Ryan Seacrest is so the clean-cut safe teenage crush boy tonight. As they introduce the contestants, Taylor is first, and Chris Daughtry is slated to go last. Interesting. Paula is wearing a breastplate borrowed from a Caesar’s Palace waitress.
Taylor Hicks – Easy (The Commodores)
Taylor tells us he has to wear one of those ghastly beanie things so people don’t recognize his characteristic grey hair. He calls it a toboggan and I call it an asshat. However, I can forgive him his headwear, since his song choice is from the most awesome Lionel Richie. Some of his notes are a bit off – he’s forcing the song, but in a way it comes off as putting extra emotion into his performance. The judges are perhaps harder on him than they might have been on another contestant giving this same performance, but I think it’s because they have high hopes for him. I don’t get why they are telling him his song choice was so bad – what do they have against Lionel? Taylor says that the first concert he ever went to was Lionel Richie and Tina Turner. This guy has incredible parents.
Elliot Yamin – some song I’ve never heard before
Holy Stevie Wonder, Batman! I really love this song choice and his performance of it. I’ve never heard this song, and he is totally selling it to me. He just made me smile. Maybe it’s because he loves his mother so much. Awww. Randy gives him a standing ovation. Simon applauds Elliot’s confidence and gives him props on a great performance. Good show, pip pip.
Ace Young – If you’re Not the One (Daniel Bedingfield)
Another freaking asshat. SIGH. Okay, I love this song, but Ace is not doing it justice. My thought is that, as a sexy young pretty boy, this is exactly the kind of song that Ace should just nail, but he is sucking so badly. There are some good moments – the falsetto is actually on pitch, but he makes such a weird face while doing it that I almost throw up a little. I really liked him last week, but this week he wasn’t rocking my world. Both Randy and Paula pander to him, but Simon gives him the straight truth when he says that Ace will be very disappointed when he hears his own performance later. Ace takes a clue from the judges last week and blames his poor vocals on a tired voice.
Gedeon McKinney – some song about change coming
I thought this guy was horrible last week. This week, he’s apparently acquired a time machine and stole the soul and vocals of Mr. Sam Cooke. This was the performance of a lifetime for Gedeon, and may have saved his ass for a couple of weeks – very, very good performance all around. Simon calls Gedeon a “funny little thing” but he performs the Sam Cooke genre ‘brilliantly.”
Kevin Covias – I Heard It through the Grapevine (Marvin Gaye)
Kevin is just a cute little doodlebug. And the pale high school nerd is kicking it back to Motown tonight. The performance was a little showchoir-ish, but he didn’t do a bad job. Kevin just grates on Simon’s nerves – he has zero chance of winning this competition, and Simon likes to remind him of that every chance he gets. Lay off him, Simon. Let the kid have his moment. We all know he won’t win – we’re just having a good ride for a while.
Sway Penala – Overjoyed (Stevie Wonder)
Sway is technically very good. He sustained some notes much longer than I expected and has very good breath control. As Randy says, though, the performance was pitchy, and I didn’t think it was particularly memorable. The judges are honest with him. Simon calls it karaoke, and he’s right. Sway is gracious and humbled by their comments, which makes me like him personally and hope he gets to stay another week, if just to see his parents together for another night.
Will Makar – Lady (Kenny Rodgers)
Bad, bad song choice. Bad. He has a pleasant voice, but Kenny deserves some grit, some dirty. God, the more I listen to this guy, and watch him sing this song, the more I want to jam that microphone down his throat. I wonder if he knows how horrific he was. I hope he finds out when he is sent home tomorrow. If Simon is right and 11-year old girls will love him, please – if you know any 11-year old AI fans, take away their phones.
Bucky Covington – The Thunder Rolls (Garth Brooks)
Bucky is having a hard time finding food in Hollywood. He just wants chicken, dammit. Bucky starts off well, soft and intense. I think he moved into the powerful part too quickly and lost some of the drama of the song, but that’s forgivable, because he isn’t bad. With that said, he isn’t memorable, either. What is memorable is Bucky saying he’ll order biscuits and sweet tea if he goes to a sushi bar. Hahahahaaaa. Too cute.
David Radford – The Way You Look Tonight (Frank Sinatra)
Who does this guy remind me of? Wait for it… wait….. He’s Richard Cheese! Oh my god – does he know that he has a surefire way of winning this competition?? Does he? Someone who can get close to this guy needs to slip him a Richard Cheese CD and form here on out, David needs to perform contemporary songs in the lounge style. I am serious about this. Otherwise, he is going home very, very soon. If he would ham it up and go the Richard Cheese route, he would make the finals with no problem, and he would piss Simon off in the process – bonus.
Chris Daughtry – Hemorrhage (Fuel)
Chris has two kids? No shit. Good for him. That rocks. And so does Chris. I never really liked this song, but he breathed new life into it and gave a terrific performance. Oh yeah – here he goes screaming, but singing, intense, but connected to the audience. This is how you will American Idol: sing a popular song, make it your own, and be likable. How hard is that, people? Chris is not going home this week, or next week, or any time soon. Randy tells Chris that he could be right on the charts with Audioslave and Incubus, and he is totally right.