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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: Three for the Money

taylor.jpgOf all of the performances from tonight, for me, it was Randy's glasses that really stood out. Are they from the Sally Jesse Raphael collection? Fashion aside, each of tonight's contestants got to perform three songs -- one of their choice, one picked by the judges and one chosen by Clive Davis. This is not a new format, so let's get right to it.

Clive chose Journey for Elliott Yamin. I'd have to say, I was worried. However, Journey might want to put a call in to "Extra." He was no Steve Perry, but damn! This kid gave this song something that has been sorely missing for over 20 years now -- he gave it soul. Simon told Elliott to loosen up, but I have to defend him; I don't think that is humanly possible while performing "Open Arms."

Paula picked Bobby Caldwell for Elliott next. I don't know what it is, but I feel as giddy as Paula when this guy sings. He won't be a video star or anything (although I don't think any of the remaining contestants will be), but I just love to root for the underdog, I guess.

Elliott's choice was Donny Hathaway doing Ray Charles. This is the second time I have seen Donny Hathaway and Elliott mentioned in the same performance. Not sure if that is a good thing. While I think it's OK to have a role model, I don't think it's great to associate yourself with one person -- especially an artist that most people don't recognize. It sort of spoiled it for me.

Katharine McPhee got R. Kelly. Even with a female singing, I still can't get that R. Kelly video out of my head, which wasn't exactly working in her favor. I don't doubt that Katharine has a lot of talent. I just don't think we need another wailing female vocalist in this world. However, she would knock 'em dead on Broadway.

I was sort of shocked that some of the judges freaked out on her. What I don't like though is how she always seems so shocked. Just smile with those cute apple cheeks and take your lumps.

Simon picked "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" for Katharine. She has the face for it, but I was a little disappointed in the performance. I bought into the whole thing that this song would bring on her moment. I waited and waited. I guess I should have TiVo'd it, because I must have missed it.

Katharine's last performance was "I Ain't Got Nothing But the Blues." Now I see why she sits a lot during her performances because she sure can't dance. Have to say though, I thought this was her best performance of the night. It was big, fun and she looked friggin' hot!

Taylor Hicks rocked The Boss. It wasn't his best performance, but I like how he pulled up Paula, all Courteney Cox-style. I have to say though, could Clive have picked a worse Springsteen song? How about "Thunder Road?" "Born to Run?" I probably would have even preferred "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

Randy picked Joe Cocker for Taylor. This is the moment all Taylor fans have been waiting for this entire season. It was well worth the wait. Holy crap. I find Taylor to be pretty amusing, but I thought I was going to cry on that one. Best pick for the judges for the night.

Within the first few notes, you can usually tell how Taylor is going to do. "Try a Little Tenderness" had me hooked after maybe four bars. I am not sure if I liked how the song picked right up. I would have liked to have seen him belt it out a little more. However, I think this was a huge night for Taylor -- although I never had a doubt he would make it to the finals. He has yet to be in the bottom for the entire show. It ain't going to happen now. -- Rachel Cericola

Mac's Rambling Thoughts from this Episode

• I look forward to this episode every season. The judges finally get a chance to pick the songs for the contestants and if the contestants suck, the judges can't defer to the "bad song choice" criticism.

• Elliott's metamorphosis during this competition is nothing short of miraculous. At the beginning of season 5 there's just no way I could ever see Big E pulling off "Open Arms" by Journey. But he did it. He worked it.

• Hey! Did you know Randy used to be in Journey? No? Clearly, you haven't watched seasons 1-4. He mentions his Journey connection at least once a year.

• Clive Davis picked the wrong R. Kelly song for Katharine. She should have sung "Ignition" ... "Now gimme that toot toot / And I'll give you that beep beep ..."

• Katharine McPhee's Dad weeps like a baby every single week. It's nice, but in the pantheon of Great "Idol" Parents, he can't hold a candle to Vonzell Solomon's Daddy. Big hats, green suits, and an unabashed love for "Baby V" made him a highlight of season 4. They should bring him back as a guest judge.

• Taylor's version of "Dancing in the Dark" surprised me. I didn't think Springsteen and the Soul Patrol could mix, but dammit, those early bars did the Boss proud. I also appreciated his shout-out to the "Dancing in the Dark" video with his on-stage dance with Paula. And then he one-upped Springsteen by dissing Paula in front of millions of viewers. It was beautiful. Dance dance dance, then BLAM, he turned his back and waltzed off.

• When Katharine scores a Number 1 hit with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" she should be contractually obligated to give Simon 90% of her earnings. Simon picked the perfect song for her.

• Taylor's version of "You Are So Beautiful" was a hanging curveball that landed right in his wheelhouse. His heartfelt performance reminded me of his early-season rendition of "First Cut is the Deepest."

• Elliott tried to move in on Taylor's territory with Ray Charles' "I Believe to my Soul" but it wasn't a real threat since he did the Donny Hathaway version. Don't get me wrong, it was fine, but it's not a true Ray song.

• Taylor's show-stopping "Try a Little Tenderness" kicked my ass all over the house. I now need to to end my Rambling Thoughts so I can spend the rest of the evening calling in votes for my boy. Thank you and good night. -- Mac Slocum

Posted by Rachel Cericola on May 16, 2006 8:54 PM
Permalink |

I just want to speak on Katharine's defense--why do the judges say she is comparing herself to the original singer of almost every song she sings? They never say that to the guys. I believe she is extremely talented and I agree she would be great on Broadway.

-- 1. Posted by: Dana at May 17, 2006 8:53 AM

Come on .. Kat was by far the best up there last night. Elliot is boring... Taylor really only sings one range .. his voice is not that good. I did like his 2nd song but come on.. Kat has the vocals.

-- 2. Posted by: Val at May 17, 2006 12:17 PM

If we're going to talk about when Randy was in Journey, then this picture has to be included. Classic.

-- 3. Posted by: junger at May 17, 2006 1:47 PM

Kat does have vocals. I just wish she'd use her talent more and stop over-singing everything.

-- 4. Posted by: Rachel at May 17, 2006 2:38 PM

Actually, I agree with Mac and Rachel (I think). I think Taylor was the ABSOLUTE BEST of the night. He was astounding and I think, cumulatively, he had a moment. He has a moment just about every week, save one or two. He is so fantastic and I hope that Elliott's votes go towards him, because Katharine would be a forgettable winner (though honestly, I really like her too, because she's amazingly talented and sweet). Taylor would be the most unique winner in the history of "American Idol", for now and years to come. I hope the Soul Patrol comes through for him!

As for the night's performances, I think Elliott's first was the best, Katharine's second, and Taylor's third song that closed-out the show. (Though, basically, Taylor stole nearly every clump of songs.)

I wish it could've been down to Elliott and Taylor, because he was the sentimental favorite that would've went head-to-head in a real AI, guy-on-guy, Brokeback Idol showdown.

But Kat is gonna be good competition for Taylor, making it that much more exciting to see who prevails. If it weren't for Carrie Underwood, Kat might have more passion in being rooted for. But to make it up to Bo Bice and to award the undeniable best, manic talent, GO TAYLOR HICKS! SOUL PATROL!!

-- 5. Posted by: James at May 18, 2006 3:20 PM

Without a doubt, Taylor stole the show here... Personally, I did not care for Kat's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," although I do recognize that I am in the minority. I preferred her last song.

Taylor's moment was "You Are So Beautiful." As goofy as people think he is, you have to admit, he was awesome.

-- 6. Posted by: Rachel at May 18, 2006 3:36 PM

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