I was desperately hoping that this week's American Idol would be awesome. While there has been a lot written in the media about how this season's cast is the weakest the show has ever had, there are at least four really talented vocalists still remaining, and I was hoping they would turn up the heat and prove the pundits (and Simon) wrong. However, in some ways this week was even more disappointing for me than last week's abysmal Latin week.
The reason for my disappointment is that, almost without fail, the contestants actually made really smart and interesting song choices this week. Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood -- these are great artists, and they provided the contestants with really great songs. And while the contestants were, for the most part, solid, they just weren't inspiring. Aside from one standout performance, they were straight up fine -- not great, just fine. And at this stage in the game, solid and fine aren't good enough. We don't want the winner to be solid, we want the winner to be extraordinary.
Which may be the reason I am thinking now, more than ever, that Jordin Sparks should win this competition. While Melinda is the consummate pro, and will most likely never have a truly bad performance, Jordin, alone, is the only contestant who seems capable of giving that Kelly Clarkson-eque feeling that you are witnessing something truly special. LaKisha accomplished the same thing, but it was eight weeks ago, and now seems like a distant memory. And while Blake is certainly unique, and will likely have a successful career following the show, I'm just not sure he has the chops to win a singing competition.
Yes, Jordin is my pick for best of the night with her thrilling rendition of the beautiful Martina McBride song "Broken Wings." The performance had a few wobbly notes, but all in all it was the only one that made me sit up straight in my chair while I was watching. I loved it.
As I said, Melinda was solid, but unspectacular, on "Trouble I am Woman." That's been the problem, if you can call it that, with Melinda the past few weeks -- I'm starting to take her dependability for granted, to the point that it's all becoming a little same-same. I will, however, say that her hair has never looked better. Fierce, girl!
Chris, on the other hand, singing Rascall Flatts' "Mayberry, "wasn't even solid-- he was pretty mediocre, at best. And not only that, he got defensive, proclaiming that singing through his noise in that tinny fashion is a choice. Really, Chris? Really? You're cute, but...really?
Fellow cutie Blake, singing "Stars Go Blue" (another song I love), looked like a deer trapped in headlights --he couldn't mask the fact that he was completely out of his element. Even his choreography lacked it's usual charm. A bit of a disappointment after last week's strong showing. His outfit, however, was totally swoon-worthy.
Phil Stacey, meanwhile, looked and sounded right in his element, and like Randy noted, I think he could actually have a career in country music. I'm not sure he did enough to save himself (and performing first won't do him any favors), but if he does leave at least he will have gone out on a high note.
Which is more than can be said for Sanjaya, who took about five steps back after last week's season-best showing (which, of course, in and of itself doesn't really mean much). His self-satisfaction with his ability to get people talking about him was terribly annoying, and his performance was truly painful -- could this be the week he finally gets the boot?
Let's hope he doesn't outlast LaKisha, who had somewhat of an off night singing former Idol Carrie Underwood's massive hit "Jesus Take the Wheel." I'll give Kiki props for not choosing yet another cliched song that has been previously sung on the show, but whatever it was that made Martina McBride tear up in rehearsal did not translate to the stage tonight. I'm a bit worried for my girl.
So, in yet another disappointing week from the Season 6 contestants, I'm guessing the Bottom 3 will be made up of of some combination of Phil, Chris, Sanjaya, and LaKisha. Check back at around 1PM for my final prediction.
1. Jordin Sparks
2. Melinda Doolittle
3. Phil Stacey
4. LaKisha Jones
5. Blake Lewis
6. Chris Richardson
7. Sanjaya Malakar