Thursday, March 01, 2007

"So, you have something against salmon, do you?": American Idol

by Libby

Tonight's Idol episode was full of "be careful what you wish for moments" for me. More on that later. This episode was also full of wardrobe disfunction from which the judges were not immune. Randy wore a shirt that paisley threw up all over and Paula could evidently find only 2 of the 3 pieces of her brown suede suit circa-1973. But anyway, isn't it all really about the singing? In a word ... no. (note: the women had the same dedication/inspiration theme, but they were all loved ones/relatives and honestly, no one cares)

First off tonight was Gina Glocksen who tried real hard tonight, belting out Heart's "Alone" with the best of them, but never quite proving herself as anything more than middle of the pack material. I agree with the general consensus that to have any staying power in this competition Glocksen needs to embrace her inner (and outer) punk rock princess and bring a different element to the table. Tonight, she just looked confused.

Still inexplicably representing the Inland Empire is Alaina Alexander who made, what may have been, the worst song choice in AI history. Stumbling through "Not Ready to Make Nice" by my beloved Dixie Chicks, Alexander proved that she had 1/1000th of the personality/edge/voice/etc. of Natalie Maines or anyone else for that matter. Everything about this girl is weak: her voice, her personality ... she even looks like a washed out Jennifer Love Hewitt. This made me seriously reconsider my yearning for current song choices by contestants. Ugh. I wish I could wash my brain.

Everyone's favorite (except me), LaKisha Jones, had a good, solid performance tonight, though nothing spectacular. Singing "Midnight Train to Georgia" was a smart move, as it was a song she was obviously comfortable with, but still ... I just don't get the appeal. Additionally, I'm with Simon as far as her weird-ass get-up tonight. Seriously, it looked like she was wearing a prison orange burlap sack. Not cool.

Melinda Doolittle
. I ragged on her last week, thought she just wasn't my cup of tea ... but this week, count me among the converted. You hear tell each year of defining Idol performances, and I have to imagine that this was one of those. Doolittle's rendition of "My Funny Valentine", a song I generally loathe, was unbelievable and goosebump-inducing. I'm a believer.

I can't help but laugh when I think of Antonella Barba's crappy luck. Funnier still, perhaps, is the sabotage she induces on herself. It would be hard for a talented singer to perform between Doolittle and Sparks (Sloan and Sparks last week, for that matter) but for someone of Barba's caliber ... well, it just doesn't seem fair. But it doesn't end there! Barba, obviously delusional, actually thinks it's a song choice improvement to attempt to sing a Celine Dion song this week. Dear girl, if you can't manage Aerosmith, you shouldn't try Celine. Which may be the weirdest sentence I've ever typed. But I digress ... after a piss poor showing, good ol' Meadow Soprano rears her ugly head comparing herself to Jennifer Hudson and attempting to show up Simon. Please America, put this girl out of her misery.

Jordin Sparks,
continues to astound, considering the fact that she's a mere 17 years old. Sparks chose some old school Christina Aguilera and did a fine job with it. It wasn't remarkable, but considering her age, she's still someone to keep your eye on. Additionally, she looked lovely tonight.

Stephanie Edwards
is decidedly meh. If you remember last week, I described her as "Fantasia-lite". THIS week, Randy described her performance as "Beyonce-lite" which leads me to believe that Edwards is yet another cipher in the competition. Performing in what appeared to be a nightgown, she looked good, sounded okay, and yet, I struggle to really remember her offering at all.

Harkening back to last week, one may recall my enjoyment of Leslie Hunt, and while that's still true, I've realized some disturbing things about my fascination. In truth, it seems to be borne out of the fact that Hunt appears to have been plucked out of some horrid sitcom from the 80's where she played the wacky next-door neighbor. Plus, she has the crazy eyes. Harkening back to last episode, one may recall me bemoaning the performance of "Feelin' Good" by a man and thinking it would be so much better performed by a woman. What I should have clarified was the fact that it would be better sung by a good, non-crazy woman. Hunt, was not terrible, just odd, which does not bode especially well for her Idol days.

Haley Scarnato
has gone completely insane. I say this because that's the only explanation for her singing a Whitney Houston song and expecting the judges to be kind. That, and she stalked around the stage while singing in a sort of hyper-kinetic, pole-dancer frenzy. Scarnato unfortunately got the "better than last week ..." feedback, with the unspoken being "... but you still suck."

Rounding up the women tonight, was Sabrina Sloan, a tricksy hobbit, if ever there was, who was also a pitchy hobbit tonight. She has a big voice, and as I mentioned before, knows how to play the game, but I'm not sure how much more there is to her.
Analysis is still tough this early in the game and everyone needs a few more performances under their belts before trajectory clears.

Other fun notes:
The Human Beatbox (Blake Lewis) is not a good clapper, which seems impossible, but the video doesn't lie. Chris Sligh also appears unable to clap, but he's probably just distracted by thinking about his inordinately hot wife.

Alaina Alexander and Antonella Barba

Alaina Alexander and Haley Scarnato

Your guess is as good as mine.

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