April 17 Review | Season 6 Index | May 1 Review

 

American Idol Season 6 (2007)

 

April 24 -  Giving back everything but my time ("Songs that inspire")

 

First off, the show is not live this week.  They taped it the day before it aired, and spoilers were all over the Web.  Now that I've clarified that...  Ryan tells us that we are going to save lives with "Idol Gives Back."  Several companies are donating money for your votes, including Fox's parent company, which will donate 10 cents for every vote, up to 50 million votes (this is a stretch, since they only got 38 million votes last week, but we'll see).  He tells us that this week's guest mentor, Bono, will be joining them Wednesday night.  I'd hoped he'd appear on the show tonight to liven things up, but I guess I'm to be denied that small pleasure.  Rats.

Now we see the first of several obligatory "save the children" videos.  Ryan and Simon took a late-night jaunt to Africa and saw poor people crying.  Simon manages to keep his white T-shirt spotless while looking like he wants to throw up.  I'm about to join him.

Ryan then tells us that tonight's theme is "Songs That Inspire" and that we will have two lines for each Idol and four hours to vote tonight.  Oh, yes, I want to stay up until 1 AM voting for these people.  Not.

Chris Richardson (sings Eric Clapton's "Change the World"): The first time I heard this song on the radio, I sort of liked it.  Two weeks later, after the 5,000th time, I was ready to kick in my dashboard.  And Chris, while ditching most of last week's "nasality," is not really doing anything to make me change my mind.  He's such a weak singer compared to the rest of the contestants, anyway, and this isn't really a song where you can show off your voice.  I'm back to being bored to tears.  Zzzzzzz.... I wish I was a coffee drinker.  Seriously.  Randy thinks Chris is in the show to win it.  Paula is really proud of him, sniff, sniff.  Simon says the competition starts properly tonight, and Chris is living up to his potential.  The potential for apathy, maybe?

Next we see footage of Ryan and the judges in several poor areas of America.  New Orleans.  Someplace in Arizona.  Inner-city Atlanta.  Paula looks decidedly uncomfortable visiting a mobile clinic.  And a kid in rural Kentucky tells us, "If you don't have education, you can't hardly get a job."  I'm sorry, but I can't stop giggling now.

Melinda Doolittle (sings Faith Hill's "There Will Come a Day"): I've never heard this song before, but I doubt Faith sang it quite so well.  It's professional and polished, as always, but for once I can tell that Melinda really believes what she's singing.  This is her niche: gospel.  Whether it's what the public ultimately wants out of its Idol, I don't know.  But as for me?  I.  Love.  Her.  Voice.  That is all.  Randy calls her "dope" and "all together" and doesn't know what to say anymore (unfortunately, he's not rendered speechless).  Paula says there's no one like Melinda, and she's magical.  Simon applauds her for not delivering a copycat performance.  He claims it sounded like she'd recorded it originally, and her performance was "a vocal masterclass."  Ryan then nearly ruins the moment by looking at Simon's open shirt.  Can I slap him now?

Ryan plugs the "generous" sponsors again, and then, because we're all sick of seeing poverty, he asks Blake what the biggest sacrifice he's had to make being here.  The predictable response is that he misses his family and friends.  Wow, I'm impressed.

Blake Lewis (sings John Lennon's "Imagine"): I've never been a fan of this song, nor of post-Beatle Lennon music in general.  I think both are overrated.  But everyone else in the world of music loves this song and thinks John Lennon is God.  So whatever.  Anyway, back to the singing...  For what it's worth, Blake's voice is about a hundred times better than last week's, and he does seem to be getting into the tune.  I'll probably forget him in the morning, though.  Randy says it's a great choice of song, but the performance was only "all right" for him.  Paula thinks it's the first really sensitive, emotional song she's seen from Blake, and she enjoyed it.  Simon says it felt sincere, although it didn't really go anywhere.  Which...yeah.  That's the song in a nutshell.  Remember, Idol is to subtle as a brick is to a window.

Now we see Ryan passing out food to orphans in Africa, and we're told that we can feed a child for less than 50 cents a day.  Gee, isn't that amazing?

LaKisha Jones (sings Fantasia's "I Believe"): Having run out of over-the-top belters to sing, LaKisha has apparently decided to sing previous Idol winners' material two weeks in a row.  Sigh.  She must want out of this competition badly.  And, frankly, Fantasia's scruffy vocals were the only thing that saved this puppy-dog-and-butterflies song.  Without it, it's deadly dull, and I can barely remember it.  Buh-bye, darling.  Randy doesn't think it was her best, but he likes it.  Paula calls her a powerhouse, but Fantasia is so unique that she can't hear anyone else singing this song.  Simon still has issues with her shouting.  I'm thinking it would have been more interesting if she had shouted it.

Ryan asks Phil what he misses most about home.  He misses his kids, but it will be worth it in the end.  Sigh.  You know, you could cure insomnia with this show.

Phil Stacey (sings Garth Brooks' "The Change"): Oh, goody.  A weepy song about the Oklahoma City bombing.  And he's over-emoting, so we're back to having pitch issues.  But the audience gives him a standing ovation, anyway, because we all love a good cry, don't we?  Randy says it's another nice performance.  Paula calls it Phil's best.  Simon really likes him, but he advises him to stick to a more country tone, because goodness knows we don't have any real country singers to choose from this year.

Ryan reminds us to vote, vote, vote.  And then we see a video about a place that gives food to hungry people in L.A.  Simon admits that 1) he didn't realize that there were hungry people in America, 2) he's never met nice people before, and 3) he's amazed.  Move on.

Jordin Sparks (sings Rogers & Hammerstein's "You'll Never Walk Alone" from Carousel): This is one of my favorite Rogers & Hammerstein songs.  In the musical, it's first sung by the mother of one of the lead characters, someone who has witnessed a lot of hard times and sings the song when her daughter has just faced the shooting death of her husband.  So to hear it out of the mouth of the 17-year-old daughter of a famous football player, someone who has probably never had to deal personally with much in the way of adversity, is a little grating.  And while there are glimpses of the fantastic interpreter Jordin one day will be (the way she can pull back vocally is refreshingly unique to these contestants), she's not as polished as she needs to be to pull this off.  Plus she looks like she's going to break down and cry all the way through it, which naturally affects her singing, particularly the high notes for which she has almost no breath support.  But people are falling all over themselves for her.  Randy says it's one of the best vocals by anyone ever on the show in six seasons.  Huh?  Paula says she's glorious and did a lovely job.  Simon says that unlike Randy, he thought Jordin was fantastic (ha, ha), and she'd have a hit record with that 60-year-old song.  Especially if his label recorded her, I'm sure.

Ryan takes us out by saying there will be the biggest shock in Idol history tomorrow.  Um...they're going to ditch all these contestants and start over?

Rankings:

1. Melinda - Professional and polished, pulling out her emotions without letting it affect her vocals.  She's the only contestant for whom I can relax while watching her performance. Thank you.
2. Jordin - She gave me glimpses of greatness.  I just wish she could control the tears and the vocals some more.
3. Blake - The song was tedious, but vocally he was fine, and he was really into it.
4. Phil - Depressing tune, but he's got more confidence now.
5. Chris/LaKisha - One performance I want to forget, and one I've forgotten.

Don't forget, vote, vote, vote!  After all, we want to brag about how many votes were cast tomorrow night!

Bottom 3 on April 25 Results Show:  Not announced.

Eliminated:  No one.  They decided to give them a break because of the charity show.  This week's votes will be added to next week's, and two people will be eliminated.

 

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

 

April 17 Review | Season 6 Index | May 1 Review