American Idol: Top 6 Finalists (once again)
The fact that no one left had a profound effect on this episode as Ryan was quick to point out since two people would be going home this week.
As usual - THIS.IS.AMERICAN.IDOL - I'm your host Ryan Seacrest and I'm in desperate need of a razor blade.
We learn rather quickly that the 60 million dollar figure that was tossed around by the media for the last six days was a little off. "Idol Gives Back" actually brought in just shy of 70 million dollars. That's quite an amazing accomplishment and everyone who donated should be applauded.
As most of us already knew, Ryan indicates that we're celebrating the music of Bon Jovi this week. I was hoping the Idols wouldn't be limited to singing Bon Jovi songs and that they'd be able to choose songs that Jon liked ala Gwen Stefani week. No such luck.
I prepare my eardrums for the abuse and press on (sorry, I'm not a big Bon Jovi fan).
Tonight, Randy is his usual dog poundy self, Paula is chic in a flattering outfit, and Simon is wearing his usual black attire but is a little tan as Ryan points out. Looks like someone had to get some rest and relaxation after the serious subject matter from last week, and I don't blame him in the least. We also see a smiling Antonella and Gina as a part of the studio audience.
I never realized it, but Bon Jovi has been doing the music thing for the last 20 years. They've played over 3,000 concerts in 50 countries and have sold 120 million albums. Those are some ridiculous stats and despite my not being a fan, I have a great deal of respect for those numbers. Jon Bon Jovi and David Bryan are acting as this week's mentors.
Before we get into the show, at what age are you not allowed to call people younger than you kids? With the exception of Jordin, who we're constantly reminded is 17, can these contestants really be considered kids? Phil and Melinda are 29. Lakisha is 27. Blake is 25. Chris is 22. I wonder if they took offense that Jon called them kids. Probably not. He's friggin' Bon Jovi.
1. Phil -- Bon Jovi's "Blaze of Glory"
Phil starts out singing in the audience and makes his way down to the stage quite defiantly. He looks to be wearing a gray jacket that's been bedazzled on the front and he has on a noticeable amount of makeup. I'm talking makeup that gives him cheekbones like a hopeful on America's Next Top Model. I notice his makeup every week and felt compelled to point it out.
Despite being a rock song, Phil's rendition fits into the country style he's been showing lately, and it seems to be resonating rather well with the crowd.
I can't help but think to myself that the lyrics "going down in a blaze of glory" are about the most appropriate words that he can be singing right now. Phil has spent an inordinate amount of time in the bottom two to three this year. I'm sure to a certain extent the song is resonating pretty nicely with him as well.
Personally, I think he should have sang "You Keep Me Hangin' On" and dedicated that lyric to America, but that's just me.
Randy does his usual bragging/name dropping routine and points out the fact that he recorded that song for Bon Jovi. He also found it to be the bomb. Paula thinks this is the best opening we've had all season long. Simon felt it was OK and didn't feel like he heard any authenticity. Simon basically gives Phil his un-coveted seal of disapproval and doesn't think he's done enough to last another week.
Is it time to say bye bye Phil?
2. Jordin -- Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer"
Jordin had a little trouble in her trial run with Jon and she admitted to being a little bit nervous. With her mother being a big Bon Jovi fan you'd think she'd have been a little more familiar with the music.
Bon Jovi made mention of Jordin only being 17 and said something along the lines of not being able to sing half that well at that age. Really, Jon? I didn't realize you could sing half that well at whatever age you're at now. Oh snap! OK, that's the last negative thing I'll say about him.
I've always been a big fan of Jordin so I was a little worried about how she'd perform in a genre she doesn't seem all that comfortable with. She could have fooled me when her performance started. She really dominated the stage with her teased out rock hair despite being flanked by two guitarists. Unfortunately, it turned out to be mostly an illusion because as the song progressed you could really sense that she felt a bit out of her element.
Randy thought it was an interesting one for him because Jordin definitely isn't the rock girl and the verses were a little rough. Paula felt none of us know what it's like to be in the workshop process, whatever that means, but she did point out that it was hard for a girl to sing a guy band's rock song. Simon wanted to cue the boos in advance. He felt the look was like something out of the Adams Family and that the singing was close to shrieking ... harsh.
3. Lakisha -- Bon Jovi's "This Ain't a Love Song"
Lakisha didn't want to sit on the chair when Ryan offered it to her because she wanted the camera to get her slim side. No comment from me on that one. She also answers a viewer question by letting us know that she's never had any formal training before this competition. She also promises to give us a little somethin' somethin'. It was good to see Lakisha exhibiting some personality.
During rehearsal, Jon seemed pretty convinced that Lakisha was going to be sticking around for another week singing this particular song since the track is a soul singer's song. I wouldn't call this arrogance on his part. "This Ain't a Love Song" really suited itself nicely to Lakisha's soulful nature and she sang it spot on.
The judges seemed to agree. Randy felt that Lakisha is back in the game this week and that she sang as if she had something to prove to Simon. He found it a little pitchy in the beginning, but by the middle of the song he thought she sold him and everyone in the audience. He also said that Lakisha blew it out the box, although he didn't indicate what box he's talking about. I'm guessing sand. Paula felt that the lower, bottom tones of Lakisha's voice is the money in her pocket and that, as promised, she gave everyone a little somethin' somethin'. Simon actually gave Lakisha a kiss on the lips and said she had nice lips. What a shameless way to get a smooch.
4. Blake -- Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name"
Blake is probably my favorite person on the show. I think it has to do with the fact that he sings more current songs that I like, but mostly, Blake is just a damn good performer. He has such a unique take on songs relative to the American Idol universe, and there is a great deal of appeal to that for me.
He didn't disappoint this week, and came out blazing with a new darker hairdo and an imaginary Fisher Price record player. The human sound machine never fails to be entertaining.
People seem to think Blake's performances have a polarizing effect on the audience with half liking it and half hating it. I disagree, and the fact that Blake is still here this far into the competition confirms that. He's a crowd favorite without question, particularly with the younger demographic. I have a feeling this group is voting for him in droves by text message on their cell phones. He has a great chance of winning this whole thing.
Randy gives Blake the award for the most original version of a song on American Idol. He found it hot. Paula thinks he took a big leap of faith and really put himself out there. Paula also accurately pointed out that Jon Bon Jovi seemed to really appreciate what Blake was attempting to do with the song. Simon shockingly also commended Blake for taking a chance and all but guarantees this will keep him here another week.
5. Chris -- Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead of Alive"
Chris didn't know all the words during his time with Bon Jovi and you could tell it was an extremely awkward moment for him. It wasn't looking promising early, but when he came out with the weird cow-like liquid swimming in the background he pretty much nailed the song.
The performance seemed a little on the safe side considering he sang most of it exactly like Bon Jovi sang it, save a few R&B runs thrown in at the end. It should also be pointed out that there wasn't a single time during his singing that I wanted to stuff a bottle of Nasonex into his nose. I can't say the same in previous weeks. Overall, it was another solid performance from Chris but probably not as good as the rest of the group.
Randy was worried about Bon Jovi songs this week because it's hard to sing rock and none of the contestants are really rock singers. Despite that, he liked the little R&B twists Chris put on the song and he enjoyed it a lot. Paula, purveyor of great wisdom, thought Chris did his thing. Simon felt that Chris did as much as he could possibly do with the song, but he's not sure if it's good enough for him to stay another week. All assessments seemed fair enough.
6. Melinda -- Bon Jovi's "Have a Nice Day"
Melinda went to her rehearsal with a down-on-herself attitude regarding her unfamiliarity with rock. She also decided to sing a newish Bon Jovi song which I was sure would put her at a slight disadvantage with the voting audience since everyone else seemed to be singing veritable hits.
Of course, as soon as she started singing my notions quickly vanished because Melinda could sing the ABCs and win a Grammy.
While her performance definitely comes across as someone who doesn't usually sing rock singing a rock song, it was still extremely charming and a typical Doolittle caliber show.
Randy felt it wasn't her best performance, but liked her Tina Turner-like attitude. From the first note Paula thought it was a great workout, and Melinda threw up some halfhearted devil horns in approval. Simon also felt Melinda was like a young Tina Turner and that she was vocally in a different league to everyone else tonight. No surprises all around on this one.
At the end of the show Laura and George Bush came on with a personal message thanking the viewing audience for raising millions of dollars for children living in America and Africa. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. President.
Another show down the drain. Just a few more to go.
Tomorrow: Last week's votes are combined with the totals from this week. Two people will go home. Hopefully, Bon Jovi does not perform.
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