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TV Review: American Idol 2006 – The Top 12 Perform

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Image hosted by Photobucket.comSo the final 12 contenders in this year of our Lord 2006 performed for what has to be the top reality show …ever. Which would be Fox’s American Idol series and this year is the fifth competition. A quick span of the sponsors of this contest included Wendy’s, Kohls, Ban deodorant and Ford. Of course there’s plenty more sponsors and goodness knows AI has its share of commercials.

Fox has figured out how to milk this annual competition for every dime. Who would have thought of having the very tryouts as feature for the series? Yes Fox did and add in a few of the really bad who thought they could win but had not a chance, and you’ve got a human interest story with a bit of whimsy. Move on to the countdown to the final top 12 and again, milk it some more.

Add to the commercial airtime, the revenue from the albums, some tours across the country, American Idol toys, gadgetry and icons, and boom, money pours in. Yes it’s undaunted American capitalism and may it reign until the public grows tired and spends no more. The way this competition grows in terms of public interest each and every year I believe that the American Idol competition will become part of the very fabric of American life.

Soon, each and every song played across the air waves and on the podcasts will be sung by American Idol finalists or winners and before blinking an eye, this country will have an entire industry of musicians all “elected” by the American public. By me, this is way preferable to the nepotism and ‘luck of the draw’ method of our current singer recruitment methodology. If Liza Minelli weren’t Judy Garland’s daughter would she be anything beyond a receptionist at a used car dealership? How soon do you think a singer of Liza’s ability would have been kicked off of American Idol?

Enough with the musings, we move on to the top twelve 2006 American Idol.

At this point in the competition the contestants do not have the luxury of choosing their own songs. Indeed, in keeping with the hype as flamed by Fox, another element is added to the entertainment by the introduction of famed singers as they coach the AI contestants with their songs and prepare would-be Idols to perform them live. On Tuesday evening, 3/14/06, the famed singer was Stevie Wonder and there’s an irony in that so many of the contenders chose Wonder songs when they had a choice.

Three of last night’s contenders caught my eye as they hadn’t caught it before. At this stage of the competition, of course, the contestants get a bit more fashion help and vocal coaching. This fussiness adds a dimension to their performances not seen in the early elimination rounds.

The show began with contender Ace Young, a fellow I pegged early on as the possible winner of this year’s competition. Now, with the singers fleshed out a bit, so to speak, and the requirement to sing songs chosen for them instead of by them, I must reconsider.

Ace sang “I Do, I Do” and he did sound, oddly I’d assert, a lot like Stevie Wonder himself. Which is not a good thing necessarily. And if Ace got any fashion help before this first show of the top 12 it didn’t show. Ace insists on a very casual, hip, messy hair type of fashion and some might say it suits him. Well yes, it would suit him were he not in the most difficult competition he might endure in his pursuit of a singing career. Simon declared Ace’s performance “manic”. I was totally unimpressed by Ace’s performance and indeed, others stepped up to the podium and did a much better job.

On to Kelly Pickler, the sweet country bumpkin of this year’s competition. I thought “Blame It On the Sun” an odd song for Kelly but then her genre is country music and Wonder’s music is anything but. Kelly did look absolutely gorgeous with a voluptuous black dress and red heels. Pickler needed to present an image other than a country hayseed and her song and fashion choice did just that. I don’t see Kelly winning this thing but this contention is based on a hunch that last year’s winner, Carrie Underwood, captured the country/western genre solidly and Underwood will be the benchmark for such winners in the future. I don’t see Pickler as anywhere near Underwood. Randy termed her performance as a “non-event”.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comBucky Covington caught my eyes and ears during this first show in the eliminations of the top 12. Of course Bucky’s been around but he didn’t resonate during those preliminaries. On the evening of 3/14/06, Bucky displayed the most angelic halo of curly hair and this took me aback. Simon remarked on Bucky’s “Jessica Simpson” hairstyle and said it had to go. Perhaps. But it did make me stare in wonder and subsequently my interest was piqued. Covington sang “Superstition” and I was impressed by his performance of a song so obviously not his genre. Bucky would be considered a country/western/rocker sort of singer, another genre not in Stevie Wonder’s repertoire.

I consider a winner in this song genre and I think the time might be ripe for a male country/western singer. Add in Bucky’s rock flavor and I would not rule out this guy. I thought Bucky gave a stellar performance and all of the judges were impressed. Finally, I really liked Bucky’s “necklace” and thought it added just the right hip accent.

Elliott Yamin sang “There’s Something About Your Love”. The song came off as a lounge song and I thought Elliott looked goofy. Okay, so that’s not so kind but it’s the first adjective that sprang to my head. Simon said that while Elliott’s performance was not bad, that it was “not incredible”.

I like Mandisa and think, if she should win, her one name shtick will really work. The very first thing notable about Mandisa’s performance on the first night of the top 12 eliminations was her appearance. Wow. She looked great. I’m glad she took my advice to change her fashion. Although the host removed her shoes before Mandisa performed and I don’t know what that was all about. Mandisa sang “Don’t You Worry About a Thing” and I thought she did a fine job, performing fluidly as if in her element. Paula remarked that Mandisa can “sing anything”.

We must whisper softly in that such comments are inappropriate. But Melissa McGhee has a nice set of mammary glands up top and I’ve noted many search queries on my blog to the effect of “Melissa McGhee’s boobs”. But boobs aren’t going to win this contest although they can present an interesting diversion.

That being said, Melissa sang “Lately” and I thought she sounded like she was in pain. I did adore Melissa’s dress, one of the few times she wears such a thing as she herself asserts. Early in a pre-song vignette, Melissa remarked that while working with Stevie Wonder she was ashamed that she forgot the lyrics. Then she goes onto sing and she forgets them again!

I think forgetting the lyrics, in performance, is an unforgivable error. Makes me think the singer was partying a bit much and didn’t practice enough. Oddly, Simon thought McGhee did a nice job. I say Simon either is entranced with Melissa’s boobs or he sees her as a winner. With this part of the missive being written before the first elimination round, I’d predict Melissa might be the first booted out of the top 12.

If Melissa McGhee is not the first booted off of the top 12, I’d have to go with Kevin Covais as my second choice as being outta there. Covais has a great voice totally incongruous with his appearance. I just don’t see someone who looks so young and nerdy as Covais as winning this thing. The night of the first top 12 elimination round, Covais received a sign from two of his “fans”. Hand to God one of them was but a six-year-old child, with the other not much older. This is not a demographic that’s going to carry this contest. Although these children’s future music buying habits should not be dismissed. Perhaps Covais will move on to be a popular singer my young granddaughter will enjoy.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comChris Daughtry gave what I thought the best performance of the night. He sang “Higher Ground”. Chris is another singer who I overlooked during the early rounds but last night, backed by an amazing setting, Chris wowed me. Randy declared he “worked it out”. Indeed he did.

Lisa Tucker sang “Signed, Sealed and Delivered”. Lisa wore hip casual clothes, not an unpleasant sight. As I listened my thought was that the song bored me. As soon as Lisa finished the first word from the judges was “bored”. Tucker could be the female dark horse in this competition. She hasn’t had her chance to shine yet. For now I’ve not been moved one way or the other regarding Lisa.

Katharine McPhee wore a granny type dress. It was pretty but a bit odd. I didn’t know the song Katharine sang but something about her voice that evening irritated me. I don’t know whether it didn’t have enough range or variety to suit my taste but Katharine’s performance left me glad when it was over. The judges, however, liked McPhee with Paula declaring it the “best performance”.

Taylor Hicks came out in very tight pants which were fine except I can’t shake the feeling that Hicks is really an accountant that was let lose for a trip to Hollywood and tries to act cool and hip once released from the world of numbers. And again, Hicks moves about the stage in some sort of ungodly gait that appears just plain weird. Taylor was asked if he would accept some stylist’s assertion that he should dye his hair. Although Taylor’s salt and pepper hair looks fine I do think it would go a long way to removing that accountant image. Randy declared Taylor a “hot performer” and indeed the crowd did seem to love him.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comParis Bennett keeps on intriguing me although I’d be the first to admit she’s not a singer I’d give a second glance under most circumstances. She has the very cute black Barbie doll looks as another Blogcritic described it but the child has a voice and an urge to perform that can’t be denied.

I understand that Paris comes from a musical background and has starred onstage before in her own right. So long as she’s met the requirements for American Idol I’m satisfied to allow her to go as far as she can.

Paris sang “Thinking About You”, wore a great outfit with a hairstyle that was gorgeous if a bit juvenile. The only down note about Paris is that she immersed herself so much in her song that she didn’t smile enough while belting it out. In fact, she looked a bit angry during the song.

This is certainly not to say that the three highlighted singers in this missive in any way are my choices for the top three. If I’ve learned nothing else while watching these early American Idol rounds is each performances brings yet another talented singer to light. Get it down to the top six and then I’ll do cautious predictions.

The Elimination Round-3/16/06

The bottom three this week out of a pool of 32.5 million votes were Ace Young, Lisa Tucker and Melissa McGhee of the forgotten lyrics. I was surprised at Ace being in the bottom three but he was safe and will move on.

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About pat fish

  • christina mullins

    chris daughtry is the best american idol by far.He is a natural and he is comfortable.I would vote for him a hundreds times over.He deserves it.

  • Jim

    The name of Elliott’s song was “Knocks Me Off My Feet”. I didn’t think it was a lounge performance, or anything close to that, but he’s very nervous and he needs to pick better songs or he’ll leave soon. I hope people vote for him next week because I don’t want him to go yet and his line is never busy. His emotion at meeting Stevie was very moving.

    Lisa IS boring. They praise her no matter what she does. I wasn’t impressed by her performance, or by her rudeness in not even acknowledging Melissa when Melissa was eliminated.

    Chris was doing the same stuff he does every week. It may work for him, but why Simon called it a “risk” I don’t know.

    Bucky’s hair, to me, made him look silly and was very distracting. He looked like Leif Garrett. I wish he’d stop the growling and the squatting.

    Mandisa was off for all the softer parts of her song, and only did well with the shouting parts. I was surprised, I thought this week would be easy for her.

    I thought Paris – even with her attitude – gave the best performance.

  • Jim

    Oh, and I think the name of Paris’ song was “All I Do”.

  • Donna

    I think Kevin has confused pity with adoration and I think it’s gone to his head. Surely he’ll be the next to be eliminated. I’m not a big Ace fan but he did much better than Kevin on Tuesday night. I’m not a Bucky fan either but I must say that he pulled it out…even though the “dance” moves could have been omitted.
    Chris Daughtry is very talented but he’s one dimensional. All of his songs are rockin’ no matter what he’s singing. It makes me think that is the only genre he can pull off.
    Taylor Hicks is my pick. He’s brought something to the show no one else ever has. He’s original which is what the show claims to be about while they’re trying to fit everyone into the same little mold. Don’t let them mold you Taylor – stay true to yourself and your music! We’re behind you 100%!!

  • trooper_D

    Taylor is a ‘fun’ performer. Win or lose, this guy has fun just performing on stage.

    Kevin is getting a bit arrogant lately. I guess he thinks he’s invincible and will make it all the way. I don’t think so. In his dreams maybe.

    Mandisa’s got soul and rhythm. Paris is okay, Kelly’s fine, Katharine’s holding her own so far.

    Chris and Bucky are probably gonna have a battle of the rock singers, with Chris probably coming out on top.

    The top 3 I’d like to see…. Chris, Taylor and Mandisa. But these are just my choices, America has the last say as to who makes it there.

  • chantal stone

    Patfish…please check your song titles (“Do, I Do”, “Knocks Me Off My Feet”, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”, “All I Do”) before posting your articles…..Stevie Wonder and his music deserve that respect. kthx

  • Rocky

    Mcphee can really sing. I think she is the most appealing female. She also has some “junk in the trunk” which i am also a big fan of. Kevin and Ace stink on ice. Paris is over confident and annoying. I trully hate the way she says “thank you”. Paula and Randy’s comments are irrelevant. I liked Chris’ last performance. It was the first time he didn’t sound like Eddie Vedder. I would pay money to see Taylor perform if it was a small venue and could watch him dance. Elliot has the best voice, although he look like Tumnus from the Chronicles of Narnia. I tell you the truth.

  • Tom

    I thought your comments about Liza Minelli were way off base! Have you ever seen Cabaret? She has plenty of talent. And a uniqueness lacking in many of today’s manufactured celebrities.
    I say Mandisa and Chris are usually the best, but this week Katherine McPhee was great. She had so much emotion in her performance. By the way, the song she did is an old Aretha Franklin hit.

  • John

    OK, let me get this straight. You were impressed with Buckey, but were irritated with Katharine. That is just intellectually dishonest. You can’t grade on a curve in this competition. There is only one winner. Buckey and Katharine are not even in the same universe talent wise. Please don’t waste our time.

  • http://chrisdaughtry avis

    because he looks like ………

  • Stinky Z

    I think Reuben is going to win again. He’s the best. Plus, I know for a fact he loves monopoly. Who wants pudding?

  • Dana

    I think Taylor is the next American Idol, He will always be my idol no matter what!!!!! I love you Taylor!!

  • Amanda T.

    I think that all 12 are very talented. My opinion is that either Chris or Mandisa will go all the way. There still is a long way to go though, anything can happen .

  • http://KewlKat Kathryn

    I think there are many talented people, but the girls are the best. i think the best are mandisa and Lisa tucker. i think they are going to be the finalists.

  • Ahmed Khurram, Pakistan

    Hi i am ahmed from Pakistan, First i thought Paris will become an idol. But now i say that paris is too short always change her hair style and her voice vocal is going deeper. now i say chris daughty is the best rocker. He is better than paris When i first heard his song it was great . chris will become an American idol or who eles.

  • RENEE POOLE

    BUCKY IS A GOOD COUNTRY SINGER AND EVEN BETTER PERSON.

  • Maliha

    they should save themselves the trouble and just announce chris daughtry the idol.he has it.he rules.

  • abdallah saggaf

    paris should go home…..yesterday!

  • Junja

    I really like Chris Daughtry, and Katherine McPhee. They are my favorite so far. I think that they will be the last two remaining. They both have great vocals and strong voices. They are most likely to be in the remaining 2!!!!!

  • Poloy

    Taylor should go home!!!!! For SURE

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