On the way home from Starbucks, I tuned into one of my favorite playlists, that being my The Trojan Experience list, notably, the Freshman Spring. I have a list of songs that came out during the Fall of 93 (my freshman fall), the Spring of 94 (my freshman spring) and then onto my sophomore and junior year… I was absolutely jammin’ to Babyface’s “…And Our Feelings”, then Toni Braxton’s “You Mean the World To Me”, both out in April of 1994. Gosh those songs take me back. Worth mentioning.
Now… it’s another guys edition of American Idol… now, last week we lost barefoot Paul Kim, Nicole Tranqulanillo, Amy Krebs, and Rudy Somethingorother (so insignificant, I can’t even remember their names—not even important)… this week, the guys are dedicating their performances to whomever inspired them.
Phil Stacey is dedicating his to the US Navy, and its “Missing You” by John Waite. There is a superb version of this song out now, with John Waite backed up by Alison Krauss… this one isn’t a superb version. And he’s got some weird shoulder-lace-up shirt thing on. Randy thought it was hot. Paula is saying words that make her sound important, like “pitch” and “tone”. Simon isn’t jumping out of his chair, and it wasn’t unoriginal—and I agree with that. A good voice… but nothing special.
We got ourselves a Foxworthy Sighting! (the new game show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” is on after this—and I will be watching)
In the green room, Sundance says that his friends were telling him not to be so crappy this week. That makes me laugh. I actually might like this guy one day.
Jared Cotter is singing “Let’s Get It On”, dedicated to his mom and dad. That’s creepy. I mean, “Wind Beneath My Wings” or some other inspirational song, but NOT “Let’s Get It On”. Unless you’re from Mississippi, then its okay.
Anyway, I’m not that impressed with this guy, either. I heard my buddy Bobby Black sing this better in college—of course, he’s now working full time in Vegas, so we know he’s made it. Randy says he kinda liked it, Paula is all about hitting on Jared and telling him she didn’t like it without telling him she didn’t like it. Simon said it reminded him of “The Love Boat” cabaret. Jared replied “That would have been a great Love Boat”. Ryan then adds, “Oh, the things we’ve done to that song”. Makes me personally think of Sherry Davidson, back in 93, when I… um… Happy Anniversary to me and Steph! Yeah!
AJ Tabaldo is up next, dedicating his song again to his mom and dad. What’s he singing? “Feelin’ Good”, originally by Nina Simone, but I think he’s taking on the Michael Buble song. This is a great, great song… and I LOVE the Nina Simone version. Very sultry, very strong, very jazzy snazzy trapazzy. AJ is NOT sultry by any means, but he’s doing a good jazz take on the song. I like it. Randy says “You got skills, baby”. Paula says (quote) “you have a real real real real REAL good voice”. Simon says it was very good. So far, to me, the best of the night… with 7 more to go.
But do you really want an American Idol named AJ Tabaldo? Seriously?
Punjab is next, dedicating his song to his grandfather. This guy is a little strange, perhaps a little pansy-ish. He’s got this odd hat, that I think is supposed to make him look cool and classic (he’s singing Tony Bennett’s “Stepping Out with My Baby”) but it actually makes him look like he’s trying to be a pimp. An Indian pimp. Do they make those?
This song sucks. Seriously. I want to like this guy, but he’s… like… talking it. I truly think I could match his vocals word for word, and not do any worse. The judges are about to slam him, I think.
And? They do. Randy says it’s like a “bad high school talent show with your dad’s hat.” Paula, looking for the good, says “you were in pitch, at least”. Simon agrees with Randy, like a “ghastly lunch, where after lunch your parents ask the kids to dress up and sing, and didn’t like what they heard”. Totally agreed.
Sanjaya sounds like Michael Jackson, back in 1982, when Jacko was discussing his new song, “Billie Jean”.
Chris Sligh, the leader of the Fro’ Patro’, is sending his song out to his lovely wife Sarah. He’s singing a song called “Trouble” that I’m unfamiliar with, but I like it. Matter of fact, I might go find this song on iTunes after the show is over.
Randy says “even better than last week”. Here comes sunshine from Paula. Simon says “you’re a very good singer”.
Can I tell you I’m just pumped for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer?
Nick Pedro has a song that goes out to his chick Caitlyn, and he’s singing the classic “Fever”, notably from Peggy Lee back in the old days. Its not bad, but its kinda boring. Paula is bouncing, while Simon is snapping his fingers along. To Randy’s point, all the guys are doing so much better over last week, and I can go along with that. Paula loves Nick’s tone. Of course. Simon wanted more charisma, but liked the song okay. I like Nick, but if we lost him, it wouldn’t kill me. Ryan just called out “Vote for Pedro”. That’s funny.
Next up? Blake Lewis is singing what? Jamiroqui’s “Virtual Insanity”? This is either going to be awesome, or its going to really be crappy…
Blake, the beatbox kid, is sending this out to his mom and dad. This is a really, really cool song, by the way, and the video is even better. Come on, Blake… I want this to be good. And… it’s not bad. If I had a good voice, I think the way he’s singing it is the way I’d pull it off. Even better, he tossed in a little beatbox, a little dj-mix scatting. Blake rocks. This song rocks. This show rocks. The last three minutes of my life have really rocked.
Randy loved it. Paula gives lots of sunshine, blown for his convenience. Simon says it was too close to the original in style, and was disappointed—but I liked the heck out of it.
Brandon Rogers is dedicating his song to his grandmamma. He’s doing Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”, a great song. The original is really good, but to me, you can’t beat Nichole Nordeman’s version, putting a spiritual twist on it. Its so freakin’ good, very breathtaking. But that’s almost anything Nichole Nordeman does.
Oh yeah, Brandon is singing. Eeh.
Randy liked the sentiment, but not the song. Paula’s blowing sunshine. Randy said that Brandon should have come out and shown what he could do, and Brandon responds that the song, sent to his late Gram, didn’t need a bunch of extra, because he was putting his heart and feeling into it. Simon responds perfectly—this is a singing competition. He likes grandmothers, but Brandon has to do what the girls did last week… come out every week and give a “wow” performance. This is exactly why I like Simon Cowell.
Chris Richardson is singing… “Geek in the Pink”? Also sent to his grandmother, Big Mama as he says. Geek in the Pink is a song about... um... well, its... sexual intimacy. And he's sending this one out to Mawmaw.
I’m actually surprised… I actually like this song, and I actually like the performance. Its fun. It’s borderline white-guy bad-rap, but still… when has that stopped me from liking a song? Dude… so like, Blake and Chris have given the best performance of the night? Who’da thunk? Upon Googling, I found it’s a Jason Mraz song… one I’ll end up downloading now. Randy said it was hotter than the original, and Paula loved it, Simon says “Best of the night”. And this was sent to Big Mama? Big Mama must be a cool grandma.
So, in the ad for the new Ford Edge, an ad thatshows the car driving around the ledge of a building, it actually says in small print “Yes, this is a fantasy. Vehicles can’t really drive on buildings”. I want to ask if people are really this stupid, but then I just saw my post from earlier with Al Gore in it, and answered myself quickly.
And finally, its Sundance time. Dedicated to his son, Levi. Levi Head? That’s gotta be tough to grow up with (not unlike David Dollar, mind you). Sundance is tearing up a little because he’s away from Levi, who’s only a few months old.
“Mustang Sally” is his song of choice. This is a guy who has to deliver tonight, because he knows he’s on the chopping block. And I think he’s delivering, actually. It’s not great, but its pretty good—Sundance is a pretty good rocker. There’s no way he’s winning American Idol, but its nice to see him do better. Randy loved it, Paula is just going crazy and Simon is glad the really likable Sundance is back… but thinks he can do better.
And, now its time for the girls!
I'm watching the tape from last night, and since I've been at work all day, I haven't heard good or bad from anyone, so this will be a live update!
Gina Glocksen is first, and she's sending her song out to her man Joe. She looks fantastic, and she's singing Heart's "Alone". I'm not a musical expert, but I think she might be a little pitchy... but like last week, she's nailing those big notes at the end. Randy said "started a little pitchy... but it ended great". Paula compares her to Carrie Underwood, who sang it two years ago. Simon is wondering why she isn't more edgy. Good start to the evening.
Up next is Alaina Richardson, singing "Not Ready To Make Nice" by the Dixie Chicks. Ugh. She's sending it to her mom, and I'm hoping as an empowering song, not asa "I'm a bleedin' heart liberal" song. And hearing her sing, I'm guessing its a liberal performance. Ugh. Randy says "it was a mess, all over the place". Paula is doing her best to sound nice, but she's not ready to make nice. Simon says it was a mess as well. They all agree she looks nice, though... too bad its a singing show, not Miss Idol.
Now its time for the Idol frontrunner, Lakisha Jones, channeling some Gladys Knight & the Pips with "Midnight Train to Georgia". This goes out to her 90 year old grandmother. She's a big girl, but she looks less big than last week. The wonders of fashion sense, I guess.
Lakisha is so great... it was fun, it was strong, and Randy says "it was hot". Paula says "I loved it... and I love you" for the 2,000th time on Idol. Simon says not as good as last week, but he did like it. And he didn't like the outfit... well, it does look like a pumpkin.
Littledoo Melinda is up now... she's sending out her song to someone besides Memaw or Daddy (finally!). Its out to her two best friends, her two "Gayles" because they said she would one day be Oprah and they'd be her "Gayles". Ha!
"My Funny Valentine" is the song of choice for Melinda. I actually think overall, with the exception of a few performances, she might be better than Lakisha... wow, she's good tonight.
Randy throws in the "yo yo, we got a competition now!" standard, while Paula is breathless (alcohol can do that). Simon says "That... was incredible. The best vocal we've had in the competition" She looks astounded... Simon says "you don't know how good you are... and I don't think you would change if you did." Hear Hear! Melinda ROCKS!
Oh geez.. Antonella Barba, the Bayley Brown killer, is up next. Have you heard about he risque picturesof her online? I won't link to them--but I've seen one or two (accidentally, darn it.. she's NOT someone I'd be looking for online).
She's sending her Celine Cheeze out to her brother Vinchezo... she's on the "Up Close and Personal" song, "Because You Loved Me". By the way, that was a terrible movie. And, she's a terrible singer. Antonella, not Celine, I mean. Eesh. The judges are going to rip her a new one after this mess...
...and Randy says "Your gorgeous. And that was a completely wrong song. All over the place." Paula blows a little sunshine... though you can't give her much. Simon says "worse than last week."
By the way, I think Paula just took a stab at Kelly Clarkson. Antonella just said she thought she was better than last week, and she'll listen to Paula's feedback, not Simon, because Simon was wrong about Jennifer Hudson. Simon then responded that we, meaning the judges, put Jennifer Hudsn throug to the finals, and it was the voters who voted her out (actually, it was the Hawaii vote... but I digress). Then quietly to Randy, Paula pipes up and says "we remembered... Kelly Clarkson". You remember that Kelly Clarkson dissed Idol, after winning it and starting her career--Ryan added that "I'm sure someone will be talking to someone at the judges table after the show..." HA!
Here comes Jordin Sparks, another one of my early faves. She sends out her song to her lil' bro PJ. She kinda reminds me of a youger, blacker Leslie Cordell Ailsworth. She's busting out the pre-skank ChristinaAguliera's "Reflection".
Hmm... I'm afraid she's not up to standard like last week. She's tearing up a little bit... Randy liked it, and impressed wth her ability. Sunshine. Here the whoosh? That's right, Paula is speaking. And Simon? He agrees with Randy.
Oooh... Stephanie Edwards (I completely forgot she was in this) is doing some Beyonce. (My own Stephanie just walked in, so I'll get her take on a few of these). She's sending out "Dangerously In Love", to her mom and dad. Creepy.
Scratch that.... Ryan said "Dangerously in Love" before the commercial. I'm thinking "Crazy In Love"... so Beyonce has to "...In Love" songs? Kinda like a Wilson Phillips "Hold On" "Release Me" thing. I don't know this song... my Steph says "this is the weirdest song ever, what the crap?"
Randy liked it, but called it Beyonce Lite. Paula whooshes, and Simon agrees with her.
Um... heck, I forgot Leslie Hunt was in this too. I do slightly remember Haley Scarneto... but how can you remember much with Sabrina, Lakisha, Melinda and Jordin in the mix?
Leslie is dedicating her song to Grandpa Bob. And she seems to want to tackle "Feelin' Good", just like AJ Tabaldo did. Is this a good idea? I find her very annoying--I think I would avoid hanging out with her if were in Common Ground together.
Aside from the song, I think I remember Jennifer Herndon or Susan Ward wearing this outfit in 1989. Leslie is barely cute in a Jennifer Hernon sort of way... and she's trying to scat. Yikes. Randy sighs deep, never a good sign. I call it now... she's so out. Paula loved it. Simon takes a clever swipe at Paula (funny... and true), before saying "You're getting whacked by three or four other voices in this show--no one will remember you". I didn't.
Haley Scarneto is dedicating her song to her boyfriend, wearing a hat like Ashley Spell has. If you are a big black mama, like Lakisha, or a small chick with a booming voice like Sabrina, you can take on Whitney. If you are small, white, and petite, like Haley, don't try. She's doing "Queen o the Night". I can't believe I'm going to quote Simon, but it sounded karaoke. Stephanie just grunted. Never a good sign.
Randy says it wasn't great. He's right. Paula says better than last week. I don't remember her last week. Simon says "take on a Whitney song at your own peril". I concur.
Finally, Sabrina Sloan takes on Whitney, and does it right. She's sending her song out to her Grammy (grandmother, not musical award).
Again, I'm not a guy with a great voice, certainly not one who should ever be singing Whitney... but "All The Man That I Need" is one I love to wail in the car. Did I just say that?
Randy and Paula liked it. Simon says, "I preferred you last week... but you'll be back".
So there ya have it... twenty people. I'm picking Haley and Leslie, and Sundance and AJ to go home this time around.