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American Idol Season 5 (2006)

March 8 (Semi-finals: Men) - I just want to stop...and smack you, baby

Once again, we learn the contestants' deep, dark secrets. Oooo. Ahhhh.

Gedeon McKinney (sings Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman"): He tells us in an over-enunciated voice that he paints, and he shows us a picture of a record painted like the world, because music is worldwide, or some such drivel.  Whatever.  He's a much better singer than a painter.  He gives a nice, soulful performance, but if that mouth opens any wider, it will suck in the universe.  Randy calls him an "old soul" (which apparently is okay for a guy to be, but not any of the girls), Paula calls him a true showman, and Simon calls him "quite odd," but interesting.  Which is about what I think, too.

Chris Daughtry (sings Seether's "Broken"): He used to have hair like Ryan's until he began losing it, so he shaved it all off.  I don't recognize the song he's singing, and it's a little too heavy for my tastes, but he gives it the appropriate intensity and it's about as polished as I've come to expect from him.  Randy tells him to "rock on," Paula says he's amazing, and Simon says it was self-indulgent and boring and Chris shouldn't take the show so seriously.  Heh.

Kevin Covais (sings Don McLean's "Vincent"): Kanye West is one of his favorite artists.  So...he sings a depressing song about suicide in a child's voice.  Ugh. Just...ugh.  This is so creepy.  Get off my screen.  Randy didn't like the song but thinks Kevin can sing (huh?), Paula thinks ballads are his ticket (huh??), and Simon think it's like watching puppies play, and Kevin is only going to get the "granny vote" because the performance was very juvenile-sounding.  Thank you for injecting a note of sanity into this love fest.

Ryan now does a short interview with Taylor in which we learn that Taylor usually performs six nights a week and has recently met Christopher Cross, who was a big influence in his life.  Okay, that's scary.

Bucky Covington (sings Pat Green's "Wave on Wave"): He has an identical twin brother named Rocky, who's in the audience tonight.  I don't know this song, but it sounds like a decent choice for Bucky, although his voice seems rather lacking in power - which, of course, has been a problem with him all along.  He gets kudos from me for finding a song where all of the contestants can finally learn to clap on beat.  Randy says Bucky knows who he is, Paula says he's refreshingly unpretentious, and Simon thought it was the sort of performance you could hear at a million bars.  Ryan brings Bucky's brother on stage and we have a few amusing moments where they try to tell each other apart.  Okay, ha ha ha. Next.

Will Makar (sings James Taylor's "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)"): He's studying Japanese.  Gee, how amazing.  He sings a sort of jazzed up version of the song - James Taylor meets Peter Brady meets Michael Bublé, I guess - and I loathe it.  Loathe it.  Go.  Away.  Now.  Randy doesn't like it, Paula insists she's a fan, and Simon thinks it's quite average and that Paula must have been starved for entertainment as a child. Indeed.

Taylor Hicks (sings Michael McDonald's "Taking It To the Streets"): In his taped pre-performance interview, he's dressed as the Easter Bunny, because that's a job he used to have.  I think he should be nicknamed the Energizer Bunny after this performance, because he just keeps winding himself up and going and going and going...  He's seriously flapping his limbs and waving his arm around so much that I think he's going to lift off and fly around the room.  But you know what?  Of all the contestants tonight, we had the most fun watching him.  Good song choice, lots of energy, and he obviously enjoys what he's doing.  Randy thinks the song was good even if the dancing was wild, Paula was blown away, and Simon thinks Taylor could single-handedly kill the music video industry and that this was the best performance so far.

Elliott Yamin (sings Bryan Adams' "Heaven"): Elliott has suffered 90% hearing loss in his right ear, which makes his stellar performance last week even more impressive.  I was really hoping he could pull this song off so he could show some versatility.  Alas, he couldn't.  It was really, really weak.  I mean, you just don't do nice, show tune-type vibratos on a song like this.  Rock ballads are not his strong point, and now was not the week to attempt one.  I'm kind of mad at him, because I think he might have opened the door for Kevin or Will to make it through to the next round, and I was hoping to have one year where I wouldn't detest any of the contestants going into the top 12.  Oh, well.  Randy incomprehensibly thinks that was "hawt," Paula thinks he's phenomenal, and Simon thinks it was a cop-out and that there was a real disconnect between Elliott and the song.  Once again, I agree.

Ace Young (sings Michael Jackson's "Butterflies"): Ace became a handyman so he could afford to come out to Hollywood.  Well, that was boring.  I have mixed feelings about this performance.  On the one hand, I don't know this song, but I know it's later Michael Jackson material, and I automatically don't like it for that reason.  It just makes me feel icky, you know?  The ick factor isn't helped by Ace wearing that stupid beanie, which makes it look like he didn't take a shower today.  On the other hand, he performs the song quite well, showing an incredible command of his falsetto voice (even if he has to grimace to get there).  So what do I do with this?  Probably stick him somewhere in the middle of the pack, so I can conveniently forget him.  Randy - who has run out of adjectives - again thinks this was "hawt," Paula thinks it's better than the original, and Simon thinks that parts of the vocal weren't great but that Ace made it work.  Judging from the squeals of girly delight in the audience, I suspect he'll make it through.

My rankings for tonight:

1) Taylor - the most fun (and funniest) performance
2) Gedeon - overall solid performance
3) Chris - also solid, if a bit too serious.  Lighten up next week.
4) Ace - hate the song, but appreciate the vocals
5) Bucky - gosh, darn, I kinda like yew
6) Elliott - not a great performance.  Drat.
7) Will & Kevin - I do not ever want to see you two again.

Obviously, I'd like Will and Kevin to go.  But I think Elliott and Bucky could be in danger, too, depending on how many fans they have.

Oh, and can we please stop with the man hugs at the end of these shows?  Because, jeesh, they look uncomfortable doing that.  I know this is American Idol, but leave them with a shred of dignity, huh?

Eliminated on March 9 Results Show:  Will Makar & Gedeon McKinney (It's going to be a long season...)

Review © 2006 by Patricia Lowhorn.  For comments, e-mail tricia@lowhorn.org.

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