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Thread: American Idol, Top 11: A Night At The Movies

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    For Your Entertainment lobeck's Avatar
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    American Idol, Top 11: A Night At The Movies

    What is this? Could it be…? Yes, it's Dramatic Voiceover Man opening a Tuesday show! As the ominous music starts the show, DVM tells us, "Last week, the fate of the 12 laid at the whim of the nation", and we see scenes from last week, including Ryan announcing that Vanessa was the first finalist voted off the show. When the montage is over, Ryan runs out on stage to start the show. He still has a t-shirt on, but at least he's wearing a jacket tonight. Maybe someday he'll get the whole ensemble right, but I won't complain too much for now. Ryan tells us that the theme of tonight's show is "Music From The Movies" and that each finalist will be singing a movie song that means the most to him or her. He then brings out the 11 remaining finalists, and there's Ruben in his "205" jersey once again. While I would like to see Ruben in something else, I guess I should thank him, because I now know one area code outside of my own, and if I ever need to call Directory Assistance in Birmingham, Alabama, I know what number to dial.

    Anyway, after the finalists come out on stage, we go over to meet the judges. Ryan introduces Simon as "the man who cheered when Bambi's mother got shot". Ryan, that was about as funny as your "no stage diving" instructions to Ruben last week. Yo, dude, get a new writer for your material, dawg (Oops, sorry...I guess I was channeling Randy there for a second.). Ryan then introduces Paula as "All three of Charlie's Angels rolled into one." Um, OK, Ryan. Personally, I think Randy is about the size of the three women all rolled into one, but that's just me. He then introduces Randy as "The Nutty Professor", and I am just glad that the judges' introductions are over. Ryan then shows several pictures of Randy from "back in the day", and they're about as horrendous as the pictures of Simon from a few weeks back (though, thankfully, we aren't subjected to a picture of Randy in a Speedo as we were of Simon). There's Randy with Sammy Hagar. There's Randy from his days with the group Journey. There's even one picture of Randy where his hair looks like a pedestal to set a vase of flowers on. But enough about Randy…we've got another celebrity judge this week. Ryan brings out the celebrity judge, and it's not songwriter Dianne Warren, as many sites on the Internet had speculated. It's Gladys Knight! I am pleasantly surprised and am looking forward to hearing what she has to say. So, without further ado, let's get on with the performances!

    First up tonight is Corey Clark. Corey has decided to sing "Against All Odds" because he says, "It is the best for my voice." He comes out on stage, and within the first five or six notes of the song, I'm thinking to myself, "If this is the best song for his voice, I'd hate to hear what the worst one would sound like." I honestly just don't get the appeal of this guy. I think his performance is weak and is not a good way to start the show. He sounds very flat to me, and I guess I just don't like the sound of his voice. Something about it bugs me. I also notice that he's holding a towel while he sings. What is that all about? Was he rushed out of the men's room or something? Anyway, Corey finishes the song, and it's time for the first critiques of the night from the judges. Randy tells him, "Wassup dawg? You kinda pimped out with the towel there, dude. It was alright." Paula says, "You took some risks with your upper register. It was a nice change." Gladys tells Corey, "That was absolutely wonderful." Oh, God…Gladys is going to be another Paula and sugarcoat everything. This could be a long night. Simon winds everything up by telling Corey, "I don't think you pulled it off at the end. In fact, it sounded painful." Thank you, Simon. You took the words right out of my mouth.

    To further emphasize how weak Corey's performance was, the producers have placed Ruben Studdard in the second spot tonight. Come to think of it, maybe the producers put him in that position to actually help us forget Corey's performance. I don't know. Ruben has chosen to sing "A Whole New World", and I immediately think that Ruben could really go to town with this song. Ruben starts singing, and go to town is exactly what he did. Within the first five or six notes of his song, Ruben has the audience cheering like crazy. I swear, I am beginning to wonder if there is any theme that Ruben won't be able to handle. He turns in another excellent performance tonight, and the judges all agree. Randy says, "Wassup, baby? Dude, you bring it every week. This guy is dope!" Argh! Enough with the Randy-speak already! Moving on, Paula tells Ruben that his performance was "seamless", and Gladys says, "You are and probably will someday be 'The Velvet Teddy Bear'." Um, Gladys…either he is a velvet teddy bear now, or he'll probably be one someday. It can't be both. Simon tells Ruben, "That was sensational. You have a fantastic recording voice."

    The third performer of the evening is Trenyce. For her performance, Trenyce has decided to sing "I Have Nothing". Uh-oh…it's a Whitney Houston song, and I can only hope that Trenyce won't try to sound like Whitney when she sings. Miss Trenyce comes out on stage in a red, floor-length gown and with her hair up. She looks very much the diva tonight. Anyway, my fears are laid to rest as soon as Trenyce starts singing. She does not try to do a Whitney impersonation; she sings the song in her own way and does a very good job. The audience cheers during Trenyce's song just as they did for Ruben (well, maybe not quite as much, but they do cheer a good bit). When she is done, Randy tells her that she gave "another classy performance." Paula says, "You have the most amazing presence. It's like you were born to do this." Gladys says, "Your pipes are over the top. That was amazing. And to even dare to take on a Whitney Houston song…that was great." Simon tells Trenyce, "You are an amazing singer. That was sensational. Brilliant."

    After Trenyce's performance, we see a video clip of the Top 12 meeting the press corps. Then we meet Simon's mother, who's in the audience. After talking to Simon's mum, Ryan tells Simon, "She's hot." OK, eeeuuuw. Just eeeuuuw.

    It's time for another performance, and it is Clay Aiken's turn. He has chosen to sing "Somewhere Out There" because, as he says, "it shows off my range". The music starts, Clay starts singing, and I am blown away. Once again, Clay turns in an incredible performance. This isn't lost on the judges, either. Randy says, "You did your thing, baby. You did your thing." Paula tells Clay, "You are effortless and so natural. You're amazing." Next, it's Gladys' turn, and she gives Clay a standing ovation. She adds, "You're a mystery. You have a magical look, and your voice is so pure. Something wonderful is going to happen to you." As if that was not high praise enough, Simon tells Clay, "After tonight's performance, you're the one they've got to beat." I'm thinking Simon just might be right.

    Next up is Kimberly Caldwell. She has chosen to sing "The Shoop Shoop Song", and I'm not too sure about her selection. I mean, to me, the song is just as much for the backup singers as it is for the lead vocalist. Kimberly comes out on stage, launches into the song, and I cannot help but notice how strained her voice sounds tonight. She doesn't let that stop her, though, as she is all over the stage and is really selling the song to the audience. When she's done, Randy tells her, "You can still be a star in this competition. I was feeling you tonight." Of course, I know what Randy means, but I get this image of him groping Kimberly in some dark corner somewhere, and I just cringe. Anyway, Paula tells Kimberly she did "an excellent job". Gladys says, "You have so much charisma and power. But, I see you in the movies. Simon finishes things by saying, "I can see that performance in any theme park. It was no big deal." Ouch!

    After Kimberly's performance, it's time for another video clip. Kristin Holt, who has been mercifully absent from the show for several weeks now, is back and takes us on a tour of the house where the group will be staying. She also tells us that she will be living with the finalists in the house and will be telling us "all the scoop, who's hooking up with whom, and who leaves the toilet seat up." You know, I couldn't care less who leaves the toilet seat up, but that's just me.

    The next performance of the night is from Garth Brooks. Wait a minute…no it's not…it's Joshua Gracin. For his performance, Joshua has chosen to sing "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" and, when he starts singing, I feel like I am watching Nashville Star rather than American Idol. He does a good job, but he is strangely hunched over during most of his performance, and that's a bit distracting for me. When he's done, Randy tells him, "You did a great job. That was the perfect song for you." Paula adds, "You just shine. Great, great, great job." Gladys says, "You certainly didn't miss a thing", and Simon says, "You sounded completely different from last week, and I'm left wondering who the real Joshua is. You've got to stick to one voice." Joshua tells Simon that "it will be country from here on out", and Simon comes back with, "OK, then. You did a good job."

    Next up is Carmen "The Yodeling Mormon" Rasmusen. She's decided to sing "Hopelessly Devoted To You", and I cannot decide if this is a good song choice for her or not. While she may not have the strongest voice in the competition, I can tell she is getting more comfortable with each performance, and I don't think she does that bad of a job tonight. However, what did the judges think? Randy says, "I don't think you shined tonight." Paula says, "It took about 30 seconds to get into the performance, and that isn't good." Gladys adds, "I think you're on the brink." Simon tells Carmen, "I think the song suited you. I think you could replace the Dixie Chicks." Well, of course you're going to like her, Simon. She was your wildcard choice after all.

    Before the next finalist sings, Ryan brings out last year's winner, Kelly Clarkson, for a quick chat. They talk about Kelly's upcoming movie with Justin Guarini, they talk about the release of Kelly's album (April 15th), and they show a clip from the movie. After seeing the clip, I can say that Kelly definitely looks better now than she did while filming. Her hair is long again, and the frosted strands are gone. Anyway, Kelly will be back later to sing a song from the movie, so we will say goodbye to her for now.

    Back to the performances…the next finalist to sing is Charles Grigsby. He has decided to sing "You Can't Win", and I have a laugh to myself about the title of Charles' song choice. Charles is all over the stage when he sings, but I wasn't very impressed with the performance. Randy apparently wasn't either, telling Charles, "I don't think this was your best. I did not like that song." Paula tells him, "The best is yet to come for you." Well, he had better raise his game quick, or he may run out of time before "the best" gets here. Gladys calls Charles "a definite crowd pleaser", and Simon says, "I tend to agree with Randy. Sorry." I hate to say it, Charles, but with performances like that, as the title of your song tonight says, you can't win.

    The ninth performance tonight is from Rickey Smith. He's chosen to sing "It Might Be You", and I think he sounds much better than last week. Maybe his voice is just better suited for ballads, I don't know. Randy tells Rickey, "That was brilliant. You gave a great, controlled performance." Paula says, "That was the right song for you." Gladys calls Rickey "magnetic", and Simon says, "I didn't really hear anything totally original, but I think it's good enough for you to stay in the competition another week, at least." Again, I think Rickey did much better than last week, so I suspect he will be safe come tomorrow night when the results are announced.

    After a stupid video clip showing the finalists going on a shopping spree at Old Navy, it's time to hear from Julia DeMato. Julia has decided to sing "What a Feeling", and she's even put on the off-the-shoulder look that was popular at the time the song came out. Great…like I need to see that look again in this lifetime. Like Rickey, I think Julia does a much better job this time around than last week, but she gets mixed reviews from the judges. Randy tells her, "It was alright." Paula says, "You light up the camera. It wasn't my favorite performance, though." Gladys is a bit harsher, saying, "I feel like you're not believing in it yourself, and if you don't believe it, then I can't believe it." Simon tells Julia, "The first part was OK, but the second part was terrible."

    Our last finalist of the evening is Kimberley Locke, and she has chosen to sing "Home". Kimberley totally makes up for last weeks mediocre performance tonight, and she did not even have to sing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" to do it. The judges all agree. Randy tells Kimberley, "Wow, what an improvement over last week. Very good." Paula says, "You brought it home this week. That was beautiful." Gladys adds, "You have such a rich voice. You are so classy." Finally, Simon tells her, "You redeemed yourself this week." Simon, you took the words right out of my mouth.

    Now that tonight's finalists are done, it is time to hear from last season's winner, Kelly Clarkson. She sings the song "Anytime" from her upcoming movie, and while she still sounds phenomenal, she definitely needs some help in the wardrobe department. She wears these lace-up boots that look like ballerina shoes, and her dress is far from flattering. I don't know…maybe she should have enlisted the aid of the stylist that helped the finalists during their shopping spree at Old Navy. When she is done, Simon tells us that Kelly will be back again in five weeks to sing the first single off her upcoming album. Maybe she can turn things around so that the Fashion Police will not have to write her up when she returns.

    Well, that is it for tonight's show. Overall, the group was much better tonight than last week. For me, Clay turned in tonight's best performance. I think I can safely say that he will not be in the bottom three when the results are announced tomorrow night.

    My predictions

    Three lowest vote getters: Corey, Carmen, Charles
    Voted off: Carmen or Charles


    To contact the author of this recap, send e-mail to lobeck@fansofrealitytv.com.

  2. #2
    FORT Fan Crystal's Avatar
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    My goodness Lobeck, I believe I am anticipating your reviews as much as I look forward to the show. Kudos on the wrap-up.

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    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    Great job, Lobeck! Although I'm kind of depressed to find out you enjoyed Trenyce's performance as much as you did.

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    get it off! StevieM's Avatar
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    good read as usual Lobeck.....John?? Why didn't you like Trenyce?
    So, where's the Cannes Film Festival being held this year?
    ~ Christina Aguilera

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    COMBAT MISSIONS junkie! BravoFan's Avatar
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    Great read Lobeck! (and where's that lightning emoticon? -- as in lightning fast!)

    Personally for me:

    Overwhelmed me
    Clay
    Ruben

    Very good
    Trenyce
    Josh

    Could take it of leave it
    Carmen
    Rickey
    Kimberly L
    Kimberly C

    If they left, I wouldn't care
    Corey
    Charles
    Julie
    "They can only edit what you give them. They cannot manufacture a fictional character out of thin air." (Bill Rancic - 4/04)
    Regarding editing reality TV: "You can't edit IN a bad personality." ("Cali"-11/02)
    BB8 - A "conveyor belt of human garbage." ("Pono" - 9/07)

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    Evil Slash Crazy Miss Filangi's Avatar
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    Great job!
    Of course, I know what Randy means, but I get this image of him groping Kimberly in some dark corner somewhere, and I just cringe. Anyway, Paula tells Kimberly she did "an excellent job". Gladys says, "You have so much charisma and power. But, I see you in the movies. Simon finishes things by saying, "I can see that performance in any theme park. It was no big deal." Ouch!
    I LOVED that comment because he was so dead-on!
    If you go through a lot of hammers each month, I don't think it necessarily means you're a hard worker.
    It may just mean that you have a lot to learn about proper hammer maintenance.


  7. #7
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    Great write up (your write ups were the reason I joined FORT in the first place) as always. I posted my comments elsewhere, so I won't bore you all with them again.

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    Excellent Job:
    1. Trenyce
    2. Ruben
    3. Rickey
    4. Clay

    Good Job:
    5. Kim L.
    6. Charles

    Average Job:
    7. Kim C.
    8. Josh

    Terrible Job (As Always for these Three)
    9. Carmen
    10. Julia
    11. Corey

    As you can see, I'm hoping that Carmen, Julia, and Corey are the bottom three. I think it's a good concensus. However, that's not a good sign, because it seems like people vote for the person they think needs the votes the most. For example, I really like Trenyce, Ruben, Rickey, and Clay, but I put in my votes for Rickey, because he seems to have the smallest fan base of the four. Thus, people who like Carmen, Julia, or Corey likely saw their bad performances and realize that most people don't like them, and thus gave them lots of votes because they thought they were close to going. I 'm hoping this isn't the case, but it seems like that's what happened last week. People didn't really vote for Vanessa, because they thought she was safe if they liked her and voted for people who were more borderline to getting voted out. The thing that gives Julia some hope (unfortunately) is that everyone who likes her (meaning her grandparents, her friends from school, and some horny little boys) and saw her down at the bottom will be giving her lots of votes because they realize she's close. Of course, I could be reading too much into it...

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    I think the bottom 3 will be Julia, Carmen and Charles.
    Julia will be the one to go..it just looks to me like she wants out.
    Charles needs some work..he has a nice voice if he chooses the right songs. Carmen is ok.

  10. #10
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    I completely agree that people are voting for the worst people in the competition. For an example, I read an article last night that was an interview with one of the top 32 from last season, and she admitted to calling in and voting 150 times for Julia last week because she feared Julia would get voted off. I can't believe people vote like that. I imagine that's how Charles keeps making it through, cuz he just doesn't belong in the top 12, bar none. Just goes to show you how America thinks. I think things would turn out much different if we got to vote for who thought she be gone.

    As for last nights show, I was mega impressed with Rickey. He was probably my favorite (sans Ruben and Clay, who are by far the top 2 in this competition). I love his upper register, and his tone is so smooth. I put in a ton of votes for him.

    Does anyone else see Kim C trying to be this year's Ryan Starr? All of a sudden she's dressing like Ryan, and singing all upbeat songs and trying to act like a punk rock star. I love Kim, but she needs to start showing some range, and sing different types of songs. A ballad would be in order for her.

    Carmen, Carmen, Carmen... I agree with Gladys Knight that she is on the brink. I think she is very beautiful, and I can glimpse the voice that she could have, but that god-awful vibrato that sounds like sheep drives me nuts. Last week she barely showed that, and sounded good. This week, it came out in full force, and ruined her performance. You would think that the AI "Voice Teacher" would work with her on that. I'm not too thrilled with their voice teacher, as we don't see people fixing some of their problems that a voice teacher should recognize. And in the little film montages, we never see her give criticism. Not too happy about that.

    Other singers of note: Kim L redeemed herself this week, Trenyce was pretty strong, Corey picked a horrible song for his voice. Corey needs to realize that he has that high Michael Jackson voice, and needs to tailor his songs to that. Stop picking low songs! Charles was weak as usual, Julia wasn't good (and she doesn't look like she is comfortable or enjoying herself at all!), Josh sounded great on country music (but how far will "American Idol" fans vote for a country singer?), and of course, Ruben and Clay kicked serious butt.

    If I had my way, Charles, Julia, and Corey would be in the bottom 3 based on last nights performances, but I think it will be Julia, Carmen, and Corey. For some reason Charles has a big fan base. I think Julia will be gone this week.

    BTW - Has anyone else noticed that during the songs Simon isn't even watching the performers? He's swiveling in his chair looking off into space. He seems rather bored.

    -Corey

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