Not loving the love songs.
Congratulations to American Idol for taking the “love” out of love songs. I had low expectations for the night whose theme was the “world’s best love songs,” and American Idol still managed to disappoint. By far the most boring, most poorly received, most poorly sung selection of songs of the entire season. Even the presence of the great Andrea Bocelli coaching was tainted by the presence of music producer/songwriter David Foster, who came across as an obnoxious music nerd, an insincerely music critic, or both. Some people should not be in front of the camera.
Not one of the singers got a score over twenty, which means that nobody is safe and I would not be surprised to see anyone go home tomorrow.
Singing order was Katharine McPhee, Elliott Yamin, Kellie Pickler, Paris Bennett, Taylor Hicks, and Chris Daughtry.
Here’s how I ranked them, from best to worst.
1. Elliott Yamin (18/25). Elliott sang “A Song For You” and sounded great, like Stevie Wonder at times. If you close your eyes, it was brilliant. A very powerful vocal. The silly large tie and poor stage presence, unfortunately, detracted from the overall performance. Paula cried.
2. Taylor Hicks (18/25). Taylor sang “Just Once,” which is a Quincy Jones song, and I could swear that Michael Bolton has covered it. My wife and I joked about Taylor singing Michael Bolton, and even if he didn’t sing a Bolton song, it’s never a good thing to be thinking about Michael Bolton when you’re trying to judge a singing competition. The quote from the movie “Office Space” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0151804/quotes) comes to mind: “Why should I change? He’s the one who sucks.” So Taylor’s performance was good, not great. The first half was OK, the second half more spirited and soulful. David Foster said Taylor had the “most charisma,” this from the man who appears to have none (at least not on camera). Michael Bolton cried.
3. Katharine McPhee (18/25). Katharine sang “I Have Nothing,” perhaps in an attempt to suck up to David Foster. It’s a Whitney Houston song, and I had never heard it. Katharine sounded too breathy and was simultaneously lacking breath support (if that is possible). Her dress was distracting but her fans will love it. The performance was good, not great. I have nothing to compare it to. I watched her performance last (taped), which colors your perception. If you watch it last instead of first, you’ll see that Simon’s criticisms were too harsh. Katharine’s dad cried.
4. Chris Daughtry (17.5/25). Chris sang “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman,” a song by Canadian “musician” Brian Adams. Blame Canada. Chris was off key at the beginning and had a major squeak on one of the high notes. I kept waiting and waiting for the song to start, and then suddenly it was over. Vocally OK but a boring performance. Canada cried.
5. Kellie Pickler (16.5/25). Kellie picker sang “Unchained Melody,” truly one of the greatest love songs ever, but came unglued. (Unchained? Unglued? Get it? I’m getting punchy.) Kellie again was not enunciating the lyrics, which I think she tends to do when she is uncomfortable with a song. She seemed to try to force the country twang into the song, inappropriately at times. She was off key at the end. A generally boring and unmemorable performance. Simon cried.
6. Paris Bennett (16.5/25). Paris sang “The Way We Were,” by Barbara Streisand, and if I never hear that song again it will be too soon. It was too low for her at the start, a problem she has had previously. She also has contracted the “angry face” syndrome when she sings, which troubled Lisa Tucker earlier this season. Smile or pout during love songs, but do not use angry face. Too slow. Too much vibrato. And she pronounced the last word (“were”) as “whu-her,” which is something that Nadia Turner struggled with all of Season 4. Overall, it was just an average performance. Babs cried.
I would not be surprised to see American Idol ratings hurt by this week’s bomb of a show. Every performance tonight clustered around the death cloud of mediocrity. I think that Paris will end up going home with Chris and Kellie joining her in the bottom three.
And here’s Erik’s blogging promise to you, my silent, anonymous, but lovable audience. (With 100,000 page views/month, I know there’s somebody out there. Comment if you’ve got ’em.) I hereby swear and affirm that, as always, I have not consulted other blogs (including DialIdol.com) before making my predictions. I am linking to others here, for your convenience, before having read the opinions of the other pundits (which I’ll be doing shortly).
Erik’s bottom three: Chris, Kellie, Paris.
Erik’s pick to go home: Paris.
(ErikJHeels.com is 7/9 in picking the bottom American Idol contestants over the past three weeks.)