American Idol - Top 12 review

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Thursday, March 16, 2006


Stevie Wonder Week... I had my doubts about some of the 12 singing Stevie... strangely enough, it was other people who hit the wall....


TAYLOR: "LIVING FOR THE CITY" Another stellar performance by Mr. Hicks. Only one of two contestants who has been given consistent good grades from the judges this season. The man can sing and he can entertain, and that is what it is all about... Now about that harmonica....

CHRIS: "HIGHER GROUND" This guy can flat out sing...The other contestant with consistently good grades from the judges. As he even pointed out, he found a bit of luck with the song version done by the Chili Peppers. That is the one thing that worries me. What happens when the genre does not give him that luck?

MANDISA: "DON'T YOU WORRY ABOUT A THING" She should not have to worry, but it was not a real strong performance this week. I found myself drifting away and looking around the room as she sang and that ahs not happened with Mandisa before.

ELLIOTT: "KNOCKS ME OFF MY FEET" One contestant I had no worries about in regard to singing Stevie... yet he just did not have that BANG WOW factor last evening. Still one of the top competitors... but last evening was not his shining light.

PARIS: "ALL I DO" This is the performer I have been waiting for. She has seemed uncomfortable the last few weeks. Last evening, there was only a solid sense of who she is and what she can do. Great job.

KATHARINE: "UNTIL YOU COME BACK TO ME" Best female vocal of the evening.. bar none... When she opens her mouth to sing, it is just amazing. She gets more comfortable each week with her stage presence, which has been my one critique of her.

LISA: "SIGNED SEAL DELIVERED" Another performer who kicked it up last evening and brought her A game. Wonderful rendition of the song. great chops and a seasoned stage performer. Has she lost her fan base before this week? Will she be safe?


ACE: "DO I DO" Well, not the way to start off the final 12 first week of competition. Did he look uncomfortable up there or not? He just struggled the entire song, and put a target on his back. Not sure if he should be in the BUBBLE KIDS grouping, he has his core base and will most likely get through.

BUCKY: "SUPERSTITION" One contestant I presumed would struggle with this material and then he goes and "Southern rockifies" this song and does a great job. Still real raspy and gravelly and that is why he is on the bubble for me. Should be around next week, but can also be gone real easy.

KEVIN: "PART TIME LOVER" Struggled on where to put or below. Yes, as Paula said, he was in tune and on beat, but his voice is too immature. I would have loved to have seen him not make Hollywood and come back in a year or two when his voice matures more... then he would match up better.


KELLIE: "BLAME IT ON THE SUN" Nah.. blame it on the outfit, the song choice and most certainly blame it on your vocals. A complete train wreck. She can apologize over and over...will not help. After that performance it should be clear she is over matched in this competition. She has not had a good vocal in 3 weeks and the only complements she gets from the judges are on looks and quirkiness...sorry, she should be gone.

MELISSA: "LATELY" I actually thought it was her best performance so far... BUT...If you cannot remember your lyrics at this point, you should not be here. Sorry Melissa... but that is just the way it is. You not only embarrassed Stevie, you embarrassed yourself.

2 Of Your Sparks

  1. RenaRF Says:
  2. Nice to see a blogger on the American Idol site who is over 22 years of age (like myself).

  3. RenaRF Says:
  4. And now to your critique:

    TAYLOR: By far and away the most interesting, engaged and pure entertainer on the stage. None of those "smoldering" looks at the camera. When Taylor Hicks says it's all about the music, I believe it absolutely. There's a sincerity and purity to everything he does, a sheer sense of joy that conveys that I think will take him all the way.

    CHRIS: Yep. Another great one from him and his voice is so strong and so interesting. I see him in my top four but I don't see him making the top two. I think the lack of ability to solidly transition between genres will catch him eventually.

    MANDISA - It was a shame becuase the song was so incredibly challenging - the range required in that particular song is difficult in the extreme. I felt it showed on her in the lower register but she had the high parts to save the performance.

    ELLIOTT - Another one of my favorites, frankly, and I agree that his performance was flat and, frankly, uninteresting.

    PARIS - I liked her performance this week a LOT but have to confess that I have an aversion to what I see as a little bit of a "diva component" in her. The singing/talking at the end when she was talking to Ryan Seacrest was in bad taste, imo.

    KATHARINE - Agree. She's the best of the girls with the most natural ability. She's in my top two with Taylor Hicks.

    LISA - Totally disagree with you on this one. I think she's a sloppy and one-dimensional singer. Her vocals lack the precision of all of the female singers in the final twelve with the exception of Kellie, who is trading on the cute factor. I would expect her to be gone in three weeks.

    ACE - I put him in the top 6, trading heavily on his "sexy dude" factor. I have to admit that I'm really put off by the smoldering looks thing - it doesn't make up for pitchy vocals that lack both timing and precision and that's what he's given the past two weeks - not bad, but kind of just not great.

    BUCKY - I don't even understand what he's doing there. He's not well rounded, he doesn't have a particularly excellent voice, and he doesn't have a particularly stellar personality. I thought his choice of "Superstition" was supremely safe - it's one of the ONLY Stevie Wonder songs that kind of stays within a given register and is not especially vocally challenging and I wasn't impressed with how he performed it AT ALL. He was my top choice to go this week.

    KEVIN - Again - WHAT is he doing there? At least he has the "oh - isn't he young and cute?" thing going for him but his vocal was just awful. I envision his performances as holding up well in front of the high school choir but not suitable anywhere else. I don't get it AT ALL. I see him gone in two weeks.

    Your bottom ones were not remotely my bottom ones - Kevin and Bucky were the worst of the Stevie Wonder week without question. I would have put Kellie in the bottom three strictly based on her performance, which was boring and hesitant and didn't especially show any vocal challenge. HOWEVER - I thought she performed surprisingly well with the Melissa Etheridge song the week before, a song that is VERY difficult to sing and she did it well. I would give her a walk strictly based on that.

    And as to Melissa, I think the fact that she wasn't prominently featured in the audition process and through Hollywood week was what doomed her. Despite the fact that she forgot the words, her performance, imo, was extremely solid on a VERY difficult song - you try and sing "Lately"!! It's hard as hell, believe me. I thought she did it well and had/has a really distinct voice. I'm not deluded - I didn't think she's make it past week 5 of the final 12 - but to have her go while Kevin and Bucky stayed is just WRONG.

    So there's my analysis!!


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