Quick. Close your eyes and think of one of North Americaís greatest entertainers. Okay, maybe donít close them, but think really hard. Who would be on that list? Madonna? Michael Jackson? Cher? Wayne Newton? On second thought, itís not the impressive list that I thought it was going to be, so maybe including Lionel Richie isnít that big of a stretch.
Itís the week weíve all been waiting for. The last week that Canadian Idol will be brought to you by Lionel Richieís Just For You. I, for one, am thrilled. I would be thrilled if the Tanya Kim Mint Moment ads would go away, but I suppose beggars canít be choosers. The one and only Lionel Richie is a special guest this week and the Top 7 will therefore select songs from his long solo career as well as his years as one of the Commodores. I suspect a few of these performers have even heard of Mr. Richie before he became known as Nicoleís dad. However, Iím grateful that Lionel Richie is slumming it with us Canadians, even if he is trying to sell a few CDís.
As the show begins, I spot Joshua Seller, last weekís reject in the crowd. Maybe heís back in hopes that heíll get voted back in. Ben starts off with his usual forced banter. Zack compares performing to making love; itís best when you show who you are and are proud to be naked. Ben is red in the face and giggling like a schoolgirl. After eliciting some banal comments from both Sass and Farley, Ben tells Jake that blue is a great colour for him. Jake doesnít really know what to say, but takes the opportunity to shamelessly fawn about what a wonderful artist Lionel Richie is and how the contestants canít go wrong with song selection when Richieís songbook is the best there is. Well Jake, not everyone can sing Easy Rock/Light Hits with Lionel Richieís panache, as weíre soon to discover.
The Boy With the Golden Curls
Over the course of the week, each Idol got the chance to meet and rehearse with Lionel Richie himself. Upon meeting Kalan, a skeptical Lionel comments on how young the blonde wonder is and doubts that he could pull off one of his songs. Upon hearing him sing, he changes his mind.
Kalan has chosen to sing Still, a hit before Kalan was even a glimmer in his fatherís eye. Kalan starts off the song in what Iíve decide to call the Serious Moment Stoolô, which Idols seem to pull out when they want to be taken seriously. Too bad the producers canít find the stool for the results show, but thatís neither here nor there. Kalan sings as flawless as ever, but with a look of either intent concentration or constipation.
The judges are overjoyed with the performance, however. Jake is happy that Kalan listened to him last week and declares it his best performance to date. I take issue with that. Of course, I am not sure which performance would qualify, but I was not especially taken with this performance. Farley, who is all about alliteration, tells Kalan ĎStill, Sex Symbol, Superstar & Successí. Kalanís priceless response is a frozen, deer-in-the-headlights type of smile. Sass says heís gone from Good Boy to Dream Boy and Zack, still on his lovemaking kick, says it was a naked, honest and wonderful performance. Ben, oddly enough, has my favourite line of the night when he says Kalan has the voice of an angel and the shoes of Liberace.
Then weíre treated to a crowd shot, featuring yet another angle of Joshua Seller. Quick question. If Josh was voted off just last week, why do people think we want to see more of him this week?
Thank You, No, No, Thank YOU
As likely the only genuine Ďfaní in the bunch, Theresa is so excited to meet Lionel Richie, sheís shaking. Lionel returns the compliment by musing that Theresa has a big, black jazz singer inside of her somewhere.
Theresa has selected one of his biggest hits, Hello. Theresa is without her contacts tonight, which is always a good look for her, and even infuses some skat into her performance. Both Farley and Sass are thrilled with the skat and each comment that it brings a bit more of who she really is into the competition. Zack says he felt she was a bit short on power, but loved it, because sheís such an emotionally affecting performer. Jake agrees and compliments her on her vulnerability. Theresa, thrilled to get praise after two rough weeks, just keeps repeating thank you. Whether sheís thanking the crowd, the judges, Lionel Richie, Ben or our own Bob, I do not know but Theresaís giving out thank youís like a pageant queen on speed.
The Bland, The Boring, The Technically Sound
Up next is Shane. During his meet and greet with Lionel, Richie comments that Shane is going in a different direction from the rest of the competition. If by different direction, he meant home, then yes, yes heís probably correct. Iím not sure that Shane is the contestant that is most unlike the others, but whatever.
Shane is dressed in the tried and true suit jacket, blue jeans and 5 oíclock shadow. Iím sure he looks good, but I think he looks as if heís trying too hard. Something about the eyebrowsÖ In any case, Shane has chosen to sing a more recent hit, Angel. As it turns out, I do recognize the song, and remember why I didnít bother to recall it in the first place. Shane should be given credit for taking a chance, but I canít say Iím a big fan.
Sass says itís one of the first times heís left her slightly speechless. Zack says he did a credible job of representing, but Zack isnít a fan. Jake says what Shane does works for millions of people and he liked it. Jake adds that he expected Shane to do a ballad and glad he found something up tempo to sing. Farley praises Shane for being one of the most technically sound performers in the competition.
Ben throws it to commercial using yet another ĎJust for youí reference. This is what happens when Ben goes off the teleprompter. Parroting. Not good when it wasnít witty or clever the first time.
Thatís Smooth, Beautiful
Lionel Richie seems very impressed to meet Kaleb and calls him a quiet fire. Kaleb says he wants to do a good job for Lionel.
Kaleb takes to the stage with Truly. He started off, what I would call, a bit flat on some notes. Apparently some of the judges heard something different. Zack says it wasnít his strongest performance as his character overshadowed the song, but he still loves Kaleb. Jake applauds him for making each song sound like itís his own. Farley congratulates him on representing and his soft aggression, whatever that means. Sass says heís a spectacular singer. Kaleb says, ĎThanks, beautifulí. Smooth, Kaleb. Then Kalebís bizarre personality takes over as he joins Ben on the stools. Heís speaking some sort of sign language with the camera. Iím not sure if heís giving signals to vote for him or if heís trying to contact the mothership. I like Kaleb, but heís a weird one.
Arenít You Supposed to be on Thursdays?
After the break, weíre joined by Jon waste-of-time Dore dressed in an apron by a makeshift barbeque. In CTVís never-ending quest to underwhelm, it turns out the Idols went absolutely nowhere this week. They had a BBQ at the Idol mansion, but I donít really find that all that impressive as I suspect they are allowed to eat regular meals there throughout the week. Oh, and weíre told that Theresa wasnít there because she was working. Working? I assume they mean for the show as Theresaís from Saskatchewan and thatís a long commute. In any case, the segment is as lame as usual, but the Idols get a few good digs in when they imitate Sass and Zack during a jello competition.
Heís A NutÖCase
Of all the Idols, Lionel Richie looks most afraid of Jacob. He tries to turn it into a compliment, but itís obvious Mr. Richie has no idea what to make of Jacob. Scared, comes to mind.
Jacob has selected the Commodoreís Brickhouse. You know the song, you love the song, youíve thought about dressing up in 70ís chic and performing. Okay, maybe just me and Jacob. In any case, Jacob is living out my dream. Unfortunately heís doing a pretty sad job about it. While Jacob seems to be trying hard to concentrate on his vocals, it doesnít go over quite the same way as his previous performances had. Jake says for the first time it was a wee bit campy for his liking. Farley says there is a fine line between entertaining and singing and he needs to balance it out if he wants to win. Sass grabs and envelope and announces, ďEntertainer of the year Ė Jacob Hoggard!Ē Very insightful critique, Sass, thanks. Zack tells him if he wants to win, heíll have to do something real. Iím sorry, maybe Iím letting my bias show, but last week Zack tripped over himself praising Jacob for being real in a sea of wannabes. This week, heís criticizing him for putting on an act, which I think weíve established long ago is part of who he is. I guess it canít be a good week for everyone.
Hold Me Closer, Fancy Dancer
Upon meeting the Lionel, Elena receives some powerful advice. He tells her to make the song her own. Wow, thatís certainly nothing that Paula Abdul couldnít have counseled her on.
Elena has chosen to sing Fancy Dancer. Iím not familiar with the song and Elena doesnít really give me a reason to familiarize myself with the original. I donít hate her rendition, but it doesnít do anything for me either. Elena sort of punks it out and does her thing. But did she make it her own? Judges?
Farley says she was able to let loose and she did a great job. Sass thanks her for not breaking her rule of the night. Iím not sure what that is, exactly, but Iím assuming itís good news for Elena. Zack says he say in her the same thing that he first saw when she auditioned for them back in Vancouver. Jake agrees and says he saw in her tonight the thing that put her through in the first place.
Dimples Like A Cabbage Patch Kid
Closing off the evening is Jason. Upon meeting Jason, Lionel notes that he certainly isnít suffering from a self esteem problem and identifies him as a power singer with great talent.
Jason sings Easy. Iím interested in seeing how Jason performs a song that doesnít allow him to belt it out. In short order, I realize Jason has found a way to still belt it out and sing it like a rock anthem. Itís not horrible, but there is a short distance between rocker Jason and mellowed-out Jason.
Sass congratulates Jason and notes she didnít break her streak. Perhaps her streak means her rule of the night was to say something positive about each performer. Who am I kidding? I havenít a clue as to what sheís talking about. Zack says he did a great job. Jake thinks he pulled it off by singing the line, I wanna be free with lots of emotion and conviction. Farley rains on his parade suggesting it was a little overdone.
Thatís it for the Top Seven. Tune in tonight to see who makes the Top Six. Chances are theyíll be Dancing On The Ceiling, All Night Long!. Look out Ben, looks like Iím more than able to take over your job!