series critique and observations
Aloha Mischeaux is starting it this week, complete with a big flower in her hair. She’s wearing pants and not doing any squatting this week. She has stage presence but "You Don't Know My Name" is weak vocally for her. She sings on key mostly and on time, but it’s not exciting. It was more of an imitation of Alicia Keyes than an original performance. She went from Nasty last week to Nice this week and I’m not sure it worked for her.
Lindsey Cardinale from Louisiana is singing the up-tempo, “I Try to Think About Elvis”. She’s sings well enough and she has a little growl that really comes out on this song. It’s her best performance so far, but the song doesn’t take a lot of range. She does OK, but it’s not incredible by any means.
Jessica Sierra claims to be a country girl. She chooses an old torchy song, “Broken Wing”, that builds just like it should for her voice. I’m impressed with her smoky sound and then she breaks out an even bigger voice when she hits the chorus. It’s a great song for her and she works it like she’s sung it before. It was impressive and surprise!, the judges think so also, Simon included. He calls it the best vocal performance of the competition so far, and I’m inclined to agree. I love surprises. It’s why I watch this show.
Next is my most dreaded contestant, Mikalah Gordon. This week she tries the dramatic stool pose and the old Billy Holiday classic, “God Bless the Child That’s Got It’s Own. It’s a daring move. She looks good and I’ll give her credit for trying a different tact. In parts, she actually shines. As much as she has irritated me, I have to say she both surprised and pleased me. It was either a great decision on her part or good coaching. I finally saw a big spark of talent that I haven’t seen prior to this and it was a good idea to keep her mouth shut other than singing. Props girl. I've gone from hate to semi-attraction. I'm flexible.
My most forgettable performance tonight has to be Celena Rae. I felt like I was watching an imitation of a country singer. “When the Lights Go Down” is a semi-dramatic song and gets a semi-dramatic treatment here. It looked as though she were straining to make it a better song than it was, and the pleading turned to bleating at one point. Didn’t do it for me, but I hope I was more articulate than the judges. They blabbed on till she was having trouble smiling, confusing her and me in the end.
My favorite last week was Nadia Turner. Tonight she picks a Paul McCartney ballad, “My Love Does it Good”. It’s not as exciting as last week, but it’s obvious she has stage experience and talent. She doesn’t mock anyone when she sings and looks like she’s having a good time. Randy reminds her that she might not have the best voice, but she knows how to work it better than all the rest, and that’s the truth. Simon questions her song choice, and I could agree with that. Still, no one was bored and she’ll be back I hope.
Amanda Avila squeaked by last week, but I think tonight may have been her last chance. This week she jumps into Disco Night weeks ahead of all the others by trying to “Turn the Beat Around”. I felt like I was watching the talent portion of the Pageant or on a cruise ship somewhere playing blackjack. It was OK, but not star quality. Tonight’s her night to wear underwear on stage. Maybe it’ll save her in the end.
Janay Castine looked like a scared kitten last week on stage, so this time she tries some strutting. She chooses a Beyonce song, "Hit 'Em Up Style" which tends to really be one riff repeated over and over. They don’t write them like they used to. Anyhow, she doesn’t make it original in any way. It’s a bit high school talent showish, a bit amateurish. Everyone else thought so too. It’s probably Janay’s last night, if there’s any fairness in the world. Like Simon Says, maybe in a couple of years.
Carrie Underwood dresses like Ellie May Clampett tonight including the just out of bed hair. She chooses “Piece of My Heart” and I’m trying to not compare it to Janis. It’s a country girl sing-along version. The whole world is becoming warm oatmeal where we used to eat hot meat. It was a desecration of the true pain involved in the song. It’s not a smiley face song; don’t try to make it one.
Vonzell Solomon could always move over to America’s Next Top Model if this doesn’t work out. She’s a real beauty and tonight she’s singing another Alicia Keyes song, "If I Ain't Got You". What is it with these young women? There are lots of great songs, but they only choose to do bad imitations of the most currently popular rhythm and blues songstress. Vonzell has a lot of ambition, but misses the high notes and eventually travels off course completely toward the end. Where it ends, no one knows. Not her best night by any means.
Wednesday night gets one more very small chance from me. Tomorrow night I’m checking the format and if it resembles last week, I’m going back to Alias in real time on Wednesday nights. It has less violence than American Idol and the costumes are much better. I don’t watch “Pro” wrestling and I’m not watching American Idol Wednesday until they stop seeming so much the same show.