Tuesday, May 23, 2006

American Idol - Taylor Pounces on Kat

General Comments

Coolia: How did Bucky get past security?
Nerdia: How did Constantine clobber off Kelly Pickler for airtime?
Linda: Overall impression: The show had some weird energy. I guess because the two contestants weren't evenly matched. Because last night's show was about a head-on competition, it comes down to whether or not we think Taylor is better than Katharine. So we'll see what the American public thought.
Nerdia: I thought the show went surprisingly fast. I did Tivo thru the commercials but still…I was entertained.
C. Crumpet Swank: I'm not terribly impressed with Kellie's new 'do. But I CAN NOT WAIT to see her tonight! Paula was in rare form, offering two types of comments exclusively: verbally mangled insights or innocuous generalities. [And no, this is not what she always provides.]

Katharine McPhee - "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" / "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" / "Boring Idol Single 2006"

Coolia: I thought Katharine did pretty well over all, but she once again demonstrated she lacks The X Factor. I expect she will have a career anyway as she's a knockout with a great voice. But no matter how many close-ups they show of her dad crying, America is not going to be won over, and I am only going to be moved to throw something at the TV. To quote one of my mother's favorite sayings: "He must cry to keep from going to the bathroom." I didn't like that the Idols had to recycle 2 performances, especially considering we just went over the rainbow with Kat last week and it's still fresh in our minds. I would have preferred they do at least one new song of their own choosing. It was interesting that Kat recycled two songs she sat down through during her initial performances. "Black Horse" was my favorite performance of hers, and it was still good a second time around. She hit a home run with "Rainbow", but, as I mentioned, we just saw it. I did like that there were 2 different singles, each somewhat suited to its singer. Kat's song fell short as Randy pointed out, which isn't her fault, but if she had more personality she might have been able to sell it better. As it was, I found the third song to be her weakest - she seemed uncomfortable to me and hit some bad notes. Another reason I don't think Kat will win - she's got no hard luck story. If you think about it, all the previous winners of Idol have come from humble backgrounds and went on to achieve The American Dream. Glimpses into Kat's home in the Valley show no signs of financial hardships. We simply don't know much about Taylor's past, but his accent and last name make us assume it's simpler.
Linda: Song #1 - I liked this the first time she did it. And last night's performance was good too. She wore shoes this time - and managed to spend a moment or two on her feet. Nice singing, robotic moves. And, unfortunately, because we've already seen it, the overall effect wasn't as fresh as the first time around. Stepford Idol. Song #2 - Does she have to sit and sing because she can't figure out how to emote and dance/walk at the same time? I missed last week's version, so was happy to have a chance to see it this week. HOWEVER, if last week's performance was so impressive, I think she should have allowed the strength of that to carry over to this week and she should have chosen a different song. A bit of an anti-climax. Song #3 - Who wrote this song? What was the point? Oh, yeah, I'm guessing it was so Pop McPhee would have something to cry over. Hey - I have no problem with a guy shedding tears. It's too bad his daughter can't channel some of that emotion and invest it into her performances. The gospel singers were great, though.
Nerdia: Thankfully I will soon never have to watch daddy’s girl squat on the floor and over-emote without a shred of actual emotion again. I liked the first song but felt the performance was stilted. The second song was over-performed and as we can now see (since she didn’t change up any of her moves) over-calculated. Something I’ve seen a million times at the high school talent follies by the “up-and-coming” chorus stand-out. I see the puppet strings and no matter what y’all say or what Cueball Davis says: this girl is a flash in the pan. And the pan is about to tip, whether she wins or not. Audiences respond to an emotional connection not a pretty face and robotic sound. Even Britney Spears can pull off a connection with the audience, as vapid as she is. Katharine might get a record deal but then so did Rubin.
Who hires these songwriters to craft these saccharine song blobs? It’s David Foster, I bet you anything.
Terry: Song 1 - Her original performance of this song was more alluring and "original" - this was too light and too fun and lost some of the original's luster. Just not as captivating. The belly button shots were nice! Song 2 - First, her tour contract should include a clause that requires her to sing while sitting on the floor. She's just more comfortable there. Heck, have her pull a Chris and just lay down and sing while napping! Again, a repeat that did not live up to her original performance of the song. Good but not as good. This is the chance you take when you choose to repeat yourself. Song 3 - She should stay away from skin tight sheer clothing. She's just too broad, wide and hip-ey for that. Usual lame Idol written/produced song...but, Kelly Clarkson took hers and MADE it good. Kat did so not do that. Blah!
C. Crumpet Swank: I think Song #1 provided Katharine with her best vehicle of the season: she performed it well both times; the song itself is incredibly catchy; her delivery was both impressive yet playful; it showed more genuine personality than any of her other choices. My one qualm is Simon's: despite the songs charms and its good fit with Kat, the tune itself does not have sufficient gravitas for the all important last sing-off round of performances. This ditty, while tremendous as ditties go, is not really the kind of thing with which you win the whole shebang. I agree with Linda on Song 2. No matter how well she sang it, it was tremendously anti-climatic since she performed it just last week. The same thing happened when Diana DeGarmo tried to bottle lightning by repeating Don't Cry Out Loud on the Season 3 Finale so soon after her initial performance of it. [At least Kat maintained the quality of her first performance; Diana botched her second go-round and made it seem like the first time was a fluke.] As for the new single - Execrable. I can think of no better word. I know poor Kat didn't have a choice in singing this turd, but evenso, her performance was lackluster at best, and it seemed she was out of tune on multiple occasions. It seemed to go on forever. I'd be interested in learning how long it was; it genuinely felt about six minutes in length. Hands down the worst tune written for Idol yet. Everyone makes fun (unfairly, I think) of A Moment Like This. What on Earth are they going to say about this crap?

Taylor Hicks - "Living for the City" / "Levon" / "Slightly Less Boring Idol Single 2006"

Coolia: How do I love Taylor Hicks? Enough to vote for him 30 times while watching the Cardinals game. And it took me over an hour of calling to get through 30 times. I've never voted more than 5 times for any other contestant in the history of Idol and most of the time I don't vote at all. It was nice to learn a little more about Taylor tonight, mainly by seeing his family. I thought his song choices were good, although I would have rather seen "Something" again than "Levon." It's been a while since Stevie Wonder night, but I think Taylor did a better job with "Living for the City" tonight. This longer version gave him more space to freestyle and riff on the song, and, of course, dance. The purple velvet jacket might have been more appropriate for the Elton song, but it was still very Taylor - which is the main reason Taylor excels - he's always himself. I'd agree with the judges that "Levon" didn't sparkle quite as well. It was solid but somewhat rote. As for the new single, I've never liked an Idol single at all but I found myself humming along with this one. Taylor seemed much more at ease with his new material than Kat did with hers. He definitely demonstrated he was playing to win.
Linda: Song #1 - Taylor, you rock! The total package - purple velvet jacket, groovy dance moves, high energy, rockin' voice - what a great performance. I agree with the judges, Taylor does know his strengths, and does a good job of taking these songs and making them work for him. Yay! Song #2 - Not so strong. Which is a shame. Once again, he made it his own, but it never seemed to connect. I think this song did a good job of showing us that Taylor does have a limit to his range. He couldn't deliver the strength in the upper register that this song requires. But I can't help but love him. Song #3 - Don't know the title. But I liked this song. Once again, a great Taylor delivery. I wasn't a big supporter of Taylor for becoming the Idol. But now that it's a choice between Taylor and Kat, I am firmly on his side. If it isn't going to be Chris or Elliott, then it has to be Taylor.
Nerdia: Taylor shows confidence in his shoulders; he strongly connects with the audience. Taylor shows what a communal experience singing can be. He is brilliant at that aspect alone. His goofiness will tone down over time and he’ll get better as a performer. I think those that don’t see the potential of Taylor to sell concerts and records are short-sighted. I predict he will do well, no matter what happens tonight. But I think Katharine fans will rally and give him a good fight.
I don’t believe any of the finalists this year gave us many blissful or awe-inspiring performances – as in year’s past. I’m somewhat disappointed with this season overall. The judges snarky play-fighting has become insufferable. I’d vote Randy off and separate Paula and Simon with someone like a Judy Garland impersonator. All that said, however…I do feel Taylor has potential to grow and become a big act. I would certainly pay to see him.
Terry: Song 1 - Decent singing but energy galore. Round 1 Taylor (and I SWEAR, I wrote that on my note pad before they began to pan out and you heard Simon say exactly that!). Song 2 - Began as Elton John-lite but he turned up the "Taylor" at the end. But too little too late. Round 2 Kat...but only by a hair. Song 3 - Although Taylor did not take his lame Idol song to the heights that Kelly took hers, he did take his far higher than Kat. Round 3 Taylor...by a mile!
C. Crumpet Swank: Song 1was great. Confident, engaging, loose, free, emotionally authentic. He lit up the room. Excellent. Not too much crazy dancing--just enough! The second song was very good, but not quite as intoxicating as the first number. I liked the new song. I thought it was immediately catchy. And I thought he performed it with style and gusto. He modulated his performance really well and built the song to a rousing end. He should win, not only because he was better than Katharine over the course of the season, but he was better her than her in the final face-off as well.


Coolia: Taylor wins! Kat's dad cries! Coolia attends American Idol Live concert for the first time!
Linda: Taylor is the WINNER. Katharine go home. I'm sure she'll have some kind of contract soon.
Taylor to win. Katharine to go to PAC: personality animator camp. I think a sado-masochist boy-toy would also help her greatly.
Terry: Clearly the winner is and should be...Taylor...hands down! (but only in abstencia of Chris, of course).
C. Crumpet Swank: Taylor wins! Coolia celebrates!

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