Finally down to the top ten and the theme is Songs of the 21st Century, aka songs from the last 6 years. Big whoop. It's Contemporary Music. How many Alicia Key's songs are we going to hear tonight? Maybe they said “no more” after auditions. Ryan is back with a wider tie in black on a navy shirt. It's a look. The show is just an hour tonight, so things should move quickly.
First up is Lisa singing Kelly Clarkson's “Because of You”. It's a big power ballad. Parts of it are OK, but parts of it Lisa yells. It's not a good comparison to Kelly who sings it with control all the way through. There lies the difference. The big notes at the end don't count if you don't get all the middle ones right. The judges agreed. Even Paula didn't like it and Simon called it painful. I am in complete control of their thoughts tonight.
Kellie Pickler is singing “Suds in a Bucket” by Sara Evans. For someone that plays dumb, she explained it with complete sentences. Kellie has talent, but no conviction. She is a lot like Carrie in her disconnect with the words from reality. It's just notes she sings, with a big ole possum grin the whole time. The song has little depth or meaning so you'd think it would be a perfect choice, but it seems as fake as her country girl act. The judges don't like her either.
Ace is singing one of my least favorite songs ever. To each his own, but I think “Drops of Jupiter” by Train is as pretentious as Ace himself. You either like it or not. I don't like either. His shaking hand and solemn stare into the camera are a poor excuse for real emotion. He needs some quick tips from Constantine. It's boring. He shows his chest scar to Paula in a manly display that reeks of desperate. The judges didn't like him either. I tell you, I'm in complete control tonight.
Taylor Hicks has young fans that are spraying their hair gray. He has the Soul Patrol in the audience urging him on. He is singing Ray LaMotagne's “Trouble”. It is an obscure, but interesting song. No jerking or herking tonight. Straight ahead singing. He's good, but not great. Simon hates his styling, calling it Pop school and comparing it to something Clay Aiken might wear. I'm still waiting to be wowwed. It hasn't happened yet.
Next up is Mandisa. She is singing a gospel song tonight, “Shackles” with a yet longer name if you want to look it up. This is where Mandisa could lose a greater audience. I'd say stick to secular songs in a secular contest and vice versa. These are the worst song choices imaginable. Mandisa is great, but this bored me. Simon called it indulgent and it was. Lots of gospel shows come on Sunday morning if you want to see that sort of thing. I tuned into American Idol and I want to hear Pop, Rock or Soul. Not country, not gospel. Pop, rock, or soul.
Chris is up next. What kind of hard rock version is he doing tonight? “What If” by Creed. Veiny forehead and open mouthed yelling was closer to the truth. What if we thought that was boring? I did. Where is American Idol? Where did that show go? Simon said exactly what I did, only smarmier. I made him say that.
Katharine is singing Christina Aguilar's “The Voice Within”. She starts off as bad as everyone else tonight. Did someone put tranquilizers in the punch tonight. She yells at times, goes off key, and doesn't finish much better than she started. What is wrong tonight? Paula thinks she was at her best. Simon thinks she was the best tonight and it was almost as good as Christina. Their drugs have kicked in and from now on, the judges will be speaking for themselves. I'm still lacking any wow factor tonight and I've lost all control of the judges. They are so desperate, they are grabbing at anything close to on-key tonight. Where's an Idol when you need one?
Bucky is singing a country song, “Real Good Man” by Tim McGraw. Where did my Idol go? Bucky singing country is as good as anyone else tonight, and that's not saying a lot. The bar is sitting about here_____. Paula is worried about Bucky's diction, but I think that is the least of his problems. If Simon was paying, this is where he'd be leaving tonight. I'd ask for a refund.
Paris is getting in the groove tonight with Beyonce's “Work it Out” and although there isn't a lot to this song except bumping and grinding, she is winning the prize tonight as the best of show. It was almost like she was as tired of the other performances as we were and wanted to bump it up a step. Randy and Paula liked it, but Simon thought it was like a little girl pretending to be Beyonce. Anything beyond the stupifying boredom of the earlier performances was a welcome relief for me, so I'm giving her props.
Elliott has every opportunity to step up and wow us. The field is wide open. His song choice is, “I Don't Want to Be” by Gavin DeGraw. He realizes that Bo did it last year, but he is doing his own version. It's a more jazzy, bouncier version instead of straight ahead soul. It works good with Elliot's style of singing, even if his voice isn't the strongest He hits mostly good notes, but a couple of clunkers. Eh. Still not wowwed. In fact, this entire show was boring and no one stood out from the crowd, except to show what style they might want to sing, given the opportunity. I think they all need direction and a good song picker. None of them made great choices.
Who goes home? No one showed any brightness or wow factor, mostly their determination to stick to their “style” and to hell with the results. Bad song choices and bad performances do not an Idol make. I wouldn't give a nickel to hear anything I heard tonight. Pop goes the wow factor. Is it big band night yet?