If you needed to catch up on your sleep last night, doing it while the guys performed on "Idol" was a perfect time. We are beginning to agree with whoever termed Season 6 "American Idull," at least as far as the men are concerned. After the third -- and worst -- dismally dull male semi-finals performance, Ryan Seacrest queried the judges on how many of the eight remaining men actually deserved to make it to the finals. Both Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul said "4" (of a possible 6), while Simon Cowell ventured 3½. We think two would be generous, and even they don't compare to the six best ladies. It's hard to even find one standout performance this week. They all ranged from OK to ugh! And don't run over to DialIdol.com to try to figure out who is going and who is staying. Their results are as boring as the show's. It would seem that DialIdol has lost a lot of the voters who called in through their phone lines. There are states, such as Wyoming, where absolutely no one voted through their lines, so how in hell can they predict how Wyoming voters who called the "Idol" lines directly are balloting? A glance at last night's predictions show that any of the eight contestants could end up in the bottom 3, or place as high as No. 1 or as low as No. 8. Well, isn't that useless?
Tonight's theme was for the contestants to reveal something about themselves that we didn't already know. Blake Lewis told us that that two of his loves are improv comedy and Halloween. We were then subjected to a character he calls Jimmy Walker Blue. Yeah, OK. He then sang a song that both Randy and Paula praised him on, although they (and we) didn't have a clue what it was, which is pretty amazing since the group has released at least 11 albums since 1993. It turns out it was by 311, and had a hip-hop, reggae vibe to it, into which Blake incorporated his beatboxing. True it was different, but honestly, it seemed self-indulgent, boring and really didn't demonstrate a good voice. Simon, although he said he didn't understand a word that Blake sang, praised him for being different. “You’re individual, you’re making it current, so you will 100% be here next week.”
We really wished Sanjaya Malakar had kept his revelation to himself. Isn't this Michael Jackson-wannabe not already weird enough without demonstrating to us that he knows how to hula? His long hair, limpid eyes, hula dancing -- is this really Shyamali in disguise? Going for a different look this week, Sanjaya's hair was straightened for his performance of John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change." Yes, it suited his voice and the era much better than last week's selection, but he is still a lightweight vocally and out of his element. The judges weren't kind. Randy said that the something that was special about Sanjaya when he first auditioned is gone and hasn’t returned. Paula fell all over herself to try not to be negative, but settled for that Sanjaya needed to raise his game. Simon offered "The good news is that it wasn't as ghastly as last week," then mentioned the hula and Sanjaya's Paula-like hair. Ryan couldn't wait to jump in and say that Sanjaya's and Paula's hair looked nothing alike, but added "though one of them is wearing extensions and I'm not sure which one."
After Sundance Head revealed he was really a thin guy in a fat suit that he wore only on TV, we were hopeful that he would again give a strong performance like last week's "Mustang Sally." But he, too, stumbled with a wacky, screamy blues version of Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" that didn't suit him (or them) at all. Randy thought it was pitchy but kinda hot and liked it, while Paula thought he did really, really well. Simon said, "I think you went from being actually very good last week to what I would call a very generic bar singer" and that the choice was indulgent and that Sundance was shouting (we agree).
Chris Richardson used to play football and was a chunky 40 pounds heavier. He lost the weight by eating more healthily. I couldn't care less. And when he sang Keith Urban's "Tonight I Wanna Cry," it expressed my sentiments exactly. Sorry, we know the judges (and maybe you) love him, but we don't get this guy at all. Justin Timberlake? Ha! Don't make us laugh. Maybe Kevin Federline. His performance was pitchy and weak, but we think the girls are going to vote for this one big time. Randy said, "This kid is in it to win it" (making us ill), while Paula thought he picked a great song. Simon thought it was cutesy and not the best vocal they'd heard and that Chris was capable of more.
We want to love Jared Cotter, who played college basketball but quit to do music, because he is our hometown boy. We really wanted him to shine. But his personality failed to come through again before and after he sang Stevie Wonder's "If You Really Love Me." The performance wasn't bad, but his argyle-pattern sweater and dance movements remind us of Carleton from "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air." Will his sweater be draped over his shoulders next? Or is he just trying to channel those well-known fashion plates baseball commissioner Bud Selig and Season 5 finalist Kevin Covais? Regardless, Jared needs to lose his very unhip prep school look ... quickly. Fortunately, Randy thought it was a good solid performance, though Paula is not a fan and said, “I think you need to work on coloring up the way you sing.” Simon Cowell agreed and added, “It wasn’t very original, I think that’s what Paula was attempting to say,” adding that Jared will get lost in the mix and is missing the "wow" factor. Sadly, we agree.
Next was Brandon Rogers, who apparently plays a pretty mean classical piano since age 9. We thought his "I Just Want to Celebrate" by Rare Earth was one of the best performances of the night (at least it got us moving), and should move him into the finals, but only Randy and Paula seemed to agree. Jackson called it a solid performance, while Abdul said it was pretty phenomenal. Simon Cowell said, "I don't think that you represented yourself well in this stage of the competition," and that Brandon needs to choose better songs (huh?). He then put the kiss of death on him, telling Brandon that he is worried that he's going to have problems this week. We're hoping America disagreed. Certainly there were two worse performances last night.
Phil Stacey wasn't always bald -- he used to have hair. Well, duh. He had long hair, then got into a group where everyone had short hair but didn't like short hair so he shaved his head. Well, that was enthralling. Well, at least more enthralling that his disastrous rendition of LeAnn Rimes "I Need You." Why, Phil, why? We kinda like you up to now. A horrible choice, sung horribly. Randy first had to get a Steve Perry-Journey remark in before saying it wasn't Phil's best performance, but was alright. Paula (and the rest of the hearing world) found it an odd song choice, while Simon was distracted by the hat and big eyes (Phil amusingly offered to change his eyes), but said little else than "I didn’t get it at all. I genuinely didn’t get that."
After such a disappointing evening, we were really looking forward to Chris Sligh in the pimp spot. This had to be good, right? Er, well, not necessarily. Chris told us he used to have short hair and even a bald head but then grew his hair out and it's all natural, not a perm (so like, who cares ... again). He then burst into an unfamiliar song that turned out to be "Wanna Be Loved" by DC Talk. There's no denying Sligh's voice, but his insistence on choosing little-known songs every week could push him right out the door. It wasn't a song easy to get into. Personally, we'd rather hear him do a song from his group's new CD. They're better. Randy wasn't crazy about the song choice, but declared it the best vocal of the night, while Paula told him it was just middle of the road and advised him that he needed to stretch vocally. Simon told him that, “I think the good news for you is that you’ve done enough to definitely make it to the finals.” And we agree.
Overall, it was one of those "this is an hour in my life I'll never get back again" nights.
Top 3 in descending order: Chris Sligh, Brandon Rogers, Blake Lewis
Bottom 3 in descending order: Phil Stacey, Sanjaya Malakar, Chris Richardson
Who cares, in any order: Jared Cotter, Sundance Head
Should go: Phil Stacey, Sanjaya Malakar
Will go: Phil Stacey, Sanjaya Malakar
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