Wednesday, April 11, 2007

American Idol Report

American Idol Report for April 10

Overall: Tonight’s theme was Latin music with Jennifer Lopez as the guest “advisor”. Strange to see her advising since I think several of the contestants may be older than her. Oh well. I like Jennifer. The only song I really know by her is “Waiting for Tonight”, but I loved the movie “Out of Sight”. It is a GREAT date movie. Jennifer Lopez, George Clooney, plus an Elmore Leonard story, what’s not to like?
Musically, it was just a so-so night. The performers’ definition of Latin music basically included just 2 artists: Gloria Estefan and Santana. I’m often surprised by their lack of musical knowledge. Here’s the roundup:

Melinda Doolittle – “Sway” Melinda sounds a little blah tonight. The song doesn’t have a lot of big notes for her to hit. Its kind of a mess with the vocals being lost in the arrangement. This is her worst performance thus far. Rating: fair
Simon’s on the money with his criticism of her performance. Hey Melinda, he wasn’t being critical because he wanted to say something mean, he was being critical because you weren’t very good tonight. If you can’t see that, then you may have trouble down the road.

Commercial Break. What an ugly commercial for Sony Camcorders. Parents trying to bathe their adult son. Did anyone at the ad agency actually believe that this was clever. Uhhg.

Lakisha – “Shake Your Body” (Conga?) by Gloria Estefan – I think Lakisha’s vocal is fine but her performance is lacking. Its like she is concentrating very hard to do the dance steps and it shows in her facial expressions. The mood of the song is light and happy but she is trying so hard to not mess up her dance steps that her face doesn’t convey it. I’m sorry to say that I think that Lakisha has plateau’d in the past couple of weeks. Too much of the same style and she’s not a “natural” performer. Much as I dislike Melinda, she appears much more comfortable on stage than Lakisha. Rating: good –

Chris Richardson – Smooth by Santana/Rob Thomas – Wow, when I had my back to the TV and could only hear the vocal, it sounded really weak. This song is too much for Chris’ voice. He does do a nice run at the end, but his voice is not strong enough to win. Rating: fair

One thing about these songs, the rhythm and the horns are the stars. The vocals come in third place. This is both good and bad for the performers. The good is that it is hard to be absolutely terrible (although I’m sure Sanjaya will give it a try) because a weak voice can be covered up by the infectious horns. The bad is that it is hard to be outstanding for the same reason. The vocals are just one piece to the song and not the major component.

Haley Scarnato – Turn the Beat Around, OK performance, but the horns and rhythm are the stars. Most anyone can do a presentable vocal to this song. Rating: fair –

Phil Stacy – Maria by Santana – Well at least the vocals aren’t hidden behind the arrangement. Phil deserves credit for that. I think he does well. I think he has a good voice and always does a good job with the big notes. I appreciate him more than the judges. Rating: good

Jordin – I’m thinking that this style will really suit Jordin, youthful and exuberant just like she appears to be. Could this be the week she moves up to #1 on the Dan List? James listed her as number 1 last week, so he will claim that I’m copying him. Nope. If she’s number 1 it will be because she deserves it. She sings “The Rhythm is Going to Get You”. Her performance is strangely subdued. She is singing it slower than the original. Her voice does sound clear and good, especially at the end. Still I’m a bit disappointed. I was expecting a home run, but she just hit a single. Rating: good

Blake – I Need to Know by Mark Anthony – I think that Blake’s performance did the best of all the singers to capture the spirit of the Latin musical style. His voice is good tonight, his performance excellent. This is the best performance of the night ( My wife can verify that I wrote that in my notes before the judges said the same thing).
Rating: very good

Sanjaya – Besame Mucho – Ooh, some bad notes to start. This is an ok performance for choir class at the local high school. This is in fact high praise for Sanjaya. He is out of his league. Rating: very bad

This week’s ratings: Big shakeup
1. Blake
2. Jordin
3. Lakisha
4. Melinda
5. Phil
6. Chris
7. Haley
8. Sanjaya

Who should go home: duh
Who will go home: End of the road for Haley.

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