Sunday, March 12, 2006

American Idol - Final 8 Boys

GEDEON MCKINNEY – “When A Man Loves a Woman”

Coolia: I still don't buy that he's 17. He does nothing for me. He's not the worst singer in the group, but nothing special either. I think he's going home tonight, although being the only black guy left may help him demographically speaking.
C. Crumpet Swank: If you told me he was 37, I'd believe it. Maybe even forty. He gave another strong performance last night and has definite showmanship, but I find him utterly creepy when he's in non-performing mode. The way he speaks drives me crazy! Vomitous! He's not ugly, but he's certainly not handsome either. Merely plain, which is actually a negative when you're alongside sexy Chris, sultry Ace, boyishly cute Will and twerpy-cute Kevin. He lacks any sex-appeal because of his eunuch-like quality. Lastly, ethnographic rooting doesn't come into play if you're a fey black male contestant. This boy is no Anwar. Oh yes, how can I forget? He loses points every week for having a deliberately misspelled name. There's got to be a contingency of grammatically sensitive Idol watchers who can't abide it.
Nerdia: There’s nothing I like about this one. He comes across like a fair 70s-era back-up singer. Not engaging enough to lead a group. Not even good enough to be a Pip. I wish I knew what a pip was.
Terry: Another false prophet the 3 Stooges (the judges) placed on a pedestal. His performance was way too safe and just average. AVERAGE, not "brilliant" (will someone please slap Paula and get her out of her stupor!?)


CHRIS DAUGHTRY – “Broken”

Coolia: This was his weakest performance yet, I thought, but still better than most of the boys. It just wasn't exceptional. I think the main problem was song choice - not a great song and it didn't show him off. He's still a hottie and the boy to beat.
C. Crumpet Swank: Weakest yet, but in relative terms of course. Again, he gave the most professional performance of all the men. The problem here is that he's sung three songs in a row in the same fashion--wounded, intense, angsty. He has to show that he can lighten up. He needs to sing something rollicking. He should sing Time by Hootie & the Blowfish.
Nerdia: Not a stellar song choice but I’ll give him a one-week hall pass.
Terry: Was his performance this week as good as last week's? No, but it was still very good and that puts him as the best performance again this week for all of the men.

KEVIN COVAIS – “Vincent”

Coolia: This was laughably bad to me. I don't see why Paula and Randy encourage him. The song choice was wack and his overly serious delivery was comedic. This was straight out of a junior high talent show. Still, I think Simon is right - the grannies will vote for him and so will a lot of little girls.
C. Crumpet Swank: I actually liked it. He does have a nice tone to his voice and he is much better when singing a ballad than anything uptempo. I thought the earnest delivery perfectly suited the song. I felt like I was listening to an authentic 50s love lament, "Tell Laura, I Love Her," et al. He seemed to push his vocal range, too, which is good on one hand (in terms of effort), but bad on the other (we saw the limitations of his voice). His quivering, out-thrust lower lip makes me a bit queasy.
Nerdia: I love this tortured Don McClean song about Vincent Van Gogh…but this is the kind of song school bullies would beat you up for singing. So I don’t know if Kevin was brave or clueless for singing it. This isn’t American Guilty Pleasure.
Terry: Okay, let's get real. Kevin is NOT a "very good singer" as the 3 Stooges oozed. That's like saying I'm a selfish lover. It's just simply, absolutely, completely and categorically not true!


BUCKY COVINGTON – “Wave on Wave”

Coolia: Seeing Bucky's twin Rocky was truly terrifying - there are two of them! If we get them wet, will they multiply like Gremlins? I think the introduction of his twin and the fact that he's the only country guy will propel him into the next round. But his vocals were very rough and sludgy to me. I don't see the appeal but America does. Everyone with a gun rack on their truck will be voting for him.
C. Crumpet Swank: He is the poor man's Chris Daughtry, literally and figuratively. I too think he will make it to the next round, but how can he possibly survive much longer, when his votes should certainly go to Chris? From week to week I can't even recall what Bucky has sung. He's not memorable at all. I will acknowledge that this was the best of his three performances thus far, but I can't understand why Paula and Randy are so encouraging. Simon's observation that his performance was completely "average," was right on target.
Nerdia: I think his life-story is something Flannery O’Connor would write. On some level, he scares me. But I kind of like being scared so he can stay.
Terry: Bucky - OH MY GOD!!! There's another one waiting in the mist! (yes, mist, not midst...as in the mist of the country bayou they hail from) You have Chris' powerful and controlled melodic rasp and then there was this horse broken rasp...and again, the obviously drugged (perhaps possessed?) 3 Stooges shower him with accolades. What is going on here? Are we in the throws of the beginning stages of Armageddon?

WILL MAKAR –“How Sweet It Is”

Coolia: This song choice was a real cop out - not challenging in the least. He needed to raise his game to stick around and I don't think he raised it. His only hope is that millions of pre teen and teen girls are responding to his Peter Brady looks.
C. Crumpet Swank: Again, I have to disagree. I think he has the best voice, after Chris, and I thought he acquit himself nicely with this song. I was genuinely shocked by Randy's harsh assessment of this performance. I really think Will's voice is strong and clear, and he delivers emotionally. With perhaps the exception of Chris, he has the best sense of vocal control among the men. Also, he has fine showmanship and there is a kind of unexpectedly sexy glint in his eye which he lets loose at different moments when he's singing. He actually reminds me of a teenage Robbie Williams. I don't know why he's not clicking with people more.
Nerdia: Sweet is a dime a dozen. The Osmonds were sweet. The Jacksons were better.
Terry: I just got to stop and wave good bye, baby. You've just got to stop. And take your butt home, baby. Actually, I like the kid but the better talent far outshine him. Very nice karaoke performance (certainly better than anything I could ever hope to achieve).


TAYLOR HICKS – “Taking It To The Streets”

Coolia: So Taylor finally decides to do Michael McDonald since everyone has been comparing him to Michael. I'm not sure that was smart. He did a fine job with the song, but his dance moves were beyond goofy. I thought he was seizing and expected Ryan to rush on stage and stick something in his mouth so he wouldnt swallow his tongue. Anyway, he's still my favorite, despite it all. He brings a lot of fun and surprise to the show - and he really can sing when you get beyond the mugging and jitterbugging.
C. Crumpet Swank: He was GREAT last night! Hands down, the best performance of the evening! Did you see Simon's enormous smile when the camera cut away to the judges just as Taylor finished? The arrangement of the song was dynamite and he sang it with real texture. Dare I say, I think it sounded better than the original? There was real drama to the way he sang it and he made me hear the lyrics for the first time in my life, which is no small accomplishment since I've probably heard this song on the radio a few hundred times. I totally didn't mind his seizure-ish movements since he was so in the moment. In fact, it was kind of exciting. Again, he connects with the music--directly and infectiously-- moreso than anyone--boy or girl. He even beats Chris in this department.
Nerdia: Taylor is absolutely ridiculous. He would make a good court jester so I was not surprised to learn he has a secret Easter Bunny past. I’d feel perfectly safe leaving him with my children and then going off to see the real Michael McDonald or the real fake Ray Charles (Jamie Foxx).
Terry: The judges telling the energetic and visually entertaininig flailing Taylor that he "nailed" the vocals was akin to Marylin Manson being told he's a good role model for little children. It’s not true! He butchered Michael McDonald (who will probably not be as nice to him as Christopher Cross, should they ever meet).


ELLIOTT YAMIN – “Heaven”

Coolia: This was a really boring song choice and he did nothing to make it his own. I think he has a good voice but I don't think he has any charisma. His admission that he's deaf in one ear won't help him - remember Jim Vararos and his deaf parents? He still got voted out early. I just don't think his talent is enough to compensate for what he lacks in the charisma and looks department. He'll have to start picking really challenging songs to stick around.
C. Crumpet Swank: I thought it was awful. I actually groaned while listening to it. Imagine my surprise when Randy raved. I thought surely he would take him to task. Simon exactly captured my opinion. Indeed, for the first time there was a "disconnect" between Elliott and the song. It was apparent vocally and physically, and Simon called him on it. He also mentioned how Elliott's a soulful singer and that this song was the wrong choice from the get-go. "Heaven" is a well-written song, and it was suprising to see that it definitely takes a certain type of vocal to do it justice. The fact that Elliott has quite a good voice and couldn't pull it off makes me want to tip my hat to Bryan Adams. The whole deaf thing--Paula shouldn't have even commented on it. Lastly, his looks remain a huge liability and he's not giving us a winning enough personality to compensate for it. I think he's going home.
Nerdia: I sort of started to see what the hubbub was about last week with this guy. But this week I forgot again.
Terry: Uh, "may be the best male singer ever on American Idol"? WHAT!? He's not even the best this season! And, after a very, very, very weak vocal performance the 3 Stooges again heaped praise on him. From the get-go all I could think was, "Is he sick? He sounds terrible."

ACE YOUNG – “Butterflies”

Coolia: Wow, that falsetto was unexpected and a bit unsettling coming out of such a stud. But this was a good performance for him - he showed his range and that he brings something unique to the competition. He'll sail through to the next round.
C. Crumpet Swank: This song was the second single from Michael Jackson's ill-fated last album. It peaked at #2, I believe, on the R&B chart and it hit #14 on the Hot 100. Ace's vocal was quite close to the arrangement in the Michael version. Again, I agreed with Simon's assessment--very strong opening and ending, but a little off-kilter in the middle. When Ace did his longest stretch of falsetto in that mid-portion of the song, he kind of derailed slightly at one point, and I think he even knew it, because he tried to right himself. This boy oozes sex appeal in an utterly effortless, vanity-free way. Let's hope it stays that way (no "My name is Constantine, aren't I sexy?" developments, please). Every woman in America (and many men) must surely be wondering what he looks like totally naked except for his "toboggan."
Nerdia: Competent falsetto. Better than other performances; not quite Off the Wall.
Terry: And, last but not least, our Ace in the hole. And, for all I care he could sing his falsetto warblings into a hole. I thought that he was terrible. He broke notes all over the place AND THEY SHOWERED HIM WITH PRAISE! Oh the humanity!! Unfortunately, we are going to be stuck with him for a while because his looks will carry him much further than his singing talent.


WHO’S GOING HOME?

Coolia: Will and Gedeon
C. Crumpet Swank: Elliott and Gedeon
Nerdia: Will and Kevin
Terry: Kevin an
d Will

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