A Moment's All I Ask – 2.17.09

American Idol: Season 8… this is not good, America. They let some people in that shouldn’t be here at all, with a healthy dose of mediocre-at-best talent amid the group of remaining contestants. This is going to be a painful season of karaoke numbers, where when the bar is set low, so much so, that even the resident psycho may go through.

Jackie Tohn, who’s going for a Katy Perry-meets-Jane Fonda-of-the-’80s look, tried to do something new else with Elvis Presley’s “A Little Less Conversation” song. One thing she has going for her is that she has a LOT of energy. The problem? Man, what was that? And I hate when Ryan baits people’s parents into trying to get a Jerry Springer reaction.

Simon nails it right most of the time, and when he says, “you’re forgettable,” or asks, “who are you as a artist?”, what he is absolutely saying is, “Can we make a million dollars off of your career?” And if the answer is no, then they’re screwed.

Next up is N.C.’s Ricky Braddy, who we never got to see before, so he’s different. He’s got decent vocals but needs to get a personality going; to be fair, America didn’t know who he was before tonight, anyway. And he has a fighting shot at sticking around.

Alexis Grace, who punked up her hair to give herself an “edgier” look at the request of the judges, did a decent, roughed-up version of Aretha’s “Never Loved a Man”. I’m happy to hear a blues singer on this show that isn’t Taylor Hicks, while I think the Kelly Clarkson comparison is a bit of a reach. But again, we’ll see, though I would be remiss not to mention that she needs to work in something by Pink at some point, as it would likely suit her style well.

Brent Keith, the resident country singer of the night, didn’t impress me with “Hick Town”, which smacked of karaoke. And he doesn’t take criticism very well, getting really defensive and trying/elbowing for his country audience (à la Kristy Cook). He shouldn’t advance for his attitude alone.

Stevie Wright is adorable, so imagine my disappointment as she was practically drowning onstage singing Taylor Swift. If she somehow survives this week, she has to step up her singing and performing and do something that isn’t so predictable.

Anoop Desa, a.k.a. Anoop Dawg, did Monica’s “Angel of Mine”, which was a surprising choice of song. I like this guy, as he has good vocals and is totally out-of-the-box, but unfortunately he seems unmarketable via the Idol machine. I think he’ll last a while, but ultimately, this isn’t your Idol winner. Still, he was the performer of the night up to this point, along with Alexis.

Casey Carlson covers The Police with “Everything Little Thing She Does Is Magic”, and this is another one of those this-is-just-too-bad moments, because it was so tragic that the judges were practically mocking her. Another pretty girl with potential, and another dud of a performance.

Michael Sarver, who actually looks sort of like a heavier version of TNA wrestler AJ Styles, served up some Gavin DeGraw, whom I happen to love. It was better than most things I saw tonight, however, not exactly a testament to what I like about Sarver to begin with.

Anne Marie Boskovich was pretty good with “Natural Woman”, showing some spark and promise, more so than most of the women throughout the night. Simon went after her with the “hotel singer” line, which is not a good sign for her but I think (no, I know) I’ve seen worse.

Stephen Fowler, a.k.a. I Look Lost, should never have been voted on to Hollywood over Danny’s best friend Jamar, as the Idol judges got that one very wrong. And Fowler proved how much he shouldn’t have gotten to this point by doing a terrible version of Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You”. Despite how messed up Jacko is in general, it does show you he was one hell of a talent.

Something sadly clear about this episode is that this particular group of people are giving the entire season a bad outlook. However, thank God for gorgeous Kara Dioguardi—she brings a real business (and songwriter) perspective to the show, and doesn’t get as caught up as Paula does in being nice.

Speaking of bad outlook, letting ticking time-bomb Tatiana Del Toro go through for the sake of ratings was a bad idea. What was scary about tonight: (1) she tried to pass off as normal, (2) she can actually sing and that frustrates everyone (including me) who thinks she’s an annoying prima donna. It’s obvious the judges don’t respect her as a person, but yet they passed her through (obviously for rating’s and entertainment’s sake). However, if we’re going to ask ourselves the million-dollar question, “Can this person be the face of Idol, the one that will sell out shows?”, the answer is a definite no. Sadly, she’s probably safe this week, but I want her gone as soon as possible.

Danny Gokey was the true winner of this show, doing a pretty right-on version of Mariah Carey’s “Hero”. He’s out to inspire the audience and give them hope, and he comes across as genuine, but he’s doing exactly what the judges want these people to do—connect to the song and inspire the audience to connect with the music. The judges were basking in Danny’s glory, with the exception of Simon, though he at least acknowledges that Danny has talent.

Danny will be in the top-three, I’m predicting, as he’d have to really mess up, but so far this is one messed-up season, so who the hell knows.

Thank you for reading; make your moment your breakthrough.

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