Okay, so I went to see United 93 yesterday. Wow. Wow. I'm going to write up something about that, when I formulate the words... but wow.
On to friendlier subjects, I didn't get home until about 9pm due to a women's Bible study at my home. I sat at Books-a-Million reading a book about wrestling that I actually couldn't put down--I will probably end up picking it up. Incidentally, the guys who wrote this one also wrote a book about the rise, fall and eventual death of the WCW--its a story that fascinates me, not only because I watched it happen from week to week in the 90s, but its also a fascinating business story of ego, money, power and greed.
Because of that, plus working all day today, then adding in the short nap I took this evening, I 'm just now sitting down for American Idol. Yes, I read the reviews, I know who sings what, and that Taylor apparently steals the show, save for one song by My Girl McPhee.
So let's watch and see.
Tonight, Taylor Hicks, My Girl McPhee and Elliott Yahmean sing three songs, one that they pick, one picked by the judges (Simon picked one for McPhee, Paula picked one for Yahmean and Randy picked one for Taylor), and finally, one picked by Clive Davis, who was the genius responsible for Colombia's heyday, Arista Records and discovering and signing talent like Whitney Houston, Santana, Chicago and Aerosmith, and also responsible for such classics as "Inside Your Heaven" and "Flying Without Wings".
For Elliott Yahmean, Clive is having him sing Journey's "Open Arms", one of the more overplayed and overblown ballads from the 80s. Elliott looks scared, like he knows he's got to be perfect, which means he's not doing so.
Randy says "You worked it out." Paula blows sunshine like usual. Simon says "Wasn't a great performance. Loosen up."
Alrighty, next is My Girl McPhee, singing the song that Clive Davis has chosen for her... "I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly. Great. I'm not a fan of this song, and Steph absolutely hates it. Someone asked me once which would I rather have babysitting my preteen, Michael Jackson or R. Kelly? Hard to answer.
Clive is saying that he chose it to give My Girl McPhee the chance to make it her own. Do we believe she can fly? Let's find out...
...eh, its okay. She's wearing a dress similiar to the one Cindy Howell wore to my senior prom. Of course, McPhee looks ten times better, but she would have been around 8 or 9 when my senior prom occurred. Which leads us back to R. Kelly...
Strong voice, big ending, but the song wasn't all that great to me. Randy says "it wasn't quite right for you". Paula blows sunshine about how My Girl McPhee looks (which is warranted). Randy and Paula both make a point about song choice, so McPhee says "I didn't pick it!". Simon says "apart from a bum note or two, you did okay."
Now, Clive picks The Boss' "Dancing in the Dark", which is a great song. This truly is a song that Taylor can do, but will be interesting to see him pull it off. Taylor is in awe of performing the first Springsteen song on American Idol.
I was actually going to the mall the other day to buy some stamps, then grab some lunch at the food court... then I found out that Taylor was going to be there. So I stayed far, far away. From my lunch table at Sneaky Pete's, I saw the crowd on tv. Glad I didn't go... there were a billion people there.
By the way, Taylor is doing awesome on this song. He even dragged Paula up to dance a little, I guess she's playing the Courtney Cox role (for those of you under 25, Courtney Cox--yes, the one from Friends--was made her first real celebrity appearance in the "Dancing in the Dark" Springsteen video when The Boss pulls her onstage to dance... for those of you under 20, "The Boss" is Bruce Springsteen's nickname).
Randy says "that was hot." Paula blows sunshine. Simons says "okay. pale by comparison to the original."
Its Round 2, where the songs are picked by the judges. "What You Won't Do For Love" by Bobby Caldwell, chosen by Paula, for Elliott Yahmean. You know, I think I was on the verge of really, really liking Elliott, as seen by my journey through the queue line and onto the Yahmean bandwagon... but I think now, he bores me. Seriously. He's got an awesome voice, no doubt, but he's got the personality of a box of Bic stickpens.
And this song... he's doing it justice. But he bores me. Randy says it was okay, Paula blows sunshine, Simon didn't like the song, but he liked the way Elliott sang it. Ehh.
My Girl McPhee's song is "Over the Rainbow", chosen by Simon. I heard she was amazing on this song... and she is. Wow... I'm really seeing Judy Garland when I hear McPhee do this. She's poised on the floor, dim lights save for a small spotlight on her, and the music behind her is soft but telling. And she's nailing it. Though "Black Horse & the Cherry Tree" will go down as my favorite McPhee song, this is undoubtably her best peformance. Wow.
Randy says "Finally, this is the best vocal of the season. Brilliant. Hot." Paula blows sunshine. Simon says "You don't need to lay it too much, you have a natural talent--and that was the single best performance of the competition to date." Even Ryan says "That was beautiful." I agree. The song too.
Taylor's second song is "You Are So Beautiful" by Joe Cocker, picked by Randy. Randy says "since Taylor gives this old soul Joe Cocker kind of vibe, I thought it was perfect." For those of you unfamiliar with this song, just know that Joe Cocker doesn't even sing the song all that great--he just has this really gruff, deep voice, and it even cracks when he hits a high note... but what makes the song great is the amount of emotion you can get from the song. Its powerful.
And Taylor is even doing the high notes, with much less cracking. Not too bad, I'd say. Does anyone else think that when Taylor is lost in the music, he looks like a large mouth bass singing?
Randy says "you did the song proud", while Paula blows sunshine. Simon says "That was so far and away your best performance." Taylor jumps next to Ryan, points to Simon and chants "he's happy! he's happy!"
Round 3 is up now... where the contestants pick the song. Elliott Yahmean chose the Donnie Hathaway version of Ray Charles' "I Believe To My Soul." Its a good song, and a good song for him. For the first time tonight, I'm actually listening to him instead of being distracted with reading on Amazon.com some of that wrestling book I mentioned... okay, so I went back to it.
Randy says "You can sing, man." Paula blows sunshine. Simon says that Elliott should be proud of what he's accomplished. Which means that Simon is doubtful that Elliott will make it past the results show. I agree.
My Girl McPhee's last song is up now... yes, yes, I've got McPheever. She's singing "I Ain't Got Nothing But the Blues" because she wants to set herself and her sound apart from the industry today. I could seriously watch this girl sing the phone book at this point. Good thing she's doing decent enough in this song... even showing some fun spunk onstage. Nice dress. Sultry.
Randy says "I dunno..." Paula blows sunshine. Simon says "Five steps forward, one step back... I wish the previous song would have been your final song and this one been the middle, so people would remember you from that." I agree.
Taylor's last song is Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness". The song starts a little slow for me, but it kicks in soon after. GO T! GO T! GO T! Gotee?
I don't care what the judges/Simon might say--I love this guy. Randy now calls him "Have a Good Time Funky Taylor". Paula says she waited all season to hear him sing this song. Simon says he liked the song, hideous ending... "but I'll see you next week". I totally agree.
Elliott goes home. Taylor and My Girl McPhee battle it out in the finale. You heard it here.