Idol Chat (Part 8)
The music of John Bon Jovi was a curious choice for this week's Idol theme, not only because there isn't a full fledged rocker left in the remaining bunch of singers, but because his music doesn't exactly appeal to the American Idol viewing demographic. Gay men and 13 year-old girls hardly ever listen to Bon Jovi, right Katie? More than that, Bon Jovi's music is so very specific and only works for a very particular kind of performer. The singers would have been better served if the theme was '80s Rock rather than the music of just one band. I was slightly encouraged though during Mr. Bon Jovi's opening remarks to the kids when he advised them to take his music, make it their own and tell the particular story that the music tells to them. If only he meant that.
And now, this week's contestants in review:
Phil Stacey: Not only had the advantage of already being familiar with the song "Blaze of Glory," but had a big enough voice to carry it off plus years of practicing in the mirror for this very moment. I was glad to see that Phil was able to bring the commitment of that bedroom mirror performance to the stage and act out his rocker dream come true for us. But I think it was clear he was acting. Once again he would have been wise not to start in the audience since clearly he's not comfortable being close to them. The moments where he tried to relate to a girl in the audience and even Randy were his only missteps in his performance. Overall, Phil was good.
Jordin Sparks: I knew Jordin was in trouble when her first words to Bon Jovi were "Oh my gosh, my mom is gonna flip out!" OUCH! Even I felt the sting of that one. It was an uphill battle from there as the very talented otherwise adept Ms. Sparks struggled to find some resonance with "Living on a Prayer," perhaps one of the best known songs in the Bon Jovi oeuvre. For all of his advice of "making the song your own" Bon Jovi didn't even change the key for Jordin. It sounded very much to me like she was singing it in his key, rather than hers. She could have sung that song at least a step or two higher, perhaps even as much as a third. It would have sat in the brilliance of her voice and sounded much better. The performance was rough and not her finest hour. I still think she is one of the most talented singers in the competition, but this was an inopportune week to have an off performance.
LaKisha: In one of Bon Jovi's better coaching moments he was able to explain to LaKisha what the song "If I'm Not Right" means. And in one of LaKisha's better moments, she actually listened to him! She gave a pretty good performance but the entire time I was thinking, this is how she should have sung "Stormy Weather." But like Jordin, she could only do so well with the song singing in what sounded like a male key in her own octave.
Blake: Once again, for all of his "make it your own" talk, Bon Jovi was highly skeptical of Blake's very original take on "You Give Love a Bad Name" and dare I say even unsupportive. Knowing he's not a rocker, Blake wisely brought back the beat box in a big way, reminding us of his unique talent after a couple of weeks of pretty tepid performances. His timing was perfect and his performance was spot on. The key to an exciting performance is taking risks, going the extra mile and committing 150% to it. Blake proved to me again why I considered him one of the front runners behind Melinda for so many weeks.
Chris Richardson: Okay, I'm getting really tired of the Justin Timberlake comparisons and judging from the look on his face when dopey Ryan Seacrest said "I'm here with Justin Timberlake," so is Chris. That said, I give credit to Chris for trying his absolute damnedest to pull of a rock tune like this. He did all he could with it but unfortunately I think Chris was a casualty of bad theme week. It's just not his style. This could be it for him.
Melinda: Proving that she can sing absolutely anything, Melinda channelled Tina Turner for her performance of "Have a Nice Day." Knowing that the song would not show off the tessatura of her voice Melinda very wisely chose to color the vocals with rocker style rather than rely on her magnificent pipes. She completely committed to the role of the rocker chick convincing everyone watching that that is who she is, but of course we know she is so much more. Another great performance--true star quality.
Best Performance: Blake and Melinda
Worst Performance: It breaks my heart to say it, but Jordin.
Who will be voted off: Unfortunately, two of my favorites, Jordin and Chris.RESULTS UPDATE-- So, two of the boys go home this week. I was slightly surprised about Phil because he seems to have struck a cord with the country music community which can be a formidable fan base. Plus he's got the military thing going for him and tonight he just happened to mention that his Daddy was a preacher. I'm not worried one bit about Phil's career, Nashville will eat him up with a spoon.
Speaking of eating with a spoon, my adorable Chris Richardson also goes home this week. This was not so much of a surprise as Chris has been in the bottom three on more than one occasion this season. My favorite moment tonight was when Blake and Chris declared themselves "best friends." Chris went a step further and said he would gladly go home for Blake. I'll admit I had to rewind and watch this moment several times. They are SO doing it. That's all I'm sayin'.