We’re left tonight for our final three without the most exciting performers, as we booted them weeks ago, but the three we have left are all technically good for different reasons. The question facing us tonight is who is exciting enough to make us pick up the phone to vote.
First up for the night is Jordin Sparks, and as we’ve learned recently in some American Idol groups I’m in, the first one to perform in final three has gone home that week, every season. And in all cases but season two, the one to go last has won the show. We’ll see if this holds up this season. Jordin visits Glendale, Arizona in a celebration led by the mayor who receives a fax from Simon Cowell. His song choice for her this week is Wishing On a Star by Rose Royce. Jordin sings it tonight and is dressed better and younger than in past weeks. It seems to me the key might be a little too high for her, although the R&B tone of the song is a good match for her.
Randy Jackson tells her afterward that this is the point in the season where he wants to see who’s in it to win it (is it me or has he been saying that for the past several weeks?), and he thinks this was a very good vocal, reminding him somewhat of Beyonce. “That was hot.” Paula Abdul says Simon picked a good song for Jordin and it was a good way to start the show. Simon says Jordin sang his pick brilliantly, but he wishes they hadn’t done the wicked jazz arrangement on it, as he liked the purer version of it better actually. Even though he chose it, it wasn’t his favorite performance of hers. Ryan Seacrest asks if he didn’t like his own choice, and he says it was the arrangement he didn’t like. Jordin admits she never heard the song before in her life, but when she did, she was like, “Okay, but it was a great song.” Is that all that wise to admit at this point, especially after she reacted excitedly to it when she first heard what it was?
Blake Lewis travels back to his hometown of Bothell, Washington, and it’s the mayor that presents him with Paula’s song choice for him, Roxanne by The Police. Tonight he has an odd look going on with this song. He’s wearing a blue long sleeve shirt and weird maroon and grey sweater vest with a dark tie. It appears he may even be wearing jeans. The blonde streak in his hair appears to be missing as well, but is actually still there and just blended much better. He has a good voice for this song and doesn’t add the beat boxing in. It’s probably wise not to mess with this one. He ends it sliding on his knees.
Randy calls this a great, great performance and says he liked the whole thing with the hand on the microphone. Although there were a couple of rough spots, overall Randy gives it an A, as “That was hot.” Paula tells Blake he did her proud, and she thought it was fantastic. He looked comfortable up there, and changed the phrasing, making it good and fresh. Simon says he’s not going to call it earth-shattering, as the trouble with that song is the performer is always forced to do an impersonation on Sting, and this one wasn’t as good as the original. Good, but not great. As he’s booed, he tells the audience to “C’mon,” believing they can’t say it was fantastic, but I think they might believe they could. I wouldn’t deny the Blaker Girls anything.
Melinda Doolittle meets with the governor of Tennessee in the state capital, as he reads a fax from “Randy Johnson.” Apparently he’s not a fan. One of the best singers in the known world did his song choice for Melinda, and of course, Randy worked with her. He’s choosing I Believe In You and Me by Whitney Houston. Melinda makes sure to thank “Randy Johnson.” Listening to her song, I have to ask how this girl could not win. She sings this in a much softer tone and brings it up at the bridge. It’s not her best, but still amazing, especially considering it’s a Whitney song. Once she gets to the runs, it’s classic Melinda.
Randy “Jackson” says the real reason he chose that song for Melinda is he wanted to throw a little difficulty at Melinda. It’s rangy because it’s Whitney. He figured if Melinda can do this, she should get the grand prize, and “That was hot.” She blew it out of the box and rose to the occasion. He particularly liked her falsetto. Paula says Melinda was fantastic and amazing, and she thinks this is one of Melinda’s best this season. Simon knows it’s a very difficult song to sing and thinks it’s her best in the last four weeks. He declares that round one goes to Melinda. Ryan wonders why Randy usually says “Don’t do Whitney,” yet tonight he picked it as a song. As Ryan slips into Randy mode with a few “yo”s, Simon asks if he’s drunk. As we get ready for the producers’ song picks, we slip away to commercial, and Ryan says he’s off to get a cocktail. I like mine with a twist of lime.
Jordin takes a viewer question and is asked her favorite song of all time, and says it’s MmmBop by Hanson. When the crowd laughs, she says she’s only 17, and it always puts a smile on her face. Ryan then sings a little of it and says it’s in his CD player right now. In years past, this second pick was by Clive Davis, but this year it’s from “producers.” They have picked Donna Sommer’s She Works Hard for the Money. She’s wearing a really cute outfit, but the heels are thick, gold, and way too high for her. It makes her look like she’s working hard for the money on street corners. This will be interesting when she stands next to Ryan. As for the vocal, it’s not bad, but it’s not a song that should be done in final three, it’s more a final twenty-four song.