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American Idol Season 5 (2006)

April 25 - Time goes by so slowly (Classic love songs) 

I am not looking forward to this show at all.  Andrea Bocelli is a mediocre tenor whose chief talent seems to be the ability to market himself to people who don't know any better.  You want good operatic tenors?  Begin with early Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti.  But please, dear God, don't bring them onto American Idol.  This music major would have to start playing Russian roulette.

To make up for the fact that nine-tenths of the viewers don't know who Andrea Bocelli is, Idol also asks his producer, David Foster, to help the kids out this week.  Most people don't know who Foster is, either, but we're told that he's worked with lots of famous people.  And we see that he's full of himself because of it.  Gosh, how groovy.  But I do like the fact that he tells almost all the kids during rehearsal that they suck.

On to the supposedly "classic" love songs:

Katharine McPhee (sings Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing"): Katharine is a torch singer, not a belter, so while she hits the right notes and emotes all over the place, the vocals are rather anemic compared to Whitney's version.  I guess we're supposed to be impressed that she and Andrea sang a duet together during rehearsal, though.  Eh.  Randy says the song is too big for her.  Paula thinks she oversang it.  Simon points out that if you're going to sing that song, you're claiming you're as good as Whitney, and Katharine isn't.  Ouch, but he does have a point.

Elliott Yamin (sings Donny Hathaway's "A Song for You"): I don't know this song, but it doesn't really matter, because Elliott has a lot of fun with it, and he draws me into it.  Jazzy songs like this are his meal ticket, I tell ya, even if I could do with a little less of the warbly vibrato.  Randy hates the arrangement but thinks that Elliott was "da bomb."  Paula has a meltdown, gabs endlessly about how wonderful Elliott is, and drowns the judges' table with tears of joy.  Simon almost busts a gut laughing at her before saying that Elliott's performance was superb.

Kellie Pickler (sings Leann Rimes' version of the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody"): David Foster was insane for telling her to go for the high note.  If dogs didn't howl when she did that, they must have gone deaf.  There are pitch problems again, although not quite as bad as last week, and she's concentrating so much on her technique that she's completely detached from the words.  Randy points out the pitch issues and thinks the song is "really strange."  Paula doesn't feel any greatness from her.  Simon thinks the song was never-ending, monotonous, and lacking in warmth.  Can she please go this week?  Please?

Paris Bennett (sings Barbra Streisand's "The Way We Were"): Okay, she's better than Katharine or Kellie tonight, but she's pushing herself too much and seems to be gasping for air every other phrase.  Just because you can belt, it doesn't mean you have to on every note, you know?  Randy likes the song, although he's not "over the top" about it.  Paula thinks it was a bit oversung (a bit?), but that Paris was the best female vocalist tonight.  Simon thinks it was old-fashioned, which is pretty much what Paris has been declared this entire competition.  Next.

Taylor Hicks (sings James Ingram's "Just Once"): Once again, a dull song choice for him.  He tries, and I think he's showing more genuine emotion than some of the other singers tonight, but except for a few Joe Cocker-isms toward the end, I just wasn't that thrilled with it.  I probably would have been impressed with him in high school, though, when I was checking out bands for prom with the other class officers and trying to sneak a beer from the waitress.  Randy thinks it was the wrong song choice for Taylor.  Paula says it's not her favorite song for him, but he's handsome, so who cares?  Simon believes Taylor looked uptight and could have been singing that in a motel lounge.  I knew it was only a matter of time before he pulled out the "you can hear this in any bar across America" line.

Chris Daughtry (sings Bryan Adams' "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman"): Okay, I don't know that I'd call this a "classic" love song, but Chris is staring at me with those scary "You must obey me" eyes again, so I'll accept it.  Sheesh, son, are you sure the title isn't, "You must love that woman, d*mn it"?  The vocals are pretty good, and even though he still does the baa-baa-black-sheep vibrato every now and then, he's obviously trying to smooth it out some.  He even manages to infuse a little rock anthem screaming into it.  You are slowly crawling back into your box.  Good boy.  Randy declares that Chris is amazing.  Paula jumps up and down and cries that she loves him, loves him, loves him, loves him, loves him.  Simon thinks the performance is sexy.  I don't even want to comment on that.

Unlike Paula, I'm not jumping-up-and-down-thrilled by anyone tonight, but that seems to be the pattern this season, so I'm not totally disappointed, either.  Here are the rankings:

1) Elliott: He loved the song, he loved singing it, and it suited him very well.
2) Chris: Strong vocals, good song choice, but please stop staring at me.
3) Paris: Too much belting, but she's indeed the best female vocalist tonight.
4) Taylor: He was trying, but it was rather boring until the end.  Just like last week.
5) Katharine: She got the notes right, but the song was out of her league.
6) Kellie: The wrong song for her, she didn't hit the notes that counted, and the hick routine is so old, no one cares anymore.

Elliott did very well tonight and made Paula almost self-destruct, so I think he's fine.  Chris got the pimp slot, and his fans were likely shaken out of their complacency after last week's bottom three visit.  Taylor's fan base is huge and will be voting their fingers off to keep him safe, no matter how he did tonight.  I therefore wouldn't be surprised to see an all-female bottom three.  I would like to think that Kellie would go home at this point - it's almost past time, and I think even she knows it - but I suspect that Katharine and Paris are in more danger.  Katharine sang a forgettable song in the number 1 slot, and Paris doesn't have a huge fan base and really needed to knock it out of the park.  So look for our Second! Shocking! Ouster! of the season on Wednesday night.

Gee.  I can hardly wait.

Bottom 2 on April 26 Results Show (in order announced):  Kellie and Paris  (Katharine and Chris were the top 2)

Eliminated:  Kellie

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

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