American Idol 2, April 1: Fool Me Once...by Sting7 -- 04/02/2003
This has been quite a week for American Idol. The maelstrom over Marine Josh Gracin's continued participation grows higher, a skeleton from Trenyce's closet falls out, while Corey Clark has been expelled due to his own brush with the law. In the midst of all this, we get Disco Week. A week that always seems to make Simon crabby, and tonight is no exception.
The show begins and Ryan Seacrest greets us with 1,784 disco cliches. I'll spare you. We are introduced to the eight remaining contestants. Eight? Ryan goes on to explain that Corey Clark has been expelled from the show due to pending legal issues over his head, "We certainly do a background check on all of our contestants. But, that process is compromised when the contestant is less than honest. Corey Clark chose not to reveal his arrest, so we had to release him." Strong words from Fox's legal department! (Ryan made no effort to look like he was doing anything but reading a carefully prepared statement.)
Speaking of words, Corey has the chance to explain himself in his own words: "The story came out this morning that I was alleged to have beat up my own little sister, and I beat up four police officers and I was endangering a child, that was my little sister, and obstructing justice. Basically, the charges they are trying to bring against me, I'm not guilty of, at all. I am guilty of not letting the producers of the show know what happened. If I told the producers from the beginning, you know what I'm saying, there's no telling what might, or might not, have happened. I guess I was a little scared." Corey goes on to apologize to the contestants who may have been cut in favor of him, and the contestants who are no longer in the competition who may have received votes if he weren't there.
Okay, let's party! (Oy vay.)
Ryan introduces the judges, you know them, and guest judge, Verdine White from the absolutely legendary Earth Wind & Fire. Verdine glides out, slick as spider snot, exchanges pleasantries with Ryan, and glides on to his seat as we get a package telling us who EW&F were, like anyone with a radio doesn't know them (and stupidly calls EW&F a disco band! Every song folks danced to during the disco era was not necessarily a disco song and not every successful act was a disco act! But, it is a Fox show, do we really expect accuracy?).
On with the show. Time for the performances.
Rickey Smith, "Let's Groove"
Randy - "I don't know if I was so thrilled... had some pitch problems"
Paula - "I couldn't disagree more... you picked the perfect song for your register"
Simon - "I saw someone who should have been performing at children's parties"
Verdine - "it must have been hard to do that song with me out here... you held your own"
Sting7- I don't have a problem with Rickey having a little levity with his performance, he came out with a disco wig, and did more than a little grooving. I don't know why Rickey's voice still surprises me. I didn't see the pitch problem Randy did, but the pacing was an issue. "Let's Groove" is a tight and intricate song with Maurice White handling base of the vocals and Philip Bailey using his classic falsetto to sing the hook. Rickey tried both parts, which was jarring, and made breathing hard. But it was an admirable attempt!
Carmen Rasmussen, "Turn The Beat Around"
Randy - "it was alright... it was feeling karaoke, it was alright"
Paula - "lot of energy... you had more fun than I've seen you have... did a good rendition"
Simon - "not the best voice in the competition, but the most commercial"
Verdine - "best strength is your performing... may want to tighten your skills"
Sting7- Carmen actually won me over a bit. Her voice is interesting, and she really belted it tonight. Her stage presence took a huge leap forward.
Kimberly Caldwell, "Knock On Wood"
Randy - "look great... hated the arrangement... you sang in tune... arrangement was too Vegas but you were stellar on it!"
Paula - "you were off-pitch... you are consistent and your consistency seems to equal complacency"
Simon - "hard to tell in here, it may be different when I hear it again later... 6.5 out of 10... whoopee"
Verdine - "great stage presence... check out the pitch thing... you only have a minute and half, but I think you were killer"
Sting7- I actually agree with Paula! I think Kimberly stays consistently on the same level, but the pack is moving forward. It's going to catch with her eventually. I will admit that she has the most diverse song choices of all the finalists. However, Amii Stewart was veeeery stylized, and anyone doing the song would have to follow her over-the-top stylizing which makes them look silly, but Kimberly managed to avoid that with own amazing presence.
Clay Aiken, "Everlasting Love"
Randy - "that's how you do it... whatever it is, you make it your own... brilliant"
Paula - "doesn't matter what genre, your voice is golden... looking for you to dance... you didn't! (okay so he won't be doing "Cold Hearted Snake," Paula!)
Simon - "in the context of this competition, I thought it was terrible... I didn't get it!"
Verdine - "I saw you backstage, you didn't look like you could sing like that!... you have pipes!"
Sting7- I don't know what the hell Simon was talking about. But that long note was a bit much for me. It didn't charm me, but Clay is golden, no question. I am beginning to feel some complacency from him too. It's like he's on autopilot. Maybe Simon was trying to shake him out his fugue.
Ryan asks the judges about the wide range from Randy's brilliant to Simon's terrible. Randy stands by his critique, as does Simon. Curious. Clay's performance was a galaxy away from terrible. Simon may reconsider when he listens again.
Trenyce, "I'm Every Woman"
Randy - "heard some pitch problems, but you were good!"
Paula - "week after week, you change your look and you even change your voice... it's like you take each week like homework and you study... a pro like you, you rise from adversity" (the only reference to Trenyce's brush with the law all night)
Simon - "I'm still not blown away, you can't compare that to Whitney or Chaka, but okay"
Verdine - "I think you got star quality... the whole package, keep it up!"
Sting7- She definitely has star quality, love her, love her! She's not Whitney or Chaka, no. Not yet. I thought she was dead on. The voice is awesome, the presence, (the smile is breaking many a male heart) she really is the whole package.
Ruben Studdard, "Can't Get Enough of Your Love"
Randy - "great... you do it every week, you make the song your own"
Paula - "there will be lots of baby-making tonight... and I hope they are all named Ruben!"
Simon - "I think you should win this competition" (he said the same thing to Clay two weeks ago)
Verdine - "right on, right on!... inspiring, brother!"
Sting7- I was actually not as enthralled with Ruben tonight. Of course, it shows on his worse night, he's better the most of the pack. I just didn't feel like he ignited like he usually does... he didn't give me the chills he usually does, but still way above average.
Kimberley Locke, "It's Raining Men"
Randy - "brilliant, brilliant... absolutely brilliant"
Paula - "consistent... beautifully consistent"
Simon - "I think you did Ryan Seacrest's favorite song justice!"
Verdine - "consistent, beautiful... and you picked the hardest song of the era!"
Sting7- She was born to do this song. Absolutely born... if only Frenchie were around... sigh. From that near disaster, "Heat Wave," Kimberley Locke has made excellent decisions with her song choices and has suddenly become a serious contender!
Joshua Gracin, "Celebration"
Randy - "you must have a cold... wasn't your best performance"
Paula - "you may be a little sick... you gotta give the best performance you can... you injected disco with a little Joshism"
Simon - "if you had sounded like that when we first saw you, you wouldn't be here now... that was dreadful"
Verdine - "you may not be up to your best... don't worry about it, keep doing what you're doing"
Sting7- Ay caramba, that stunk! Yow! I was actually thinking, no one laid an egg tonight... until… I was worried about this. Maybe he had a cold, but he also decreed himself country and we knew, and he knew, and the judges knew, that Disco Week was coming. I am pretty sure it will be his last.
Ryan is backstage with the contestants. He asks Clay about Simon's bizarre critique. (Careful Clay!) "It's a little disappointing" he says, that there is such disparity between Randy/Paula and Simon. He continues, "I respect his opinion, he knows what he's talking about... most of the time." Easy, superstar, let's not get cocky. The last thing Clay needs to do is appear at all arrogant. Julia was crucified on the message boards and such, I still say unjustly.
Ryan then asks Kimberly about the critiques, Kimberly says she keeps her comments to herself (and even when she got Paula's harshest review of the night, Kimberly said, "thanks, I'll keep that in mind!" Perfect).
Ryan reminds us that the results show is an hour long again. Groan with me.
So, those were the performances. Tomorrow night, someone must go. What do you think? Who will it be? Here's how I ranked the performances.
3. Kimberley L.
6. Kimberly C.
I don't see anyway that Josh can escape from that horrific performance. The fact that he is a Marine might get him some sympathy votes, but it was inexcusable in my opinion. Oh man.
Am I right? We shall see.
Sting7 can be reached at email@example.com.
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