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American Idol Watch: Top 5

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Let’s go straight to the action with the Top 5 remaining contestants as they take on tunes from the year they were born and current fare.

Elliott Yamin – “On Broadway.” I felt like the performance went so quickly that it almost didn’t happen. And I think this is because I was patiently waiting for the performance to get great, and it never happened. Yet another solid performance from Elliott, and he even colored up the runs a bit, but it’ll go into the basket of Elliott performances that were good yet immemorable. Hopefully he’ll wow us with the next one.

Grade: B-

“Home.” We return to classic Elliott with the button down shirt and suit. I just have a question. Has Elliott Yamin EVER been off pitch? Ever? Not the most bombastic performance, but he definitely added a layer of smooth heart and soul to Michael Buble’s already beautiful song.

Grade: B+

Paris Bennett – “Kiss.” What a great song — it’s hard to go wrong with Prince if you have the energy and the vocals. Unfortunately, Paris didn’t bring either of those to the stage. The pacing felt very weird, she didn’t add anything new to the song, and I was honestly the most bored I’ve been this season. Looks like Paris is carving a spot out for herself mid-stage for Wednesday night.

Grade: C

“Be Without You.” This was a redeeming performance for our cute and cuddly Paris. She did the song justice, and without trying to emulate the Queen of Hip-Hop/Soul Mary J. Blige (which is impossible by the way). Will it save her from leaving tomorrow night? I’m not sure. This season has shown that just when you think you’ve figured it all out — something unpredictable happens.

Grade: A-

Chris Daughtry – “Renegade.” What a great performance from probably the best bet this year for a lock in the final two. Once again, Chris showcases his raw and edgy vocal prowess and turns out another stellar performance.

Grade: A+

“I Dare You.” Not sure how I feel about the choice of song, and the fact that the poor guy’s voice nearly gave out in the middle of the performance goes without saying. It was not a great performance, but America will forgive him.

Grade: C

Katharine McPhee – “Against All Odds.” Interesting how after Kat’s panty wardrobe malfunction last week, she wears what is essentially a fashionable straight jacket. She looked like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 — strapped in and waiting for her sedatives. As soon as I heard the first bars of the song and realized what it was, I knew it would be horrible. Why anyone picks this song I don’t understand, but her rendition of it was particularly painful. Bad note here, off-pitch there — it was just all over the place. Maybe those strappy-straps are a little too tight.

Grade: C-

“Black House and the Cherry Tree.” Great song choice? Yes. Great performance? Yes. But why, Katharine, are you straddling the floor and crawling and bopping around like an unruly child at daycare? The world may never know. Good to see her return to her soulful roots and depart from the Mariah/Whitney power ballads that she’s not too great at.

Grade: A

Taylor Hicks – “Play That Funky Music (White Boy).” Simon: “I liked the end…when you collapsed.” Quote of the night. Listen, I’m all for Taylor’s fun, upbeat performances that get us all snapping and dancing around our bedrooms naked — or maybe that’s just me — but after a while the jerking around and seizing onstage gets a little old, especially when the vocals aren’t up to par (and when I can see man-boobs). And the falling down at the end was rather awkward — particularly when Ryan joined him after the performance, and Taylor gave us a peek of his hairy gut.

Grade: C+

“Something.” How a Beatles song fits into the theme, I’m not sure, but either way, it was a great choice of song. I’ve always been a bigger fan of Taylor’s slower, sentimental performances than his on-stage seizures, (see Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble”) and this one definitely delivered. His vocals were on point every step of the way, and he made making a Beatles song your own seem effortless.

Grade: A

Best Vocal Performance: Chris Daughtry

Most Original Performance: Taylor Hicks

Best Overall Performance: Chris Daughtry

Going Home: Paris Bennett or Taylor Hicks[ADBLOCKHERE]

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About Chris Evans

  • Eric Olsen

    nice job Chris, and you were right about Paris! Thanks

  • Jim

    I thought Elliott was at least an A- on “Home”, but other than that I agree. I hope Elliott can stay to the final 3, I want to hear him sing 3 songs. He was really amazing on Home, some of the best singing this season, so controlled and haunting.

  • You were right about Paris, and wrong-wrong-wrong about Taylor. Thank god.

  • Judge Judi

    Ah Chris –
    You are right about many things. Elliot is NEVER off pitch. That’s amazing in itself. That’s why I can’t help but be amazed that people keep allowing him to end up in the bottom two! As far as talent, he’s the real winner in my book.

    And yes, Chris has a fabulous rocker voice!! He’s always great! Taylor is just a bit too quirky for me. I don’t think he would sell many records if he won this thing. Paris? Well, Paris had to go last night, and I’m fine with that. She’ll do great wherever she goes from here, but she just wasn’t mature to win this competition.

    Now …about Katharine! I’m trying to be non-judgmental, although it’s hard because I really, really, don’t like her. Her first song sucked BIG TIME! Bad vocals. But the second song?? What the heck was she crawling around for?? Was she trying to be cute?? It made no sense at all, and I think it made her look even more desperate in her attempts to try and win this thing. Whether you want to admit it or not, she’s had some pretty bad performances in the past few weeks. And her little act with saying “oh yeah, I knew it was bad, I could tell as I was singing, blah, blah, blah” Well if you are THAT good at being able to tell that it’s bad, why didn’t you correct yourself and stop singing BAD, and start singing GOOD??!!! Guess you’re not THAT good!?

    I know, as much as I preach about Katharine being “full of herself” every week, she’ll probably end up in the top 3, which makes me sick. But so help me God, if this chick wins this competition, I’m THROUGH with American Idol.

    I’d be thrilled with either Chris or Elliot winning!

  • Can’t say I would be thrilled, but better the Goat or the on-pitch Snore than the chilly one.

  • Judge Judi

    Are you calling Elliot a goat? And Chris a snore? Come on … we’re talking singing talent. And they BOTH can sing!!!

  • Your Honor, that’s your opinion. My opinion is that both Chris and Elliot have talent, but that Chris bleats like a goat and that Elliot’s singing puts me to sleep. Haven’t I the right to express that?

  • Judge Judi

    Begging your pardon … yes, you have that right!

  • howard

    Taylor should win this contest he is very original and he can sing, Chris well if you are under 30 and enjoy someone screeming into the mike he is your guy, Elliot got to love him he is as boring as watching a peach grow and Katherine well she is nice to look at and that has to count for something. Botton line if I were to lay out 100 bucks to go to a concert to see any of these four it would be Taylor Hicks atleast he has a hoot on stage.

  • SIzzlin

    You are right on! Paris going home was a good pick. She had to go, not that she wasn’t good, she just needs to grow a little more, age wise that is.
    As for Taylor, he IS the one that goes next. This is not supposed to be about who can act more like they are having a seizure, but for real talent, which if I must say so myself, Chris has it, Katherin, yes, she has it, but Eliott has it the most.
    Chris is a rocker and not everyone likes that, Katherine is cute, but I can’t stand her smugness, and Eliott, what a doll, he gets cuter every week, and he has a voice that I believe will be around for a long time and more kinds of people will enjoy.

  • Ty



    Now we can relax and enjoy the rest of this season. I still think we are heading to a Chris/Taylor final.

  • When Paris was sent packing last night, I swear my first thought was, “Great. Now I don’t have to deal with Mr. Ty’s incessesant anti_Paris tirades.”

  • Granpa Idol (is back)

    OK, everyone needs to settle down a bit. At this stage of the competition all of the players are talented and will make something out of singing as their life’s ambition. As this thing winds down I don’t think the best talent has been sent home (i.e. LaToya London in ’04) but I do believe some of the final four have an edge over the others. First I want to say that Paris could have won this if she did not have the “professional singers in her family” stigma. In my opinion she had the best stage presence and what a voice. It was far better than Fantasia who couldn’t hold a candle to Paris. I’ll bet you’ll listen to more of her records in the future than the remaining four. Now that she’s gone let’s look at who’s left.

    Elliott – great voice, bad package, pleasant personality

    Chris – great rocker voice, good package (lose the chain), genuine personality and nice guy

    Taylor – unique voice, unique package, southern frat boy personality (I was once one of these)

    Katherine – terrific voice, hot package, zero personality

    I think Chris will win as a rocker (reprieve for Bo Bice) and Katherine will come in second. Taylor and Elliott will drop off in the next two weeks but I’m not sure about the order.

  • Jeff

    Are you serious? Have you ever visited the Idol boards? Have you seen the posts for Taylor vs. the others? Its about 4-1. Have you been to dialidol.com? Taylor leading by a comfortable margin almost every week. Chris screams great, but unfortunately its not a screaming competition. Katherine is good when on, but thats about 50% of the time. Elliot… good voice, no stage presence.

    Its Taylor folks… its Taylor, the moves, the looks, the voice, the style, the charisma… Simon was on Good Morning America this morning and picked Taylor or Chris to win.. He knows as much as anyone. Taylor isn’t his favorite, but I’m sure he’s seen the vote totals…

  • Judge Judi

    Taylor?? Are you kidding me?? He’s too quirky and acts too wacked out! Besides, you can’t put a “WHOA” in each and every freakin’ song you sing!!??

    All things considered, I’d buy a CD from Elliot, from Chris (for the days when I want to just rock out) and yes, even from arrogant Katharine. But Taylor?? Nope, he doesn’t have that good of a voice. I guess he can entertain with his weirdness, but he doesn’t hold a candle to any of the other three as far as singing goes.

    And besides, I’d take Randy’s opinion over Simon’s any day (except if he says that Katharine should win the whole thing!) haha

  • Bart Lippard

    Chris, It amazes me why you and some others think that Taylor can sing. There was a mention that Talor did well on slow songs; the slower songs are the ones he sounds pitiful on. If he cannot sing a moving song where he can move and jerk and act a fool he is lost. Sorry folks but if voice insructors were the only ones voting Elliott would win HANDS DOWD! And you all know it. Bart

  • Jeff

    Bart, if a voice instructor were grading half the pop stars of today wouldn’t be pop stars. Taylor has a terrific voice… did you hear Barry Manilow? “One of the best voices I’ve ever heard” Taylor wouldn’t be in the final 4 if he couldn’t sing. He’s not a boy band guy, he’s a throwback, Joe Cocker, Michael McDonald. There obviously is LARGE desire for this, as the Soul Patrol is HUGE… he will win, count on it.

  • Bart

    Jeff, Please do not insult Michael McDonald, Taylor as we all know trys his best to sing like Michael McDonald but you have to keep in mind that McDonald has a unique voice and can acually stay on key and does not have to act like a Knit Wit on stage to do so. It has been said numerous times that Elliott is the only contestant that has acually sung on key every performance. You are right, there are a lot of pop stars out there making lots of green and just because you are a popular pop star does not mean you can sing. Do you think Aslee Simpson can sing? Just remember Elliott is also in the final 4 and he got there one way and that was his singing talent, no spastic dancing, lying in the floor or sucking up to the audience. If Elliott is voted off next he still will have accomplished more than any contestant on the show. You mentioned Soul Patrol, then you may want to get on the Elliott Train! Please go back and read No 15 from Judge Judi; sounds like a smart lady. P.S. Please do as I did and go online and just listen to the contestants sing only, over and over, without all the hype that is on the show and you will then realize who can sing and who cannot.

  • Ty

    NR Davis: Funny you should say that, because when Paris was gone, once the elation settled, I thought to myself:

    “Oh great, NR Davis is probably going to play the race card and mention how everyone left is white and that Paris is only gone because she is black, when in fact it is because she stinks.”

  • Judge Judi

    I’m with ya, Bart my man!! Taylor is in the final four for a reason, but it’s not his singing! It’s his weird and wacky “entertainment” value. Now remember! I didn’t say he was entertaining, but some folks think he is??!! Whatever!

    Jeff, you made me laugh when you mentioned that Barry Manilow said that Taylor “had one of the best voices” … well, listen back to that show. Barry said that about EVERY contestant. He said it about Elliot, about Chris, about Katharine … all of them!! In fact, MOST of the guest stars said that about ALL the finalists. What were they gonna say on camera? “Gosh, these guys really suck!” I don’t think so.

    My heart belongs to Elliot!! (and Chris, kinda)

  • Jeff

    Whatever ladies.. Taylor can flat out sing. Has any comment ever been made by the judges that he’s “pitchy” or out of key? No… never, check the tapes. He is always on. Secondly, did you hear Simon after last week “Its easy to forget that for all your balminess, you are a VERY VERY good singer”…I doubt Simon would just say that for the heck of it, he is brutally honest. And oh by the way, if you hadn’t read the news today, Simon picked Taylor and Chris in the finals. Bye bye lawn gnome Elliott and bye bye Kat…

  • Ana

    Jeff, it was “barminess” what Simon said about Taylor, and you miswrote “The best singer in the competition” when you mentioned Elliott in your post. Hee. ;p I really do like Taylor, too, btw, and think his voice is often underappreciated.

    But I’m surprised that you feel so strongly about what Simon says about Taylor now. It’s not a secret that he’d rather drop dead than see him win it. Of course, Taylor just might do it, considering how many votes he’s been getting (but then again Clay didn’t win…), but don’t you think it’s not an accident that the info about his marijuana incident has been leaked just now?

  • Hairy gut and man boobs? Who were you looking at? Taylor looked GREAT, I loved both performances for separate reasons, combining the two together in one night was very clever. Oh, and they’re not man boobs, LOL, they’re ‘pecks’. Thanks.

  • Jeff

    all right all right…. that made me laugh!! Actually I must say, I enjoy all of them, though something about Taylor just has sucked me in! For second, I like Kat and Chris equally well, and I hate to say it, but Elliott is my least favorite. I hear the judges fall all over themselves praising him, but I just don’t get it. He doesn’t do it for me, different strokes for different folks I guess!! Good luck one and all!!!!!

  • How will they market Taylor? He sounds like Michael Mcdonald. No difference