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American Idol 2, May 6: Pulling Out All the Stops!by David Bloomberg -- 05/07/2003
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It's the final four! And we have Ruben, Kimberley, Clay, and Nikki - er, Josh!
As the show begins, a number of audience members have what appear to be thundersticks - the inflatable tubes you bang together to create noise, usually reserved for sporting events. Some look like they say "Ruben" on them, though I can't tell if all of them are printed. I know the guy in the U.S. who makes thundersticks here in the U.S., so I'll have to see if I can find out if they're the real deal or imitations.
Enough about that, though. Ryan Seacrest comes out to start the show. He reminds us (as if we needed reminding) that last week we lost Trenyce. The audience boos. And Ruben was in the bottom two. The audience boos louder. It's very serious, he says. So at the end of the show, he encourages people to get off the couch and vote. Sitting there and saying, "Yeah, that was nice" doesn't do anybody any good. Thankfully, he doesn't say, "Vote for your favorite." Do you think maybe he learned a lesson? Nah, me neither.
Before he introduces the judges, he says they are predicting more drama tonight and the singers are really feeling the pressure. More drama? What, are we going to find out that Kimberley is having Clay's love child or something? And how do you predict drama on a live show? Or am I just way overanalyzing every stupid comment Ryan makes?
The songs tonight are courtesy of the BeeGees, and Robin Gibb is there to guest judge. We are treated to a history of the brothers Gibb and find out that they wrote a lot more songs than just the ones they performed themselves. Before Robin takes his seat at the judges' table, Ryan asks if he can be honest. Robin claims he can be. Yeah, we've heard that from guest judges before. OK, enough of this, let's get to the singing!
Joshua Gracin, "Jive Talkin'"
I've never heard country disco before. I'll be fine if I never hear it again. That said, the song doesn't seem to require much in the way of range the way Josh performs it, so he does a decent job. He shouts a bit at time, and he runs around through the audience through most of the song, which I think involves them more and distracts them from the fact that he's not doing a great job. Still, better than some of his recent performances.
Randy: Like you doing this song… did your thing… might be back tonight.
Robin: Love this version of the song because I love the country feel to it.
Paula: Your warmth comes through… your fans never feel gypped… awesome.
Simon: You're not going to beat me up, are you? (Referring to Josh's not-so-veiled threat from last week.) Better than last week… lucky you're doing two songs… shouted it a bit… not bad.
Clay Aiken, "To Love Somebody"
Now this is a singer. He puts Josh to shame. Clay belts the song when it needs belting, softens when it needs softening. It's simply awesome.
Randy: I gotta give you props… really trying to win… brilliant.
Robin: Fantastic version… the way the song should be sung.
Paula: The last two weeks have been my favorite Clay moments… matured as a performer… caught up with your beautiful voice.
Simon: This is the third show I've done, starting with Pop Idol, and that's probably one of the best performances I've ever heard.
Ryan makes fun of Simon for calling the show Pop Idol, which Simon didn't actually do, and Simon points out that the show started in England - with better hosts! Heh.
Kimberley Locke, "I Just Want to Be Your Everything"
It's not Kim's fault, but the background vocals seem to be drowning her out completely. I can barely hear her voice when they are on at the same time. Ugh. Producers, come on! Therefore, it's hard to determine how well she is doing on the high notes. However, what I can hear sounds great.
Randy: Turning up the game… great.
Robin: The way to sing the song… never heard it sung by a girl before… great.
Paula: Classy gal… beautiful… can't say enough.
Simon: Didn't do it for me… sweet and ordinary… nothing special… not as good as before.
Before Ruben goes on, we find out that yes, audience members do have Thundersticks and yes, they do say "Ruben" on them. OK, that's settled. I feel better, don't you?
Ruben Studdard, "Nights on Broadway"
Again the background vocals are too loud. But what I can hear of Ruben sounds great. He again shows that he can sing anything, anytime, anywhere.
Randy: So proud of you… do your thing week in and week out… sing like a true professional.
Robin: Loved it.
Paula: You rock… you make everyone feel so good.
Simon: After what happened last week - which was crazy - if you weren't in the competition, it wouldn't be the same.
OK, here are my rankings after the first song:
Hey, look, it's a plug! Ryan says all of the audience members can find a copy of the American Idol 2 love songs CD under their seats. (If you haven't already, check out my review.)1 2 Next-->
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