April 24, 2007

MUSIC: American Idol (songs of inspiration)

Inspiration was the theme this week, but there wasn't much inspired singing going on. Everyone was OK (and there was one mild standout), but almost no one was much more than that.

The rundown:

Chris, "Change the World" -- The song suits his voice reasonably well, and his pitch is much better than usual. Still not much of a voice, though. He doesn't handle the transitions in and out of falsetto very well, and his vocal flourish at the end is both poorly executed and not in keeping with the relative simplicity of the song.

Melinda, "There Will Come a Day" -- A rarity for Melinda: A bad song choice. This song is dull. Really dull. Paaaaaaaaainfully dull. So dull, in fact, that even Melinda's obvious talent can't redeem it. I had the feeling, though, that we weren't hearing the band very well on this one; there seemed to be nothing going on behind her, and I wonder if that contributed to the general air of dullness.

Blake, "Imagine" -- Blake has proven to have the most limited stylistic range of the remaining contestants; everything sounds very mellow and laid-back, like a lesser work from some annoyingly fey British singer/songwriter. His "Imagine" sounds disconcertingly like his "Mack the Knife," which is not a good thing. It's a pretty enough voice, I suppose, and he's obviously sincere -- just look at those wounded-puppy eyes! -- but it's blander than tapioca, and his consonants are mushy ("imagine all the beoble living life in beace").

LaKisha, "I Believe" -- LaKisha keeps picking songs associated with unusually distinctive or memorable singers, and while she does them well, I'm always left thinking, "Well, it was pretty good, but she's no Jennifer Holiday/Shirley Bassey/Fantasia." Tonight there were a few pitch problems at the beginning, revealing that her lowest register isn't nearly as good as the rest of her voice. Still, this was her best performance in several weeks, if only because she's starting to make eye contact with the camera/audience.

Phil, "The Change" -- Not nearly as good as last week, and a reversion to his usual pattern of starting weak and ending strong. There's a rasping buzzy noise in his voice on some of those long notes, as if he's got a nasty frog in his throat, and there are major pitch problems in the first verse. But from the chorus to the end, he's quite good.

Jordin, "You'll Never Walk Alone" -- A bit on the slow side, but she gets away with it. Some of her vocal tics are starting to feel stale; there's an odd little fluttery thing she does on some high notes ("...afraid of the dark...," "...song of a lark...") that's starting to annoy me. But it's another very good performance from her, the best of a weak night.

For the night: Jordin, LaKisha, Melinda, Chris, Phil, Blake.

For the season: Melinda, Jordin, LaKisha, Blake, Chris, Phil.

Should go home: Justice will be served if it's any of the men, really, but let's say Phil.

Will go home: Probably Phil, but I'd be nervous if I were Blake, too.

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