Well, here we are once again, folks. It’s Monday, so you know what that means…it’s the guys’ turn to sing on American Idol. This is an important week for everyone, because, as you know, if you survive this week, you are in the Top 12. Once we get to that point, it’s every man for himself. There won’t be any more of this “boys vs. girls” thing. Anyway, Ryan opens the show, the girls are in the audience, and Ryan then introduces the judges. Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, let’s get on with the performances!
First up tonight is Scott Savol. Proving the theory that the only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize, Scott comes out tonight sporting blue-tinted glasses to go along with his blue outfit. He sings the Motown classic “I Can’t Help Myself”, the same song he sang for his group audition in Hollywood. Hmm…don’t know if that was a wise decision or not. Scott doesn’t blow me out of the water with his performance, but his voice sounds good and strong. His attempt at choreography, however, is another story. He starts his performance off with some shoop-shoop moves that I haven’t seen since that episode of The Brady Bunch where the kids went on a local talent show to try to win money so they could buy their parents a silver platter. But, this is a singing competition, not a dance audition. So, do the judges like what they heard? Randy says, “I loved that you came out having fun. You did it.” Paula adds, “That was a nice change for you. Good job.” Simon says, “The choreography and dancing at the beginning were horrendous. It was the equivalent of an amateurish performance at a party. That was not good enough.”
After our first commercial break of the evening, it’s time to hear from Bo Bice. Bo sings the Edwin McCain hit “I’ll Be”, and it’s a natural choice for him. Bo is in good command of his voice. He doesn’t oversing the song; he sounds quiet but strong. All in all, it’s a very good performance by Bo. What do the judges think? Randy tells Bo, “Yo, dawg. That wasn’t the best you’ve done, but it was aight.” (Ah, yes…Randyspeak rears it head yet again…) Paula says, “That was another consistent slam-dunk performance. Great job.” Finally, Simon says, “I agree with Paula. That was absolutely 100% the right song for you. At this point, Bo, this is your competition to lose.”
Following Bo tonight is Anthony Fedorov, who has chosen the Marc Anthony song “I’ve Got You” for his performance this week. Looking rather dapper this evening, Anthony proves that he’s not just a balladeer by taking on the up-tempo song and succeeding. There are a couple of points in the song where he sounds a bit drowned out by the music, but, other than that, his voice sounds strong, and Anthony turns in a very good performance. Do the judges agree? Randy says, “You’re finally back. That’s the best you’ve done.” Paula tells Anthony, “It’s like you’re brand new. That was excellent…brilliant.” Simon concludes with, “I found it all a bit odd. I mean, you have about as much Latin flair as a polar bear.” (What do you mean, Simon? Only Latin people can sing Latin songs well? That’s just silly…)
After another commercial break, it’s time to hear Nikko Smith’s interpretation of the Ray Charles standard “Georgia On My Mind”. Apparently, Nikko has taken some wardrobe tips from Mario Vazquez, because he starts his performance out wearing a fedora tilted on his head ever so slightly. In a rather cheesy move, he takes the hat off his head and places it on the microphone stand before continuing on with the performance. As for the performance itself, I think Nikko sounds weak in a couple of spots, but he finishes strong and solid. And, after all, it’s the finish that sticks in the voters’ minds when all is said and done. Do the judges like Nikko’s performance this evening? Randy tells him, “That was a very ambitious song choice. You ended it so good. That was brilliant.” Paula says, “That was wonderful. I can’t imagine the Top 12 without you.” Simon finishes the critiques by telling Nikko, “You needed to do that this week. That was an incredibly smart song choice.”
We come back from another commercial break, and it is time to hear from Travis Tucker. Travis sings Bobby Brown’s “Every Little Step”, and, after hearing the performance, I think Travis is taking every little step closer and closer to being booted off the show. Frankly, the performance is easily the worst of the night. Travis’ voice sounds weak, and he is drowned out by the music on several occasions. In an effort to make up for what he lacks vocally, Travis throws in some choreography and does a whole section of his song as a human beat box. Are the judges impressed? I think it’s safe to say they’re not. Randy says, “For the performance, I give you an A. For pitch, it’s a D. Pitch-wise, it just wasn’t on tonight.” Paula adds, “I think you’re pretty special. You’re unique to the competition.” (In other words, “I don’t want to say anything bad about your performance, so I’ll just say something as generic and inoffensive as possible.”) Finally, Simon tells Travis, “That, I thought, was appalling. That was as good or as bad as you would get in a theme park.”
The next performance of the evening is courtesy of Mario Vazquez. Mario sings the Bee Gees’ “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?”, and—surprise!—he’s not wearing his trademark hat! Oh, that’s right. He lent it to Nikko this evening. Anyway, Mario’s voice is good and strong, but he spends an inordinate amount of time eye-f***ing the television audience by singing directly into the camera. I also notice that when he closes his eyes, his eyelids flutter ever so slightly. That does become distracting, but it doesn’t take away much from what is otherwise a very nice performance. Do the judges agree? Randy says, “That was another ambitious choice. Excellent.” Paula adds, “I got goosebumps. That was gorgeous.” Finally, Simon says, “You have a charm about you. You are going to sail through to the Top 12.”
After commercial break #3427, it is time to hear from Constantine Maroulis, who looks rather scruffy this evening. It’s not a good kind of scruffy, though. Rather, it’s more of an I-woke-up-late-and-didn’t-have-time-to-shave-or-clean-up kind of scruffy. Anyway, what has Constantine chosen to sing tonight? It’s the Police hit “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”. For a song that is so easily identified with the person who made it a hit, Constantine does the smart thing and does not try to imitate Sting. His rendition of the song is much more subdued, and, while it’s not the greatest thing since sliced bread, Constantine’s performance ends up being pretty good. What do the judges think? Randy says, “Yo, man. That was a great song for you. That was one of your better performances.” Paula tells him, “That was my favorite performance of yours so far.” Finally, Simon tells Constantine, “That was a bad impersonation of Sting.” Ah, yes. Leave it to Simon to rain on everyone’s parade…
We come back from our final commercial break, and it is time to hear from our final performer of the evening, Anwar Robinson. Anwar sings the Louis Armstrong classic “What A Wonderful World” and turns in one of the best performances of the night. He takes an easily-identifiable song and successfully puts his own spin on it. He sings to the camera, too, but it’s not so bad that it detracts from the rest of the performance. Anwar’s voice is strong, and, by the time he is done singing, the audience is on its feet. Do the judges like what they hear? Randy says, “Wow. Yo, dawg. I gotta give it up for you.” With that, Randy gives his first standing ovation of the season. Anyway, Randy continues, “That was the best vocal performance I’ve heard from anyone this season.” Paula adds, “You breathe new life into each song, and it is beautiful.” Finally, Simon tells Anwar, “The thing I like about you is that I don’t think you’d change one iota if you won this competition. Good job.”
With that, another week’s performances are in the books for the guys. Who will survive the cut this week, and which two contestants will fall just short of making the Top 12? Tune in Wednesday night to find out!
Best performance of the evening: Anwar, Anthony, Bo
Weakest performance of the evening: Travis
Who should go home: 2 out of Travis, Scott, and Constantine
Who will go home: Travis, Scott
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