American Idol 4, March 8: One Step Closerby Sting7 -- 03/09/2005
Ryan welcomes us, intro the men from last night, intro the judges. Ryan asks Simon if he has any advice for the remaining contestants. The best Simon can muster is, "be good." On with the show. More silly zodiac pieces we will pretend didnít happen.
Amanda Avila, "River Deep Mountain High"
Randy - "I thought it was good... in my head, every time I hear that song I think about Tina Turner. It was okay, Iím not sure tonight if okay is good enough."
Paula - "You gave it your all... I think you have a good chance to stay in the Top 12."
Simon - "There is only one reason to sing that song, and that is if you can come close to the original and you didnít, so what you did was show yourself up as an average singer and a good performer. So, I think you may be in trouble this week."
Sting7 - I think the judges were a bit hard on Amanda. She did a decent, if not spectacular job. When Amanda finds herself in a note, she sounds beautiful, and she never sounds nervous, or even bad. I think her spot in the Top 12 is pretty safe.
Janay Castine, "Dreaming"
Randy - "That was really pitchy, I think there was five or six notes that were in tune."
Paula - "It was ambitious, I give you credit for that, but it was pitchy. You have a lot of fans out there and they are going to have come thru for you because youíve had some good performances up til now, and that was not one of your best."
Simon - "Let me use a horoscope analogy: a suitcase and plane travel for you because I do not think you can last another week after that. You look cute, but you sound horrible."
Sting7 - This is painful. I find myself pulling for Janay, I just like her. She is very likeable, and I find myself wincing every time a sour note happens. There was a lot of wincing. You can tell she is clearly talented, I just think nerves get to her and constrict her breathing and the result is not all it could be. If she survives another week, she should be filling out a lot of thank you cards.
Carrie Underwood, "Because You Love Me"
Randy - "I do think you are one of the best girls we have this year... a little pitchy... you sounded a little nervous. It just wasnít the best, but Iím still down for you."
Paula - "I think you have one of the most controlled, trained vocals. You have to get back to that happy-go-lucky Carrie, thatís whatís missing. The spark is missing."
Simon - "I predicted you would be a finalist, I think you will make the Top 12, I donít think anything we can say will change that. That was a safe almost boring vocal. Itís almost pointless me saying anything because youíre going to be voted through."
Sting7 - Am I hearing pitchy moments from Carrie? Whatís happening here? My least favorite Carrie performance so far. Her fan base is far too strong to let her down, but I donít think she will finish as high as she could. She is determined to do country, and that concerns me. Her stock with me has fallen. After awhile, you just trust that someone is going to deliver no matter what. Carrie was that person for me. Not anymore.
Vonzell Solomon, "Respect"
Randy - "Youíre back, sounded better than you have in the last few weeks. Not the best performance Iíve seen, but Iím glad youíre back."
Paula - "You have such spirit, youíre not a perfect singer, but you serve it, you have fun out there."
Simon - "All youíre missing is a cow and lasso, I mean, what are you wearing? I thought it was an okay performance, Iím not quite sure what youíre trying to be in this competition." (Vonzell explains that her father brought the cowboy hat and boots, and she wore it for him.)
Sting7 - It was a fun spunky performance. Of course, Kelly pitched a flag into this song a long time ago, and it should probably be retired. But, I like Vonzellís attitude Ė screw it, Iíll sing what I like and have a good time. Let the chips fall where they may. I agree, sheís not a perfect singer, but I think there is potential to be very special. Letís hope she gets the chance to see it through.
Nadia Turner, "Try A Little Tenderness"
Randy - "I love watching you... you definitely got the star potential, you flipped it you made it your own."
Paula - "Sheís got the knack for picking the right song for her, you got your niche, you got the x-factor... thatís what sets you apart from the rest."
Simon - "I thought it was amazing, you reminded me of a young Tina Turner up there... for me itís been a boring evening, because itís been safe and bland. For you I think it will pay off, the best from you so far."
Sting7 - I love Nadia. She is absolutely a star, you canít take your eyes off of her. She told Ryan she only heard this song for the first time four days ago. I find that unbelievable and sort of inexcusable. How young people can be so detached from the music that came before them has always been such a prickly point with me. Still, Nadia brought it with everything she has, and she always does. I love the growl she uses, she emotes so well, everything she sings sounds like an autobiography. Love Nadia, love, love, love!
Lindsey Cardinale, "I Donít Want To Miss A Thing"
Randy - "Whatís good about this is that husky tone is back... it was a pretty good performance, it wasnít the bomb, but it was alright, it was alright."
Paula - "Iím a fan of your voice, Iím really a fan of your sultry tone, Iíve not been a fan of the songs you chose."
Simon - "You are the musical equivalent of Ryan Seacrest. You look the part, you do everything right, yet you are disappointed with the performance. Itís the only way I can describe it, there is something missing." (Ryan throws a cup of water at Simon in response.)
Sting7 - I give Lindsey credit for picking a song that really allows us to hear her full breadth, unlike last week. But, I donít know if this was really the best song choice. Lindsey let it hang out, sheís definitely trying. Yet, I have to side with Simon. There is something missing. I just donít get her.
Mikalah Gordon, "Somewhere"
Randy - "Another very interesting song choice... started a little pitchy, in the end you nailed some of the high notes... the thing I love about you is you are a risk-taker... to try to take on this song at your age you are definitely fearless... I love that part about you."
Paula - "You love Barbra Streisand donít you? I sense that you aspire Ė you do admire her. You tackled a tough song, but like last week, you pulled it through. Thatís going to get you through in this competition."
Simon - "I thought the first part of the song was hideous, the last part was fine. Iím puzzled with you. When we first met you, you were very cool. Itís like youíve gone through an aging machine. Youíre 17 years old singing Barbra Streisand. I donít think it was risk-tasking, I think it was a supposed safe gesture, and I think, for me, youíre losing what we liked about you."
Sting7 - Oh man, here is the Bah-bwah number I was warning you about! But it definitely didnít live up to billing. As I typed this, she got to the power notes and sheís nailing them of course. It was a song of two halves: the first half was like a funeral dirge, and in the second half she was a force of nature. Iím not sure what Simon is saying to Mikalah, I mean with that voice, sheís not going to be Mandy Moore! I think Mikalah has mapped out the challenges she wanted to tackle to get into the Top 12, and I think sheís succeeded. She is 17 going on 33.
Jessica Sierra, "The Boys Are Back In Town"
Randy - "The was on man, I had a good time with that. I like the bluesy, kinda of soul-y, kinda country, kinda rock thing you do with your voice. You were in control. Once again, one of the best performances of the night."
Paula - "I second that, thatís your niche, bring more of that on, thatís awesome!"
Simon - "With that outfit, you could not have chosen a better song."
Sting7 - Jessica is coming on strong, folks! She may not have had as much airtime as others, except for wiping up Tammy Nashís tears, but sheís making the most out of what sheís got. Jessica seems like one of those singers who can be whatever the songs require her to be. Thatís a gift. Sheís quietly racking up fans and winning performances. The definitive wildcard!
What an interesting night! Of the ladies, only Nadia can say she nailed it in all three weeks of the Top 24 competition! Sheís the Barry Bonds among women, letís just hope sheís not on steroids.
Hereís how I think the voting should go:
Yeah, I said it! Based on this performance, Carrie should be going home!
But, hereís how I think the voting will go:
In the end, and coming so close, I think Amanda and Lindsey are going to be leaving us tomorrow. Just using my psychic powers, I hope they are wrong. I actually like all of the women left, Foxís little experiment has worked on me.
Tomorrow, weíll see. Bring the hankies, Iíll bring the adult beverages!
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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