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Star Search, March 6: The End is in Sight!by Donna Reynolds -- 03/08/2004
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Did you know that Usher, Ray Romano, and Beyonce all got started on Star Search? Did you know that Beyonce didn’t win? Well now you do! Same intro, the others are vulnerable, blah, blah, blah. We are reminded that the finale is next week.
Arsenio’s voice tells us that the Winners’ Circles were shaken up in a big way on last week’s show. Kevin blew David Archuleta away, and David tearfully tells us that he is going to really miss everyone. Candace & Brandon, who were also defeated, are going to miss everything so much. We see a clip of the tearful aftermath where emotions ran high and all the kids cry. Certainly, after all these weeks together it was hard to say goodbye. Mark, who is the youngest and the most “real” cried his little eyes out, making it clear just how wrenching this experience is for all those remaining.
Here’s Arsenio looking quite dapper tonight in a gray pinstriped suit and matching gray shirt. He sure knows how to dress it up! “It’s gonna be more intense than ever,” he tells us. We meet the judges – six time Grammy winner Naomi, “tongue- challenged” TV producer Matti and hip-hop legend MC Lyte.
The first group can “belt em out like Barry Bonds but we don’t have to pay them 15M a season.” Here come the Young Singers. First up is ten-year old Casey Schuber from Linwood, New Jersey. If she wins, she will buy a horse with her winnings. She is singing “Broken Wings,” a country song and going for the whole country look with a red fringed skirt and cowboy boots. She is sort of “beauty pageant.” Casey has a very clean voice but she seems to be screaming just a little too much. She holds that final note almost to eternity and gets a standing ovation from the audience.
Naomi tells her that since she (Naomi) is from Kentucky she can tell that Casey has the makings of a thoroughbred. Matti thinks she’ll get her horse, but not tonight. MC agrees with Naomi and says that Casey is a star in the making.
“Hit me with the digits.” Casey gets 11 stars (4-3-4).
Next up, singing “Happy Days Are Here Again” is ten-year old Ashlee Keating from Thoms River, New Jersey. I hate to say this, but she reminds me of being in someone’s living room and having to listen to their kid sing. Who would encourage a 10-year old to sing such a song? She sure is enthusiastic, though and cute as a button. Her performance is very “Broadway” and I can see her doing “Annie.” She gets a standing ovation too.
Naomi says she felt like she was watching a play and that Ashlee is too much of a drama queen. Matti disagrees, saying he thinks it was an amazing rendition of a very old song and that Ashlee has a lot of heart. MC loves the life she puts into the performance and “felt” the song.
“Hit me with the digits.” Ashlee also gets 11 stars (3-4-4) so it’s a tie. The judges have to decide which way to call it. Who is “Mo’ Better?” Naomi picks Casey and Matti calls out Ashlee. MC breaks the tie and picks Ashlee.
Before she can start thanking the “little people,” Arsenio tells her that she has to pick someone to challenge.
But first, it’s tonight’s fun filler piece. During the week all the singers had a chance to meet A&M record producer Ron Fair. Mark is a little nervous but Kevin says he is going to blow Ron away. Mark sings “MacArthur Park” and thinks Ron is impressed because he was grinning. Ron thinks it will be fun to watch Mark grow up. Spensha selects “When You Believe,” and Ron says she is “crazy impressive.” He tells her she has a power that will “freak out other kids your age.” Spensha says it’s already happening. Much as I like Spensha, she seems to be showing some early signs of diva-ism. But maybe that’s what you need to do to make it in the biz and Ron thinks she is ready to make a record. Kevin sings “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Ron says it was hot and that, for a guy his age Kevin has a nice baritone voice. He thinks this will set him apart and wonders if he has a thick skin. Mark says Ron’s advice makes him want to work a little harder.
Who will Ashlee pick? I want to see Spensha. She challenges Kevin.
Kevin sings “My Girl.” I am so impressed by this kid. He has excellent stage presence and all the moves to sell this song. And his voice. My, my, my. Fabulous performance. Mark and Spensha are going to have a real fight on their hands in the finale.
Naomi says that Kevin grabs her by the ear, the heart, and the mind, and that he reminds her of David Ruffin. Matti tells us that he got a lot of crap from people who didn’t think Kevin should have won last week (Kevin beat out Luisa Lubell, an extraordinary little opera singer). He says “They’re all wrong and I’m right. You’re fantastic. You have amazing phrasing and you’re an incredible performer.” MC liked the phrasing and the way he built it up at the end.
“Hit me with the digits.” Kevin gets 12 stars (5-4-3) and is going to the finals.1 2 3 Next-->
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