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American Idol Season 6 (2007)

 

May 1 -  It's tough, so tough (Bon Jovi songs)

 

Tonight, Jon Bon Jovi mentors the contestants as they sing his band's songs.  Since none of the contestants are known for their rock sensibilities, I fear an impending train wreck.  Right now, I'm almost wishing that Sanjaya was back so I could see him with bad 80s hair.

Phil Stacey (sings "Blaze of Glory"): "Holy Moly, I'm jamming with Bon Jovi!" Phil exclaims.  Jon is just as enthusiastic during rehearsal, saying that Phil nailed the song.  And - shock! - he did.  Okay, his vocals aren't quite as raw as Jon's, but he's got that country thang going, a decent shot of rock, and a whole lot of energy.  You mean, there's actually hope for this show?  I'm stunned.  Randy points out that he recorded that song for Bon Jovi (yawn) and says this is one of Phil's best performances.  Paula says it's the best opening they've had all season.  Simon says it was okay, but he believes Phil was like a bad actor playing a role, and he thinks that he won't last to next week.  So either he wants Phil out of the way, or he knows that everyone else is really that much better.  Hmm...

Jordin Sparks (sings "Livin' On a Prayer"): Jordin's mother grew up on Bon Jovi's music.  Wow, way to remind me that I'm old.  Thanks.  Jon says that this is a tough song, and they had to rearrange the melody some for her.  And then she sings and...well...what can I say?  The poofy hair is certainly 80s enough.  But her voice is just wayyyyyy too wrong for this arrangement.  She has no power on the verse, and the big notes of the chorus just seem wimpy.  Why didn't she try the softer version Bon Jovi recorded in the 90s?  Or the Tori Amos version?  Just...ugh.  Randy says she's definitely not a rock girl, and Jordin agrees.  Paula gives her credit for going for it even though it wasn't in her range.  Simon says her look this week is out of the Addams Family and declares that the singing verged on shrieking.  Well, no, that was last week, but the point is, it was pretty bad.  Jordin is gracious and acknowledges that this definitely wasn't her week.  Okay, kudos to her for not getting all defensive, and I'm sure the fact that she got oodles of votes last week means that she's not going anywhere any time soon.

LaKisha Jones (sings "This Ain't a Love Song"): LaKisha wants the camera to get her "slim side" and says we'll get a little "somethin' somethin'."  Jon says this is a soul singer's song, so she picked the right tune.  He further thinks that she's not going home this week.  I'm not familiar with this song, so I don't know how it was originally sung, but LaKisha gives it a sort of gospel flair.  And she closes with that classic, determined "and-I-am-telling-you-I'm-not-going-without-beating-you-up-first" look she gave us during week 1 of the semi-finals.  Okay, okay!  I believe you!  Um...anyway...overall, it's much better than the last two weeks.  But if they're really combining votes from last week with votes from this week, I don't know that this will be enough to keep her in the competition.  Randy says that LaKisha is back and that she blew it "out da box."  Paula likes the lower tone in her voice, blah, blah.  Simon says he could kiss her after that.  So then he does.  Eeeeeeuuuuuuuuuuwwww.  And then he spends the next five minutes wiping off LaKisha's lip gloss, while telling her that she has nice lips.  Please, please go to a commercial now.

Blake Lewis (sings "You Give Love a Bad Name"): Jon says it's an "adventurous" rendition and thinks that Blake's rolling the dice with it.  Um, okay, what do I say about this?  He's certainly energetic, and when he actually sings, he sounds pretty good.  But he's beatboxing and riffing with the percussionist through a good portion of the tune, which is...odd.  I mean, we've been beat over the head with "this is a singing competition" for half the season.  So what to make of this?  I don't know.  I can't decide whether this rendition is good or bad.  Nor do I see the point of him dying his hair black this week, except to shock his fans.  The judges love him tonight, though.  Randy gives him the award for the most original version of a song ever on Idol and tells him that his risk paid off.  Paula thinks Jon was digging what he was doing and points out that Simon's mother was in the audience dancing to it.  Simon says that half the audience will hate it and half will love it, but that it was absolutely the right thing to do, and Blake will still be here next week because of it.

Chris Richardson (sings "Wanted Dead or Alive"): Chris sings what Chris Daughtry did last year, and he forgets the words during rehearsal.  Oops.  Jon tells him to find the "blue" note, whatever that means.  Chris might have come across better if Daughtry hadn't already done this, but as it is...it's only so-so.  His voice doesn't have Daughtry's depth, and despite the rock poses, he looks uncomfortable and almost defeated up there.  And someone needs to tell him that the word is "alive," not "a lie."  The judges are kind to him, though.  Randy says he did his thing.  Paula says he did a good job.  Simon says that Chris did as much as he could with the song, but he wasn't sure if it was enough to stay another week.  What, no comparisons to their beloved Daughtry?  I'm shocked.

Melinda Doolittle (sings "Have a Nice Day"): She's worried about performing rock, but Jon tells her to treat it like church, which she can relate to.  And, of course, she blows it out of the water.  Well, that praise may be a bit too high - she hasn't quite got the rock "badness" down.  Unlike Jordin, though, she found a way to make the song work, and she has confidence, attitude, and growls to spare.  And for once she chose the most recent song of anyone up there.  You go, girl.  Randy doesn't necessarily think it's her best song, but he says it's definitely another great performance from her.  Paula calls her a rock star.  Simon says she was like a young Tina Turner, and he thought it was vocally in a different league from everyone else.

And now we are subjected to the sight of President and Laura Bush thanking us and Bono for donating to "Idol Gives Back."  Way to ruin the night, folks.  Get.  Off.  My.  Screen.  Now.

Rankings:

1. Phil - He's in danger of being forgotten, having performed first, but I thought he was the most authentic performer up there tonight.
2. Melinda - The only reason I don't place her in a tie with Phil was because she was a tad less comfortable on the stage than he was.  But they're only separated by a hair.
3. Blake - Because I can't decide whether or not I like the version, I will place him here because the arrangement was the most original of the night.
4. LaKisha/Chris - They were fine, but I'm starting to forget them both.
6. Jordin - Not as bad as Sanjaya would be, but still pretty awful. Which means her squealy fans will be voting in droves.

Eliminated on May 2 Results Show (in order announced, no bottom 3):  Phil Stacey and Chris Richardson 

 

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

 

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