American Idol 4, April 12: They Were Just Babies Then!by Sting7 -- 04/13/2005
Iíve been away for a bit, and it seems there is plenty to talk about. So, I will.
There has been plenty of discussion about Scott Savol and the domestic abuse charge. He was charged with it at one point, so some people want to make him a domestic abuser. Iíve read some recaps where folks blatantly called him that. I hope they have lawyers, because they are committing slander. Scott was never convicted of domestic abuse, he was convicted of disturbing the peace.
What went on in that house, only he, his ex-girlfriend, and the big man upstairs know for sure. I personally donít see the point in judging a man based on a website that makes its living finding nasty, dirty little secrets, gleefully publishing their mugshots, and openly admitting reality stars are its favorite targets. I wonder how many of them have arrest records, or things they regret and would rather the world didnít know? I also donít think any man can be defined by one single event. And, letís not forget, itís none of my business. Or yours. His ex-girlfriend has forgiven him. She didnít even want him arrested. Why should I carry a grudge that she isnít?
If it feels like Iím taking the high road, Iím not. The road is rather low Ė I donít care. I want to hear the contestants sing. Sing well, show that star quality and charisma, you get a record contract. You donít get to be president, nanny, my employee, my friend Ė you get a record contract. Scott would not be the only entertainer with an arrest on his record. Far, far... far from it.
Thatís what I think. On with the show.
Ryan welcomes us in an eerily quiet auditorium. He says there are eight contestants left and, "tonight, itís gonna get personal." Hmmm. What does that mean? Flashback to last Wednesday when he told the Idols this weekís theme. He teases them with adorable baby pictures of Constantine (smoldering, even then), Vonzell, and Carrie. The gang will be singing songs from the year they were born!
Interesting! I like it! Weíre sure to get some Ď80s music now! The contestants tell more amusing anecdotes Iím sure you donít really care about, so letís get on with the singing, shall we? Up first...
Nadia Turner, "When I Dream"
Randy - "Wow, a yearís worth of song and you picked that one... it was just an okay performance... I didnít love it."
Paula - "You look outrageously stunning... I am not crazy about the song choice... I was kind of like mmh."
Simon - "That was like the musical equivalent of wallpaper Ė you see the wallpaper but you wonít remember it. It was an appalling choice of song and you could go home for that."
Sting7 - Judges are waaay to hard on Nadia here. I think it was her best vocal performance in a few weeks, and though itís not a song I know all that well, she performed it very well. Isnít that what they are supposed to be judging? I would be dead-shocked if Nadia goes home tomorrow. I was impressed!
Bo Bice, "Free Bird"
Randy - "I love that song, Iím one of your biggest fan... you could have a hit with that song again, man!... excellent dude excellent!"
Paula - "See you at the finals, Bo, see you at the finals!"
Simon - "Iím going to disagree with Paula... I think a huge part of the audience is going to say, "what the hell is that?"... if you walk across the stage and sing a sacred song like that, I donít think youíre gonna get many votes." (Paula and Randy are stridently disagreeing.)
Sting7 - Iím leaning closer to Simon here. There was just something kind of effortless and lazy about Boís performance. I didnít feel him feeling anything about the song. He just sort of paced around, hoping to get a few screams. Itís as disconnected as Iíve ever seen him. Big time disappointed.
Anwar Robinson, "Iíll Never Love This Way Again"
Randy - "Technically I think youíre the best singer in the competition... Iím proud of you tonight."
Paula - "Your consistency is great... the openness of your voice is mesmerizing."
Simon - "One of your best performances in weeks... you are the equivalent of a blanketing Ė just comforting and safe, arenít you?"
Sting7 - Anwarís rendition adjusted the key a bit more to suit his voice, and it was a smart choice. It was the best Iíve heard Anwar sound in weeks. I still think itís risky for a man to sing a womanís song, but Anwar pulled it off. Good for him.
Hey, thereís Hall and Oates! What the Ė? They donít look much older than they did 20 years ago, and thatís saying something. Ryan says Scott will be performing "Sheís Gone" later, then he incorrectly adds that Daryl Hall wrote the next song for Paul Young (he didnít, Paul Young covered the song Ė it was an older Hall and Oates album). Anyway, right now...
Anthony Fedorov, "Everytime You Go Away"
Randy - "I was wondering how that was gonna turn out... you did your thing, I was surprised."
Paula - "Much better from last week... Iím proud of you."
Simon - "Last week was a low point... this week I think you were very good."
Sting7 - Finally! I am not part of the Anthony-hating faction. I never thought he was all that bad. Personally, I was expecting Simon to make one his half-hearted apologies Wednesday night. Daryl Hall is an excellent match for Anthonyís voice. Iím glad to see Anthony getting some props. Heís been due for a while. Iím not saying heíll win, but he deserves his spot.
Vonzell Solomon, "Letís Hear It For The Boy"
Randy - "This is crazy, another great performance from you... very good, excellent!"
Paula - "Youíre just adorable up there... I think you even sang an octave higher than Deniece Williams."
Simon - "Perfect choice of song... if you asked three weeks ago who was going to go home first between you and Nadia, I would have said you. After that performance I would say Nadia. That is a performance that makes someone pick up a phone."
Sting7 - Vonzell is coming on, folks. Donít count her out. I heard a few pitch moments, but you know I donít care about that. The performance was electrifying, fun song, the smile on her face is just charming. She just might win this thing. Donít be surprised. I really hate this song, from my favorite musical year, but Vonzell made it bearable, even enjoyable. I canít give her better praise than that.
Scott Savol, "Sheís Gone"
Randy - "You got it started man, them low notes in the first and second verse were a little pitchy, but when you hit the chorus, man Ė (Paula interjects, "You try to hit those low notes with Hall and Oates in the audience!") I wouldnít be doing it, but Iíd get those low notes in tune! A good singer knows his mistakes! But, you brought it home at the end!"
Paula - "I got to give it up to you Ė that was nerve-wracking!... you did awesome Scott!"
Simon - "Look. Scott. Youíre a nice guy, however (audience groans) there were more bum notes than good ones (audience boos). Iím trying to keep this real! So, on the whole, that wasnít very good."
(Scott says whatís real is that there are millions of people who didnít have the nerve get up there and do that, and he thinks he rocked it, which earns him a fatherly-approving nod from John Oates. Ryan asks Hall and Oates for their opinion. They appear pleased. But they canít save him. Do. Not. Openly. Dismiss. The. Judges. Come on, Scott! Nobody was riding a wave of momentum and adulation like Justin Guarini, but he got a bit too big for his britches, he was standing in the bottom too looking like he ate a barrel of bad kelp! Scott, I think youíll get a mulligan for this one, since you were primed by Ryan and exultant in Hall and Oatesí open praise, but donít do it again!)
Sting7 - Guts! That was gutsy. To take a Hall and Oates classic, to put your own spin on it in front of Hall and Oates? How can I cheer for Scott? Thatís how I can! Scott definitely had some pitch moments, but the way he emotionally commits to a song Ė you have to feel it, he makes you feel it with him. That is an artist. I love how he always takes a moment to thank the band too. Thatís a professional. There are plenty of people who want to make him a domestic abuser, these people in glass houses casting stones, and hey, you can vote for whoever you want to. Some of us know not to believe everything we hear. Just because itís in print, doesnít make it necessarily true. I donít watch this show to pass judgment on the mistakes they may have made in their lives, I just want to hear them sing. I say go Scott! Nice one! Just keep your trap shut. Shades of Scary Scott are starting to surface, and thatís the LAST thing you need right now!
Carrie Underwood, "Love Is A Battlefield"
Randy - "Carrie rocks out... there were some pitchy notes, the high notes were a little sharp... you messed up some of the words... Iím not sure Iím loving the rocked-out Carrie, I love the country girl, but it was alright."
Paula - "I thought you rocked it!"
Simon - "You probably needed to do that after last week, but it was like watching a kitten who wants to be tiger."
Sting7 - Yikes, that performance was a battlefield! What folks donít know is that Pat Benatar is operatically trained. Many a karaoke starlet has been slain trying to tackle this song. The way Pat shifted easily from key to key and layer to layer makes this song seem pretty easy and fun. Nah! Let Carrie tell you. She found a key that worked for her and stayed in it the whole song! Not that it was appropriate, but itís a method. I was left as exhausted as she was. It was almost painful. Shake it off, Carrie, but donít be surprised if you are in the bottom three.
Constantine Maroulis, "Bohemian Rhapsody"
Randy - "Showmanship, I give you a ten, singing, I give you a seven."
Paula - "Awesome, I think youíve now proven youíre the one to beat in this competition... heís grown so much, I love it, I love the competitive edge, I love it!"
Simon - "That was astonishing."
Sting7 - Paula may be crazy Ė okay, she is definitely crazy, but she may be right! Do not count out Constantine! As Donna Reynolds has warned you, avoid eye-contact, or youíll be sucked into his evil vortex, but that was awesome! He outrocked Bo again! Stayed away from the parody-ish operatic call and return everyone knows, stuck to the rock elements of the song. A classic that talks about shooting a man in the head. That may disturb some parents, the ones who donít want to admit what they listened to and loved in 1975... like THAT. What a ridiculous week this has been!
Good choice of category. I had a ball!
Hereís how I think the voting should go this week:
Hereís how I think the voting will go this week:
Yeah, I said it! Carrie. Bo. Nadia! I would hate Ė hate! Ė to see Nadia go tomorrow. But, beautiful and blonde Carrie with the momentum sheís been building in the last few weeks, canít see her going home. Nadia is caught in the crossfire. The ratings keep going up, and many people are seeing her for the first time, which means they havenít seen her at her best. They saw the mohawk and the "Time After Time," of which all footage should be burned unceremoniously.
Itís really too bad.
Am I wrong? Please make me wrong! Letís find out tomorrow!
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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