American Idol: Top 6 Finalists
THIS. IS. IDOL. GIVES. BACK.
Before the show begins, we're told it's LIVE, even though it isn't. It was taped Monday night. Just so you know.
Then Ryan explains how the fundraising will work. News Corp will donate 10 cents for each call received tonight (up to 50 million calls) for a total of $5 million dollars. Wait, is this the same $5 million dollars they pledged earlier or an additional $5 million?
Also, Ford, Coca-Cola, and AT&T get their first thanks of the night. They will be thanked a couple more times before the hour is over.
BECAUSE. THIS. IS. IDOL. GIVES. BACK.
Before we get to the performances, we're shown another glimpse of Ryan and Simon's trip to Africa. Simon calls it "hell on earth." And yet, as Ryan points out, the people who live there still smile and have HOPE.
After explaining that each contestant has two phone numbers tonight (to make it easier to get through), the performances begin.
1. CHRIS (Eric Clapton's "If I Could Change The World") -- I 'm not a fan of the bobbing head, raised eyebrows, or the nasally vocal runs. This performance is for you diehard Chris fans. It didn't win me over. Randy says "You in it to win it ... that was great, dude." Paula is proud of Chris, and likes the song choice. Simon also thinks Chris did really well, calling it "a good vocal ... a more sexy performance."
Next up, we're shown some of the places in America that will receive help from this fundraising event. These places include, Louisiana, rural Kentucky, Navaho Nation at Chinle, Arizona, and Atlanta. Ryan explains that they've teamed up with charities that will help "change the lives of those in need all over America."
2. MELINDA (Faith Hill's "There Will Come A Day") -- Melinda is starting to look more comfortable in dresses and high heels. As usual, her voice sounds amazing. Randy says, "You just so dope, you got it so together ... you have arrived." Paula says, "Melinda, there's no one like you ... you're magical." Simon likes that "it wasn't a copycat performance." He also thinks "the second half of the song was incredible ... that really was a vocal masterclass."
Once again the corporate sponsors -- Coca-Cola, Ford, and AT&T -- are thanked for their generosity.
Blake answers a viewer question about his biggest sacrifice because of Idol, and he mentions missing his family and friends at home.
3. BLAKE (John Lennon's "Imagine") -- This is some serious stuff tonight -- even Blake is sitting on a stool to sing. He doesn't blow me away, but this is the first time I feel like Blake is showing an emotional connection to a song. Randy says "great choice of song" but thinks the performance was "just okay." Paula says this is the first "real sensitive or emotional song" she's seen from Blake. Simon calls it "sincere" but thinks it didn't go anywhere.
Next, we get a video that shows us "what we can do to make a difference." Ryan helps feeds orphans in Africa and he realizes what "intense hunger means." Then Ryan reminds us again that the calls we make tonight will help make a difference.
4. LaKISHA (Fantasia Barrino's "I Believe") -- I think LaKisha looks and sounds pretty good tonight. She sure can belt a song. Randy thinks it had pitch problems. Still he likes it, although it's not her best. Paula calls LaKisha a "powerhouse vocalist." But she doesn't think the contestants should attempt to do Whitney, Chaka Khan, Mariah, Celine, or Fantasia (Does Fantasia really belong in that group?). Simon has an issue with LaKisha's shouting. The crowd boos, and Simon tells them to "shut-up." In doing so, Simon runs out of time to say anything else. And he also brings a little nastiness to this otherwise "good-hearted" event.
Phil answers a question about what he misses most about home. Of course, he answers that he misses his babies (I should hope so). He says it's hard to be away, but he thinks it will be best for his family in the long run.
5. PHIL (Garth Brooks' "The Change") -- After finding himself last week during country week, Phil is suddenly sounding a lot better. He's still the oddest looking finalist, but that's why Vote for the Worst loves him. Randy says "you're back again with another strong performance ... two in a row, baby." Paula thinks Phil "found his comfort." She calls it "his best." Simon really likes Phil, and thinks he'll do better if he adds even more of a "country-tone" to his singing.
Next up, is a video brought to us by ConAgra Foods, about a food pantry called "America's Second Harvest." Simon is shocked to learn about hungry people in America. He had "no idea in this country that places like this existed." Really? He had NO idea? Really?
6. JORDIN ("You'll Never Walk Alone" by Rogers and Hammerstein ) -- Jordin closes the show in a big way. Once again, I like the way this 17-year-old always seems to feel the emotion of the song. Randy says, "that's one of the best vocals by any contestant EVER on this show EVER in six seasons." Paula thinks Jordin picked an amazing song to close the night. She also calls Jordin "glorious." Simon jokes, "Well, unlike Randy, I thought you were fantastic." He believes that Jordin could have a hit record with the 60-year-old song.
That's it for performances. Ryan dramatically tells us that "This could be the most important call you ever make here," because tonight's votes will translate into dollars. Of course, they could translate into even MORE dollars if News Corp didn't have that $5 million cap.
Before they go, News Corp, Coca-Cola, AT&T, and Ford get yet another on-air shout-out.
And who is going home in the midst of all this fundraising drama? Will Phil Stacey hang on with VFTW's support? Could LaKisha's time be up? What about Chris?
I honestly have no idea who is going home tomorrow. And I'm not exactly sure how that drama is going to play out with everything else that is going on tomorrow night.
TOMORROW: 2-hour Idol Gives Back celebrity event. Ryan promises "one of the biggest shocks we've ever had on American Idol." The only thing that would shock me is if Ryan didn't mention the sponsors ONCE during tomorrow's show.For more Idol coverage, check out People.com.
And vote for your favorite finalist in AOL's poll.