Leaping into the breach, I offer these humble reactions to tonight's Final 8 performances on American Idol, performances with the novel theme of songs from the year each contestant was born, complete with obligatory baby pics and wider than usual stylistic variety.
Nadia Turner, simply stunning in resplendent smile, short red dress, extensive legs and electrical wildness on top of her elegant head, once again perplexed and bemused the judges, who seem affronted by her unapologetic eclecticism, ranging variously week to week from classic R&B to new wave to rock 'n' roll to soul to the Great American Songbook to, tonight, an obscure Crystal Gayle (!) song from '77 that none of the three judges even recognized, which made them irritable, even Paula.
Simon is existentially cheesed that she simply won't play cricket and be "normal." Unfortunately, the nation doesn't know what to make of her either, and with a song that Crystal Gayle herself barely remembers ringing in their collective heads 9not) I fear for her lithe, toothsome self.
Hirsute Bo Bice was next and after iffy song selection last week (but who didn't, other than Constantine, in a misbegotten "Broadway" week?), he went for the Southern Rock motherlode with "Free Bird," which I had never before thought of as a vocal showcase. Though the song felt oddly truncated without the many guitar workouts, it was still effective as the Alabamian seemed happy as a pig in mud singing a song so HIM.
Bo, the oldest of the group at 29, still is not old enough to have been born in '73, the year "Free Bird" was released. But, invoking a little known codicil in the Faber College, I mean American Idol, charter enabled him to cite '76, the year he was born, as the release date of "Free Bird" because that was the year the LIVE version came out. Clever lad that Bo. Randy rejoiced, Paula swooned, Simon showed he has no feel for Americana - the audience booed his nonsense under the table.