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American Juniors, July 1: How You Gonna Pick Just One?by Sting7 -- 07/02/2003
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This is the first week the Top Ten gun for a spot in the band. All the kids know they are competing against the best. Now, everything counts!
Ryan welcomes us with a fresh eyebrow waxing! He looks even more androgynous than he did last week! Too much California really can be a bad thing.
To be honest, my satellite struggled for the first minute of the show and I had no sound, but Ryan is brandishing a HUGE pair of underwear with a “205” on them. I don’t want to know. He throws them to a couple of girls who looked alternately horrified and amused. [Editor’s Note: He made a bad joke about them belonging to Ruben, who had been by to visit the week before. Sting7 was probably lucky the sound didn’t work.]
Ryan introduces the judges. Deborah Gibson is here. Lamont Dozier, Motown legend, is the guest judge. And, the role of Gladys Knight is being played tonight by Supreme Mary Wilson.
Ryan tells us that from here on out, each week will have a theme year. Tonight, 1969. Yep, these kids have to sing songs a full 20 years older than they are! Fasten your seatbelt.
A.J. Melendez, “My Cherie Amour”
Deborah says it’s not her favorite song, and if he doesn’t make the band this week, he will before they are done. Lamont can’t wait for A.J. to get his record deal so he can go down to Tower Records and buy his album. Mary says he’s hitting runs at 11 (A.J. corrects her, he’s 12), Mary bows in sublimation, and continues, he’s hitting runs at 12 that some adults are still working out. She says he has a great future ahead of him.
This was an excellent job! I have to admit that A.J. Melendez singing this song smoked another A.J. (Gil, from season one of American Idol), who is much older! I am amazed at his control and the quality of his voice. During the commercial break, I could still hear him in my head. Sonically, just outstanding. The song choice was smart, because the range is right in A.J.’s backyard. Effortlessly excellent.
Katelyn Tarver, “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”
Deborah was hoping for more attitude for the somewhat sarcastic tone of the song, but she says Katelyn is gorgeous and has a great pure voice. Lamont says the best is to come for Katelyn and she did a good job. Mary says she sees Katelyn as a model and she was “extremely wonderful.” When you are a Supreme, who cares about your grammar?
I think Katelyn has a tonal quality that I really like, but it is still maturing. She’s not as good as she’s going to be. There were some control issues, and I’m not convinced she nailed that final note, but all Katelyn needs is to get that one big performance under her belt, just one night for the stars and the moon to align, and she’s in the band.
Jordan McCoy, “I Love You More Today Than Yesterday”
Deborah liked her attitude, but thinks she needs work on her voice. What is with her tonight? Lamont says she is cute as bug, and her smile is priceless, her voice is too. Mary notes that every band has someone everybody looks at and that person becomes an insufferable bitch and she wants to rip that fake hair out of her swollen head! Just kidding, Mary says that Jordan would be the person who everyone notices and that is wonderful.
To me, Jordan’s performance was better than her last performance (thankfully, no squeaking). As dazzling as that smile is, the voice at times was pitchy, flat, and she was reaching for notes that were beyond her range (for now). But, through all of that, she lit up the stage, and if she was sweating, it didn’t show at all. To be fair, the song choice was challenging for the best of us. There are some amazing chord changes vocally in “More Today,” and victims far older than Jordan have been claimed.
Chantel Kohl, “You Make Me So Very Happy”
(Chantel’s dad welled up again. I swear, I think he’s going to explode with pride one week!)
Deborah thinks she should buy her dad a hanky, he’s so cute (what, with her allowance?). She says Chantel’s voice is special, but her higher range is stronger than her lower, but in a band, they would just give her high stuff. Lamont says her control at this age is phenomenal, five years from now she will be scary! As far as he’s concerned, she’s in the group. Mary seems flummoxed, says her talent is enormous, just keep doing what she’s doing. Mary adds that she likes Chantel’s lower register. (On the wide shot, Debbie is making a “whatever” face. What is her deal?)
Chantel does have something special. In her first run during the chorus, she brought the crowd to their feet! She has a strong voice, great presence, and stardom seems like a foregone conclusion. I sensed that Chantel had never heard this song before in her life, and I’m not sure she knew how to interpret it. But she sang it pretty well.
Chauncey Matthews, “This Guy’s In Love With You”
Deborah says she sensed he was a little nervous, but he is so charming it won’t matter, and he really knows how to work the camera. Lamont asks who taught him such presence? He says Chauncey has “been there before” and behaves like he’s been on the stage for forty years, and has a wonderful voice! Mary says the mark of a performer is to take the nerves and handle them. And, he did that. His last run reminded her of a young Luther Vandross.
I really did not love this song on Chauncey. There were some very high notes that gave him trouble (even for his range). But, Chauncey does have astonishing presence, very comforting. You never feel like Chauncey will screw up! That is special. Frankly, I look forward to him singing again next week, but I think song choice will be key for him.1 2 Next-->
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