American Idol 4, February 22: Hits and the Missesby Sting7 -- 02/23/2005
Ryan welcomes us, introduces the boys from last night, the judges, and the girls from tonight. Again, 12 performances to get through, so no time for tomfoolery. On with the show!
Vonzell Solomon, "Heat Wave"
Randy - "Great way to start off... little pitchy in parts but you corrected it with your personality."
Paula - "Got the crowd going... did a good job."
Simon - "I think was a good start... oversang it in spots... I think you could do very well in this competition."
Sting7 - The song that almost did in Kimberley Locke flowed much better from Vonzell. There were a couple of pitchy moments, but like Randy said, she had enough moxie and presence to make them pretty irrelevant. Strong performance, good job.
Amanda Avila, "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You"
Randy - "Alright... it was good... demanding vocal... you hung in there."
Paula - "It was good... wasnít your best."
Simon - "Most people do well because they sound different... Iíve heard that performance a lot... in my next life I want to come back as your microphone."
Sting7 Ė The judges were hard on Amanda, I think. Sheís a beautiful singer, she had nice control, if not much explosion, but thatís more the song than Amanda. I donít know if this is the way she wanted to start her Idol campaign, but there are boys in the audience, and they will like her. A lot.
Janay Castine, "I Want to Love You Forever"
Randy - "You looked a little nervous... not your best performance... not sure I loved that."
Paula - "Youíre a little showman... youíre a dynamo... this wasnít right for you."
Simon - "The song was too old... we liked you because youíre young... youíre not 50."
Sting7 - Janay seemed like she was in a wrestling match Ė a three-way match between herself, the song, and her nerves. Iím not sure who won, really. I like Janay, but this was a sonic mess. I hope her youthfulness and the judges encouraging us to give her mulligan will work. Sheís better than this.
Carrie Underwood, "Couldíve Been"
Randy - "What a breath of fresh air... absolutely brilliant."
Paula - "Youíve been good throughout this process and you were good tonight."
Simon - "You are a favorite to win this competition... you know who you are... you have a good recording voice, good job."
Sting7 - Carrie pulls out a Tiffany song that I hope is as close to country as she gets. Iíll just say it, I donít want a country Idol, and while Simon flat out told Josh Gracin it wonít work, he seems to be pushing Carrie that way, and it annoys me. As for Carrie, she has surprising power. Watch out for her, I think Iím ready to peg her Top Three already.
Sarah Mather, "Get Ready"
Randy - "Fun song choice... you worked it out... I enjoyed it a little bit."
Paula - "Not the best song choice, itís more for a group, it doesnít feature a lead vocal... I didnít get to hear more than one octave."
Simon - "You only get one chance to make a first impression... it was a clumsy, forgettable performance."
Sting7 - I called her a forgettable Denim Skirt Girl, and maybe... just maybe, I was a little hasty. Sarah chose a song that didnít really let her show range. (Just when I was ready to compliment Paula, she says something stupid like, "it doesnít feature a lead vocal." Tell Smokey Robinson he wasnít doing a lead vocal, Paula! But Iíll give her this one, her critiques have been 300% better this season.) As for Sarah, lots of personality, I enjoyed watching her, even if hearing her was a bit forgettable. I think she has more in there to show us, I hope she gets a chance.
Melinda Lira, "Power of Love"
Randy - "I think youíre one of the best singers in the competition... a little sharp in the high spots... I still think youíre a young Kelly Clarkson in the making."
Paula - "Wasnít my favorite choice of song... you have to watch out for Celine Dion power balladsÖ I still think youíre a strong contender."
Simon - "Tricky... weíre waiting for a star to come on... that was just (shrug)."
Sting7 - Another song that sounded like a struggle. Paula was right this time Ė future Idols, stay away from Celine! Back away from Celine! It will only get you in trouble! And with that, I have to tell you, the performance doesnít register anything for me at all. I still hear Celine in my head. Thatís not a good sign.
Nadia Turner, "(Thereís) The Power of Love"
Randy - "Props to you for staying true to who you are... you came out here and rocked it... that was excellent!"
Paula - "You look great... I was really surprised, I had no idea you had that in you! I really love it!"
Simon - "The antidote of karaoke hell... what I loved about you this evening was you decided not to play safe... you said Iím original and Iím here to win, and I congratulate you."
Sting7 - You know, Iíve seen plenty of polls and message boards of people proclaiming their favorites, and no one ever mentions Nadia. They will now! Outstanding work. This is a prime example of performance over nit-picking notes. She had a couple of rough ones, but so what? She was in complete control of the stage. You could not take your eyes off her! Thatís a star, people Ė get off the perfect notes, youíre missing the point.
Celena Rae, "I Will Love Again"
Randy - "Itís interesting... it was very safe and bit boring for me."
Paula - "You seemed a bit tentative... midway through you powered up with your vocal... not sure about your song choice."
Simon - "I think with that song, itís hard to ask the audience to know what youíre about... this was like "I donít have a clue." But you could have a good voice."
Sting7 - Then there was Celena. In her defense, Lara Fabianís version did not have all that Moog in it. I think the band got a wee bit excited, and Celena seemed to have to sing over it! She found her groove about midway through, but for the singers who got no back story thus far, they have to work a little harder to compete with the fan bases that have already started. Iím not sure she made it there.
Mikalah Gordon, "Young Hearts, Run Free"
Randy - "Personality, personality, personality.... you got that going on.... I enjoyed ya!"
Paula - "You are a character... I had fun too... I was rooting for ya... youíre loveable, your goofy and you can sing too."
Simon - "I think half the audience will find you very amusing, and the other half will find you annoying."
Sting7 - Dahling! Simon is sooo correct when he says Mikalah will either seem adorable or annoying as hell. The feedback Iím getting is overwhelmingly the latter. The Black Eyed Peas have a great song with the lyrics, let me see how it goes, oh yeah, "shutup, just shutup shutup, shut it up just shutup shutup." Mikalah, shut up! Just sing. Ask Fantasia, who learned to keep her yap shut when she thought she was being endearing, someone put a bug in her ear that she was annoying folks too. That took her all the way to the top. Vocally, I like Mikalah, but with all weíve seen, it may be beside the point. Sheíll need a knockout performance (and a muzzle), to keep her from being a frequent visitor to the bottom three. Mikalah. I like ya. Shut. Up.
Lindsay Cardinale, "Standing Right Next To Me"
Randy - "I think youíre a better singer than that... take some chances."
Paula - "You do stand out because you have a deep, rich sexy tone... the song you chose didnít show that."
Simon - "I think you are potentially a good singer, you have to take a risk... youíre better than that song, that was just boring, and youíre not!"
Sting7 - This was the song she first auditioned with (yet Randy acted like he never heard it beforeÖ Grrr!), and itís a Karla Bonoff number. Exactly! Singing a song no one (but me) knows is a big risk! Not a good one. I like Lindsayís voice and her presence, but this just didnít work for me at all.
Jessica Sierra, "Against All Odds"
Randy - "I liked it man... I like the kind of husky tone you have."
Paula - "You did something very nice, you commanded the stage, it shows me that you know who you are."
Simon - "I donít think it was the best we heard you sing, I think you were very nervous tonight... when we saw you in Pasadena we said this girl is potentially very good. I hope you stay in this week."
Sting7 - I have to admit that Iím a bit mystified about what makes Jessica special, but Rashida Johnson had to go home. Didnít feel anything for this performance. I wonít use Simonís analogy about hotel lobbies, but it was what I was feeling. Sorry, Jessica.
Aloha Mischeaux, "Work It Out"
Randy - "We already know, I loved it, loved it, just donít edge that close to Beyonce... youíve got some originality in yourself, keep that going on."
Paula - "In other words, thatís a great niche for you... pick songs that showcase who you are."
Simon - "I think you did the job tonight... of the performances tonight, I will remember three or four and that was one of them."
Sting7 - Doing a not so well-known Beyonce song is a definitely a risk, but Aloha injected plenty of personality and presence into it. Vocally, she was right on it. (As Randy pointed out, maybe too on it. Iím reminded of Kelli Glover from the first season who sang "I Will Always Love You" as well as Whitney. In fact, she sounded like Whitney, so much so that she was called an imitator.) Besides, I like the spunky girls, and Aloha has that in spades.
Lots of hits and just-misses tonight, but I am encouraged by the Top 12 potential! As for the night of the ladies, hereís how I think the voting results should go:
And hereís how I think they will go:
So, I think the two girls without a backstory are in trouble, primarily because their performances were... okay. Not horrible, they didnít embarrass themselves, they didnít do a Roman Brothers choke, they just didnít do enough.
Am I right? Tomorrow, weíll see!
Sting7 has been a respected published writer for many 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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