American Idol 4, March 7: One Last Shotby Sting7 -- 03/08/2005
Before we begin this recap, I would like to think Donna Reynolds for pinch-hitting last week. She is a goddess among women, and you are lucky to have experienced her!
Ryan welcomes us and reminds us this is the last chance to get in the Top 12. He also reminds us that Joe Mureno, David Brown, Aloha Mischeaux and Celena Rae have fallen to the wayside. Ryan asks Simon how he is. A fired up Simon says heís tired of hearing people complaining that they were eliminated because they didnít get enough airtime, "America isnít stupid, they are voting on whether you sing well or not, not if they saw you last week!" He goes on to add that Kelly Clarkson wasnít featured before this stage of the competition. I disagree, Simon. All of the people who were not featured before Top 24 (Joe, Celena, Aloha, Jared) are all gone and itís not a coincidence.
In the halls of RNO we had this discussion, primarily about Joe, who most of us feel performed well enough to get through another week. Did he sing well enough to make folks lunge for the telephones? Maybe not. Would it have helped if he had gotten as much camera time as, say, Anwar or Constantine? Damn skippy. Where David Brown somehow let himself fall into mediocrity (one of the great mysteries of Idol lore), I think Joe had something and we never got to see it bloom. Last Iíll say on the subject: instead of the Mary Roaches or watching Ryan ride rollercoasters, maybe that time could have been spent getting us acquainted with Joe, Celena, Aloha, and Jared, because like it or not, we are more apt to vote for somebody weíve connected with, no matter how well they sing.
Paula says she thinks she knows who is just getting by each week, and Randy says song choice schmong choice, Kelly, Ruben, Clay, and Fantasia just came out and sang the juice out of whatever song it was.
Okay, On with the show. Ryan tells us that the contestants are going to talk about the zodiac signs: I donít care, you donít either.
Scott Savol, "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch"
Randy - "I love that you came out having fun... I think you did it man, that was nice."
Paula - "It was a nice change for you, you through in the choreography... that was a great job."
Simon - "Do something you are good at doing, the choreography at the beginning was horrendous... at this stage in the competition I would expect more than that, that was the equivalent of an amateurs performance at a party. Scott, it wasnít good enough." (Scott mumbles that "all you got is opinions")
Sting7 - Hoo boy. I was afraid of this. As soon as Scott is shown some adversity, that condo-sized chip on his shoulder was going to come out! I didnít expect "Sugar Pie," Scott said he thought it would show the power in his voice, but I donít know where he got that impression. He did a decent job, seemed like his breathing was leaving him toward the end, but he covered well. Just not a song that really shows how strong your voice is. Maybe heís already done enough, but Iím a little worried.
Bo Bice, "Iíll Be"
Randy - "It wasnít the best youíve done, but I liked it... you got that growl, always use that, it was alright."
Paula - "Slam dunk... youíve done Edwin McCain proud."
Simon - "It was absolutely the right song, right now, I think itís your competition to lose."
Sting7 - Bo is winning me over! Nice modulation in there. Bo has power, but he has soft strokes. I was in that camp that said a rocker can not win this competition. Bo is changing my mind.
Anthony Fedorov, "Iíve Got You"
Randy - "Anthony is back... this is the best Iíve seen you do."
Paula - "You are like brand new... excellent excellent! Itís like you found yourself."
Simon - "The problem I have, youíre a nice guy, you remind me of Clay... you doing a latin Marc Anthony thing - you have as much latin flair as a polar bear! It just looks uncomfortable."
Sting7 - Despite Simon, I think a Marc Anthony song was an inspired choice for Anthony and his powerful vibrato. He showed he can do more than ballads, he looked completely at ease up there. I have no arguments with the kid. Simon has got to get past the Clay comparisons. Skinny white guys with glasses (at least Clay used to), thatís all they have in common.
Nikko Smith, "Georgia On My Mind"
Randy - "Very ambitious choice, started a little rough, couple of pitch spots.... you ended so strong, I didnít know you had that range in you!"
Paula - "That was wonderful. I canít imagine the Top 12 without you in it."
Simon - "I think you needed to do that. I think it was a very smart choice of song.... I think the vocal in parts was shaky, but everyone will remember that last note. Good choice."
Sting7 - I was thinking what Simon was, what a smart choice of song. That Ray Charles lovefest is still in full-swing, and who doesnít love that song. Simon was also right that there were a couple of spots when Nikko was just a nudge off key (but you know I donít care about that - perform for me, all I ask!), but the last note was the kicker. Nikko is building momentum that should carry him into the Top 12 with no problem at all.
Travis Tucker, "Every Little Step"
Randy - "Performance, I give you an A... pitch, I gotta give you a D. It was pretty bad for me pitch-wise."
Paula - "I think youíre pretty special... you are unique to the competition and thatís important."
Simon - "I think that was appalling. It was the equivalent as good or as bad as you would get in a theme park. And you came over as a dancer first and vocalist second, and itís not good enough."
Sting7 Ė Travisí pitch was all over the place, but he definitely is a performer. This is a problem that dancer-singers have, all that choreography wreaks havoc on your breathing unless you are in dead-awesome physical shape. Thatís why you will never hear me complain about lip-synching. I like Travis, but this is not the performance he would want to launch himself in to the Top 12. Iím worried for him.
Mario Vazquez, "How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?"
Randy - "Another ambitious choice... excellent man, I think it would be a bad Top 12 if you werenít in it."
Paula - "I got goosebumps with how tender you sang it... gorgeous, just gorgeous."
Simon - "You have a charm about you. Itís like a girl who brings home the boyfriend. Youíre going to sail into the Top 12, youíre not the best singer in the competition, there are better singers, but you have a charm."
Sting7 - Absolutely gorgeous. Smart of Mario to save a ballad he can nail for the clincher week. This guy is a contender. Tackling this Bee Gees classic with all the tenderness that they and Al Green did was not easy to do, but Mario is showing us he has layers of ability that are going to serve him well when he has to tackle themes. Top 3. Guaranteed.
Constantine Maroulis, "Everything Little Thing She Does (Is Magic)"
Randy - "I liked you tonight, you sang it in tune. You got personality, you got star potential, thatís the kind of joint you should be doing."
Paula - "This is my favorite performance from you. Youíve got charisma, youíve got this magical thing about you."
Simon - "A bad impersonation of Sting. You guys have lost the plot!"
Sting7 - I had a flashback to Tyler Foehr from American Juniors being victimized by this song. I gotta be honest. I donít know how in fairness Constantine can avoid a similar fate. I didnít hear much singing at all. I wasnít nearly as enchanted as Randy and Paula, but not as dismissive as Simon. It just didnít work for me. Sorry.
Anwar Robinson, "What A Wonderful World"
Randy - "I try to keep it real, but I gotta give it up dawg (standing ovation)."
Paula - "(Standing ovation) You take such risks on these songs weíve heard a thousand times. You breathe new life into them and itís beautiful!"
Simon - "Youíre everything a music teacher should be. Youíre so nice - we could have had puppies on the stage! What I like about you is I donít think you would change one iota if you won this competition. You and Paula should marry and have children, youíre so nice."
Sting7 - Anwar has such a sweet demeanor, he can carry the emotion of this song like few can. I wasnít really convinced about Anwar, but in these three weeks, heís become like the Kimberley Locke of the season. Solid reliability time and time again. Is he in the Top 12? Heíd better be.
So hereís how I think the voting should go:
Hereís how I think the voting will go:
Yep, I think Constantine is going to get through to the Top 12, to my chagrin, and I think Travis will be going home. He has a million dollar smile, but I think it has served him as much as itís going to. Scott, and that chip on his shoulder, was going to catch up to him sooner or later. The last thing he needed to do was turn anyone off, but his comment to Simon, and his petulant post interview with Ryan will be his undoing.
Tomorrow night, the ladies. There are a few of them who have some work to do to stand out from the pack. Letís see how they manage!
Sting7 has been a respected published writer for 16 years, as a music editor, entertainment critic, columnist, and interviewer. He also has a curious love for pro-wrestling! You can email Stinger at email@example.com.
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