Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Idol Chat (Part 9)

It's down to the final four best singers on American Idol and yet this had to be the worst week to date this season. The only thing that kept the show from being a complete snooze-fest was the rapid fire pace the show was forced to keep in order to give all four singers a chance to sing two songs each. The theme was the music of the BeeGee's. At first I didn't think this would make for such an abysmal week, but after an entire evening of these unspectacular, mundane, boom-chicky, easy listening dirges I realized that the the only reason these songs were ever hits is because of the BeeGee's distinctive, gimmicky, falsetto sound.

I know this theme was chosen long before the producers knew there would be three incredible black divas in the final four, but I felt it was a SIN not to have this week be 70s disco week instead of the BeeGees. Like last week, this music is too distinctive to one particular group and not suited for female singers. Here's my critique--fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night.

: Started with "Love You Inside and Out." Barry Gibb was surprised she chose it because the song was written for a falsetto and not a woman. To which I would have said "Well, DUH, Barry, ALL your songs are written for a falsetto." What choice did she have? Melinda proved herself a competent singer with this song which we already knew, but she didn't necessarily impress with it. As things shaped up though, this turned out to be one of the better performances of the night.

For her second song she chose "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart." I've always hated this song but I thought if anyone could make me like it, it's Melinda. It has the potential to be kind of a bluesy torch song. Well, she did the best she could with it. It wasn't Melinda, it's the song. The only interesting part of the whole thing was the key change, obviously put in by the musical director to bring some kind of excitement to this awful song.

Blake: Okay, as Randy would say, "I gotta give him props, yo" for trying to do something interesting with "You Should Be Dancing" but I think the lesson learned here is that there is such a thing as too much beat box. To his credit, he chose to sing by beat boxing the most interesting thing in the original recording, that is, the horn parts between the repeated line "you should be dancing, yeah." It didn't quite work though, partly because his pitch was off in places and also because he seemed to be working too hard to make it exciting.

For his next song Blake chose "This is Where I Came In" and frankly, I wish he had stayed out. The song is terrible and Blake relied on the other crutch in his bag of tricks: the British 80's pop crooner sound a la Sting. Not a wholly inappropriate choice for this song, that is if one must sing it.

Proving that her appalling lack of originality all these weeks hasn't been a fluke, she chose perhaps the most obvious BeeGee's song ever: "Stayin' Alive." By choosing this she automatically opens herself up to comparisons of the original which, for this song, every single viewer watching can easily conjure up without even thinking about it. Also, in her coaching Barry Gibb instructed her on the correct melody to sing which she seemed fine with but then went on stage and made up her own thing. The watered down tempo didn't help either.

For her second choice Lakisha chose "Run To Me" and as Paula would say, she looked great! Again, the song is boring and the only thing that saved it was a well placed key change. She did the best she could with it considering the material.

Jordin's first performance of "To Love Somebody" proved to be the most exciting of the evening. Jordin was able to bring the youthful fresh take she's become known for to this old pop tune. I think the key should have been raised though since the song has a decent release and could have shown off her voice better. Instead she had to rely on riffing higher notes for that. But at least she was smart enough to make that choice.

Her second song was "A Woman in Love," of Barbra Streisand fame. It seemed an obvious choice since it's one of the few songs by the BeeGee's actually written for a woman. At first I thought she would do well with it. I always thought the Streisand version was whiny and screechy and again Jordin did her best but there's just not enough meat to the song to make it interesting. The key was probably the original which was just a little too high making her strain for all those belted high notes. As a result her pitch suffered a bit. A valliant effort nonetheless.

Best Performance:

Worst Performance:

Who Will Go:
LaKisha or Blake, but I'm leaning toward LaKisha.

RESULTS UPDATE: Well, I was right, LaKisha goes home. I thought it was odd they saved all the best BeeGee's songs for a medley performed by the remaining four tonight. It reminded me that the BeeGee's did in fact have some decent tunes. But what was up with that sound? Yikes!



At 8:59 AM, Blogger BigAssBelle said...

i am beginning to think i am a traitor to the american way, committing treason or something, because i have never seen american idol.

At 9:12 AM, Blogger TCho said...

Lol. I completely agree that it was a little weird for Barry to say it was strange for Melinda to pick a falsetto song. Not to mention that some of his songs shouldn't be sung in falsetto in the first place.

At 9:44 AM, Blogger Y | O | Y said...

It is always fun to compare our notes. I think we're more in sync on last night's show than we've been all season. I knew you'd start seeing things my way. ;)

At 11:28 AM, Blogger Brechi said...

I think its curtains for LaKisha too.

At 12:14 PM, Blogger Richard said...

I'm more than a little conflicted this season, to the extent that one can feel good about admitting feeling "conflicted" about American Idol in any public forum. Melinda is obviously the better singer, Jordin is more raw but has a lot of potential. Still, Blake really strikes me as more of a pop idol possibility than either of them. He's got a good look, he carries himself well (lately he seems to be fraying at the edges, though) and he goes off the well-trod path enough to make him much more interesting than perhaps he would be if he made less daring choices. The only thing he seems to be lacking is a consistently strong singing voice - but even that seems to be in keeping with most American pop idols (I'm talking to you, Mary J. and Ashley Parker Angel). Still, Simon keeps insisting that this is a "singing competition," and he was really hard on Blake last night. So even though I agree with you that the Keesh should probably go, Blake's ouster wouldn't surprise me either.

I do think you're a little hard on the Bee Gees, though. No doubt their later disco hits capitalized on that unique sound of theirs, but their earlier catalog has a lot to offer beyond that, Keesh's lackluster take on "Run to Me" notwithstanding. But I agree, a '70s disco night would have allowed for more variety.

At 1:25 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Richard, I understand your conflict. Melinda is the best singer, but she's not necessarily suited for a pop career. Blake and Jordin are more youthful and marketable that way.

As for the BeeGee's I never really disliked them until I after listening to an entire evening of their songs sung by pretty good singers, they were all pretty dull.


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