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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: Ladies' Last Call

melissa.jpgI was hoping it was going to be '80s night. After all, Ryan Seacrest was wearing his Rick Springfield outfit from the "Working Class Dog" era. No dice. However, I was compensated by the fact that tonight's show was only an hour...

Paris Bennett looked great and she sounded pretty good. However, I am just not a huge Gloria Estefan fan. Simon is right when he says she will sail through to the next round, but I really want to see her recapture the magic from her first audition. That will take her to the end. What she has been doing for the past few weeks, I've seen countless times before.

The fact that Lisa Tucker is a Hendrix fan -- and could even belt out a few chords of "Purple Haze" -- pushed her up a few notches in my book. She is an excellent singer, but is she a risk-taker? The ballad tonight seemed like a safe bet to me. Now if she had come out and busted out "Crosstown Traffic" or something like that, I would have had more respect for her.

Is it me or did Melissa McGhee wear the exact same shirt last week, except in a different color and texture? Maybe her makeover dye is settling, but it also looked like she didn't wash her hair. I think her key was a little off, but I didn't care anyway. The song was bo-ring. She said she wanted to rock it out. Then don't pick the same '90s Heart song that has already been done; come and rock out "Barracuda!"

Kinnik Sky wimped out too. I didn't hear all of the various keys that the judges claimed, but she probably would have stood out a little more if she went with an upbeat song. And in a week like this and with the competition she's got, it might have been her last hope.

Katharine McPhee changed the tempo of the show -- probably with her "McFever." At the 40-minute mark, she was definitely the best of the night, but that's not saying much. I have to commend her though: she looked like she was having a great time and went for something different -- and difficult.

You have to hand it to Ayla Brown: she really takes what the judges say to heart. While I have to agree that her song choice didn't show off her vocal talents, Ayla was a lot less wooden then she normally is -- and that might be a bigger deal then nailing a difficult song.

Mandisa is consistently best female singer in this competition, without a doubt. Unfortunately, she is "every woman" -- and not wrapped up in a cute, compact package. I fear this might keep her from winning. Who knows though? She even got Paula to use the term "off the hook."

I love the fact that Kellie Pickler didn't know what a "minx" is. I thought she did well, but Mandisa was a tough act to follow. Simon is right though; she's like the "dirty" Carrie Underwood -- and who wouldn't be smitten with that?

With a few exceptions, the girls were almost as boring this week as the last. The only saving grace was that the show was shorter. These ladies are going to be bumming when they get blended in with the guys if they don't get crackin' on their song choices.

Say goodbye to Hollywood: Melissa McGhee and Kinnik Sky. -- Rachel Cericola

Mac's Rambling Thoughts from this Episode

• This is neither here nor there, but I really think the judges need to be held accountable for their comments. Far too often they tell a contestant to "do something upbeat" only to counter with "do a ballad" the next week. Ryan tried to get Simon to offer constructive criticism to contestant Bobby Bennett a few weeks ago and Simon did all he could to dodge the topic. Now, I don't have a problem with the judges' presence or involvement -- in fact, I agree with Simon more often than not -- but Ryan had a point: if they're going to rip these kids to shreds, at least give them something they can work with.

• Separated at birth (in a certain light): Melissa McGhee and Amanda Bynes.

• Separated at birth (in a totally different type of light): Melissa McGhee and Lindsay Lohan.

• Not Separated at Birth (in any kind of light): Melissa McGhee and the Wilson sisters. That cover of "What About Love?" hurt me.

Kevin Covais is the greatest sport in the history of television. First, he graciously accepted last week's ridiculous Chicken Little comment and tonight he was the butt-end of a sex joke (Katharine McPhee and Kevin Covais? Oh how very, very ridiculous!). But in both cases, Kev took it with a smile and a chuckle. If this keeps up, Kevin will qualify for sainthood sometime in late April. Either that or he's gonna go ape shit on live TV.

• I'm 100% sure Alicia Keys chucked a remote at her screen during Kinnik Sky's murderous rendition of "If I Ain't Got You." Can these people hear themselves? Why, in the name of all that is holy and mellifluous, do these singers take on songs they just can't handle?

• Despite an unfortunate connection to Constantine (don't do that -- don't ever do that), Katharine McPhee established herself as a big-time contender tonight. I might be jinxing her with this, but her effortless delivery reminds me of a certain Season One winner ...

• I'm in disagreement with the judges on Mandisa's performance (I'm sure they're all crushed). I want to love her voice, but she just doesn't hit those soul-lighting notes for me.

• Speaking of soul-lighting notes, I still can't believe Justin finished ahead of Tamyra in Season One. I know, I need to get over it, but really -- can anyone explain how that ever happened?

• When I become "Idol" dictator, my first decree will be this: No more Melissa Etheridge songs. My second decree will involve an extensive rewriting effort that will remove all mentions of the name "Justin Guarini" from the annals of "Idol" history.

• Inappropriate comment of the night -- perhaps of the entire season -- "Kellie, you are a naughty little minx." Mr. Cowell ... legal is on the phone ... -- Mac Slocum.

Posted by Rachel Cericola on March 7, 2006 8:09 PM
Permalink |

Sure, I can explain why Justin Guarini finished ahead of Tamyra the first season: He's better than she is. And if you'd actually watched the show, you'd know that Justin was the engine that drove that show the first season ... He was the one to beat right up the end. And then of course, the powers that be, proclaimed the pre-determined cookie cutter teenie pop queen the winner, but it was never in doubt that Justin had, and has, more talent in his little finger than all the contestants in Season One put together.

But you'd know that if you didn't just spout out PR drivel fed to you by the AI folks who decided to shape a negative image for Justin AFTER the show (so he wouldn't compete with their 'chosen one').

Ah, but this is probably too much reality for you. I understand you'd rather try to sell the canned version fed to you like pablum by the PR folks at AI, who like to try to rewrite history, early and often, each new year this show is on.

If you want to hear real music and a far superior production to the notoriously dreadful cds put out by AI ... try Justin's new independently produced jazz cd ... You can get it at his website But, no, I won't hold my breath that's you'd honestly listen to his fine music ... because that would most likely be too much work for lazy Idol reviewers, you know, like yourself. FAR easier to wait for the latest 'talking points' sent to you by Cowell. Enjoy.

-- 1. Posted by: Mary Reed at March 8, 2006 12:08 AM

Actually, Ryan sends the talking points.

-- 2. Posted by: mac at March 8, 2006 12:13 AM

I completely agree with Mary. Justin was the most fun, the most entertainking, the most charismatic, the most talented, the most handsome performer that A.I has had. It was exciting to watch him perform every week. He could sing beautifully and from the heart, dance, connect to the audience and capture the hearts of everyone who watched. America loved Justin and still does. To even suggest that references to him should be removed, is disgusting and what the A.I people tried to do for years, but talent wins out in the end. Listen to the wonderful new smooth Jazz cd Justin has created. "Stranger Things Have Happened" that can purchased at, and you will love it as his many fans do.
Personally I think A.I has been boring boring boring since that first season when Justin performed each week to the delight of millions. I look forward to seeing him tour with his new cd and I hope that he performs on the show once again to show the other contestants and america what true "Star Quality" is all about!

-- 3. Posted by: pat at March 8, 2006 12:54 PM

First off -- Rachel -- great stuff! I have been admiring your work from afar (just a few clicks away from you via the Fodder Network). Glad to be joining in this little chat today.

I can't help but weigh in on last night's episode. I have scoffed at the notion of watching A.Idol in previous years (what? because I have too many other important reality shows in my rotation? yes.).

I succumbed this year in hopes of "fitting in" a bit better with my friends and I have found the following:

* this show is surprisingly addictive

* this show is best watched via DVR to avoid the repetitive chit chat, commercials, and to survive the horrendous numbers

* the early days of the show are best when you get to meet more characters

* do they all copy each other with their gestures, pointing, eyeing the camera? how 'bout something original and less staged?

* there are some pretty amazing vocalists this season and they somehow make this Karioke Extravangza entertaining (which must be really hard)

Now that I've shared my general thoughts, let me say this:

I was really upset when Simon said that business to Kellie about her being a "minx." His attraction to her is completely clouding his judgment and is resulting in completely offensive behavior.

Kellie needs some serious vocal coaching, but does have such a wonderful story and works so hard. You really just have to get behind her when you realize how genuine she is. I agree with Simon to that end -- she's just like-able.


In this cynical world we live in, there just aren't many innocent folks left anymore.

Ladies & Gentlemen: we are watching a fall from innocence before our very eyes, thanks to Simon's harassment of her. When she realizes that she's the butt of everyone's joke and that she should trust that knot in her stomach, she won't be near as charming as she has been.

That's when the "guard" will be reporting for duty and we all having something to lose when the last of Kellie's innocence goes into hiding.

I'm really bummed about that. I think that it's the innocence is what makes this show so fun.

-- 4. Posted by: Kathryn at March 8, 2006 2:30 PM

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.
No one is saying Justin is a complete no talent BUT Tamyra was infinitely better. And if Justin is such a shining star, why was his first album such a flop? That the AI people didn't want the runner-up to have success doesn't fly as an explanation. Can you say Clay?

-- 5. Posted by: jlou at March 8, 2006 7:24 PM

You really can't compare Clay's success to Justin's. AI1 was the "guinea pig" season - and the powers that be learned from their mistakes. Justin's was prevented from releasing anything right after the show - when there was this huge momentum. He had to wait almost a year - and the release coincided with Ruben & Clay - recipe for disaster.
Justin got a raw deal all the way around, but he's working hard independently - from the ground up - to find success - and I hope he does!

-- 6. Posted by: Sue at March 9, 2006 1:08 PM

If Tamyra was such a better talent why did she sell even less than Justin even after being pimped on the show that season and accompanying the AI3 tour (to less than stellar reviews)?

Because she's B O R I N G. No one cared enough to vote for her on the show and no one cares now.

-- 7. Posted by: Sandy at March 9, 2006 1:43 PM

Wait, we can still vote for Tamyra now? Why didn't anyone tell me!

-- 8. Posted by: mac at March 9, 2006 2:05 PM

What's up with Mandisa's tongue? Nice coat!

-- 9. Posted by: Bruce at March 22, 2006 1:58 AM

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