almost entirely in his falsetto range.  But, really, Philip Bailey he ain't - except for one note that made Mike quip, "He must have a voltage device in his pants."  Randy and Paula are wowed by him.  Simon thinks it was a "pimpy" version.  Given the suit Sway is wearing, I tend to agree with Simon.

Chris Daughtry (sings Bon Jovi's "Dead or Alive"): Thank you, thank you, thank you for picking the right song and singing it well.  It's like an oasis in the middle of this desert of mediocrity.  This is the first performance of the season where I've been relaxed from the moment the singer opened his/her mouth.  And all the judges love him, too.  Did I say thank you?

Kevin Covais (sings Brian McKnight's "One Last Cry"): This 16-year-old is too young to be singing this song, but he's so cute that Ryan sends him over to the female contestants afterwards so they can all pinch his cheeks.  Awwwwww [gag!].  Randy loves him, Paula wants to squish him, Simon says the performance wasn't excruciating, but it wasn't great, either.  Once again, I agree with Simon.  I predict that Kevin will make the top 12 and get the sympathy vote to the point where he will knock out a much better singer in a "shocking" upset, and then he'll be voted off the following week.

Gedeon McKinney (sings the Isley Brothers' "Shout"): I cringe when he starts pontificating on what an important song this is, but when he starts singing, I'm actually impressed.  Good song choice, good presentation, all around pleasing performance.  Simon thinks it's like a warm-up for a Chippendale's show and I want to ask, "How do you know?"  Then he starts talking about how Gedeon's smile bugs him, and Mike says, "It's like a Nick Park sheep."  You know those claymation sheep in the Serta commercials that surround your bed and smile?  It's the same thing.  Hee.

Elliott Yamin (sings Stevie Wonder's "If You Really Love Me"): Actually, Elliott, if you really love me, you would not sing any frickin' Stevie Wonder.  I'm sick of it.  Nevertheless, he does a decent job with it, although I suspect since he hasn't had much air time until now, he has absolutely no fan base to pull him through.  Simon thinks he's possibly the best male vocalist they've ever had, though, and I'm thinking, "Huh?"  Whatever.  Wow me next week, please.

Bobby Bennet (sings Barry Manilow's "Copacobana"): Well, we certainly have a variety of styles tonight, don't we?  Wayne Newton performs Barry Manilow.  The performance is fun (or funny, depending on your point of view), and Bobby certainly looks like he's having a good time, but, really...take it to Vegas, man.  Simon says it was entertaining, but then again he claims he's entertained by horror films.

Here we have a protracted cat fight between Ryan and Simon over Simon's tendency to criticize without offering any constructive advice to the contestants.  Me-ow.

Ace Young (sings George Michael's "Father Figure"): When I heard he was singing this song, I burst out laughing and nearly missed the singing.  I never thought they'd allow this song on squeaky clean American Idol.  But there Ace was, singing about how he wanted to be "warm and naked" by my side.  I'd still be laughing, but he actually did a good job with this song, even if the background singers were having their own pitch issues.  Randy manages to acknowledge a similarity to Constantine while dissing Constantine at the same time - though not by name, of course.  Sheesh, Randy, if you hated Constantine so much, why did you put him in the top 24 last year?  Give me a break.  Oh, and give me Ace's brother (in the audience), while you're at it, too.  He's cuter.

Taylor Hicks (sings Elton John's "Levon"): Taylor obviously loves what he does, because it really does show.  This is not the best showcase of his abilities, but he does almost as good a job as Chris did with his song.  He's got the most unique voice up there, and it really is fun watching him.  All I can say is that he'd better not be the one eliminated in the inevitable "shocker," because I will personally go out and beat Kevin's fans to a bloody pulp.  Or at least think about it.

So, after a final reminder of what phone numbers to call and a lot of man-hugs, we're at the end of the first round of semi-final competition.  My rankings for this episode are as follows:

Group 1 (the people who ought to come back next week): Chris, Taylor, Ace, Gedeon

Group 2 (the people who will probably come back next week): Elliott, Will, Patrick, Kevin, Sway

Group 3 (the people most in danger): Bobby, Bucky, David

Eliminated on February 23 Results Show:  Patrick Hall and Bobby Bennet

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

February 21 Review | Season 5 Index | February 28 Review