Whether You’re a Brother or Whether You’re a Mother… Last Night’s Show Stunk

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If I had my way, I would meld the best parts of each of the four remaining American Idol contestants this year into one… phenomenal… megawatt… supah-star!

I’d take Melinda’s spot-on, never-fail vocals; Blake’s ingenuity, charisma, and hipness; LaKisha’s raspy voice and heart-breaking back story; and Jordin’s emotion and unbelievable beauty…and stuff them all into one, perfect contestant.

But…since I can’t…I guess I’ll have to take them as individuals…and singing Bee Gees songs.

All of a sudden I’m in a bad mood.

The Bee Gees may have defined a generation…but that same generation was also defined by bell bottoms, polyester, leather fringe and scarily humongous afros. As gracious a guest coach as Barry Gibb was…this was the lamest American Idol show ever. When the show began, I thought to myself…there’s no way Barry Gibb has produced enough music to entertain me for an hour.

And guess what…I was right.

For the life of me, I’ll never understand why the Powers That Be saved Bee Gees week for a week so close to the finals. It was entirely anti-climactic. I never thought I would be begging for Bon Jovi…but I was. That, my friends, is sad.

Plus, let’s be honest…the reason Bee Gees songs are classics is because of their cheesefest falsetto. Without that…they’re simply bad songs…without hooks.

But, regardless of all of that, we got an hour of Bee Gees last night…thanks to each contestant singing twice…we were even treated to 8 songs, instead of four.
Melinda Doolittle chose “Love You Inside and Out” for her first song. Again, her vocals were great, but I understand why the judges were critical. I think everyone is waiting for Melinda to do something unexpected. We need her to sing something totally unexpected. Or give a soulful arrangement filled with angst or pain. We need more emotion from her. However, I do have a theory on this. Please note what the producers are doing with the stage lighting. Melinda gets the same camera angles and quick pans and staid lighting every week. On the other diva’s hand, Jordin gets pimped out with angelic backlighting and flattering tight shots to show off her beauty, which, let’s face it, gives her more of a connection with the audience. We rarely even see Melinda keep eye contact with the camera. Hmmm

Melinda’s second song was “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?” Personally I thought she did a great job and had an honest-to-goodness “moment” toward the end. The bad part about Melinda having a “moment” is that it’s hard for her to outshine herself. I loved her take on this song…it almost had a country feel to it, and I think the judges were way too hard on her. However, I believe she’s safe.

Blake Lewis’ first song was a beatbox-infused “You Should be Dancing.” Though I give Blake props for using the falsetto voice, I think this was a poor choice as it’s not a singer’s song. I really didn’t like it. He did give it a contemporary spin, but it lacked cohesion and power. The best part of that performance was Ryan beatboxing “te-eh-eh-ehxt your votes to…”

“This Is Where I Came In” was Blake’s second song. It was a lesser known song, and I have to say, it was pretty amazing. Considering the limited time frame these singers have to prepare these songs, Blake’s arrangement was wonderful. I honestly could hear this song on the radio today. His performance was entertaining and the song was catchy. Blake’s an original and that’s refreshing. (Plus, I loved that Paula called him the “contemporary rebel in this competition.”) I only hope the rest of America feels the same way. He’s taken big risks the last two weeks and I don’t know how tolerant the viewing public will be of that.

LaKisha Jones did a slower version of “Staying Alive” for her first song. This was a HUGE mistake because, of all the Bee Gees songs…this is their most definitive and she ruined it by slowing it down and not getting into the upper register for the chorus. And she really came off as a one-trick pony with the syncopated “ah, ah, ah” part.

“Run to Me” was LaKisha’s second song. She did a beautiful job with it until the end. But for the second time, she didn’t take Barry’s advice to go into an upper register. She often ignores the advice of the guest judges and it reads that’s she’s either a) scared or b) a know-it-all. Neither option is flattering. I think LaKisha really peaked too soon in this competition. I haven’t been wowed by her since the first week. I think she is very vulnerable at this point in the game.

Jordin Sparks’ first song was “To Love Somebody,” and she definitely took the first round. Though the judges seem to fall deaf to her pitch wobbles, she has a good number of them. However, with all that backlighting and all her mugging to the camera…not many folks will notice.

Okay…let’s add a rule to the AI competition..no one should be allowed to do a song by Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Maria Carey or…Barbra Streisand. Seriously, Streisand puts her mark so strongly on any song she sings that once she tackles it…it becomes totally identifiable with her. Jordin’s second song choice of the night, “I Am a Woman in Love,” was no exception. She was very wobbly on her intonation and she was strained on all the upper notes. However, because she looked beatiful and because of some SERIOUS backlighting and because she had the pimp spot…I think she’s safe.

Now…what do y’all think?

Entertainment Weekly write-up

Entertainment Weekly Idolatry video – See how good the show could have been.

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44 Responses to “Whether You’re a Brother or Whether You’re a Mother… Last Night’s Show Stunk”

  1. shrewspeaks Says:

    Why does the collaged image of the remaining four above look like Sanjaya?

  2. double d Says:

    Wow. This is the top 4, right? I can sum the evening up in one word:

    “Meh.”

    Melinda has no kun-NECK-shun.

    Blake’s only chance is the novelty of the Beat-Boxing which has worn thin.

    Lakisha has blown her voice out with the same big ballad each week.

    Jordin is this year’s Robot. Sorry, but there’s something “Prom Queen” about her. I get a picture in my mind of her in the halls at school at her locker….folks pass by and she gives a big, broad-toothed smile and says, “Hey Girl!” and then once they’re passed her, you see a big eye roll. There just doesn’t seem to be any genuiness to her.

    None of them deserve to be the American Idol, IMO. But one will be. At this point, I’d have to lean to Jordin because she is getting all the “benefit” of AI. But long term success….I don’t see it for any of them.

    I’ll let Shrew comment on Barry Gibb…

  3. jenfera Says:

    Actually, I think the collage image looks like Meshach Taylor.

    I actually used to love the the Bee Gees. I was looking forward to this week’s show. I was sorely disappointed. It seems like whenever I am excited about a mentor, the show is terrible and when I am just “meh” about a mentor, the show is good. Not sure if that says something about me, or the mentors. But, hey, in my defense, Barry Manilow was The. Best. Mentor. Ever! Go figure.

    I voted for Blake again, because if nothing else, he keeps things interesting. I think he could be going home though because I have a feeling that not to many people over 40 like him. (Like my husband.)

    The other three are just getting boring for me. I have no interest in whether they have careers after this or not.

  4. texan Says:

    I finally got around to AI. This is the first episode of AI that I have watched all year. How could the show that brought us so much fun be so irksome a year later?

    Perhaps I picked the wrong night to tune in. These kids are going to put Ambien out of business!

  5. huckleberryfriend Says:

    Season 2 – Clay – To Love Somebody

  6. grayhound Says:

    I just got done reading this blog about last night’s show, and it made me laugh ’til I cried….hope everyone enjoys and finds it as funny as me, particularly the references to the idol’s clothes.

    Enjoy!!!!

    http://dontgetmestarted-lindasharp.typepad.com/

  7. grayhound Says:

    huck: That just reminds me (again) of how really good a singer Clay is/was. He was robbed I tell ya!!!

  8. nolagirl Says:

    I don’t get the “robot” feeling from Jordin, but then again she has BIG shoes to fill in the way of Kat McPhee, so that is what I’m comparing her to I think.

    Much like y’all, I was very “meh” about last night too. It’s just so disappointing, but at least there’s always next season, right? Right? *crosses fingers for someone worth watching next year *

  9. leejolem Says:

    It’s kind of funny cuz people were stressing over Bon Jovi week, but it rawked compared to Bee Gees week!! What were they thinking devoting a whole night to songs that were originally done by 3 male falsetto voices? I like the BeeGees, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think you can do a whole night of them when it’s a single performer type show. I wonder if they are going to do a “year you were born” night again like last year–that was a great show as I recall. TPTB might be selling out a little on theme to get guest mentors methinks.

    I was really hoping Lakisha would hit it out of the park tonight, but I think she’s in danger of going home.

    Is it just me, or do the judges seem bored? I just remember last year at this time Paula crying, Randy barking, and Simon, well, he was as excited as Simon can ever be. I think they’re all suffering from burn-out. Maybe it’s time to bring on “the Hoff” as guest judge.

  10. shrewspeaks Says:

    Was it me or did Barry Gibb resemble one of these guys?

  11. texan Says:

    nice vid Huck!

  12. grayhound Says:

    This has been a strange year on Idol, and I’ve been trying to figure out why I feel that way. Maybe it’s just that no one has a really catching personality. It seems that last year the group were more lively? Maybe that’s it. There seemed to be more joy or something. I just can’t grasp what’s missing.

    For ME, anyhoo, Melinda should win. Every week, on key, never an off note, puts feeling in her songs, already has a professional interpretation of what she’s singing.

    Blake would be the “marketable” one, at least as it relates to being a “contemporary” artist. I could see him singing his beatbox stuff on music awards shows, and the audience loving him. But he doesn’t have the strongest voice in the world.

    Lakisha doesn’t seem to translate feeling into her songs, except for her Bon Jovi song last week, and that was just a homerun in my opinion. She has a really good voice, but it takes more than that.

    Jordin – well, she hasn’t “done it” for me. I know many people think she is the second coming, but I don’t see it. I can’t put my finger on it either. She has a good voice but so do plenty of other people out there. Can she win and be successful after? I’m not sure.

    In the end, every singer is only as good as the song they are singing. Without certifiable “great” songs, the likes of Mariah, Whitney, Toni Braxton, etc. would only be women with great voices. It really takes a well-written and audience friendly song that elevates them to the heights in the first place. I guess that’s why it is so hard to make it in the business.

    Whoever wins in the end, if the songs they release are so-so, their careers will also be so-so. Remember last year what we were all saying? ITS ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC. So true.

    Fantasia and Ruben are perfect examples of that. Both great voices but not as marketable as Kelly Clarkson who has had winner after winner. I just heard her new song yesterday, and yep – I would buy it.

    Well, there’s my 2 pennies.

  13. KimLoree Says:

    Well…since this is the first time I have watched the entire show this year…guess I’ll comment. I sure picked a lousy one to watch. I thought with the big “final four” and all, that I could stomach it. Sorry…but I am not a BeeGees fan anyway. BonJovi is more my style than the BeeGees. I really didn’t like any of the songs very well.

    Here’s my take…
    Melinda has a wonderful voice and I think she will win. I just don’t know how successful she will be. That surprised “they really like me” look makes me crazy. I think to survive in the music business, you need more of the Taylor Hick’s “Take that (performance) and shove it, Simon look”.
    I like Blake…and I don’t like beatboxing…so I really don’t get why I like him. He’s not very attractive. Guess I’m just attracted to talent, whether the music is my style or not. I thought his BonJovi performance last week was “OUTSTANDING”. This week, I thought, “Dude…I thought you wanted to win this thing. What the hell were you thinking?” Made me want to vote for him to try and save him.
    Lakisha….doesn’t impress me much. She just doesn’t seem to have the vocal range to make it work.
    Jordin….I’m betting that she will be the most successful of the four. For only being seventeen, she has a lot of talent. I would like to hear her down the road after a couple of heartaches.
    I vote for Lakisha to go home. Oh that’s right…you can’t do it that way.

    grayhound…Thanks for the link. That was hilarious.

  14. texan Says:

    How has the voting been going on AI? Is Ryan making comments hyping their vote totals, or is he being quiet on that issue?

  15. ivoryhut Says:

    Is the fact that I haven’t even bothered checking out anything that has to do with their songwriting competition say anything about my interest in this season?

    Oh well. There’s always Ryan.

    Hmmm. Haven’t seen a wet fish around here lately …

  16. jenfera Says:

    Mmmmm….Ryan!

  17. KimLoree Says:

    I think I nearly got a wet fish. Sorry Shelley. Guess my original Simon comment was a little over the top. He just brings that out in me.

  18. Shelley Says:

    No problem. 😉

    thanks for understanding.

  19. KimLoree Says:

    Thanks for being here. I have been back-tracking and really enjoy your site.

  20. jenfera Says:

    Hey, speaking of Ryan, I just read MJ’s recap and got the reminder – Seacrest OUT came back! That may have been the most unexpected moment of the night. Perhaps it was a snark to the producers, “Okay, already, stop yelling in my earpiece, it was as close to an hour as I could get it! Seacrest out for realzies, ‘kay??”

  21. nolagirl Says:

    I have been arguing with my co-workers all season. They are so annoyed with Ryan. I heart him. They roll their eyes. I giggle. What’s happened to me??? At least I know I’m not the lone Ryan lovah this season…

  22. ivoryhut Says:

    Yeah, I noticed the return of the Seacrest OUT, too. But I haven’t really been paying attention to this season, so I wasn’t sure if it was the first time he’s brought it back.

    Before I forget, Shelley, have I told you lately how awesome your Photoshopping skillz are?

    Oh and Shrew, thank you for the caveman clip. I was so trying to figure out who he was channeling.

    I still think Ray LaMontagne’s version of To Love Somebody is better. Raw emotion beats backlighting any time.

  23. leejolem Says:

    I missed “Seacrest Out” I can’t believe it!!!!!!!!!! That’s my fav line of all AI time.

  24. Shelley Says:

    i caught it…and cracked up.

    y’all sorry i haven’t been around much…summer time at my office is BUSY time.

    i’ve been swamped. it’s all i can do to get posts up and keep up with reading comments…much less participate.

  25. texan Says:

    Ivoryhut,

    Ray has a To Love Somebody version? How in the world did I miss that?

    …leaping over bits and bytes and testing the outer limits of my internet connection speed to find a place to buy that STAT!

    yowsa baby!

  26. jenfera Says:

    Texan, that new blog Huckleberry Friend has the vid up, along with a bunch of others:

    http://huckleberryfriend.wordpress.com/

  27. jenfera Says:

    Poor Shelley! I think she needs some cheering up.

  28. leejolem Says:

    That’s ok Shelley. HC4S and I still haven’t sent your our Columbus concert write up, and it was 2 weeks ago. With graduation coming up and making up for days off at work I just can’t seem to find the time. I promise we will get it to you sometime!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. musicmatters Says:

    You really need to embrace the cheesy goodness of a Bee Gees song to pull it off. Nobody’s more Velveeta than this guy. I surprisingly liked it better than anything last night.

  30. ivoryhut Says:

    Texan, GC put up a Ray LaMontagne and Damien Rice duet a while back.

    If you are more interested in a solo version, there are various ones out there. He performs it in his live shows quite often. I can start you off with the one from his DC show that was aired live.

  31. grayhound Says:

    music: That there is one big can of Cheez Whiz. And it just takes me back to that year – there have been few like my beloved Con (okay – sue me). Never before him could anyone make bedroom eyes at the camera. Others have tried since, but no one like him.

    And seeing that reminded me of the little backstory they would do each week about how the person picked their song. This year it’s more about the celebrity coaches.

    It just again reminds me of what I said above – where’s the fun this year? Where’s the contestant’s personalities? Where’s the marshmallow fluff that makes you root for someone??

    It’s just not there.

  32. baby duck Says:

    Huckleberry, thanks for the youtube links on your blog. I don’t know if I like Ray or Janis version of ‘To Love Somebody’ the best, but definitely not Jordin’s.

    I agree with you, grayhound. There’s really not much personality showing this year in any of the contestants. None of them exude the kind of charm and charisma that Taylor did last year, that made me want to vote and vote and vote for him. Any of them can go home tonight, I don’t care.

  33. Soultrain Says:

    I agree, Shelley. I think last nights idol was the most boring in the history of AI.

    Yawn!

  34. texan Says:

    I heart Ivoryhut and Jenfera!

  35. jenfera Says:

    It’s all about sharin’ the love, tex!
    🙂

  36. shrewspeaks Says:

    Barry—Geico Caveman.

    Hello? This thing on?

  37. Shelley Says:

    Awwww…quit hating on Barry. He’s a nice guy.

  38. shrewspeaks Says:

    And yet again no love for the Geico Caveman. 😉

  39. double d Says:

    Sorry, but I’m with Shrew on this one. Barry is looking as scary as Blake in that Tuxedo shirt.

  40. texan Says:

    caveman. NO Doubt! …even Farrah changed her signature hair style eventually. give it up man!

    I simply must see Ray LaMontagne live. Thanks again for the links. Nice!

  41. Claire Says:

    Glad to see I’m not alone with my Ryan-crush this year…he’s purty.

  42. Dinah Says:

    Ryan? He’s so tiny!!!!!!!!!! Cute, but SOOo small.
    Barry Gibb? When he sang I was struck how spot-on Justin you-know-who’s Sat.Nite Live imitation was. Nice guy but two brothers are dead and one is retired. Get a clue, man.
    The AI this week was lame. Ho-hum. Wonder who the teeny-boppers will vote for? (But ‘fraid I know–Blake. Quel horrors!)

  43. Dr. Bob Says:

    Okay — I love the Geico cave man, so thanks, Shrew.

    Shelley, I also have a total, deep crush on Danny Elfman, so thanks for the weird science …

    AI = snoozefest. I perked up when the sound sucked on the group sing, but mostly dozed through it. I really like LaKisha and I am sorry that she never really found her footing. Jordin does have the glowy skin of adorableness, but I find her boring as well. I am sorry, but as soon as a 17 year old starts singing about passion or heartbreak, I blank out. Blake is a cutie, but he needed to not beatbox for a week or so and let it be novel, not a novelty. Poor Melinda, the only thing that the judges can criticize is her perfect vocals. However, I am kinda with Paula — I want to see her really find a raw edge of passion and tear it up.

    It seems odd that this time last year, I was literally sprinting for the tv and this year I am falling asleep.

    And Ryan is a wee little man. I could put him in my pocket. But, yes, Claire, he is danged purty. For a wee little man.

  44. Karen Says:

    I like Ryan. It’s been interesting to watch him mature over the past few years. Did you catch it when early on he stood next to Jordin and said something like, “I’m short again; yes, I’m a small man”?

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