I think it's fairly safe to say that when the leader of the free world shows up at your little reality show/singing contest, you know you've really hit the big time.
I mean, I guess we don't need reminding how big the American Idol universe has gotten, but still, it was a little jarring seeing President Bush do his very very best to rehab his image by appearing on the most popular show on television What's next? Attorney General Alberto Gonzeles swears in the winner?
Oh yeah, and Bon Jovi was on the show. I have to admit, I have a huge thing for Bon Jovi -- his concert that I went to in high school was one of the best I've ever been to (no joke). Tonight (swoon) he was as agelessly gorgeous and charming as ever, and proved to be a J-Lo caliber guest coach.
I was a little concerned how the final 6 would take to singing his songs, but all in all they acquited themselves quite nicely. The performances...
Have I mentioned before that I hate it when they sing as they walk through the audience? Phil, in fact, is the most annoying doing this -- he makes too much contact with the audience, as if he is on his farewell tour.
And truth be told, after this performance I'm not sure that he is. While he looked a bit like he was acting the role of rock star instead of really embodying it, his vocals were spot on. I mean, really really good. Believe it or not, I think Phil might be this year's Vonzell or Elliott -- the underdog who keeps getting better and better and propels themselves much further in the competition than anyone thought they could. There's no way the guy's gonna win the thing, but this was a pretty damn good performance.
First off, I love Jordin's look tonight -- she really went for the hair band thing, with her own youthful twist, and I bought it hook, line, and sinked. It's good to see Jordin' fun side, after last week's deadly serious (and seriously well-sung) "You'll Never Walk Alone." And while "Livin' on a Prayer" was a bit too rangy for her (those low notes at the beginning were a bit rough), once she got into I was ready to go along for the rock'n'roll ride.
I wish she hadn't agreed so readily with the judges about the weaknesses in her performance, but she's so charming I don't think it'll matter much. Not Jordin's best, but certainly not the disaster Simon made it out to be.
Finally! I had really started to think that Kiki had completely lost her fire, but there were some serious glimpses of the old LaKisha that sparked memories of her dazzling "And I Am Telling You" and "God Bless the Child" days. She was sassy, she was soulful, and she sounded fantastic.
Is it too little too late, though?
Look at that, the old Blake is back too, with new brown hair, to boot!
I'm all for Blake being earnestly sweet (I loved "Somewhere Only We Know") but after a few straight weeks of Blakes originality slowing evaporating (culminating in last week's snooze inducing "Imagine") I was ready for the beatboxin' wonder to make a return appearance. And back he came tonight, infusing more originality than ever on "You Give Love A Bad Name."
Wisely maintaining the insanely memorable chorus of the song while taking liberties with the verses was, as the judges said Blake did take a huge risk, but it was a risk that will pay off big time for Blake. If Chris gets the boot this week and Blake manages to pick up some extra teenage girl fans, we could be seeing a latebreaking race to the title. Exciting stuff.
Speaking of Mr. Richardson, he's gotta be feelin' the heat. Even though his performance of "Wanted Dead or Alive" wasn't bad, per se, it paled in comparison to last year's performance from Chris Daughtry (his track on the American Idol CD, no less, and the song he sang in concert). It also revealed some more of Chris' weaknesses as his singer, namely his ability to really sing full out in a way that people would actually want to listen to. I'm making him sound worse than he actually was -- he really wasn't bad. He was just outclassed.
But if I've said it once I've said it 30 times (actually I think I have said it 30 times) he is so cute I almost can't stand it. Hands down the cutest boy to ever be on the show. Yeah, I said it. Eat your heart out, Ace Young.
I'm not gonna lie, I'm worried about Melinda. Not because she gave a bad performance -- she was, as always, fantastic. In fact, tonight I thought she was more Tina Turner-esque than ever, which is a very good thing. She just plain chose the wrong song. With all of the amazing songs in Bon Jovi's catalogue (don't make me start listing them) she chose "Have a Nice Day," arguable the cheesiest of the whole Bon Jovie ouevre? Really, Melinda? "Bad Medicine," she would've had me hooked. Heck, even "It's My Life" would have had me dancing. But "Have a Nice Day"?
She's still amazing.
Overall, a strong night of performances from the Final 6. My favorite was probably Blake (interestingly my least favorite of the night last week), followed closely by Melinda, than Jordin, LaKisha, Phil, and, in a distant 6th, Chris. With tonight's votes added to last week's totals, literally anything could happen tomorrow night, but I'm guessing the two eliminees will come from a group that includes Chris, Phil, LaKisha and (gasp!) Melinda. Check back tomorrow at around 1PM for my final prediction.