AI5 - The Not Very Dirty Dozen

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Last night was "Stevie Wonder" night, which among other things, provided comic relief in so, so, SO many ways. Like, for instance, the cry-fest that ensued when Mr. Wonder entered the room. Certainly it's alright to cry when overcome with emotion upon meeting ones' hero, idol, or key influence, much in the way that Elliott Yamin did. However, when Kellie Pickler, who told us that she had no idea what Stevie Wonder ever sang, let loose with the waterworks, I'm forced to wonder just what she was getting so emotional about. A talented, blind, black man in her midst? Possibly. I guess I shouldn't pick on Pickler (ha!) -- she's got enough of an intellectual hill to climb without trying to deciper my sarcasm. (OK, she's very cute and probably a nice person. Does that balance out my karma account yet?)

Moving along... I'm both interested and horrified by the concept of theme nights. Most singers wind up singing outside their genre, outside their range, and usually singing songs they're virtually unfamiliar with. Last night would prove to be no exception, but as Simon said after Paris's performance, it was like watching two episodes; the latter being infinitely better than the former.

Behold my take on the situation (songs thankfully provided by SassyGirl)

1. Ace Young ("Do I Do") - Ace sounded pretty flat, I thought. The judges seemed to either not notice, or not mind. Regardless, he's probably safe, now that it doesn't matter if a girl or a guy goes home after this round. There are probably other low-hanging fruit to pick off. I have to recognize him, however, for doing better than he did the last couple of weeks.

2. Kellie Pickler ("Blame it on the Sun") - Clearly singing out of her league, Ms. Pickler looked pretty good, so she is likely safe for another week. I wouldn't have thought you could countrify the sound of Stevie Wonder, but even when she's not trying to consciously sing country, Kellie seems to let it slip through. Hopefully next week isn't Motown, or Jazz week, or Ms. Pickler may be departing us.

3. Elliott Yamin ("Knocks Me Off My Feet") - Elliott was seriously looking forward to singing Stevie Wonder, he tells us. And, for the most part, we could tell that he was having a good time and was genuinely interested in both the material and the night's theme. A better-than-fair performance means that he's probably safe for another night. Nice shirt, too. I'm sure Paula noticed who looked good. She certainly wasn't talking about anythinng of substance in the singing last night, that's for sure.

4. Mandisa ("Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing") - OK, when did Mandisa lose her last name? Sometime around the second week, I think. I just had to ask, because I thought that you had to already be a superstar in order to go by one name (Sting, Bono, Cher, Prince (formerly known as that symbol, formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince))... Mandisa shines. She kicks musical ass every time she gets on stage, and for that she'll stick around for at least six more weeks, I predict.

5. Bucky Covington ("Superstitious") - Fun rendition of the song (See Kellie Pickler for the art of countrifying Stevie's songs). And, while the vocals weren't completely strong, he may survive on his personality for another week. But I definitely would put him in the weaker-performance category for the night.

6. Melissa McGhee ("Lately") - Melissa tells us she gargled olive oil, which...yuck. Anyway, as if ailing voice, nervous nellies, and forgotten lyrics weren't enough, she consistently undersang the piece except for the power notes, which really make this recapper wonder if she's got any talent other than "the belt". I predict her departure sooner rather than later.

7. Lisa Tucker ("Signed, Sealed, Delivered") - Lisa, Lisa, Lisa. Straight hair is good for you. It makes you look five years older, and with that, you can get away with singing what you want to sing -- and clearly you can sing whatever the hell you want to sing. I was genuinely impressed with this performance, as were the judges. Good work, Ms. Tucker. See you next week. And the week after...and the week after... etc.

8. Kevin Covais ("Part-Time Lover") - Kevin, Kevin, Kevin. Despite someone commenting to me that you might have garnered the most votes from last week, I can't help but think (hope) that you're leaving soon. I think it's that feeling of sympathy I get when I see you trying to be all studly on stage and in interviews. Clearly you have the balls, though, as you managed to put Simon in his place. The song, however, wasn't very good. You seemed to fall behind in the lyrics and got very breathy at times. And your little speech impediment? Killing me. Find a song a minimal number of S's in it, and you might get another week out of this competition.

9. Katharine McPhee ("Until You Come Back To Me") - This is how it goes: Choose song. Sing it. Get votes. Come back next week. Repeat. (Seriously, this girl could sing Old MacDonald and get to the finals.) A personal favourite. But, alas, my wife hated your dress. And someone at work begrudgingly refers to you as "the big girl" (seriously!), because you seem to have a non-waifish body. Keep kicking ass, please. You're one of the highlights of my AI viewing experience.

10. Taylor Hicks ("Livin' for the City") - Taylor scores two weeks in a row. An excellent performance on a great song. He seems to be learning how to sing the genre, rather than sing every song with a soul angle. I have no idea where he is in the weekly phone-in rankings, but hopefully he can stick around for a few more weeks; we're finally seeing some ability for this performer to adapt.

11. Paris Bennett ("All I Do") - Yeah, yeah... She's a vocal goddess and we all know it. See you in the final 3, Paris.

12. Chris Daughtry ("Higher Ground") - While I liked the Chili Peppers version of this song and Chris's meta-remake thereof, I find it hard to believe that the judges either didn't watch the video intro to his performance, or didn't see the outright duplication of the arrangement. Sure, he's got a fantastic voice. Sure, he knocks it out of the park week after week. Sure, he's probably going to the final 4 with Paris, Mandisa, and Katharine.... Wait...what was my point?

And as I usually do, I'm calling my top and bottom performances of the night:

Top Performances:


Bottom Performances:


Who's going home?

Gah. I can't even bring myself to guess. Probably not Ace, since he's still cute. Probably not Kevin, since he's currently defying the laws of popularity. Probably not Kellie, since America feels ditzy girls are people too. So I'm going with Melissa.

See you tomorrow!

Oh, and if you haven't checked out SassyGirl's recap, do it NOW!

Posted bythemikestand at 1:12 PM  

5 stepped up to the mike:

Sassy said... 3:49 PM, March 15, 2006  

Um, if Katharine is a "big girl" I'd hate to see what this guy would say about me. I say "Bah" to him. Let him have his waifish girls. Hmph.

themikestand said... 5:11 PM, March 15, 2006  

Actually, the coworker is female ;)

And like I said, she's disgusted that she even refers to Katharine that way.

Sassy said... 5:25 PM, March 15, 2006  

I suggest that she change it to "the hot brunette with an amazing body." That's what I call her. AKA "What I wish I looked like". haha

coolbeans said... 12:32 AM, March 17, 2006  

Okay, I took something for my headache and it's making me loopy. I really want to address some of these things here, though. Because they need ADDRESSING.

1. Ace. Is. Hot. And I think he really can sing. For real. Why is he not doin' it for ya?

2. Ms. McPhee. I looooooved her dress and think she is lovely and talented. She was holding the skirt up a bit as though she was afraid she would step on it and have a wardrobe malfunction. Here is where I reveal too much of myself: I was praying for wardrobe malfunction.

3. I liked Chris's version of Higher Ground. Loved it, really. But! I was sad that he didn't know the RHCP covered it. That is sad. He is old enough to know that. So tonight before we go to bed, I'm giving him a spanking.

4. I'm a pervert, obviously.

5. Mandisa introduced herself as "Mandisa" during her audition. They said, "Mandisa What?" and she said, "Just Mandisa. I think that's enough." For the rest of the auditioning process, she was "Mandisa Lastname". Stephanie Scott wasn't "Stevie" until they were through with Hollywood week. I think they made "Ace" go by his real first name, too.

6. I liked Melissa. I enjoy smokey voices and thought she was both smart and hot. Other than McPheever, I'm done with the chicks.

themikestand said... 8:35 AM, March 17, 2006  

All good points, coolbeans. However, if you look back in the recaps (hmm, are they here or on sassy's site?), you'll see that I do in fact like Ace (possibly a little too much?), but I think he's been weak the past few weeks.

I also think that Chris was very familiar with the RHCP version of Higher Ground, but like so many Generation Xers out there, he likely thought that they wrote it, not did a remake. Either way, he did well, despite my wife complaining that the vocals weren't loud enough and the guitar was turned up too much. Typical ;)

Ms. McPhee was, and his, hawt. H-A-W-T!

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