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American Idol Season 6 (2007)

 

April 3 - Knife me, Mack (American standards)

 

The mentor for this year's American standards night is 80-year-old Tony Bennett, who has sixty years in the business, 106 albums, and 15 Grammy awards.  Woof!  In his honor, Simon is wearing a loose Henley-type sweater that opens halfway down his hairy chest.  Eeuw.

Blake Lewis (sings "Mack the Knife"): Tony wants him to get to the meaning of the song and slow down the tempo.  Oh, well. Blake doesn't blow me away (Clay did that with this song in Season 2), but this is a good song choice for his voice, and he has fun with it.  Despite admitting later that it was tough to learn the words, he looks really comfortable up there.  So good for you, dude.  I still hate the plaid pants, though.  Randy says it’s a very good way to start off the evening and labels him the "funky, jazzy dude of a guy."  Paula tells him he's a "hip cat."  Simon says it's a good choice of song, but then he only gives him 7 out of 10 (the band gets 8 out of 10, though - I'm sure that made Rickey Minor's night).

Ryan tells us that the charity night is going to include such celebrities as Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, and Helena Bonham Carter, who will presumably not be singing.  But Kelly Clarkson will be.  Okay.  I'll tune in for that.

Phil Stacey (sings "Night and Day"): Tony gets him to add a beat to it and says he's one of the better singers he's heard.  Then Nosferatu sings that there's "a hungry yearning burning" in him.  Heh.  It's not a bad rendition, although he sometimes hunts for the pitch.  But the judges don't care about the pitch.  They just want him gone.  Randy didn't feel any real connection or passion.  Paula says he's reminiscent of a young Frank Sinatra (Simon: "What?"), but she wants him to warm up his vocals.  Simon says the performance had all the joy of someone singing in a funeral parlor.  Phil says he was focusing on his wife, who mouths "I love you" to him.  That will be good for a few sympathy votes, I'm sure - if anyone remembers him.

Melinda Doolittle (sings "I've Got Rhythm"): Tony says she's the best singer all day, and Melinda is as amazed as always.  I start to get bored with the first third of the song - it's the same old slow, ballad-type thing we've heard from her a million times already.  But then the tempo picks up, and she perks up, and I perk up, and we're all perky together, like a Maxwell House coffee pot.  Yay.  Randy says she gives a lesson in singing every week.  Paula says she has a beginning, middle, and end (I swear, she actually said this).  Simon thought the first half of the song was a little too cabaret, but the second half was all personality.  He then says it's a problem that the judges can never criticize her, because their whole purpose in life is to be mean.

Chris Richardson (sings "Don't Get Around Much Anymore"): Chris picks songs based on what he likes.  Well, duh.  Tony tells him to memorize the song.  He's not as nasally tonight, but really, this boy is more about looks than voice.  I mean, doesn't anyone close their eyes and wonder what this guy would sound like on an actual CD?  No?  I'll admit he has some nice moves, though, and the audience eats it up.  Randy thinks it was one of his best performances of the season and calls him cool and young and hip.  Paula says…something.  Simon thought the performance was one of the strongest ones tonight.

Jordin Sparks (sings "On a Clear Day"): Tony says she's a terrific singer who's intelligent about her improvisation.  She seems a little breathless tonight, and I prefer Barbra Streisand's slower arrangement of this tune, but she has fun with the song, and in her own way she's almost as professional as Melinda.  All she lacks is a little more experience.  Randy calls her performance "da bomb."  Paula says she's a magnet of joy, and she's frickin' proud of her.  Simon thinks the song was old-fashioned, not young and hip like Chris's.  Um, whatever.  We notice she's wearing flats so she doesn't tower over Ryan and make him seem like even more of a pipsqueak than he already is.  Smart move.

Gina Glocksen (sings "Smile"): Tony says the song should give you hope.  Gina's voice sounds good, but I sort of lose the beat in this arrangement at one point.  Still, it shows that she can be restrained yet still emotional with her vocals.  Er…sort of like last week, actually.  Hmm.  Maybe she should have picked a song with a bit more pep to it.  Randy says it was a nice, controlled performance.  Paula calls it flawless.  Simon can't rave about the vocal because two other girls outsang her. Um...yeah.  That was helpful.

Sanjaya Malakar (sings "Cheek to Cheek"): Tony says he's a big fan of Sanjaya.  Sanjaya wants people to see that he can really sing.  So he comes out dressed like a slimy version of Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, he sort of half-sings the song, and then he dances with Paula like she's his Ingrid Bergman.  Someone in the audience is waving a sign that says, "Sanjaya is my papaya."  Kill me now.  Randy won't comment on the vocals but says that Sanjaya has turned into a great entertainer.  Paula likes his charm and thanks him for the dance.  Simon tries a different tactic this week and says, "Incredible!"  Okay, I have to laugh because it's all one big joke, right?  Right?

Haley Scarnato (sings "Ain't Misbehavin'"): Tony tells her to sing to just one person.  She decides to ignore this advice and flirts with everyone in the audience and on national TV.  She's actually not bad at the beginning when she's only singing with the piano, but she just doesn't have the power to compete with the band for most of song.  Those legs will probably get her to the next round, though.  Randy passes his comment over to Paula, who passes it over to Simon.  All Simon can say is that Haley's got great legs.  Oh, and he thinks it was a "pageanty" performance.  Welcome back to the bottom three.

LaKisha Jones (sings "Stormy Weather"): Tony tells her to sing the song the way it's written, which of course she doesn't do.  She comes out and sings...well, the expected.  She's good, she stomps out like she owns it, and she never smiles at all throughout the song.  And Tony was right - it would have made more of an impact if she'd held onto the note at the end instead of doing that little improv bit.  But she's so far above most of the other singers vocally that it doesn't matter at this point that she refuses to listen to advice.  Randy, who has lost his thesaurus again this year, says it was "da bomb."  Paula says that LaKisha proves that we all love Tony Bennett.  Simon believes it was a sassy, great performance.

Rankings:

1. Melinda Doolittle - She owned the song, even if the first third was a bit dull.
2. Blake Lewis/Jordin Sparks - They were both comfortable with their songs and were fun to watch.
4. LaKisha Jones - The song suited her, but it's the same performance over and over again.  Does she ever have fun on stage?
5. Gina Glocksen - Not as powerful of a singer as the other women, but she gave a nice performance.
6. Chris Richardson - I dislike his voice on general principle, but I have to agree that it was probably his best performance yet.
7. Phil Stacey - Pitch problems, the judges' criticisms, and his placement in the lineup tonight have probably doomed him.
8. Haley Scarnato - Was someone singing up there?  I couldn't tell.

I'm not ranking Sanjaya anymore, because clearly he believes he's on another show right now.  One can only hope.

Bottom 3 on April 4 Results Show (in order announced):  Haley Scarnato, Gina Glocksen, Phil Stacey

Eliminated:  Gina Glocksen

 

Review © 2007 by Patricia Lowhorn.  For comments, e-mail tricia@lowhorn.org.

 

March 27 Review | Season 6 Index | April 10 Review