So. Sanjaya is finally out of there. Does anyone else maybe think even a little bit that the show maybe might not be as fun/awful/delightfully bad without him? I hate to even say it. Also, how many of you think that people cheering for your departure on a national television show would make you cry like a baby? Raise your hand.
Tonight is “Songs of Inspiration” with the Top 6. I’m excited because I think the top 6 deserve to be here. But “Songs of Inspiration”? This night could go one of two ways for me. I could either roll my eyes every time someone announces what they’re singing. Or I could literally blubber for an hour. Let’s hope for the latter, shall we?
I’ve read that my votes don’t count because I vote from the Eastern Time Zone, but I have a California area code. Still, our votes won’t only save contestants this week; they will also save lives. That’s pretty exciting.
Uh oh. They’re playing “Trouble” by Coldplay and showing footage of poor African children. That’ll get me every time.
Chris is first with “Change the World” by Eric Clapton. This is going to be a good night. His performance is…OK. I want him to be so much better. (Ooh, and Brandon’s in the audience. Yay.) I like Chris’s suit. I don’t really have anything else much to say about his performance. It was nice. The judges all liked it though, so who am I to disagree?
Now they’re showing footage of poor American cities while John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change” plays. Here come the tears again.
Melinda is next with “There Will Come a Day” by Faith Hill. She gives me chills and makes me cry. What LaKisha lacks in passion when she performs, Melinda literally radiates with. It’s amazing. I don’t believe it was her best performance ever. But she’s pretty much unstoppable at this point in the game. Simon even compared her to Elliott by saying this performance was “a vocal masterclass.” I think it’s a compliment to both of them.
Blake is singing “Imagine” by John Lennon. Look at him being all serious and intense in the spotlight with just a piano with him onstage. I swear he’s improving every week. And he may be the only one in the competition for which that’s true. I thought this was a lovely, simple, confident performance. Again, not necessarily my favorite he’s ever done but still totally solid.
LaKisha is singing “I Believe” by Fantasia. She’s banking on American Idol winners to get her further—Carrie Underwood last week and Fantasia this week; hopefully, she won’t tackle “Since You’ve Been Gone” next week. These people already WON…ergo they are better than her. I guess she doesn’t know that. She does have a big voice though. You can’t deny that. But she made “realized” into two words. Re. Alized.
Phil is singing “The Change” by Garth Brooks. He sounds like Marc Cohn, who sings “Walkin in Memphis”! Phil is solid. In fact, technically, he’s the best male singer in the competition. But he just never knocks my socks off, gives me chills, makes me smile or cry. I often remain unmoved by his performances, and this was no exception, even though it was really good.
Who else got weepy during the One.org commercial? OK, maybe it was just me.
Jordin has pulled ahead to first place in the EW.com poll, by the way. In fact, she was a full 14% ahead of Melinda the last time I checked. She’s singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel. I’m convinced Jordin was emotional during this performance because her voice quavered the whole time. It certainly wasn’t her best—I completely disagree with the judges—but I appreciate that she was moved by the evening. I can’t imagine singing after seeing all that precious footage all night.
Favorite of the Night: Melinda On the Way Out: LaKisha
Tomorrow, a new episode of House is on. And the previews have been playing all week--apparently some young woman comes in and they can't figure out what's wrong with her because she screams in pain when anyone touches her. "How will they cure her, if they can't touch her?!" Oh goodness. How indeed.
Anyway, it was nagging at me because I recognized the actress playing the young woman but couldn't place her. Then it struck me tonight. This is her. She plays the love interest and co-worker of Ryan Gosling's character, Dan, in this movie, which everyone should see, by the way.
And we’re back. Here are this week’s tidbits: Even Hillary’s getting in on the Sanjaya debate. How diplomatic of her. For the record, Entertainment Weekly’s poll has Melinda at the very top and Blake very close behind her, followed not too far behind by Jordin. LaKisha is far behind the top 3, and Sanjaya is falling as well. Phil’s at the bottom.
Tonight is Country Night with Martina McBride (I almost wrote Cowboy night because I’m convinced someone is going to attempt “Cowboy Take Me Away”). Who’s afraid? Who’s very afraid?
Ryan’s somber introduction struck as me as lame. But then I remembered that Chris is from Virginia, so I take it back.
McBride assures us that country music is just songs. And she hopes the night of singing will turn Simon’s opinion of the genre.
Phil is singing “Where the Blacktop Ends” by Keith Urban. I think it bodes very badly for Phil that he’s singing first. I wonder if the contestants know how vulnerable they are when they sing early. We just want him to cover his bald head. I find this performance uninspiring and uninspired (but I guess I’m the only one). His few soulful licks were the highlight, but I’m not sure how or where he could have done more of that. I do agree that Phil could have a career in this genre, but I don’t know how much further he will go on the show.
Jordin is up next with “Broken Wings,” by Martina McBride. Brave girl. And Martina was impressed—how exciting! Her face is just so lovely when she sings. Someone give this girl a recording contract. That’s all I have to say. Simon thinks she could win, and I definitely would not be surprised.
Sanjaya’s witty! He wants Simon to sing “Shiny Happy People,” so we can see his true personality. This week, he’s singing “Something to Talk About,” and Martina urges him to sing in his more confident, aggressive tone. I’m scared. I must say about Sanjaya; he has sung better. He doesn’t suck as much as he is currently sucking. Or something. But this is pretty bad—messy, all over the place, self-conscious. Maybe he just does better when he’s sedentary. I love that they’re calling him out on how he thrives from adversity. I think it’s true. He is milking his 15 minutes of fame, and he won’t burn out quickly. The conspiracy theorist within me thinks that Simon and Ryan’s spat will only foster more votes for Sanjaya. And that it was planned. Oy.
LaKisha is singing “Jesus Take the Wheel” by Carrie Underwood, and Martina praised her ability to relate to the lyrics. I remained unimpressed. It was screechy and sharp, to my ears. And Simon warns that her song choices are most important now because she was initially the front-runner.
Chris is next with “Mayberry” by Rascal Flatts. I really liked the middle of the song, before the chorus. But he seemed to lose his way at the chorus and it ended up being really weak. He’s been in the bottom three a couple times now, so he may be more vulnerable than he realizes. This was not his best moment. But he’s certainly got the votes from the sympathizers of VA, doesn't he? I’m such a cynic.
Melinda is next. She has so much hair this week! And she looks so sporty in her tube top. She’s singing “Trouble is a Woman” by Julie Reeves, and Martina was entranced. Aren’t we all? (The fiddler is certainly getting lots of screen time this week.) I loved this performance! Sassy, quick, fun. I think she should make it a goal to sing songs from this decade for the rest of the show. She looks so genuine when she takes a compliment with an affect besides “who me?”
I read that Blake breaks his curfew and the punishment is that they make him sing last. He must have stayed out past 10 this week. He’s singing “When the Stars Go Blue” by Tim McGraw. Martina wants him to relax and praises his interesting style. I think Blake is getting more and more confident each week. It seems like he’s really paying attention and improving. Or maybe it’s all calculated and strategized, that he’ll show different layers of his vocal talents each week. He keeps surprising me with his range.
Favorite of the Night: before the recap, I said Melinda but on second listen, Jordin’s up there too. On the Way Out: first guess is Phil strictly because he sang first, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was LaKisha or Chris.
I haven't really left my couch in 2 days, since I came down with a mild flu on Wednesday night. I watched about 8 straight hours of America's Next Top Model on VH1 yesterday (the season where Danielle wins). And today, I somehow filled the hours with a combination of watching clips on YouTube and sort of paying attention to the television.
Now I've discovered Tori and Dean: Inn Love. After 10 straight hours of TV, Tori Spelling is striking me as a mildly delightful TV personality. She's inexplicably endearing. She stresses about how there's no Chinese delivery in the small town of Falbrook, and she gets excited about the idea of using a paint roller because it's something she's never done before. She giggles like Violet, who she played on Saved by the Bell, and is as...simple and vacant as Donna on 90210. But I like her.
I had good subway karma today. Got home 10 minutes early.
I’m surprised we lost Gina last week. Especially since I thought her performance was so sweet. But I don’t think people want their rocker girls with a side of sweetness. I think she was ultimately limited by her “image” because it wouldn’t allow her to sing lovely songs like “Smile.” So my official score for the top 12 is 2:4.
We’re all a little confounded by Sanjaya’s success. But the truth is, it’s good TV. And the judges and production of the show are all geared to him. Any press is good press, and when the New York Times is writing about you, you’re not getting kicked off any time soon. I think when people STOP talking about him, he might go away.
Tonight is the Top Ocho’s “Latin Night,” with Jennifer Lopez. And I can’t help but think something horrible is about to go down. How many times do you think Ryan Seacrest will sound utterly white while speaking Spanish? I’ve already counted 2.
Melinda is singing “Sway.” Jennifer saw her “sultry, sexy” side, which we haven’t seen before and Melinda asserts she’s not sexy. I’m rolling my eyes because she’s suddenly striking me as…old and boring. Obviously, a superb singer, (she’ll have a recording contract; it’ll be fantastic) but I want her to knock herself out of her box a little more. She can do it. I’m so glad Simon agrees with me. I love when that happens.
LaKisha is tackling “Conga,” which I think is admirable if only because it’s such a familiar, fast song. She even got a little dance lesson from J.Lo. Very cool. She’s saying “conga” like a true American. HA! I didn’t love it. I don’t think we’ll remember it. But I can’t exactly complain. I find it interesting that Paula called this performance “safe”; that would have been something I’d say about Melinda.
Chris is next with “Smooth,” which is very exciting. He got the band onstage with him!..And they’re upstaging him. The feed was so unbalanced, I could barely hear him over the guitar. But he looked real cute, and I’d call it a solid performance. Nothing to write home about. I’m still waiting for someone to blow me away.
Are we ready for Haley? She’s singing “Turn the Beat Around,” which Jennifer says is all about rhythm. She needed a beat so badly they called Blake in to help in her rehearsal. Hott. Is there a more oversung song on AI than “Turn the Beat Around,” besides perhaps “I Have Nothing”? She got all the words out, but she got tired about it. I think I could have sung this song better than her. Not even to say that it was particularly bad because I’m a fairly average singer. At least I liked her lipstick color.
Phil is singing “Maria, Maria,” and he was distracted by Jennifer Lopez in rehearsal, but then he gave her “goosepimples.” (Side note: I’m disappointed in the contestants’ song choice this week. They’re just so…obvious.) This performance is fine too but not exhilarating. I really just want him to be hotter. After Simon’s critique, I think Phil’s pretty convinced he’s going home. But he did make me laugh really hard when he reacted to Ryan’s apology about having “Simon Cow” in his house.
Jordin is up next with “The Rhythm is Gonna Get You,” and it reminded Jennifer of Michael Jackson. Jordin sings with her eyebrow, and she keeps inexplicably shrugging at the camera. I don’t know if it’s me, the songs, or the theme, but this episode is not moving me. She’s so fresh and sweet and cute, but I was bored.
Blake is singing, “I Need to Know,” by Marc Anthony, but what Jennifer wants is for Blake to “pick that girl up.” It makes me blush. Good for him for showing off his sleeve tats. Bold move, sir. He made the episode. I’m utterly convinced and hot and bothered about it.
See? Sanjaya is singing last. The producers know how to keep him around, and he apparently is learning how to grow a goatee. He’s singing “Besame Mucho,” and Jennifer wants him to take his time and even gives him a demonstration. I totally called that Sanjaya was going to tackle some Spanish. He is certainly working his 15 minutes…or 8 weeks of fame, whatever it’s been. This isn’t horrible. I don’t think he’s the worst of the night, even though I hate to even write that. He concluded his performance with a come-hither look for the camera. This boy knows what he’s doing.
My roommate and I have been living in 30-40 degree weather all week with no heat in our apartment. It's ridiculous. Not only because it's April 9 and it was snowing yesterday but because...the heat has been turned off because it was warm for about 2 days last month.
I left messages with my landlord on Friday morning and afternoon, and then remembered that it was Good Friday. So we lived in sweats and blankets and down comforters all weekend and tried not to move so no cold air snuck near our vulnerable bodies.
I woke up this morning, shivered to the bathroom, shivered from the shower, and called one more time, this time declaring I was prepared to formally complain if nothing was done. (It's supposed to be cold all week.)
Two hours later, I got a call that the problem should be fixed by 5 PM.
So I'm reading my old copy of Little Women (which I never finished when I was little because I was afraid Beth's death would give me nightmares). This copy is so old, my 7 or 8 year old handwriting is in the front cover, demanding anyone who finds it to "return if missing."
I am inhaling this book, having loved the movie (and Christian Bale) so much, and getting excited about all the drama to come, weeping almost openly on the subway about Beth's piano and Mr. March's return, when...it suddenly ends after John proposes to Meg. I ONLY HAVE PART ONE!
So, off to Barnes & Noble I went! I wonder what happens next!
This is an experimental new "column" of my blog, dedicated to...everyone I ever recognize from other things in pop culture.
For example, last night I was watching an episode of Full House (don't ask, my roommate is obsessed). The one where we suddenly discover...after 6 seasons...that Jesse never graduated from high school. (How did no one know this? He lives with his wife, his brother-in-law and like 800 other people, and he had never spoken about high school or not graduating to any of them?) After apologizing to his infant sons about it and talking to Aunt Becky, Jesse ultimately decides to return to school and finish the English class he needs to graduate. Sitting behind him in that class was this guy.
I am a pop culture genius and recognized him as Selena's brother, from this movie.
I also learned a valuable lesson from DJ last night. People who are smart finish what they start. Stay in school.
So Chris Sligh left us last week. I think he pissed off the God freaks and the atheists alike. What do you think? I don’t think I’m going to count that prediction as a correct one though. Especially since I was so surprised. So it’s 2:3.
Tonight is American Classic songs with Tony Bennett. I’m a trifle scared that it’s going to be seriously cringe-worthy. But they are all so star-struck. I can’t imagine not totally losing my ability to speak in front of him, myself.
Blake is first and he’s singing “Mack the Knife,” how exciting! Bennett urges him to find the meaning. Blake’s vibrato is perfect for music like this, and, man, he looks cute in a suit like that. But he doesn’t quite find his niche in the song until towards the end and his scatting was lovely and fun. I think it’s interesting they’re having him sing first. But I’m positive he’s still safe, even though I’m not positive he took Bennett’s advice.
Phil is up next and he’s tackling “Night and Day.” His rehearsal sounded…painful. And is he growing his hair back? He just doesn’t know what to do in his lower register. Once he gets to be bigger in a song, he’s definitely strong. I think the lack of energy in this performance as well as singing so early bodes badly for him. I also agree with Randy that the performance lacked passion. And I think it’s hilarious that Simon’s retort to Paula’s description of him as “a young Frank Sinatra” was a shocked and appalled “WHAT?!” Ouch.
Melinda’s got rhythm. And Bennett keeps saying that everyone is the best singer he’s heard all day. Didn’t he just say that about Phil? I LOVE that she’s singing the intro to this song because people don’t necessarily know it. Her version is recording-worthy. And she has such JOY while she sings. (I love her straight hair to boot.) She made this song feisty and sexy and joyful. Perfection. Her only problem is that Simon won’t be able to ever criticize her.
Chris R. looks cute in his little hat. You’re all aware he used to be 40 lbs. heavier, right? He’s singing “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” and in his rehearsal, he didn’t have it memorized. I absolutely love that he started in silhouette. Very sexy move. His voice seems suited for this genre too, interestingly enough. I think he’s really fighting to stay this week. He seemed relaxed and comfortable with this song. Well done.
Jordin’s up and singing “On a Clear Day,” and Bennett lauded her ability to sing on key as well as her improvisation skills. I’m constantly impressed with how comfortable she seems onstage as well as her ability to fix little pitch errors herself. And that was a very long note she held at the end. The microphones reverberated with her “heat,” as Randy says and Paula dubbed her a “magnet of joy.” I’m not sure classic songs need to be reinterpreted as young and contemporary. Sometimes old-fashioned is just perfect.
Gina is singing “Smile,” and Bennett got choked up about it. How lovely. She’s gonna get votes just for that comment, my roommate says. I think she’s right. Plus she can sing. I got a little chill; I thought it was really solid. But her outfit is a contradiction compared to the vocal.
Sanjaya is next…Cheek to Cheeeeeeeeek!! Bennett asserts he’s interesting and different. He needs to be on a HS stage. That is all there is to it. Here is your $50 for winning first place in the talent show; now get off this national stage. Thanks. Even his dance with Paula didn’t charm me. I’m so over it. Ooh, Simon is testing out reverse psychology by dubbing it “Incredible.” I hear he’s threatened to quit if Sanjaya wins. That would be crazy!
Haley is up next. I LOVE her seafoam green dress. Good choice, lady. She’s singing “Ain’t Misbehavin.’” Bennett gave her a great note to focus it on one person. She’s cute and feisty. Did she completely disregard Bennett’s note, or did I misinterpret her “ehhh you” mid-song? You know, I don’t think Haley’s as bad a singer as she has shown to us. It certainly wasn’t the worst of the night.
LaKisha is last and we might even end the show on time. Maybe. She’s singing “Stormy Weather,” and is it just me or was she completely confused about the key in the beginning? She’s a great singer…but I do agree with other critics that these BBLs need to start taking risks or they will become boring to watch. (And she completely disregards any direction from mentors—first Lulu, then Bennett. I think she should be criticized for that.)
And it’s 9:02.
Favorite of the Night: Melinda On the Way Out: Phil