American Idol: Top 9 Finalists

by Liz Finn-Arnold, posted Apr 3rd 2007 11:34PM
Blake Lewis(S06E26) "Two legends collide -- Tony Bennett meets Sanjaya," Ryan says during tonight's broadcast. That's right, Sanjaya has become an Idol legend, whether we like it or not. And something tells me that Sanjaya is going to be safe no matter how he sings tonight.

Tony Bennett is in the house to coach the finalists in the finer points of singing. Bennett is the "King of Swing" with a career that spans 60 years. And at 80, he looks terrific. I just wish he hadn't worn the bright yellow jacket. It makes him look like an elderly Realtor.

The good thing about singing "the old standards" is that they are great songs, with great melodies, that almost anyone can sing, and almost everyone has, as they are staples of high school productions across America. Unfortunately for our contestants, the bar has been set pretty high by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Natalie Cole, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday. Those are some big shoes to fill. And trying to judge the finalists against such legendary vocals, is honestly like comparing apples to raisins. So it's best to not even try.

1) BLAKE -- Tony suggests that Blake needs to understand the song's meaning (it's about a gangster), and he thinks Blake should slow down the tempo a bit. Blake sings "Mack the Knife" wearing an ugly tie and powder blue jacket that reminds me of the 1970s. Randy calls it "a very good way to start out the evening." Randy likes it, even though Blake had a couple of pitch problems. Paula says he "personified pizzazz." She calls it fun, and cool. Simon says good choice of song, good performance, and gives it a 7 out of 10. Unfortunately, he gives the band a higher score (8 out of 10). I know Blake is popular, and cute, but he is no Bobby Darin. Heck, he's not even Kevin Spacey. But he's Blake, so he's safe.

2) PHIL -- Tony believes Phil is one of the better singers he's heard. Phil sings Cole Porter's "Night and Day." And he does his best to channel Frank Sinatra. Randy likes the big notes, but didn't feel any "real connection" or "passion." He calls it disconnected. Paula calls him reminiscent of a young Frank Sinatra, but offers him some constructive criticism about having "more joy" and warming up his vocals. Simon asks Paula, "which Frank Sinatra are you referring to?" Simon thinks Phil's performance "had all the joy of somebody singing in a funeral parlor." He calls it "gloomy, and dark." What do you expect? If he put on a cape, he'd look like Vlad the Impaler's paler, creepier cousin. He's no Frank Sinatra. And I'd say he's going home, but I say it like every other week, and Philly's fans keep saving him. I just don't get the appeal.

3) MELINDA -- Tony calls her the "best singer all day." He thinks she has a lot of promise. Melinda sings "I've Got Rhythm." The dress makes her butt and stomach look huge, but it doesn't matter. She sounds terrific. The vocals are impeccable once again and she brings down the house. Randy loves that Mindy Doo gives everyone a lesson in singing, and knows how to interpret the lyrics. "This is how you do it," the Big Dawg exclaims. Paula calls Melinder a "master class" and says the performance was "flawless." Simon didn't like the first half of the song, which he thought was a bit cabaret. However, he thought the second part was great, and fun. Simon says it's a problem that he can't criticize Melinda, because "we like being mean to people occasionally." And by "we" he means "I." Melinda has secured her place in the competition.

4) CHRIS -- Tony thinks Chris will have a lot of fun with the song, once he gets the lyrics down. Chris sings "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." Randy calls it one of his best performances of the season. Randy thinks it was cool, young, and hip. Paula says Chris didn't compromise, and kept it "so hip" and cool (she basically repeats everything Randy just said). Simon agrees with Randy and Paula. He calls it "probably one of the strongest tonight." No, it wasn't bad, I'll give him that. But I just don't think it's "hip" or "cool" to dress and sing like Justin Timberlake circa 1996. Chris has to develop his own look, and one that is more updated than yesterday's boy band.

5) JORDIN -- Tony likes the way she improvised the song in rehearsal. She sings "On a Clear Day." Randy calls it "da bomb." "Yo, she's hot, America," he proclaims. Paula calls Jordin a "magnet of joy." Paula loooves her, and thinks she'll sail through to the next round. Simon didn't think Jordin made the song young or current, like Chris did before her. He thinks she sang it well, but it was "old-fashioned." Simon says he simply didn't like it as much as "Squidly and Diddly" as he calls Randy and Paula. I continue to like Jordin, and really think she has a chance at the final 2. But I did wish she picked a better, younger, more upbeat song tonight. Still, I think she's more than safe.

6) GINA -- Tony doesn't give Gina any advice, but he tears up thinking about the song she is singing, because he thinks about 9/11 or Iraq when he sings it. Gina sings "Smile" written by Charlie Chaplin. She sounds good, and I think she's gotten pretty smart at picking songs that are right for her vocal range and talent. And for once she looks happy, and not like she's about to burst into tears. Randy calls it "a very nice, controlled performance for the rocker girl." Paula calls it "flawless, understated, and sentimental." Simon "can't rave about the vocals" because he thinks Melinda and Jordin outsang her. The Glock could be in trouble, because I'm not sure how memorable her performance was tonight.

7) SANJAYA -- Tony thinks Sanjaya is terrific, and likes that Sanjy dares to be different. Sanjaya wants to prove to America that he can sing!! He sings Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek." It's not the type of performance that proves anything. But he makes up for the paper-thin vocals by getting Paula to dance with him, and you know Paula "is in heaven." Randy won't even comment on the vocals. He only says that Sanja has "turned into a great entertainer." Paula says his vocals were off, but she understands why people like him. She thinks Sanjayjay is charming, and she thanks him for the dance. Simon says, "let's try a different tactic this week -- INCREDIBLE." And I think Sanjaya says, "Welcome to Sanjaya's Universe," but I'm not sure (maybe I just imagined it). He IS starting to get a bit cocky, though, isn't he? Do you think he's starting to believe his own hype? Come on, Sanjy, stay sweet, or you might alienate some of your Fanjayas.

8) HALEY -- Tony tells Haley that she destroys the story of the song when she sings it to "you, and you, and you, and you." He tells her to sing to ONE person, and it will make it a better performance. She sings "Ain't Misbehavin" in a really flirty (IS misbehavin') way, ignoring what Tony told her about what the lyrics meant. Randy thought it would be a good week for her, but doesn't know what to say. Paula says "did I mention green is a good color for you?" They both defer to Simon, who calls them rude, but bluntly states, "I think you have great legs." He agrees it was a good style of music for Haley, but a bit pageanty (is that a word, Simon?). I think Haley Scar could be in trouble this week. She threw all the bells and whistles in (leg kicks, cleavage, short skirt, come-hither looks) and it didn't work. Are her legs good enough to save her? I don't think so.

9) LaKISHA -- Tony tells LaKisha to hit the big note at the end and hold it, and she'll be good. LaKisha sings "Stormy Weather," but she doesn't hold the note. I'm beginning to think that Kiki does not take advice from anyone (even living legends). Randy loves her performance, although it started rough. He calls it "da bomb," Paula says "this is the most gorgeous you've ever looked." She also thinks LaKisha sounded beautiful, proving that "we all love Tony Bennett." Simon calls it a "sassy, great performance." Kiki is safe another week. But I really wonder how she is going to do when she is finally challenged, or made to sing outside her comfort zone, especially if she continues to ignore the advice of her coaches.

And that wraps up tonight's Top 9 performances.

Idol Gives Back Update: There are more confirmed celebrity guests for the big event, including: Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, Helena Bonham Carter, Mr. Bean, Forest Whitaker, and Harry Potter. The show is getting so large, that they've expanded to a second venue, and tickets will go on sale Tuesday, April 10th. And Kelly Clarkson, the original American Idol, will return home to perform live!

Bottom three: I choose Phil, Haley, and Gina. Let' s just ignore Sanjaya, and assume he's safe.

Going home: Is it "Bye Bye Girly" time? I think Haley is going home.

Tomorrow: Live Results Show #7, and Tony Bennett sings.

For more Idol coverage, check out People.com.

And vote for your favorite finalist in AOL's poll.

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rocky1

well i am not sure what most of you are watching ?? but if you think this is a singing contest you are cleary wrong !!! this has been and always will be a popularity contest or voteing for the worst.com contest just to piss people off ??? untill they chage the way votes are counted this show will continue to be a travisty !!

April 16 2007 at 9:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kathy

I have been a Melinda fan since the very beginning. I agree that even if she were not to win she is going to have a very good career in music. She has a very exceptional voice. And her personallity is great. I just hope when she does make it big (and she will) that is does not change her. I really like Jordan also I can see her going places too. On that note we have found out from past AI that the best singer doesn't always win, but they do get their careet started.
I would hate to see Simon quit the show he is one of the main reasons many people watch. He just calls it the way he sees it. He never sugar coats anything. So what if you don't agree with every thing he says. I agree with him the biggest part of the time. Simon keeps the show interesting to say the least. I don't think he says the things he says to be hurtful I think he just wants to be truthful.
I am an AI fan and will continue to watch no matter what happens. But it would be so disappointing to see the worst singer win. Sanjaya can not sing worth crap. Enough Said

April 10 2007 at 10:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ulysses hillman

If you are going to be in front of millions of people on stage please think about your hair,make-up,clothes and shoes ....If u don't know ask a professional......This is your time to shine! This is your Future!

April 05 2007 at 9:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ulysses hillman

Sanjaya has the "it" quality! this is a great chance for him.....hes a great marketing tool and i'm sure several business people with contact him for some type of product to sell. Haley will get a modeling deal or playboy....melinda and lakisa r good singers so of course they'll make it(exposure is the key) but sanjaya is the key for the show....because he is everywhere......Don't hate him for that!

April 05 2007 at 7:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tippi

I need to add this about the negative comments concerning Michael Buble, hes by far one of the best singers in the business. He didn't slur any words last night, its his easy jazzy way of singing. If you've ever been to a concert of his he loves kidding around with the audience & his orchestra. I love him and he was just KIDDING about Antonella, why do people have to be so nasty??!!!!!!!!

April 05 2007 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tippi

LaKeisha may have a good voice but please enough with those heaving boobs every week. They look like they're about to explode. Maybe loosen up on the dresses some, why does everything have to be so darn tight??!!

April 05 2007 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cheryl Walsh

Mel...you need a hearing aid!

April 05 2007 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lilidaclark

I just think Phil's voice is better than any...and it is a "singing competition", not a "young/hip" demonstration.

April 05 2007 at 12:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PAT

WELL ONCE AGAIN THE STUPIDITY OF AMERICA HAS COME THROUGH WITH FLYING COLORS. SO SANJAYA SOUNDED BETTER LAST NIGHT, BIG DEAL!!! HE HAD TO GET BETTER, HE WAS ALREADY AS BAD AS HE COULD POSSIBLY BE. THIS IS A KID THAT NEEDS TO GO HOME AND PLAY WITH HIS BOY TOYS AND FOR GOD'S SAKE KEEP HIS MOUTH SHUT! AMERICA THOUGHT THEY WERE BEING FUNNY WHEN THEY DID NOT VOTE HIM OFF AT THE VERY FIRST. NOT ONLY HAVE YOU SHOWED YOUR STUPIDITY, YOU HAVE GIVEN A NO TALENT KID WITH NO HOPES OF EVER GOING FAR, A BELIEF HE HAS TALENT. NOW YOU'VE GOT HIM THINKING AMERICA IS OVERWHELMED BY HIS "TALENT", AND HE WILL END UP BEING ANOTHER TOP SINGING SENSATION. FAT CHANCE!!! WHAT A CRUEL JOKE YOU HAVE PLAYED ON A BOY THAT WILL PROBABLY NEVER "GROW UP". SANJAYA IS NOT NOW NOR PROBABLY EVER BE AWARE OF YOUR STUPID JOKE. HE REALLY THINKS HE A TOP SINGING STAR AND WILL EXPECT THAT RECORDING CONTRACT, BUT NO RESPECTABLE RECORD PRODUCER WILL WASTE HIS TIME OR MONEY ON THE SANJAYAS OF THE WORLD. HOW FUNNY YOUR "LITTLE JOKE" HAS BEEN AMERICA. WELL THE JOKES ON YOU, YOU STUPID PEOPLE.

April 05 2007 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Curtyis Petty

No one over 25 years old should be on the show.

GOOOOOO Haley

April 05 2007 at 11:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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