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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: The Top 12

taylor.jpgI didn't have high expectations for Stevie Wonder night. There is only one Stevie and man, he's hard to sing.

Ace Young didn't exactly restore my faith, but he did cry in his interview. Thankfully, no tears made it to the stage. His rendition of "Do I Do" was OK, but should easily be forgotten by the end of a long two-hour show. However, I was very happy to see him leave the beanie behind.

It was disappointing, but not surprising that Kellie Pickler was unfamiliar with tonight's subject matter. She is not too bright. Luckily, she is cute. Stevie seemed to think she would have fun with "Blame It On the Sun." However, "fun" would be the last word I'd use to describe her performance. Even Simon was bored with her, but I think that's because she wasn't all country-fried slutty like he loves so much.

Stevie was impressed with Elliot Yamin. Who isn't? On the guy's side, his voice might suit tonight's theme the best. His rendition of "Knocks Me Off My Feet" was excellent vocally, but I was really hoping he'd go for something peppier. He still managed to get the first Paula Standing-O of the night.

Don't get me wrong. Mandisa is great. She is so great that I don't even care that she dropped her last name so early in the competition. However, I did not agree with the assessment that she was the best of the night so far. I guess I just expect more out of her and thought she was a little all over the place. When she belted out the chorus though -- that was the Mandisa I see making it to the finals.

Bucky Covington isn't bad, but his hair certainly is. In fact, it distracted me from his performance. It might be the single worst hair on TV right now. Simon's comment about him looking like Jessica Simpson was his most right-on assessment of the season.

For some reason, I don't like Melissa McGhee. I think it's her craptacular fashion sense. I mean, Kevin and Bucky are far worse, but I feel like she should know better. She should also know not to forget lyrics. I have to admit that she did a decent job with "Lately," but it was a bit safe -- and boring.

Loved seeing Lisa Tucker get down! However, I was slightly disappointed with her rendition of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." It's such a great song, but I think Lisa may do better with the ballad thing. That's unfortunate, since too many ballads get a bit boring.

The girls love Kevin Covais -- the 5-year-old girls. When those two came up on stage to give him the sign, it was cute. I am also thinking it will be a good souvenir. Kevin said he tried to put a little sexiness in "Part Time Lover." Even my dog groaned at this statement. The song was the opposite of sexy. It was also the opposite of good. Sure, he is America's nerdy/retarded little brother, but I think this might be his week to pack up.

Katharine McPhee was all sexed up tonight -- the dress, the dark eye makeup, the styled hair. She performed "Until You Come Back to Me," and was excellent, to say the least. She was, by far, the best of the evening at that point.

Damn Taylor Hicks has some soul. He picked the perfect song once again with "Living for the City." I was actually worried for a minute -- silly me! No surprise though: The guy has no shortage of crazy dance moves.

The Paris Bennett that we all saw promise in back in the audition phase was back in full force. Tonight was the best she has been in weeks. I hope she can keep it up.

Chris Daughtry found a loophole in tonight's theme. Stevie's "Higher Ground" was covered on 1989's "Mother's Milk" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. While I think it was a perfect choice for him, there was a bit too much wailing. The guy can work the bald head and knows how to perform, but for once, he wasn't the best of the night.

It was totally shocking to witness two hours of a Stevie Wonder-themed "American Idol," and not one person needed to perform "I Just Called To Say I Love You." I am so proud of the final 12 -- except Kevin.

Despite what the votes might reflect (I fear that people will keep him around purely for the jokes), Kevin was the weakest and deserves to be performing his swan song tomorrow night. -- Rachel Cericola

Mac's Random Thoughts from this Episode

• Welcome to the Top 12 show. Also known as "We finally got these people some stylists."

• The Stevie Wonder montage was phenomenal. Crying, clapping, and what may be the single greatest music video clip in recorded history: Stevie Wonder, live on stage, singing "I Just Called to Say I Love You" while CLUTCHING A TELEPHONE.

Ace needs to make a choice: Stick with the beanie or get a haircut.

• Stevie Wonder songs are a cruel choice because the contestants "think" they can sing them, but these are hard tunes. Even Elliott -- who's one of the competition's strongest singers -- struggled with the irregular arrangements.

• Is there an "idol" handbook that instructs contestants to wink and wave at the audience?

• Along the same lines, I'm surprised the contestants don't get distracted by that floating camera that zooms around them during performances. I'd freak out if that friggin' thing was buzzing me the whole time.

• With her disheveled appearance and her incomprehensible comments, it's only a matter of time before Paula fully morphs into Miss Havisham.

• "You're the best so far" is not a comment to be celebrated.

• Watching "Idol" in HD reveals some interesting things about contestants: Many of them sweat bullets, some of them wear copious amounts of makeup, and, most disturbingly, there's a disturbing overuse of body glitter.

• Wasn't there a clip earlier in the season that showed Simon berating contestants for forgetting lyrics? So, why was he so lenient when Melissa flubbed her song this week?

• "Part-Time Lover" is a dirty song. That's why it was so surreal to watch Kevin shake his booty while crooning "We are strangers by day, lovers by night/Knowing it's so wrong, but feeling so right." Enjoy this moment. We may never again experience such an oddity.

• Unfounded Prediction: Katharine will be in the top 3.

• For the second week in a row my boy Taylor BROUGHT IT! "Living for the City" is a tough song and Taylor ripped into it like nobody's business.

• Does anyone know if there's a rule against "Idol" contestants playing an instrument during their performances? I would kill to see Taylor break out that harmonica.

Chris needs to send a thank-you note to the Chili Peppers. Without their cover of "Higher Ground" he would have been screwed for song choices.

• Simon was dead-on with his observation that the first half of the evening was "all right" and the second half was "brilliant." I had big-time reservations in the early minutes, but from Katharine till the end of the show I really enjoyed the performances.

• My wife brought this up during the show and I have to agree: Ryan Seacrest is an excellent host. I know he gets his share of crap, but the guy knows how to handle himself and he does a fine job managing all the little quirks of "Idol." -- Mac Slocum

Posted by Rachel Cericola on March 14, 2006 8:15 PM
Permalink |

Chris gets special treatment from AI producers and SIMON.

My issue is this.

1. Chris gets to play ROCK SONG every week even on THEME NIGHT which supposed to test singer versatility. BUCKY the country rocker gets nothing.

2. Chris gets LIGHT SHOW.

3. Chris gets heavy guitar background to suppress his awful vocal screaming.

4. Chris gets last spot every week.

5. Simon start to lie to keep CHRIS on top , so he can win it all.

6. The comments like "chris made it own" is just pimp act. It was RHCP version. This judges don't even know that. What a....

7. Chris may not be faulted except missing notes and hiding behing one trick pony uptempo rocker image.

This show may be popular but today it showed this show become anoter planned predetermined CRAP.

Today i lost my respect for the show. I will see one more week , if it happens again that will be the end of american idol for me.

-- 1. Posted by: Alex at March 15, 2006 2:29 AM

Just last night you lost respect?? Wow... that's slow. Have you listened to ANY of Paula's comments this season?

-- 2. Posted by: Rachel at March 15, 2006 6:01 AM

Loved Taylor, Chris, and Katharine. Best performances of the night, no question.

While I'm on the subject of know, it's really bothering me that people are starting to say things like, 'How will he do when he can't do rock?!' or 'I'd really love to see what Chris does in Disco Week!' Well, see, here's the thing: that's why there are different genres of music. Does, say, Mariah Carey sing pop, disco, and country? No. A singer has ONE genre that they do, and they stick to it. Chris' genre is hard rock. So, the 'Theme Weeks' on AI are pointless and tell me nothing. So what if he can't sing disco? He's not going to put out a disco album, now is he?? He's good at what he does. That's enough for me.

Who should go home? Where do I start? I am not a fan of Kellie, Paris, or Lisa. The first two are fake, IMO, and working the 'ain't I cuute?' angle to get America's votes (and dammit, it seems to be working - let's start a backlash) and the last one's a little fembot. Plus, I honestly don't think any of them are great singers. I just don't hear it. Kevin's outgunned, big time, in this competition and shouldn't last too much longer. Melissa just pissed me off. HOW do you forget the lyrics not once (in front of the songwriter/singer who owns the song, no less), but TWICE, and on live, national TV? Girl, everyone else is working way too hard for you to get away with that. I don't think she takes this seriously enough, frankly, and now that we're finally getting to see her front and center, there's not much to see. Bleh. Mandisa, who I adore, was a little off last night. Sharp and flat in some places, but she's still awesome.

Elliott is the dark horse. I think he's naturally talented and I love to hear him sing. I thought he was pretty good last night. I was also pleasantly surprised by Bucky - he was by no means great, but he made it work for him, and I had been most looking forward to seeing him do Stevie Wonder. ;)

Oh, I forgot Ace. Which says a lot. He's cute, yes, but he wasn't good last night. Voice all over the place. I was not impressed. (Then again, Ace's voice has never really done it for me anyway.)

If I left anyone else out, it's because they apparently weren't memorable enough!

-- 3. Posted by: Sher at March 15, 2006 3:41 PM

PS - love the site and recaps. This is one of my first 'morning after' stops to check up on my favorite shows. Great job!

-- 4. Posted by: Sher at March 15, 2006 3:43 PM

Ace did not lose the beanie. it was in his back pocket.

Chris is NOT screaming. He had some runs in that performance and at least it is INTERESTING to watch. I did comment that the lights seem amped up for Chris but what can you do with the dippy BORING ballads but show waves or a sunset.

Plus, Bucky did the SAME thing, but badly, trying to turn Superstitious into a country flava rock vibe.

-- 5. Posted by: jlou at March 15, 2006 5:35 PM

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