American Idol 2, February 4: Parental Guidance Not Recommendedby Sting7 -- 02/05/2003
Ryan Seacrest shows us the new set (nice), and the new kiss and cry area. Oh, there are more couches for parents! Lovely. Eh, the parents won't be a factor. (heh heh heh!)
And now, on to the performances!
Kimberly Caldwell, "Come To My Window"
Randy - "I love the sound of your voice."
Paula - "Right on the money."
Simon - "Performed it brilliantly."
Sting7 - Kimberly Caldwell is one of my Picks to Click, and somehow, she left me cold. Maybe it was the way she so spot-on for the cameras. Maybe it was the song (I've heard it enough times to last me the next couple of lives). I wanted her to ignite but it just didn't happen.
Patrick Fortson, "Unbreak My Heart" (groan)
Paula - "I'm a big fan."
Randy - "Okay. Not the thing that will send me over the top, but nice voice."
Simon - "Outfit sucks, song choice terrible."
Sting7 - There is no question that Patrick has a remarkable voice, but somewhere in this song, his voice became Toni Braxton's. That was unsettling. Remember, Kelly Glover sang "I Will Always Love You" so much like Whitney Houston that it became her undoing.
Of note: As Simon is verbally dismantling Patrick, Patrick's father is fidgeting backstage. Patrick asks Simon, "What would you like me to wear?" Did he invite you to dinner? For the record, Patrick is wearing a black suit with an exaggerated jacket, a white shirt, collar out to Lou Rawls territory, and a hideous black and white polka dot tie. Not what I would have worn. To be fair, it wasn't that bad, but it could have definitely been better.
Simon doesn't like to be questioned, as we all know, and continues to flambe poor Patrick. Now, Daddy is making his way out to the stage. Ryan Seacrest makes a feeble attempt to grab him. Daddy emerges from the shadows, walking in a deliberate, and somewhat menacing, pace. Randy asks nervously, "Who are you, sir?"
"This is my son."
"Oh!" all the judges coo at the same time, but clearly tense. Randy compliments Daddy's suit. A rather tasteful neutral tone number. Simon snorts, "You should have traded suits." A rather silly, if polite, argument ensues between Daddy and Simon. Simon is actually on his heels at one point, "I'm the one who will develop the winner." Simon having to declare his position? What? Daddy answers something like, "When he makes you 30 million dollars, you won't care about his outfit." Simon sees the opportunity to regain the upper-hand counters with, "If we see that outfit on an album cover, God help us!" Things settle down and Daddy escorts Patrick backstage to a stammering Ryan Seacrest.
Where do I start? I am embarassed for poor Patrick. He had plenty going for him.
1) The overweight revolution is in full effect this year. No doubt. Still to come, Frenchie Davis, Kimberley Locke, Ruben Studdard: three incredible voices that would have been silenced because of their weight last year. Patrick is carrying a few extra pounds, and there are plenty of folks with phones who want to make a point this year.
2) He sang a popular song, though one sung by a woman. It was a risk, but for the most part, he carried it off. Sing a song folks know, and sing it well, they will vote for you.
3) Simon destroyed him. Four words: Jim Verraros, RJ Helton. Sympathy got them a long, long way.
Daddy coming out completely diminished Patrick and it is damn hard to take his seriously. If Patrick gets a recording contract, and I'm sure he will one day, is Daddy going to visit every critic who gives him a bad review? I am embarrassed for him.
On with the show.
JD Adams, "All In Love Is Fair"
Paula - "Camera loves you... real nice job."
Randy - "Tough song... I was impressed."
Simon - "Okay... you look like an American Idol, not sure you sounded like one."
Sting7 - he certainly has it all. Looks like a million bucks (that smile has weakened a resolve or two, I bet), he's charming, and when he's on, he's a star. He was not on tonight, but still decent. He said he felt the pressure of all that praise Simon has heaped on him earlier in the process. He will need to get past that.
Trenyce (wasn't she Lashundra Cobbins last week?), 'That's Just Love Sneaking Up On You"
Randy - "I'm impressed."
Simon - "Song stunk... sang it really well."
Paula - "unbelievable... I'm just in love with you right now."
Sting7 - Nice, saucy delivery, spirited, soulful, I'm with it. Bonnie Raitt was a creative choice. I liked her presence too, easy to root for her.
Meosha (once Meosha Denton), "How Do I Live Without You"
Paula - "Not sure it was your best performance."
Randy - "Okay... not really moved."
Simon - "Walked out like a loser... (performance was) 'so what?'."
Sting7 - It's so painful to see someone really, really want to succeed and tank. Sadly, Meosha tanked. Not that her performance was that bad, but compared to the other's we'd seen so far, it just didn't measure up. She seemed tentative and not sure what do with the song. Maybe she should have chosen one she knew better.
Bettis (he was Bettis Richardson not that long ago), "I Thank You"
Randy - "Did not enjoy that... vocals not on-point... couldn't wait for it to be over."
Paula - "Wasn't the best choice."
Simon - "I think you blew it."
Sting7 - Bettis does not have the strongest voice in the world. He seemed to be as concerned with his choreography as he was with his singing, and that was fatal. He's a dancer, sure, but a little less dancing and a little more focus would have served him better.
Charles Grigsby, "Overjoyed"
Randy - "Liked your voice... not unbelievable, but good."
Paula - "You should work on projecting your voice... nice."
Simon - "A lot of people disappointed me tonight, but you exceeded my expectations... well done."
Sting7 - There were some nice moments, I'd like to hear him when he is less nervous, but I don't think we'll have that chance.
Julia DeMato, "Son of A Preacher Man"
Paula - "Voice is wonderful."
Randy - "Vocally good, nothing special."
Simon - "You've sung better... would like to see you go on."
Sting7 - Another Pick to Click who didn't thrill me completely, but I thought she was charming enough to carry the day. Already heard some nasty comments out there, making me nervous for one of my faves.
Ryan Seacrest broaches the subject of the meow-mix that went down between her and Kimberly. Julia says it's over with. Kimberly agrees. I believe them.
So, those were the performances. Time for a little handicapping. Who I think should advance:
1. Julia DeMato
2. JD Adams
Who I think will advance:
1. Kimberly Caldwell
2. JD Adams
That was a tough call! And it will only get tougher! There was no one who really stunk. Some made some unfortunate choices, and nerves claimed more than a couple of victims, but they were all quite good. Yes, this round of 32 looks far more prepared than last year's 30.
Wednesday, we reveal the winners and look forward to the next round of eight. A brief caveat: JD, Kimberly, and Julia are the big three in this group. The one of them who does not advance (and if it's not two of these three, I will faint dead away) is sure to be a wild-card contender. Who will it be? Check back in 24!
For more thoughts on the contestants and judges, check out David Bloomberg's article on Foxes On Idol!
Sting7 can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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