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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

 

American Idolatry: Night Fever

In previous weeks on American Idol, we've had theme shows dedicated to major recording acts like Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez and Bon Jovi. Does a Final Four episode dedicated to the long-dead song catalog of the Bee Gees strike anyone else as a major letdown? I'm not feeling it. And apparently, neither were the four Idol wannabes. Each of them showed the signs of major fatigue (vocally and physically), and having to perform two tracks in the hour-long broadcast, it seemed like LaKisha in particular was spent. But to see who I think is going home, you'll have to read the recap:

Melinda Doolittle: This is exactly what I was worried about with Melinda...the phoned-in, middle-of-the-road performance. She's been able to ride her superb voice and audience goodwill without incident to this point; in a final four situation, however, it's time to bring it. "Inside Out" showed us a side of Melinda we hadn't seen before...the dull side. Second Song: Better, but this "Broken Heart" ballad really didn't take off until she went against the nature of the song and tried a big finish. It'll probably work on voters, however...and she's safe. But she really needs to bring it next week.

Blake Lewis: Warbling "You Should Be Dancing" with the reverb switch turned all the way to 11, Blake sounded like he was drowning in a bottomless echo chamber...and the falsetto didn't help matters. He tried his best to crank up the energy, but the judges rightly called him on the shtick. Second Song: He rendered "This Is Where I Came In" beyond all recognition, giving it a mid-80's, Midnight Star-like funkiness. Which is fine, but the only way such tampering works is if it electrifies the audience. And it didn't. I like Blake, but I think he's in trouble. (And can someone explain to me why he cut the sleeve off his sweater? It looked really stupid.)

LaKisha Jones: The most vulnerable of the remaining final four, LaKisha did a serviceable diva-rific version of "Staying Alive." I just wonder if it's enough to keep her. To remain competitive, she's got to overcome the judges' doubts AND the audience, many of whom have other favorites to vote for. The judges were unnecessarily hard on her, though...maybe it'll translate into votes. Second Song: "Run To Me" sounds like the soft-pop mediocrity of, say, Celine Dion. It's a flimsy tune, and even when LaKisha modulated up in key, it never opened up the way she wanted it to. AND she cracked on the last note. Not a good last impression on America.

Jordin Sparks: Well played, Jordin. Avoiding the pitfalls of the disco hits, she instead opted for "To Love Somebody," a sweet and simple ballad...and then didn't overplay it. Lots of control, none of the atmospherics. It might not be the equivalent of a home run, but it's a solid move around the bases. Second Song: in retrospect, it may not be the wisest move to cover a song made famous by Barbra Streisand. It's too dangerous to compare yourself to That Voice. But the Gibb Brothers' "Woman in Love" was the most difficult tune of the night, and despite being in too high a key, she did okay.

Best of Night: Jordin Sparks
Bottom Two Prediction: LaKisha Jones and Blake Lewis
Getting Cut On Wednesday: Blake Lewis
Previously on ModFab: Simon Says, Women Who Wowed, When Goth Chicks Ruled The Universe, The Sanjaya Conundrum, You're A Heartbreaker, Bye Bye Barba!, Gender Blending, To Simon With Love, Not Feeling Hella Good, Mack The Knife, Haley The Slut, Livin' La Vida Loca, Oh Bucky Covington Where Art Thou?, Not Exactly Live Aid, You'll Make It I Swear

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