American Idol 4, April 26: AI2K!by Sting7 -- 04/27/2005
Ryan welcomes us. Hey, thereís Heather Locklear with kids that couldnít be hers! What is her secret?
Intro the judges, flashback to last Wednesday, when Ryan asked what the gang was doing at the turn of the century. Anthony says he was a freshman in high school, went to a party and what happens in Pennsylvania stays in Pennsylvania. Word! Bo says he was doing a gig with his band (wink!) in Nashville. Ryan tells them they will be able to sing songs from 2000 to present, songs of the new millennium, letís call it. They all look a bit relieved.
Ryan tells us we will visit the hometowns of each contestant so their moms can tell us they were wonderful children. We have no doubt about this, so letís get on with the stuff you care about!
Carrie Underwood, "When God-Fearing Women Get the Blues"
Randy - "Wow! The good part to me is that you returned to your country roots... pitchwise, I never felt like you were ever quite where the background singers were, you were just under through the whole song."
Paula - "At this stage of the game, you need to pick songs that celebrate your strong vocals and your personalities... I think this song threw away that you had great vocals."
Simon - "(to Paula) I donít think anything you say is going to make much difference tonight to be honest with you. Mind you, that goes for every week. (back to Carrie) Last week you were completely out of kilter, it was like someone else chose the song. This week I think you chose the song. I personally donít understand this kind of music... the people who buy this kind of music will absolutely love you after that."
Sting7 - I think I agree with everyone. Not sure what that shot at Paula was about, but I definitely think she was under the pitch. Thanks to Nashville Star, Iíve heard how that song was supposed to be sung (by Erika Jo), and Carrie wasnít there. Where was the Carrie of "Alone"? I think Carrie picked a song she liked and kind of phoned it in. Bad time for that!
Hey, thereís Clay Aiken, apparently borrowing Will Robinsonís sweater from Lost In Space! Clay says heís never been on that side of things (in the audience), Ryan tells him he doesnít need to do anything but enjoy the show. Other than find some socks, Ryan jokes. Heh, that Ryan! They should give him a star or something.
Bo Bice, "I Donít Want To Be"
Randy - "I love about you man, the words you sang couldnít have been put better... you are honest, youíre true, American Idol finally has a true rock star! You!"
Paula - "You picked the song that totally describes yourself, week after week consistent, the crowd loves you, youíre honest, youíre true to yourself. Youíre incredible tonight."
Simon - "You got your confidence back, second week in a row, the only downside Ė do not wear the Lenny Kravitz sunglasses. They went out in 1988. Not a good look!"
Sting7 - I think this is the first time we heard a song that is currently on the charts on Idol! Clearly, Bo is fond of this Gavin DeGraw number, he sings with all the fire we know him for. I have to admit I am surprised that the rockers have lasted so long. Good for Bo, but not wowed, somehow.
Vonzell Solomon, "I Turn To You"
Randy - "Second week in a row, you choose the most difficult song weíll probably hear tonight... you chose a Christina joint, and I mean, you sang it!... America, weíre trying to find the best in the country Ė Iím proud of you because you sang that!
Paula - "When I heard you were going to sing that song I was a little nervous at first because Christinaís Christina. Whatís amazing is... not only did you nail the song, you have this innate ability to connect with the audience... you turn on this magic when you hit the bridge and the key change, and this magic happened that is bone-chilling!"
Simon - "Itís very difficult here Vonzell when we sit and listen to the performance because itís very very loud in here. I have a horrible feeling it wasnít as good as you thought (to Paula). I think it was flat in the beginning.Ē (Randy and Paula disagree.)
Sting7 - Look at that! Vonzell conquers Christina Aguilera! Simon shouldnít worry, she may have been a teensy bit flat in the beginning, but not enough to mar a brilliant performance. That is an incredibly hard song to sing, Christina is part of that new breed of singer who feels the need to do runs over every stanza of music, and managing to match that (and some places do it better) is just astonishing. Vonzell will be hard to beat tonight! Very hard!
We visit with Heather Locklear and camera-shocked daughter Ava. With some prompting from Mommy, Ava tells us she loves Anthony! She's all of six.
Anthony Fedorov, "Surrender"
Randy - "You know what, it started a little rough, but with the high notes, youíre really good with the high notes, you brought it home, man!"
Paula - "The last point of reference I have is season one when Kelly Clarkson sang that song (I said that already!) in season one and I thought Ďwow, heís gonna take on a Celine Dion songí but I think itís the first performance there was a beginning middle and an end... and your vocals grew with the song. I think it was one of your best performances."
Simon - "Youíre a very brave man. I personally hated it, however, thereís good news to come. The whole point is to sing songs that appeal to the people who like you, and thatís exactly what you did with that song. You nailed it."
Sting7 - This kid is coming on! An absolutely beautiful vocal performance! Itís as much control as weíve seen him display, and he added a few nice touches to the chord change of his own. I remember when a slightly hoarse Kelly Clarkson performed this song and it was chilling. Anthony was right there! I could tell by the look on Simonís face that heís going to hate it, but trust me Ė amazing! Another difficult song to sing. Anthony is playing to win, look out!
Constantine Maroulis, "How You Remind Me"
Randy - "You know Iím always going to keep it real with you, right? I felt like I was sitting in any bar in America not really caring who the singer was, it was high on performing and low on vocals. Itís a singing competition to find the best in America, the performance was a 10, but the singing was still like a 5. It was all pitchy, it was rough for me, I didnít love it."
Paula - "For me, this wasnít my favorite song because it didnít showcase your vocals. But American Idol is also about the overall performance. Youíre the one that seems to get through any genre without any effortÖ youíre still the most amazing performer up there."
Simon - "I think when you left your band and joined the competition, you crossed to the other side... it came across as a bad imitation of the original. Your much better when you were doing your crooning thing, and when you crossed back into rock and roll, it didnít feel real."
Sting7 - Just like Carrie, I think Constantine has sung this song plenty and didnít really give this performance the rehearsal it needed. Pitchy all over the place, but he performed it like a champion. This nut is hard to crack. I think Randy is dead-on about the vocals. Simon is probably right about Constantine wanting to replant that rocker flag. He left it, and coming back to it just felt weird. It was the Constantine I didnít like.
Scott Savol, "Dance With My Father"
Randy - "That song I think itís your weakest performance in weeks, dude. It was just pitchy all over the place."
Paula - "Scott, you always sing very pleasant, I just donít think the song did you justice in tapping into the heart strings."
Simon - "Iíd pack your suitcase tonight."
Sting7 - It has been almost a week since I wrote that piece about how Scott Savol doesnít deserve to be regarded as John Stevens Version 2.0. Easily, 3/4 of the email I got back said you are cheering for this average Joe and yes, you do see his talent. Well, my friends, our work is cut out for us tonight. I wanted to love it, but compared to the others who performed tonight, Scott was clearly below the bar. "Dance With My Father" is one of those songs that never fail to choke me up... until tonight. I daresay Scott has a complicated relationship with his father (just from the things heís said), and this song may have brought more emotion than he could harness. I know heíd want this one to do over again. It just doesnít work that way, though. (Curious shot of his friends and family, looking crushed. I think they know in their hearts that Scott will be hard to save this week.)
And, so ends another week of competition.
Hereís how I think the voting should go:
Hereís how I think the voting will go:
I think Anthony and Constantine will join Scott in the bottom three, but they should go ahead leave their stuff on the couch. They will be back. Scott will not. It was a good ride kid, donít stop working.
Join me tomorrow and weíll see if Iím right.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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