Tuesday, May 03, 2005

"Idol": Twice the Tunes

With the field down to five, ''American Idol'' managed to squeeze in two songs by each performer, once again using categories that offered the singers plenty of options. Once again, we're at the point where any of the singers could end up winning, and the show wants to boost as many singers as it can.
To cut to the chase, current ''Idol'' lightning rod Scott Savol was better than usual and may have won himself a place in the final four. He was also unusually confident -- maybe too much so, since he started talking smack to Simon at one point before the judge had even begun evaluating him. Scott is clearly ignoring all that votefortheworst.com stuff and taking the fan support to heart.
I'll have more ... after the break.
Break: For those of you curious about ''PrimeTime Live's'' expose on ''American Idol,'' here's a link to an ABC piece hyping it:
And now back to the show. Category the first: Songs by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the rock and R&B icons. Anthony led off with ''Poison Ivy.'' Blah. Scott next with ''On Broadway'' with a pretaped claim that he picked it in response to Simon's telling him to pack his bags a week ago, because of the line about ''I won't quit till I'm a star/on Broadway.'' Not bad. But an eerie note from Paula: she only knows the song from the George Benson version. What, no Drifters in her music collection?
Vonzell reached into the Elvis catalog for ''Treat Me Nice,'' although the arrangement bears no resemblance to the original, Randy and Paula love it -- and probably don't know the original here, either -- but Simon calls it ''a bit of a mess.'' I'm with Simon.
Bo reaches out to the audience with ''Stand By Me'' but never seems to kick it up beyond a safe, background-music rendition. Judges rave. Carrie goes for Elvis's ''Trouble,'' and she's very good. Judges think so, too. In the positioning and the comments, we're seeing the judges longing for a Bo/Carrie finish.
My ranking: Carrie first, then a tie between Bo and Scott, then a tie between Vonzell and Anthony.
Category the second: Try this for a softball -- any song from any Billboard chart this week. Anthony tackles the Backstreet Boys' ''Incomplete.'' Blah for me, and the judges go in an odd direction -- Simon's giving it a thumbs up while the other two are unimpressed. There seems to be a lot of let's-not-cause-too-much-backlash in the judging.
Scott once again tries to be the Big Bowl of Soul with a Brian McKnight tune. Praise from Randy and Paula; Simon rightly says he was better on the first song. Vonzell tries a bold move, taking a tune from the current CD by the Idol contestants; it's a treacly song but she does it very nicely. Randy calls it perfect while Simon warns that she's vulnerable.
Bo tries for points with Los Lonely Boys but I'm still not impressed. Carrie's in tune with Rascal Flatts. Not as good as the first time. My ranking: Vonzell, then Carrie, then a three-way tie between Bo, Scott and Anthony.
Compiling the scribbles on my sheet, I get a final ranking of Carrie, Vonzell, a tie between Scott and Bo, then Anthony.
I'm not predicting anything because, well, my predictions are usually bad -- and I don't know how to factor in things like Bo's recent appearance on The Smoking Gun Web site. But that's how it sounded to me.
Still, I've been waiting for the goosebumps we're supposed to get as the competitors go for the big win, but they weren't there tonight. I got closest with Carrie in the first round and Vonzell in the second. But, with my faves all gone, I don't have a huge emotional investment in any of them -- no matter how many times Ryan begs me to vote.


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