February 21, 2007

MUSIC: American Idol (women's semifinals, week 1)

Just like last night, this was my first time hearing any of these women sing, and I would like to humbly suggest that we just send the boys home right now and let the women get on with things. This was a fine night of singing.

The rundown:

Stephanie: Her vibrato's a bit out of control in her lower register, but she's got a solid belt; she's confident and poised, and possessed of great showmanship.

Amy: The pitch is off throughout, painfully so at the end. She sounds nervous, and looks even more so. Almost entirely devoid of personality.

Leslie: I like her laidback, cool style; nothing is forced, and there's a huskiness and sultriness that remind me just a little of Dusty Springfield. Not the best of the night, to be sure, but she has the potential to be interesting.

Sabrina: In most Idol years, this would be the best performance of the night at this stage; she's powerful, sexy, confident -- it's a very fine performance.

Antonella: Nasal, out of tune, terrible song choice. But even if all of that had been fixed, she simply has the most unattractive voice of the twelve, and it's not pleasant to listen to.

Jordin: Maybe the judges are right that the song doesn't show her off as well as it could, but listen to how smoothly she transitions from low notes to high, from quiet to loud, never losing the core of her sound, never becoming breathy; she's in perfect control, and she has a lovely voice.

Nicole: She's pushing too hard, which is making her vowels really ugly, and she's the first singer of the competition who we can hear gasping for breath.

Haley: Not a great song choice, and her style is a bit too musical theater for this competition, I think. It's a competent performance, with nothing glaringly wrong, but it's uninspired and bit dull.

Melinda: When she's not singing, she looks like she feels guilty for taking up space; her head is hunched into her shoulders, and she's a bit plain. The minute the music starts, the head comes up and she takes command of that stage; suddenly she's the sexiest thing in the room. Powerhouse voice, terrific entertainer.

Alaina: The song absolutely doesn't suit her voice, which is too small and airy for it. Like Nicole, she's gasping for air, and Alaina is doing so in odd places in the middle of phrases.

Gina: Well, if she can find a dozen or so songs that consist entirely of powerfully belted climaxes, she'll do just fine. Unfortunately, though, she's got to sing the boring parts of the songs, too, and in quieter moments, her voice isn't pretty, especially in the lower register.

LaKisha: Clearly, she can sing, and on a scale of 1 to 10, this was a 9.5. But this song needs to go to 11 (gratuitous Spinal Tap references are always fun), and I never felt the emotional impact that the song should have. Had she sung a different song, she'd probably have topped my list for the night, but as good a singer as she is, she isn't quite the actress that this song requires.

Ask me to pick the six finalists based just on tonight, and I'd go with Melinda, LaKisha, Jordin, Sabrina, Leslie, and Stephanie. Most deserving of a speedy exit: Amy and Antonella.

No comments: