Ryan (stage front) makes the intro announcement that we’re down to eight. (Play Theme) Ryan enters from backstage(curtain opens). Who is writing the stage directions? I guess they don’t want Ryan standing around doing nothing when he could be walking upstage and downstage, backstage and frontstage. His jokes are about Randy tonight as he introduces the judges. The clues to tonight's theme are baby pictures of some of the contestants. Anwar guesses Nursery Rhymes and you can see he is thinking about the money note he could sing for the ending of "Mary Had A Little Lamb". Songs the Year You Were Born is the real theme. No one was able to guess the theme. They are singers, not detectives, thank goodness.
Nadia was born in 1976 and has some cute baby pics. She is wearing the proper dress and hair from 1976. A mini with a fro, and I must say it’s a good combo. She’s singing a smoky rhythm and blues number, “When I Dream, I Dream of You”, written by Mac Davis. It’s just her style, slow, and smooth. She even looks good standing still and swiveling her hip in that way she does. I’ve never heard this song that I remember, but the seventies were a blur for a number of reasons. Crystal Gayle originally sang this song, but it was not a big hit even in the field of country. All the judges complain that it’s not a big, memorable song. It certainly never did that building, climaxing thing like most pop songs. It was more what you might listen to afterwards. Simon calls it wallpaper and says she could go home after that. The audience rightly boos him. Nadia is singing to suit herself, not the judges. I didn’t think it was awful, but neither was it memorable. The red dress - maybe.
Bo is singing “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. You’d think he’d work on trying to lose some of that sort of southern rock image instead of playing it up. This is one song that we’ve heard too many times. He certainly couldn’t do it any better than it’s been done. It’s a song for a band and it’s almost comical without it. His reworked ending didn’t do anything for me either. Once you’ve seen it in person from the original, this is just mockery. Randy loves it. Paula loves it. Simon thinks he made a mistake using this song, just like me. I think it’s messing with a classic and not improving on it. I think second-rate mistake, but what do I know?
Anwar picks a Dione Warwick number, “I’ll Know I’ll Never Love This Way Again”. He could almost share hair-dos with her too. He has a thing for girl's songs. I was a fan early on, but I have to say I’m growing bored of Anwar producing the same type song every time. By the time we get to the end, you know it’s going to get to that loud climactic note, and even on key, it’s boring. Randy loves it, Paula loves it, Simon thinks one of his better performances, but it was like a comforting blanket. All safe and cozy and I agree. Technically, it’s great, but every song follows the same level of impetus. He might as well sing the phone book.
Hall and Oates are in the house. See how the rockers age? Anthony is singing “Every Time You Go Away”, written by Hall and Oates. Anthony attempts to mock-sing the song the way he is used to hearing it. He makes no attempt to change tempo or phrasing from the original, only he sings it not as good as the clear, yet raspy sound of Paul Young, who originally recorded it. Anthony could sing on a ship or at a theme park, but he’ll never have the instinct to make a unique singer. He mocks what he’s heard mostly and when he goes out on a limb, he sounds like he’s singing in the choir. He over pronounces words as though he were singing from the hymnal. Randy and Paula are a pair of happy peas in a pod, tonight. I'm suspicious of their pre-show consumption. They like everything tonight. Simon also says Anthony was very good this week. I think he finally didn’t embarrass himself, but he wasn’t really good. Sorry, I like my pop stars looking a little more distrustful.
Vonzell is singing, “Let’s Hear it For the Boy” by Deniece Williams from 1984. Vonzell is showing more growth than anyone. She is hitting all the notes and moving the song along like it should be. She is finally in control of her vocal tricks and her pitch. I think Vonzell is most improved and the best of the night so far. She works the song, the stage, and she looks like a star. Everyone likes it including Simon who thinks she will stay and Nadia will go home. I don’t know why we have to split the vote between them, but Simon seems to think we can’t love two sisters at once.
Scott is choosing a rocking song. He gives the audience a speech and some attitude before the song. He is singing “She’s Gone” by Hall and Oates. They are watching from the audience. It’s a little weak in the verse, but he sings the chorus like he means it. It’s a hard song to sing, actually. Paula is out of her seat making a spectacle of herself, clapping and cheering. It’s not a bad performance, some weak spots, but he moved it toward the end. Randy and Paula loved it, Simon didn’t. Big Surprise. All in all, the night has seemed like a boring date. Some off notes, a few sparkles, but overall mediocre. Be glad we didn’t have to pay for the tickets.
Carrie says she has been singing rock since she was a kid. Tonight she chooses a Pat Benatar rocking song, “Love is A Battlefield”. I heard a rumor that Carrie is twins. One a little bit country; one a little bit rock n’ roll. Well, tonight the wild twin Parrie is out. She is stomping, screaming and giving attitude, not all of it on key or in time. My oh-so-in-heat young female cat ran into the room and began squalling along with her. It wasn’t Carrie's best performance, nor my cat's, but it was different and they looked ALIVE. Foxy actually looked a little confused, but Carrie/Parrie was stomping around all over the stage. Simon says it was like a kitten wanting to be a tiger; meanwhile my cat's performance WAS tiger like, being both ear-splitting and frantic, something of a punk take on Carrie/Parrie's take. I have no idea what this means. Did Foxy really really like Carrie/Parrie's performance, was she being catty, or did it just make her horny, baby? For me, watching Carrie was like watching a teenager playing rockstar in front of a very large mirror. It didn’t rock so much as amuse.
All that’s left is Constantine, who was born in 1975. He’s going to sing “Bohemian Rhapsody”. This is where all that music academy training will either pay off or leave you in the dust. Using lighting like they used on Freddy Mercury isn’t going to make him sing like that, but he’s doing a pretty good job of it. The urge to stick your tongue out should be subdued mid-song. The teenage girls will love this, but he is just mocking Freddy, not singing his own version. He makes it all the way thorough without flubbing the words and that’s something. He does a good job and Paula is crowning him already. Simon says it was “Astonishing”. I don’t know. I wasn’t astonished by anything. There were some good imitations (Anthony and Constantine), three interesting interpretations (Nadia, Anwar and Vonzell), a couple of ringers from some faves (Bo and Carrie), and the least of my favorite performances, Scott. Vonzell was my fave, again. Who will go home is anyone’s guess. The voting split has been mysterious as to who will go home next. I expect this week to be the same. They are going to an hour format tomorrow night, and I hope there is a good reason. If not, I’ll be checking in during the commercials on Alias.