Idol Chat (Part 10)
Well, here we are again. Down to the last three very deserving performers. They're all good so I don't have that much to say except that the jury is still out as to who the final two singers battling it out for the title of American Idol will be.
This week each singer performed three songs, one selected by one of the judges, one selected by the producers and one chosen by thesingers themselves. It made for an interesting if not completely spectacular evening. Here's the rundown. I'll try to be brief--for me anyway.
Jordin Sparks: Her first song was "Wishing on a Star" chosen for her by Simon. This was a disappointment. While her vocals were beautiful, mature and controlled, the cool jazzy arrangement gave her no emotional or vocal meat to work with. It's a mood song, not a dramatic or vocal powerhouse which is what Jordin does best.
Jordin's second song was "She Works Hard for the Money" originally sung by Donna Summer. You'd think that Jodin would be great singing anything by Donna Summer, but I felt she was just a little too young to connect with the meaning of this song. She seemed to be playing "at" it rather than really resonating with it. Again, her vocals are wonderful, but that Jordin "spark" we've become accustomed to was missing.
For her last tune Jordin chose "I Who Have Nothing" the powerhouse ballad she did so well with during British Invasion week. She sang this as beautifully as she did the first time, even kicking up the vocals a bit at the end by improvising an extra high note. But this was perhaps not the best choice of song following her previous two. We didn't get to see that vibrant, youthful energy this week that only she brings to the competition. It's a shame. I still love her though.
Blake Lewis: Paula chose for Blake "Roxanne," the 80s hit by the Police. This seemed a logical choice for him. More than once Blake has conjured up visions of British 80s pop crooners. But for some reason he never got there with this song. He didn't seem to be enjoying himself and the instinctively sexy Blake couldn't seem to find the sex in the song. It was a dull but adequate performance.
For song number two, the producers chose "This Love" and Blake was back! He was completely in his comfort zone with this song and it allowed him to give the kind of exciting, well rounded performance we look forward to from him every week.
For his third song Blake chose "When I Get You Alone" managing to top his previous performance. It showed off all his strengths. It was sexy, current, rhythmic and musical. This was a great note to end on for Blake.
Melinda Doolittle: Melinda started with "I Believe in You and Me" originally sung by Whitney Houston and chosen for her by Randy. It was a challenge she rose to with ease. Once again, Melinda relies on the dramatic meat of the song to fuel her stellar vocals. You can't lose with that combination.
Next, the producers gave Melinda "Nut Bush City" to perform as her second number. It's amazing how easily Melinda can assume the role of that Tina Turner style rocker chick at the drop of a hat. As I've said before, this comes from her history as a back up singer where one must imitate, blend with and assume the style of anyone she happens to be singing with. She gave a great performance.
For song number three Melinda chose "WOMAN," an excellent choice for her. The bluesy style, the era, the sentiment are all well suited to Melinda's talents. I only wish the arrangement was a little longer to give her more of a chance to drive home the message of the song and allow her to play with the riffs a bit more. But I did like the way she brought the back up singers center stage for the end of the song.
Best Performer of the Night: Melinda Doolittle. No surprises.
Weakest Performer of the Night: Jordin Sparks, but only because of song choices.
Who will go: This is a toss up. IfK voters base it on last night's performance I'd have to say Jordin will go because Blake was the stronger of the two this time. On the other hand, if voters take into account Jordin's body of work over the season, she could end up in the finale with Melinda. Personally I think they are both deserving of it. It's just a matter of personal taste.
RESULTS UPDATE: OMG!!! TOTAL UPSET! THE BIGGEST UPSET IN IDOL HISTORY! How could Melinda not be in the final??? I suspect that people thought she'd be safe and didn't bother to vote. Everyone knew it would be a close call between Blake and Jordin so they got all the votes. I called in for Melinda, though. Twice.