In Hindsight: American Idol 6 – The Elite Eight

Last week, I got the bottom three right, but I chose the wrong girl as Gina is going home to the place where she belongs… and even though she was eliminated earlier than expected, you have to admit that she really didn’t have much of a chance of winning. But then again, after seeing what I saw this past week (My Leafs almost undeservedly making the playoffs via the back door, Matt Serra winning the UFC Welterweight title and the Raptors winning a division title) I realize that anything is possible. Just not for Gina. But Gina’s in the Top Ten, gets a nice payday for going on tour, and if we’re being honest, she’s the girl with the best chance for commercial success out of this season’s group. Don’t feel too sorry for her.

Opening Credits

This week is Latin Week, and when you think Latin, you think Gloria Estefan, Enrique, Shakira and Santana. So naturally this week’s mentor is J-Lo-verrated. What, was Christina Aguilera not available? I would’ve even taken Nelly Furtado over Jennifer Lopez – I mean, sure, Nelly’s actually Portuguese-Canadian, but she probably has more credibility as a Latin singer.

Regardless, we get a shot of the Idols visiting Lopez, because Idol either cannot afford or is too cheap to pay for everything in her rider clause, which probably had more demands than listed here for her work on a charity single. It’s quite possibly the former – do you realize how many Ford commercials the contestants would have to do for Nigel Lythgoe to pay for all of that? Actually, neither do I, but it’s probably quite a few.

With all that said, she was great in Out of Sight. However Carla Gugino was a better – and infinitely hotter – Karen Sisco though.

Enough about Lopez though, let’s get to the singing. I’m trying out a new format this week, so bear with me.

Melinda Doolittle, “Sway”, first recorded in English by notable Latin-American Dean Martin

In the studio, Jennifer recommends attitude, while Melinda doesn’t think she can pull off sexy because that isn’t her.

Randy – Another solid performance.
Paula – Very, very sultry, very smooth. It was kind of subtle, sexy and beautiful.
Simon – I didn’t like it. That song was all about personality. It was a bit lazy, a little bit wooden. You’re better than that.

I agree with Simon here. It was probably Melinda’s worst performance, probably because she was trying to act out the part a bit too much. Technically there was nothing wrong with her singing – she could make a Sex Pistols song sound smooth – but she felt stiff and her performance was too cabaret, as Simon would say.

Score: 6.5

LaKisha Jones, “Conga”, Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine

In the studio, Jennifer teaches LaKisha some movements.

Randy – You made it your own, that was hot.
Paula – I didn’t feel it as much as Randy.
Simon – I agree with Paula.

The song itself was higher energy than Melinda, and the movement helped LaKisha quite a bit, but I think that like Melinda, LaKisha was concentrating too much on “trying to be sexy” – notice that she didn’t smile once, which we know that she’s done in the past. I think LaKisha was slightly better than Melinda, but she gets the same score.

Score: 6.5

Chris “Timberfake” Richardson, “Smooth”, Santana and Rob Thomas

Randy – You did a really good job, very cool.
Paula – It was a hot performance.
Simon – It wasn’t (the best vocal) but it was more contemporary (than Melinda and LaKisha).

Again I agree with Simon. It wasn’t the best vocal – in fact it was far and away the WORST vocal of the night. Contestants should know that if you can’t sing in the same range as the original singer, you shouldn’t do the song. In addition, choosing a song that relies a lot on the guitar solos – like, say, a Santana song – works on Rock Star, but not on Idol.

Score: 2

Haley Scarnato, “Turn the Beat Around”, Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine

Haley is so good, Lopez has Blake come in to beatbox.

Randy – That was really karaoke. That could’ve been anywhere.
Paula – You had fun up there.
Simon – You can’t do well in this competition because of your voice, so you need to just have fun.

At this point, you can tell that the judges want Haley gone, while seeing that they’d like Chris to stay. Poor performances from both singers, but Chris is praised while Haley is praised only for her legs. Haley had great energy (which was lacking from the first few singers) and looked like she was having fun, but this song really lacked in the whole singing thing – at times it was the backup singers that were carrying the music.

Score: 4

Phil Stacy, “Maria, Maria”, Santana and The Product G&B

I missed the judges comments, but according to Josh they basically said what I thought – Phil was pretty boring. Also, see my comments about Chris with respect to Santana songs.

Score: 3

Jordin Sparks, “Rhythm is Gonna Get You”, Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine

Randy – That was the “Yo” factor.
Paula – You’re adorable.
Simon – They’re (all) OK performances. I haven’t seen a progression tonight.

As I noticed throughout the competition, it’s another pedestrian performance from Jordin. She really exhibited no energy, and I think she’s doing just enough to get by every week. The potential is readily apparent, so it’s maddening to see her do so little with it. It’s like watching the Cho brothers on The Amazing Race.

Score: 4

Blake Lewis, “I Need To Know”, Marc Anthony

Randy – Best song choice of the night, I liked it.
Paula – Very smart performance.
Simon – Best song choice of the night. Best performance so far.

FINALLY, a great performance. Blake’s voice was spot on, and he exuded the same kind of sexy/creepy feel that Marc Anthony does. Blake seems to be the only one that “gets it” week in and week out.

Score: 8

Sanjaya Malakar, “Bésame Mucho”, Consuelo Velázquez

Randy – That was actually really good.
Paula – It was very, very nice.
Simon – Couldn’t understand a word, and it wasn’t horrible.

Sanjaya is simply having fun out there, and it’s showing because even though he can’t sing in two languages, he’s making smart song choices, and doing a lot of the little things that earn you votes – showing passion, making love to the camera, etc. Sanjaya is impressively doing better each week, and I honestly mean that.

Score: 6

Kevin’s Rankings
This week’s theme is fictional Hispanics.

“Tony Montana”

“Tony Almeda”


“Carlos Mencia”
Chris R.

Bottom Three: Phil, Haley and Chris. Sanjaya may have a shot at the bottom three due to the “middle of the road singers that have a good week” corollary, but he won’t go regardless.

Eliminated: Josh says Phil, but I say Haley goes.

That’s all for now.

Sir Linksalot: American Idol