The good news is, tonight’s show is only one and one half hours. The bad news; We could have easily sent four home last week. Still, ten is a nice number. We’ve based our entire numerical system on it. The judges blather on for a while. Finally, the singers sing.
Katharine McPhee is going to sing first tonight after going twelfth last week. Tonight she is singing Stevie Wonder’s “All is Fair in Love”. It’s OK, but it falls apart in several places and she hits a few bad notes throughout. I wasn’t blown away, but I wasn’t totally irritated either; just a mediocre performance. Simon says she is forgettable. I agree. Not horrible, but Boring, which can be worse than bad somtimes.
Kinnik Sky is dressed like a cowgirl and she is going to sing country tonight. Watch out Kellie. Kinnik is a southern girl from South Carolina, anyhow, so it’s a natural, she says. She is doing Gretchen Wilson’s “I’m Here for the Party”. It comes off as fairly fake. It’s on key, but not a great voice. The backup singers are louder than her mostly. It’s a party song and does little to show her voice. Then she misses the money note on the last line and finally it’s over. Terrible choice of song. Fun is one thing and singing is another. On a good night, they can happen simultaneously. She mostly had fun tonight. Simon compares it to a theme park performance, but I’m not sure it was that good. Sorry Kinnik.
Lisa Tucker, the sassy sixteen year old is up next. She looks great as usual. She’s done the Lion King for a few years, so she has lots of stage experience. That explains in part her mature-seeming performances. She is singing Michael Jackson’s “Who’s Loving You”. It’s a little rough at first, but she gets in the groove. The sound mix tonight seems to have the background vocals too loud, but she does a good job and her a cappella ending is right on key. Randy wishes she had done the whole thing a cappella. Paula says she is a star. Simon says a lot of stuff and then that she will sail through tonight, and she should.
Melissa McGhee is going to sing country tonight too. It must be a virus going around the Idol house. It’s more of a honky tonk type blues song, Reba McEntire’s “Tell Me Why I Haven’t Heard from You”. It is a good song. She has a smoky tone to her voice and the song fits. It does seem a little out of place in a Pop oriented contest, but maybe that’s not what it is anymore. Pop Idol is dead in the UK now, and X-factor has taken over. Country is Pop and Pop is Country. It was good. Still, I have not been blown away by anyone yet.
Heather Cox of the voice problem that got through anyhow is next. She is singing Mariah Carey’s “Hero”. If I never heard this song again, I wouldn’t miss it. Seeing Mariah overdo it was enough. It sounds like Heather’s voice has cleared up. The hoarseness is mostly gone. She still has a “catch” on some phrases. She was almost a little too proud of herself, yelping “yeah” after a strong passage. It wasn’t that good. Paula says it’s a risk to sing such a comparative song of a noted artist. It risks comparison and you are always going to lose. Especially when you add nothing new to it. All too true. Simon calls it a ghastly pageant performance that was pointless without innovation. I pretty much agree with that. Pretty yes. Great singer. No.
Bigmouth Brenna is up next. Her song is Donna Summer’s “Last Dance”. They have similar hair according to Brenna. She says she will own it. She loves the posing and the red carpet. This type of contestant is one they could drop and no one would miss it. Her over-confidence makes the show seem even more scripted, if that is possible. She can say she owns it, but I’d say she is yelling it, shredding it, and basically ruining it. Donna Summer would snatch this girl’s wig off, give her a sharp hip bounce, and show her how to sing. It wasn’t even a good imitation, more yelling and prancing than singing. She is very sure of herself. Randy says she and Simon are just alike. She never thinks anything is bad and Simon never thinks anything is any good. Simon says change the last word to Chance. As in Last Chance for Brenna. Simon says it’s a bad bar performance and probably the last we see of Brenna. Let’s hope. I’m wishing on a star or a bar or anything that will send her home.
Paris is up next. She likes to try different styles of clothing and music. Fashion helps explain who Paris is. She is singing a Bette Midler standard, “Wind Beneath My Wings“. It’s a big adult drama song and it bores me to see spunky Paris singing such a trite, expected Diva song. It was OK, but Boring. What is up tonight? Night of 101 Boring Safe Performances. I could fall asleep. Randy says she needs to scorch it, not just iron it flat. Or something like that. Simon says don’t play, “I’m young, but can sing like an old lady” and I agree. Boring. Again.
Ayla Brown is singing Celine Dion’s “I Need“. All these young girls wanting to sing these middle age songs. They want to be grown up or something. It’s almost pageant style with a little make-up and a lot of soul. Paula loves her. She wants her long legs. Randy likes her back-story and the song she chose. Simon says she is the type of girl that will learn everything fast, but is not memorable. Maybe a little mechanical. I think she could be one of those breakthrough singers if she stays around long enough. I hope she does.
Kellie, the country girl regales us with life in the big city. Ellie Mae Clampett has got nothing on her. She is singing Bonnie Rhaitt tonight, not country. “Something to Talk About” is a good song for her. It’s not so country for once. I can’t get excited about Kellie personally. She’s too much a clone of Carrie from last year. She does a good job, but she’s just filling space until they pick the boy they want this year. Randy says she’s in the dawghouse. Simon stutters about. He loves her back-story (since his team wrote most of it). He thinks she is cute and likable. I say she is a repeat of a type we’ve seen before and not that unique in talent. There are millions of country girls in the south that are cuter and probably sing better. I’ll let you knew after April 18th, as I’m going to the taping of Nashville Star that night. I bet there will be lots of cute country girls there that can sing great.
The last singer tonight was last week’s first singer. Mandisa is singing Faith Hill’s “Cry“ because she is representing from Nashville. Another singer seemingly singing songs out of their field. Mandisa makes the song much more Diva and a lot less country than Faith. It was shaky at first, not sure where it was going, but she resolved it into a power ballad eventually. It was probably one of the more energetic and interesting performances of the night, but still not a great song choice. She should make it back, though.
Everyone seemed to want to be play safe tonight, thinking that picking a song outside their expected field might be the best way to stand out, and in doing so, none of them stood out. If I were picking, I would send home Brenna and Heather at this point. They were the least interesting in a group of uninspired singers. Maybe it is the year for a boy Idol after all.