Three Left And Counting

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Only one more review after this one. I have enjoyed writing these and hearing the feedback that goes along with putting your feelings out there about a subject that people feel strongly about one way or the other.

Last evening the final three contestants took the stage in Hollywood for the week that I enjoy the most. The premise is simple...three singers...three songs. One song is selected by the contestants themselves, one by a judge and one selected for them by Clive Davis, Chairman and CEO of BMG North America. I know it would be easier to just rate all three songs from each performer, but for me, following the way the songs are sung brings the comments into better focus.

The evening began with the Clive Davis selection. I was a bit surprised to see Elliott Yamin going first. He had not been in the "pimp spot" (last to perform) in many weeks and both Katharine and Taylor had the "pimp spot" since he last got it.

Elliott Yamin: Clive selected "Open Arms" by Journey. Elliott had not really sag any rock and roll yet, so I was excited to see him perform this song. I thought he did a good job with it. It got a bit rocky in the middle, but Elliott with his wonderful voice brought it back and finished strong.

Katharine McPhee: The one who no one thought would be here this week. The world anticipated an all-male final three. Katharine was given another chance. Clive selected the "I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly. Again, Katharine tried to make the song HUGE...oversinging and not letting us hear her voice. This has been her problem from the beginning...and it has been pointed out numerous times by the judges. She used her new trick since Ms. Pickler left and showed her "assets" in the hopes she can continue to wow the prepubescent teen audience.

Taylor Hicks: It appears Mr. Davis made a personal call to Bruce Springsteen to get permission for Taylor to sing "Dancing In The Dark". Taylor, has he has been doing all along - but more so the last few weeks - took the song and made it his own. He could have over-sold it with an exaggerated "Carlton Dance", but he didn't.. He had fun, but was restrained. His calling Paula up to dance - very reminiscent of the Springsteen video with Courtney Cox (pre-Friends days) - was great. His voice matched the song perfectly.

Second Round was the Judges choice:

Elliott: Paula selected "What You Won't Do For Love" by Bobby Caldwell. Elliott came out on this selection smoking. He soared to begin. In the middle of the song he went off a bit and lost the appeal for me. He started to over-sing and his voice went pitchy.

Katharine: Simon selected "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" by Judy Garland. Katharine went back into her collection of old American Idol shows and did her "Fantasia Moment" (remember "Summertime"). Sitting on the stage, she kept her voice in check and did a terrific job on this song. It was a moment for her, and she deserves accolades for this performance.

Taylor: Randy selected "You Are So Beautiful" by Joe Cocker. Thank you Randy for allowing Taylor to show the world why he is still in this competition. I know for a fact that thousands of women across America ::: thudded::: when Taylor hit the Woooooooooo note. I know that a chill began at my toes, traveled up my legs, along my spine and a flash appeared behind my eyes. This was a p-e-r-f-e-c-t performance...perfect!

The last round was contestant choice.

Elliott: He selected "I Believe to My Soul" by Donny Hathaway. I am not familiar with this song, as I am sure many were not. It was not a good choice to end his evening. His voice is wonderful, but this jazzy number just did not strike the right chord. Add to that, the fact that Elliott still looks so uncomfortable on stage. Granted, he has improved greatly from when we first met him, but there is no charisma when he performs.

Katharine: She selected "I Ain't Got Nothin' But the Blues" by Ella Fitzgerald. You know over the years as I have watched this show, the judges give advice and the contestants that take that advice advance. This year is the first I have seen a contestant who just does not get it and probably never will. I blame this on McMommy, the vocal teacher, who probably overrides what the judges keep telling Katharine, which is "SING THE MELODY!!!"
Here comes Katharine with a dress that she can never wear on a stage where the front row is close (well she could, and everyone will know what color the panties are). She oversang this song worse then her first. It was like she did not even listen when she was applauded for singing "Rainbow" quietly. She also has a problem on stage. She is one who sings, looks down, walks to spot, sings, looks down, walks to spot. She can not move on the stage and sing..impossible. Prove this? Sure...Her version of "Cherry Tree" and "Rainbow", both with her sitting on the floor were two of her best this season.

Taylor: He selected "Try A Little Tenderness" by Otis Redding. Now, if you are a follower of this blog, you know that Taylor selected this 3 weeks ago during Love Songs week, but was told by TPTB at the last moment he could not sing it. (His backup was "Just Once"...not his best performance). WOOOOOO we got to hear him sing it and though i thought it began a bit off, he just knocked it out of the park in the end. I would have preferred he not end with those last three jumps, but otherwise it was brilliant. Also interesting to note that Paula had selected this for Taylor to sing, but found out he had already chosen it. If he had done this as a judge's pick, I wonder what his selection would have been and we may never have hear "Beautiful", which would have been a sin.

Overall comment section:

Elliott: Man, if you were just comfortable and had selected a better last song...but you weren't and didn't. You have been my second favorite all season and you will be out there making music soon.

Katharine: Selling your talent for the sex appeal as you have done the last 3-4 weeks has lowered your appeal to me. When you sing the song and do not oversing you can be a great listen. You also need to learn that every song requires you to smile as you sing it. I am not sure you even listen to the words...and only sing them

Taylor: OK, yes I am prejudiced here...He has been my favorite since he told the judges in Las Vegas "I want my voice heard." Taylor, last night the world heard your voice! Actually, the last three weeks, listen to "Something", "In The Ghetto", and "You Are So Beautiful" and then tell me Taylor Hicks does not deserve to be the winner of this contest. If you have never heard them, use the links and go listen...take the 10 minutes to hear all three and then comment if you do not agree that this guy is a star.

Next week we will watch the final show. Taylor Hicks will be there. As far as who will be singing against him...well I would think it should be Elliott. Let me put it this way...Elliott hit 3 doubles last night. Katharine hit a home run with "Rainbow", but fouled out with her other two songs. I will take the threee doubles.

Last week was the first week that I did not get the going-home contestant correct. I hope this week my thought is correct. I would be disappointed if Katharine is standing next to Taylor at 10:00pm EDT this evening.

See you all tomorrow....Oh and since I have not done this yet, and I think it is now time...


3 Of Your Sparks

  1. sueann Says:
  2. Vince - Chills! Taylor was awesome! He actually dedicated "Try A Little Tenderness" to the Soul Patrol! I was in tears, which you will understand...LOL! Great review, as always! I'm with you, please let Elliott be left standing with Taylor...not Kat.

  3. anndi Says:
  4. Taylor's rendition of 'You are so Beautiful' was the most amazing I have ever heard. As usual, you are spot on!

    And yes, he is a star.

  5. Joyce Says:
  6. vince

    we are right on with you.... taylor is our man. as always you have the music thing going.


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