March 01, 2006

TV: American Idol (men's semifinals, week 2)

After two weeks, the men's race still seems much less clear to me than the women's race. None of the men have turned in two really good performances (though there are some who've been consistently bad).

Top of the class tonight, and I say this even though I detest his style of music, was Chris, who had charisma to burn and -- within the limits of the song -- sang well.

Also doing fine work were Elliott, with a relaxed and confident performance of the most difficult song I can remember hearing any Idol contestant tackle, and Gedeon, who I find awfully hard to watch with all of his jittery tics, but marvelous to hear.

Will's performance was on the polite, bloodless side, but showed his voice to better advantage than I'd heard before.

We slip into the "oh dear" side of the scale from there. Tay(WHOO!)lor didn't do (HEY!) anything interesting (WHOO!) with his song, and his little (HEY! WHOO!) yelps got annoying really fast.

Bucky improved over last week, but every time he steps up in volume, his voice gets harsher in an unpleasant way, which made it difficult for him to give that song the drama it really needs.

Ace chose a song that was, stylistically, a near clone of last week's performance, and we found out that sex appeal only takes you so far if you can't sing the damn song. He was extremely flat throughout, and the falsetto notes were painful.

Jose was dull, and Kevin's voice is still stuck in the back of his throat, where it appears to be strangling him.

And then there's David, who I gave the benefit of the doubt last week, wondering what he'd sound like with a song better suited to his style. But tonight I realized that his problem is that he has no style; there's nothing of David's own personality coming through his performance, which is all shtick and imitation.

After two weeks, I'd say that Chris, Elliott, and Gedeon head the pack; Taylor and Ace slipped badly this week, but should still earn spots in the final six. Will and Bucky deserve the chance to come back next week and fight for the last spot; some combination of Jose, Kevin, and David should be sent home tomorrow night.

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