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TV Review: American Idol 6: Semi-Finals

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Here we are folks, down to the Top Three. Yep, I can't believe it's almost over either.

Like in previous seasons, the remaining contestants sang three songs. One was chosen by one of the judges, another by the producers (though in the past RCA head honcho Clive Davis had this role), and the third by the singers themselves. Also like past contestants, the Top Three briefly went to their respective hometowns for a day and received the royal treatment. Parades were thrown in their honor, they got to meet the mayor, etc. A street was named after Melinda, Jordin received a star in the mall where she used to work, and Blake beatboxed with Sir Mix-A-Lot.

What really intrigued me about last night's episode was that for once there was hardly any BS filler. I was astonished when Ryan announced Jordin's performance immediately after introducing the judges. Also, there wasn't a 5-minute video recap of each person's homecoming footage. For the most part, it was just one performance after the other. I was pleasantly surprised.

At this point it's really hard to grade the contestants. In my book, none of them get anything lower than a B. All deserve to be in the Top Three, and really it's now a matter of who has the most fans — or rather, whose fans vote the most.

Judges' Choice

Ya know, I've always wondered how the judges decide on which contestant to offer which song choice. Do they draw straws? Rock paper scissors? Eeny meeny miney moe? Guess we'll never know. Anywho, the contestants received their song assignment via a fax sent to the mayor or governor of their hometown (whichever politician they met).

B

Paula chose the Police's "Roxanne" for Blake, which I thought was interesting since Blake's face always reminded me of Sting. Mercifully he played it straight and didn't beatbox, but I wasn't crazy about his vocals. Randy and Paula liked it, but Simon couldn't help but compare it to the Police, and naturally the original artists were better.

B+

Simon chose Jordin's song, which was "Wishing on a Star." I thought it was pretty good, but it didn't make me sit up and take notice. Randy thought it was a very good vocal and was Beyoncé-like, but ironically Simon didn't like it, particularly the jazz arrangement.

Oddly enough, Randy chose Whitney Houston's "I Believe in You and Me" for Melinda, breaking the cardinal, unwritten AI rule that no one should sing a Whitney song except for Whitney. Naturally, Randy had to remind everyone that he worked with Whitney in the studio. Seriously — can his head be any bigger? I had to laugh when the governor's (or is it mayor's?) wife called him "Randy Johnson." I thought it was pretty boring, but all three judges loved it. Simon awarded Round 1 to Melinda.

Producers' Choice

As I mentioned, in the past these songs were chosen by Clive Davis. However, this year he left the task to the producers. I guess the old man preferred to stay in his sarcophagus and count his money. To be honest though, I feel that their song choices were better than the judges'.

B+

Jordin sang Donna Summer's "She Works Hard for the Money," which was better than the first performance but still wasn't that great. It's an upbeat song, but she didn't really move around much on stage. Randy enjoyed it, but once again Simon didn't care for the arrangement.

A-

I thought it was odd at first for the producers to choose a rock song for Melinda, until I found out later that it was a Tina Turner song. She sang "Nut Bush City Limits" and vocally was wonderful as usual. Simon said that he loved that side of her.

A

When Ryan announced that Blake was singing Maroon 5's "This Love," I knew immediately that it was the perfect song choice for him. It has his name written all over it. Not only was it infinitely better than the first performance, but he looked more comfortable on stage. Paula said, "This is a good night for you," while Simon said that it wasn't a copycat performance. In the end, Simon awarded Round 2 to Blake and Melinda.

Singers' Choice

The ladies chose songs that they previously sung in the show. I'm not sure what to think. On one hand, I feel it's a cop-out since they had sung them before and weren't challenging themselves. On the other hand, it's clever since they picked songs from their strongest performances that were sure to please the judges and the audience.

A

Jordin sang "I, Who Have Nothing" and it was as terrific as the first time she performed this piece. Randy said it was her best song of the night, while Simon grumbled that it was a very old-fashioned song and performance.

Blake sang Robin Thicke's "When I Get You Alone" and once again it was the right song choice for him. Not quite as good as "This Love," but it still suited him well. Like me, Randy preferred his earlier performance, but Simon said, "I actually really liked that."

Melinda closed the show with "I'm a Woman," which she sang perfectly in the past and performed perfectly again last night. Randy was pleased that he's seeing different ranges of Melinda's vocal abilities and is convinced she can sing anything. Simon said that if he were to reward someone a place in the finals, it would be someone who has been consistently good throughout the competition, meaning Melinda.

My thoughts: Unless all of Melinda's fans have developed carpal tunnel and can't use a phone, I think it's pretty safe to say that she's going to be in next week's finale. As for the other two, I'm hesitant to take a guess. On one hand, Jordin deserves to be in the Top Two, as she's vocally superior to Blake. However, I think that Blake has more fans and is the better entertainer. I would buy Jordin's CD, but I would watch Blake in concert. I really can't guess who is going home tonight, but I'm going to say Jordin because Blake may have the upper hand in terms of fans.

Who will be going home: Jordin

Who should be going home: no one

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About Toni Schwartz

  • http://tvandfilmguy.blogspot.com TV and Film Guy

    Congratulations! This article has been selected for syndication to Advance.net, which is affiliated with newspapers around the United States.

  • http://www.taylorhickblues.blogspot.com Jewels

    Minor correction on your title of a famous Tina Turner tune, it’s not “Not Bush City Limits” (sounds like an ode knocking the Prez) it is “Nutbush City Limits” and here’s a little Wiki info on the song’s monniker.

    That behind me, I say, I hope the final will be Blake and Melinda. Granted Grandpa-Pants-Beat-Boxing Blake can get somewhat tiresome, but giving the guy his due, he’s vastly more entertaining than Jordin. I had picked her to win this back in March, but she’s not my favorite. Mindy Doo is by far one of the best singers ever to appear on Idol and really deserves the top spot. Marketability though? Well really this entire season hasn’t spawned anyone of vast seeming potential in the marketability factor. Even Clive opted out from making an appearance this year.

    I’m just glad this year’s coming to a close.

  • http://www.noface4film.com Kaonashi

    TVG – Thanks!

    Jewels- Thanks for the correction. I’d never heard of the song before, so to me it sounded like “Not Bush”. Anyway, I pretty much agree with you, though I think that Blake is pretty marketable. As awesome as Melinda is, I do question if she can really make it in the industry. She doesn’t cater to a younger crowd, and a mature audience may not take her seriously, assuming she’s just a “reality show” contestant. As for Jordin, I also question if she would really do well. Unfortunately, the music industry is heavily driven on looks and let’s face it, Jordin isn’t exactly a skinny sexpot.

  • Judge Judi

    Kaonashi –
    Got another correction for you … I just watched the show from last night, and Simon said the second round “was a tie.” He didn’t give it to Melinda and Blake. Just wanted to get that right.

    I still think Jordin has the MOST marketability (voice, looks, personality, age) and although I really wanted her to win at the beginning, I’m getting just a TOUCH tired of her “cuteness.” She seems to be getting a little more “fake cute” each week. But from what I’ve heard, she is just genuinely THAT sweet. So good for her. Oh well, cute is cute, I still think her voice is great. They’ll all get great recording contracts, but who do you think is going to sell the most?

    Kaonashi – I also disagree with your remark about Jordin not being a skinny sexpot. SEX is NOT the only thing that sells. You’re right – she’s not anorexic, and she’s not licking the TV camera like Katharine McPhee CONTINUALLY did last season … but has Katharine McPhee sold THAT many CD’s?? I don’t think she’s going anywhere fast.

    I HATE that these A.I. contestants rely on their SEX APPEAL (Miss Legs – can’t even remember your name) and think THAT’S what is going to propel them to stardom. It’s a singing competition!!! Melinda is no “skinny sexpot” either … Look, if you want SEX and SKIN, then watch America’s Top Model. This is a singing competition, and Melinda and Jordin have the chops to be in this competition. Blake doesn’t really have that great of a voice. Entertaining? Hmm, I guess so. But not a very good voice.

    I know, I know … just my humble opinion. I still want Jordin over Melinda.

  • http://www.noface4film.com Kaonashi

    Judge Judi- when Simon said “a tie”, I thought that he meant Blake and Melinda since he didn’t care much for Jordin’s second performance as well.

    Speaking of Jordin, Kat McPhee may not be doing well, but you have to admit that many singers (Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Beyonce, J Lo, Madonna, etc)are/were sexy and use their bodies to sell CDs.

  • Judge Judi

    “… use their bodies to sell CD’s …” yeah, I know they do that, and it makes me sick. What about Jennifer Hudson, Cass Elliott, Aretha Franklin, Rueben Studdard. I know, I’m stretching here … but there ARE fat singers that have GREAT voices. Out of the singers you listed … Christina CAN sing, Brittany CANNOT sing (she grunts and groans her songs), J Lo and Beyonce CAN sing, Madonna CANNOT sing (it’s her controversy that sells stuff). I guess it’s all in the ear of the beholder.

    If you really want to be honest, Melinda is NOTHING to look at. Hate to be cruel, but she is NOT a good looking singer. But I give her props for being a good singer. And that’s what it’s about. VOICES, not LOOKS. Enough said … may the person with the most votes win.

  • http://www.noface4film.com Kaonashi

    Of course there are plenty of terrific singers with imperfect bodies and faces. But what I’m saying is that looks are really important in this industry, like it or not.

    Consider Florence Ballard’s sad story, featured loosely in “Dreamgirls”. Consider that in some music videos hot, sexy models are used to lip sync the original, fat singer’s words (i.e., C&C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat” video). Consider the many good looking but talentless singers out there who sell thousands of CDs and are extremely popular.

  • Judge Judi

    Yeah, consider it? Doesn’t it make you sick? What a fallen world we live in …

  • wow.

    I didn’t think that this would happen.

    Melinda is gone. I don’t know what to say.

  • Grandpa Idol

    I’m crushed but still want Jordin to take it all.

  • http://indiequill.wordpress.com/ Amrita

    this is such bullshit – melinda booted over jordin and blake? wtf?! i hope jordin wins – save me from blake.

  • http://www.taylorhickblues.blogspot.com Jewels

    Mindy Doo leaving tonight is no shocker. A real shocker would be for Blake to win this thing.

  • http://www.noface4film.com/ Kaonashi

    What. The. Hell.

    Unbelievable.

    I have no words.

    I have nothing against Blake, but for Melinda to go home at all is a fucking travesty.

    WHAT THE HELL?!?!?!?

  • Judge Judi

    I agree with Jewels. The real shocker will be for Blake to win this thing. Don’t get me wrong – I’m VERY surprised that Melinda went this week, but again, it’s all based on the stupid voters. They HAVE to change the voting on this show next year, so that the judges actually have some say in keeping the talented singers. Blake is NO comparison to Jordin (or Melinda) in vocal ability, so hopefully America will vote Jordin as the new A.I. and we will just have to wait for a better season next year. (and a better voting set-up)

  • http://www.noface4film.com/ Kaonashi

    Judge Judi, check out this article I just saw today.

  • Judge Judi

    Kaonashi –
    Thanks for sharing that article. It’s a point well taken. And at the end of the article, Wilson says “it sucks.” And it really does. I still say “what a shame, that this is what our world has come to.” But you know, they also called Jordin “a looker.” That’s nice, don’t you think? I just gotta pray that when Jordin wins this thing, she doesn’t go crazy and start making herself PUKE to get thin!!! I think she already looks great!!

  • http://www.noface4film.com/ Kaonashi

    Judge Judi- I agree with you. I hope that Jordin doesn’t turn into one of those lollipop headed girls. You know what I mean- they’re so skinny that their heads look enormous on their tiny frames. If she has her head on straight and has supportive, caring parents, then she’ll be fine.

  • Grandpa Idol

    She’s too smart for that and from what I can surmise from her parents they are solid. She’s just big boned but comfortable with herself and bubbling over with personality.