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American Idol 2, February 18: Group DynamicsPage 2
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Lou Gazzara "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You?" - Lou Gazzara of the twinkling blue eyes and the cheerleading kicks (oy vey) makes me drop my Coke when he begins belting out this Michael Bolton hit. Again, pleasantly surprised and pleased with a performance that I was ready to dislike. His vocals are strong and the vibrato is beautiful, yet it was somehow passionless. It just didn't ignite like Bolton's did. No one is expecting him to be Bolton, but when you are waiting for the fire and it doesn't come, it kills the whole performance. He tries a James Ingram-esque ending that makes me wince. Paula is pleased, Randy is so-so, Simon calls Lou "this year's RJ" (ouch!) and gives his famous 'so what?' Lou says he disagrees. Simon dismisses this disagreement.
When will they learn?
Equoia "The Way We Were" - Lovely Equoia, with the dazzling smile, gives an amazingly soulful reading of Barbara Streisand's classic. Her voice is a smooth smolder and she is a born performer. This is clearly a woman who has darkened a few boards! I am thoroughly impressed. Randy seems impressed as well, calling it the most passionate performance of the night, though he wasn't fond of the song choice. Paula says she could see Equoia was 'feeling it.' Simon again says polished and professional. Equoia accepts her notices and decides to challenge the judges, claiming the best group is Group 3 and they do have personality and the judges shouldn't say anything else. She takes that dazzling smile and scoots off stage to the admiration of her group mates.
What was the point of that? I guess their minds are changed now.
George Trice, "Unchained Melody" - George has to deal with the stigma of being a replacement, so you wonder if the pressure is greater on him. If so, he doesn't show it. He tackles one of Simon's favorite songs (more pressure) and gives a dazzling performance. His vocal control is excellent, he's smart enough to ease past some of the cheesier high notes and manages to put some of his own personality in. Beyond a doubt, the most surprising performance of the night. Paula is overjoyed with the performance, Randy gives a begrudging approval, though he says as a record producer, he wouldn't know what to do with George's vocal style, and Simon is just not thrilled. Paula tries to convince him he is, claiming he had goosebumps. Then molests him to try to make the goosebumps - on his chest! Silly Paula. George accepts the feedback with a smile that is damned charming.
Simon's annoyance is overflowing now. He claims that this week was full of polished, professional singers, no sparks, and a lot of bad song choices. He makes two guarantees: 1) Group 4 will blow Group 3 away and, 2) the Wildcard round (which I've already started to handicap) will be the best of the groups all season long.
Overall, this group is a difficult call. No one really blew any of the others away. So, making to the Top Ten will not be about singing skill, but who did you like. All of the eight gave very respectable performances, and I think all of the eight could have had a decent run in the Top Ten last year. This is the hardest decision I've had to make all year. Here goes:
Who I think should advance:
2. George Trice
And, who I think will advance:
1. George Trice
2. Samantha Cohen
I think Vanessa Olivarez will join them in the top three. That's my call, I have to live with it. By next week, I will have a new VCR and we can do it like we normally do it then! Thanks for the understanding, my friends!
Be sure to check out David Bloomberg's thoughts on this group over at Foxes On Idol!
Sting7 can be reached at email@example.com.
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