March 07, 2007

MUSIC: American Idol (women's semifinals, week 3)

The men pulled off the miracle last night of being even worse than they were in Week 1; the women pulled off an even bigger miracle by being better than they were in Week 1. Even the worst of the bunch (while still not good) were much improved.

The rundown:

Jordin, "Heartbreaker" -- the most stylistically adventurous of the bunch, going from Tracy Chapman to Christina Aguilera to Pat Benatar. She's not really a rocker chick at heart, I don't think, but she's got a lot of energy, and gets through the song reasonably well on raw talent.

Sabrina, "Don't Let Go" -- as Simon correctly notes, she's in desperate need of personality, and the song itself is so dull that I'm forgetting it even as it happens. Nothing horribly wrong with the performance, but my mind kept wandering.

Antonella, "Put Your Records On" -- probably her best performance yet, but there are still a lot of pitch problems, and no matter what she does, her voice will never be pretty. The song is wrong for her, too; it's quiet and wistful where she's loud and trashy (which in pop music is not necessarily an insult; entire careers have been built on loud and trashy).

Haley, "If My Heart Had Wings" -- the song suits her, and while she's clearly not in the same league with the top women, this is a pleasant enough performance. Another personal best, but probably not enough to keep her around for another week.

Stephanie, "Sweet Thing" -- She's got a fine voice, solid technique, and she's always lovely to listen to. She is in danger, though, of becoming this year's early-departing elegant black woman (see Nadia, Trenyce, LaToya), and needs to do something with a little heat and passion.

LaKisha, "I Have Nothing" -- what is it that leaves me cold about LaKisha? The notes are all there, the technique is solid; I should be in love. But I don't feel the emotional connection to the material. It's as if she's a perfectly trained singing robot.

Gina, "Call Me When You're Sober" -- as opposed to Jordin, Gina is at heart a rocker, and while she has a few pitch problems, this is a solid performance. Her singing is powerful, and there's more personality than we've gotten from her in previous weeks.

Melinda, "I'm a Woman" -- Oh. My. God. Melinda is teaching a masterclass this season. She just gets better every week, and I'm literally giggling with glee at how much fun she's having, and how incandescent she is on that stage.

For the night: Melinda, LaKisha, Stephanie, Gina, Jordin, Sabrina, Haley, Antonella.

For the season: Melinda, then a great big gap before we get to LaKisha and Stephanie, another big gap to Jordin, Sabrina, and Gina, and bringing up the rear and needing to go home are Haley and (as always) Antonella.


StinkyLulu said...

Melinda is truly glee-inspiring. I usually hate when people get all phrasing-happy, especially when hitting a ditty I equate with one of the geniuses of the art (Peggy Lee or Ella or Dolly).

But Melinda was just delightful.
I. Love. Her.

StinkyLulu said...

Oh. I'm developing a theory about Lakisha: part of what's so neato about Melinda that she's clearly an uncommonly gifted person who's finally at a point in her own personal development that she's able to come out of her shell (of shyness? of fear? of self-doubt?). She's blossoming before our eyes and that's part of the joy of watching her...

I wonder if Lakisha's still a stuck in her own shell (fear/shyness/self-doubt) and I wonder if that's the source of the strangely uncomfortable feeling I get when I watch her...

Keith said...

Interesting theory, Lulu (or do you prefer Stinky?). Lakisha hadn't struck me as particularly insecure, but I'll watch with that in the back of my head next time.