Each week we see the male finalists, the crevasse between the good and the bad just seems to deepen more and more. There’s a top four guys right now that are so far ahead, they can basically sing the credits at the end of the show and make it into the final 12. But after that, the water gets a little muddier, with some that are surprisingly rising from the heap.
Ryan Seacrest addresses the judges, and notices the musical chairs game is done. Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson are back in their correct seats. Asked if they are going to stay put, Randy says you never know. Simon Cowell suggests they should switch places with Ryan, but Ryan thinks Simon would fail in his place miserably, saying they would never get through the show on time. Simon retorts that with all due respect they don’t have their lines written for them like Ryan does, but Ryan says all Simon says are the same three words anyway – ghastly, horrible, and nightmare.
Keeping with the week’s theme of most memorable Idol moments, Taylor Hicks says his high point is getting recognized everywhere he goes as the gray-haired guy from American Idol. He has to put on a “toboggan” hat to hide it, otherwise he says his hair is like a big headlight.
Taylor is one of those that could sing me the credits, and I would still love him. Tonight he does Easy by The Commodores, with a wink and a smile. He also has a shaky start. He pulled it into gear in the chorus and sounds like good ole Taylor. This is a favorite song of mine, and Taylor is a favorite performer. Marrying the two together wasn’t the best, but I still couldn’t help but love it.
Randy points out Taylor has probably sung that song in a bunch of bars, and Taylor says too many, but he’s glad to be here. Randy notes there were a few pitch problems, and this wasn’t his favorite performance, but he still likes Taylor. It’s that whole Ray Charles throwback thing. Paula corrects him that it’s the Taylor Hicks thing, and says she likes what he’s wearing and loves his enthusiasm. That said, it wasn’t one of her favorite choices either, but he’s still one of her favorites. Simon says it didn’t work for him and was the wrong choice. He says if Taylor takes himself out of the bubble and watches it back, he’ll feel the same way about it. Paula calls Simon mean, but Taylor admits he can do better. He liked the song because Lionel Richie is another Alabama guy, and it was the first concert he ever went to, Lionel Richie along with Tina Turner. He still has the T-shirt, although, it’s a little tight. Ryan compares it to Simon’s wardrobe.
Elliott Yamin gives a shout out to his brother, Scott, for his birthday. His biggest inspiration, though, is his mother, who was at his original audition with him. The day before he left for Hollywood, his mother got sick and was sent to the ICU. It made it harder for him to face the auditions that week, but he ended up using it for some positive energy. She is back on her feet, and in the audience tonight.
Even though the judges seem to be picking on song selection this week, it doesn’t bother Elliott. He is doing Moody’s Mood For Love by James Moody, which is a slow jazzy type of thing. The way Elliot sings it, it takes on a certain Mel Torme flavor. Randy says he enjoys every time he sees Elliott. He thinks he has a natural, amazing gift, and gives him his first standing O of the season. Paula believes this to be one of the most difficult songs to sing, and says Elliott did Stevie Wonder proud. She doesn’t know what Elliot can ever do to top that, but she can’t wait to find out. Simon thinks Elliott has grown in confidence each week, even since last week, saying it was a different Elliott on the stage tonight. He also believes Elliott has a voice that can nail everybody, so he thinks he should nail them all with a song better than the one he just did.
Ace Young’s most memorable moment is his constant beanie in his pocket. Is it just me, or is that just a funny term? He started out with one in his pocket at the auditions, and since then, he has always either worn one or had it in his pocket, although the color of the beanies can change day to day, outfit to outfit. It’s a comfort thing to him, to always have it on him. Seeing Daniel Bedingfield in concert, Ace saw him sing If You’re Not The One, and wished he would have written the song. He learned it this week just for the performance. Ace is just one smooth performer. He hits a great falsetto in the song, and I just sigh. The guy’s looks could stop traffic, but it really isn’t just that.
Randy tells Ace he is glad he chose that song, as last week he didn’t feel he sang something with enough range, and he’s glad he hit the whole falsetto thing. He thinks Ace sings better than he lets on. Paula calls it another good week where Ace’s song selection is on point. His falsetto was on point as well, and she also thinks he’s better than he lets on. Simon, however, thinks Ace struggled with the song, and believes when Ace hears it back later, he will agree with him. He says “Mozart and Beethoven over there are experts, but Mr. Naive Ignorant” doesn’t think it was that good. Ace says he kind of agrees with everyone, and says he has beaten his voice up doing the song every day this week. He hopes he will still like it when he hears it back. He has a khaki beanie in his pocket tonight, and throws it to the girls’ Dawg Pound where Brenna fights for it.
Gedeon McKinney is back tonight after doing surprisingly well last week. His most memorable moment is Simon telling them in Hollywood that if you forget the lyrics, you’re going home. Gedeon thought he had it made, then blacked out and forgot the lyrics. He doesn’t believe he will ever forget lyrics again. He’s singing Sam Cooke’s Changes Gonna Come, and I have to say, people are all over the guy because of his attitude during the final twenty-four announcement, but it wasn’t that bad. You have to have a certain confidence to make it any competitive business like this, and it’s not like he’s on par with Brenna or anything. And besides he does well again. He starts slow, but really picks it up, although I admit I was wishing I could hear Taylor sing it.
Randy tells Gedeon that what he loves about him is that he is a natural performer. He, too, noticed the shaky beginning, and says in the middle it seemed like he didn’t care. He was going to do it anyway, and by the end it was amazing. He likes someone as young as Gedeon getting into Sam Cooke. Paula sees Gedeon as unique and different, and says he is smart with song selections. She believes we’ll see him performing for decades. Simon calls Gedeon a “funny little thing”, and says he just doesn’t know what to make of him, but believes Randy hit the nail on the head. He can see Gedeon as someone Barry Gordy would have hired at Motown thirty to forty years ago.
Ryan jokes that in his job he meets the gangstas every day like 50 cent, Jay Zee, Snoop, but the real gangsta he believes has got to be Kevin Covais. Kevin’s big moment here is the difference of being at school one second as a quiet guy that all the girls feel safe around, and now getting emails from hundreds of 12 and 13 year old girls telling him he’s so cute. He thinks he’s becoming like a sex symbol. This gangsta sex symbol belly bumps Ryan, then launches into singing Marvin Gaye’s Heard It Through The Grapevine. I can only say I think he needs a soul implant.
Randy says he thoroughly enjoyed the performance, and says Kevin is here because he’s not only a funny, cool gangsta, but he can actually sing. He noticed Kevin doing runs at the end. Paula calls Kevin infectious, and says that’s why everyone is smiling. She, too, believes he is the next sex symbol. She loved his performance and says she loves watching Kevin’s parents in the audience. Simon is thinking the other judges are in La La Land. He does like Kevin, and thinks he is likable, but says if he heard him on the radio, he would turn it off. He says it’s kind of a backhanded compliment, but he really does like him. Ryan shows everyone a picture of Kevin’s body double … Chicken Little. It’s surprisingly accurate. Apparently Paris Bennett calls him that.
Sway Penala says his most memorable moment was last week when his parents were in the audience sitting together. It’s been years since he has seem them together. Sway thinks it’s great that American Idol can bring families together to watch like that, even if his parents were only together for a few minutes. He’s “taking at stab” at singing Overjoyed by Steve Wonder tonight. And I’m not … overjoyed I mean. I just don’t get this one. I didn’t like that whole falsetto thing last week, and this one just makes me lose interest.
Randy says it’s not as good as last week, and says when you sing Stevie, who is one of the greatest singers in the known world, you have to be unbelievable. Paula feels like Sway is a little disconnected tonight, and feels like he wasn’t in that zone. Yet, she says even when he’s having an off day, he still has a lot of of talent. Simon thinks it’s a lesson in how not to do well, as he saw it as nothing but pure karaoke. He calls it completely utterly forgettable with zero originality, and says with that, he won’t be in the finals.
Will Makar says his most memorable moment has been only having to do three hours of school work a day, and being on the red carpet and meeting Justin Guarini. Will tells Ryan he is singing Kenny Rogers’ Lady tonight, and Ryan has to note that it was out way before Will was even born. Will has only known the song for two months. He sounds really good on it, but he looks so stiff. He doesn’t appear to be connecting to the words, and just like last night, another younger person is trying to sing a song too old for them.
Randy tells Will that at this point, you have to do something amazing vocally, and says it was just “aw-ight.” Paula likes Will’s nice tone and control, and also his choice of tender moments in the song, but she feels it was too safe. Simon calls it an audition for Cats, yet he says Will has a target audience of 11-year-old girls that are going to love it. I’m trying to connect those two thoughts, and having a hard time. Ryan tells Randy to imagine he’s Will’s manager, and asks what advice he would give him for next week. Randy says he wants to see him throw it down and loosen up. Ryan grabs Will and starts loosening his shirt, pulling it out of his pants, and Simon tells Will to get off the stage quick.
Like with Kellie Pickler yesterday, Southern boy Bucky Covington also picks the food choices as his memorable moments. He says back home chicken and dumplings are chicken and dumplings. Corn is corn, and mashed potatoes are mashed potatoes, although here they are smashed potatoes. You can order chicken off the menu, but you have no idea what else is on it. He figures it must be French. He’ll be losing weight and eating better, because the only food he understands are vegetables and rice.
Bucky is singing Garth Brooks’ Thunder Rolls, and does very well with it. He is a natural at the Southern rock genre, and pulls a little more rock into it than Garth did. Randy likes him representing the dirty south, and calls that a perfect song choice. Paula says it was very interesting to hear him right at the beginning, as he is really finding himself in the competition. Simon tells Bucky he likes him, and sees him as a really sincere guy, not playing it like others. He is what he is. His only problem is he feels Bucky comes over more as just a support act. Ryan tells Bucky they’re going out for spring tuna rolls, and asks if he wants to come along. Bucky gets the joke, and says he wants a biscuit and some sweet tea.
Now this just has to make you laugh. It’s sounds like something my son would come up with. David Radford says he picked out the right outfit to audition in, and realized in the cab on the way there that he had no belt on. Three steps out of the cab, his pants were falling down, and no one really had a spare. So he looked around and grabbed his mom’s car phone charger, and used that to hold his pants up. And nobody noticed.
David goes back to his roots, singing Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra. It’s a shock that he doesn’t do better with this, as this is supposedly “his thing.” Randy says it was good that David was back in his zone, but he found himself bored and listening to the band. Paula, too, feels they have seen him perform better with other songs. Simon tells him that at times he has the right voice for this materials, but he needs charisma and confidence. David tells Ryan, though, that he was feeling more confident this week.
This seems to be a theme this year of saving the best for last. Chris Daughtry is up and says his memorable moments have been getting used to not being with his kids, although they are not the most popular kids at school, and not having to go to work every day. Although he finds it hard to consider this work. Chris is singing Fuel’s Hemorrhage and wants people to feel like they are at a rock concert. He says the song reminds him of what happens to relationships when you don’t nurture them. The best thing I can say about Chris tonight is he is authentic. He is the real deal.
Randy says he loves it, loves it, loves it. He says Chris is right where he is supposed to be with the right song. He knows Chris could be on the radio right now with that song. Randy says he just left the studio himself, so he knows. Paula asks Chris if he knows how good he is, and he replies only when she tells him. She tells him he is amazing, and that with this show there are magic moments on the stage, and she feels he just had one of his many magic moments to come. Simon says there have been a lot of compliments tonight, but this is the only one that stands out in the real world. He tells Chris he is the only standard everyone should be looking to. This is pretty good considering Simon originally voted against Chris in Hollywood.
I can’t decide who should leave tomorrow night; I can only decide who should stay. Taylor, Ace, Elliott, and Chris. They have to stay. Bucky and Gedeon should probably stay as well. But Sway is way overrated for me. Will is questionable, and David and Kevin just don’t measure up to the rest of the pack here.
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