A day late and a dollar short, AI3 went to the movies tonight. Even an appearance by the always manic Quentin Tarantino couldn't save the show from a flood of uninspiring, mediocre performances. As usual, it was up to Fantasia and LaToya to carry the evening, and they both did so in grand style. While the dueling divas were as good as we've ever seen them, the potential fun and energy of the soundtrack theme was ultimately unfulfilled. This night should have been a chance for the singers to take it up a notch, especially in light of last week's overall sub-par show; the realm of movie songs is so vast that there were virtually unlimited choices. Unfortunately, most contestants stuck to safe, slow ballads that, while occasionally powerful, lacked the verve we've come to expect from this group.
What else is there to say about Fantasia? From the very beginning, she's been the contestant to beat. Tonight, she proved again that she is a star. While I don't think Summertime was the best choice for her, she made the song her own. She separates herself from the rest of the pack because she is a born performer. While there are good singers and even great singers in this competition, Fantasia is the only one who, even before the contest is halfway over, is already a star.
The only AI3 finalist who could end up giving Fantasia a run for her money is LaToya London. After a few rough weeks, LaToya rejoined the front runners during last week's Elton John show. She cemented her standing in the number two spot tonight with a Broadway-worthy version of Somewhere. While she has the same diva-like aura of Fantasia, she's not quite as edgy, and that's why she'll likely end as the runner-up later this summer.
JPL was back in prime form tonight. His "dance moves" were toned down, but his vocals were spot on. Jon gave thousands of pre-teen girls exactly what they wanted, and it will show in the votes tomorrow night. He may have even topped his previous Elvis performance with his version of Jailhouse Rock. Granted, Simon is still baffled by his appeal, but, like it or not, America loves Jon Peter. In the end, he could wind up in the #3 or #4 position.