May 03, 2005

TV: American Idol -- Lieber & Stoller/current hits night

Two songs apiece from our would-be Idols tonight, and two separate themes. Round 1 is songs by Lieber & Stoller, and Round 2 is anything from any of this week's Billboard Top 40 charts. The first lesson we learn tonight is that Lieber & Stoller were much more interesting songwriters than anyone working today.

For the most part, each singer's pair of songs were about the same in quality, so I'll deal with them in pairs.
The rundown: Anthony, "Poison Ivy"/"Incomplete" -- it's not a good night for Anthony. His pitch is off, and he seems nervous, especially on the first song. "Poison Ivy" is not a good song choice; Anthony's too smooth to make it work. "Incomplete" suits him much better, but one of the high notes at the end is painfully flat.

Scott, "On Broadway"/"Every Time You Go Away" -- Scott's confidence was already starting to come across as arrogance in his off-stage interview moments, and now that's starting to edge into his performances. "On Broadway" is particularly unpleasant; he's going for a raspy growl that's really not pretty to hear. The second performance is lazy; there are notes at the end of some phrases that he's not even trying to hit correctly. And never again must Scott be allowed to sing a song that includes a reference to "my homies."

Vonzell, "Treat Me Nice"/"When You Tell Me That You Love Me" -- Both performances are a bit dull at the beginning, but end very strongly. The arrangement on the first song is a modern, funky thing that doesn't quite work, but the song's a nice showpiece for Vonzell's personality.

Bo, "Stand By Me"/"Heaven" -- Two excellent performances. There are some very minor pitch problems in "Heaven," but "Stand By Me" is a WOW! moment; the verse is especially fine, and I'm getting goose bumps.

Carrie, "Trouble"/? (they didn't identify this song, and I hadn't heard it) -- The biggest discrepancy between performances of the evening. "Trouble" is terrific, with lots of energy, and Carrie's having a blast. It's maybe a bit hard to buy Carrie singing "I'm evil, evil, evil" -- she's about as evil as a Twinkie -- but she makes it work. The second song is very nicely sung, but Carrie can't quite escape the fact that the song itself is duller than dirt.

For the night: Bo, Carrie, Vonzell, Anthony, Scott.

For the season: Vonzell, Carrie, Bo, Anthony, Scott.

Still, still, stilllllll needing to go home: Scott.

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