In Hindsight: American Idol 6 – The Final Nine

I’ve always found it funny that one of Idol’s “standard” themes is, well, the standards. Personally I think it’s difficult to critique the week – do you give credit to those who try to sing “period” or do you give props to those who try to “make it their own”. I generally have to go by my gut with this theme, and I suppose the judges do as well, as often their comments will seem somewhat contradictory from singer to singer.

Nevertheless, it’s time for Standards Week featuring a very spry 80-year old Tony Bennett. Let’s do it.

Opening Credits

First up is Blake Lewis, and he’s singing “Mack the Knife”. He really gets into his routine here, and I have to say, the dancing actually fits with the song. I thought it was a little off key, but otherwise, it was a good way to start things off. Blake of course gets my benchmark 6.5/10.

Randy – That was a very good way to start the show.
Paula – Tonight you personified pizzazz.
Simon – Good choice of song, you performed it well. I give you 7/10, the band 8/10.

Go Ricky Minor!

Next performer is Billy Corgan/Tait Fletcher (fighter on TUF 3) lovechild Phil Stacey, singing “Night and Day”. It’s a smooth performance, he looks somewhat creepy, and while my wife liked it, I found the whole thing kind of boring. This will probably put Phil back in the bottom three. 5/10

Randy – Interesting choice. I didn’t feel a real connection.
Paula – You’re reminiscent of a young Frank Sinatra.
Simon – (to Paula) Which Frank Sinatra were you thinking of? (to Phil) I think it had all the joy of someone singing in a funeral parlor.

Now it’s Melinda Doolittle singing “I Got Rhythm”. And of course the vocals are incredible. There’s still that hunching thing she does, and I think that inevitably, that will generally be the only thing I can criticize about Melinda. As long as she doesn’t get into the “Daughtry Zone”, she SHOULD win the competition. 8.5/10

Randy – You gave everyone a lesson in singing.
Paula – Flawless performance.
Simon – I don’t think we’re ever gonna be able to criticize you. This is a problem.

Next up, Chris Richardson singing “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”. Chris manages to live up to his “Timberfake” moniker from the inflections down to some of the moves. To say that JT would do the song better is pretty much a given, but Chris did OK. Was it on Blake’s level? Not really, no. 6/10

Randy – You came out there with a vengeance.
Paula – I really think this was your best performance bar none.
Simon – You made it kind of hip, you worked it out very well.

Now it’s time for Jordin Sparks, singing “On A New Day”. And this is where I pretty much differ from everyone else. Jordin is a strong singer, to be sure, but there’s just something about her that seems fake, like she knows she’s putting on a show but it’s at about 95% believability. This doesn’t necessarily hurt you – witness Diana DeGarmo making the Finale in an admittedly weak year – so time will tell how far Jordin gets. 7/10

Randy – We got some heat up here.
Paula – You really are this magnet of joy and you exude it on stage.
Simon – I think you sang the song very well, but it was old-fashioned.

Gina Glocksen is next and she’s singing “Smile”. I found it a lot like last week’s performance of “I’ll Stand By You”, where she tries to show off the control in her voice. I could’ve done without the sitting, and it’s somewhat dark, but I thought it wasn’t all that bad. 6.5/10

Randy – That was a very nice controlled performance.
Paula – Flawless performance.
Simon – Two girls completely outsang you.

Are you ready? Are you prepared? Of course not. Nothing, NOTHING can prepare you for Sanjaya Malakar, who’s singing “Cheek to Cheek”. Especially when the performance is… good. Yes, it was GOOD. Obviously Sanjaya has hit that zone where he says “f*ck it, I’m gonna do what I want”, and that freedom has led to a passable, enjoyable performance. 7/10, and that puts him above average for the night. Watch out, because VFtW may abandon him now…

…eh, probably not.

Randy – You’ve turned into a great entertainer.
Paula – You’ve got this charm about you. Thank you for the dance.
Simon – Let’s try another tactic this week – incredible!

The penultimate singer is Haley Scarnato, singing “Ain’t Misbehavin'”. Although I think that misbehavin’ is exactly what Haley has in mind. It’s a kind of burlesque, kind of cabaret-ish performance, which I’m pretty sure was meant to showcase her legs. Which this week, is pretty much the star of her performance. 6/10

I should also note that before the performance, she basically said that only Simon’s opinion really mattered, which leads Randy and Paula to defer to Mr. Cowell.

Simon – I think you’ve got great legs. A little bit pageanty.

Our final performer is LaKisha Jones singing “Ain’t No Sunshine”. It’s all about power for LaKisha, and she sustains that up to and including her Star Search Moment. LaKisha seems to know what kind of singer she is, and doesn’t really change it up much. That being said, great performance. 7.5/10

Randy – Perfect song for you. That was da bomb.
Paula – I have no idea what she said.
Simon – Back on form.

Kevin’s Rankings
“Sunny Side of the Street”

“I Wanna Be Around”

“Nice Work if You Can Get It”
Chris R.

Bottom Three: Phil, Haley and I’m thinking Gina for some reason.

Eliminated: Take one last look at those legs, because I think Haley goes home.

That’s all for now.

Sir Linksalot: American Idol