AI Recapper's Retreat

The Retreat spawns from the Television Without Pity American Idol Forum. Primarily for your longer form recaps, a place outside of the flow of the crazy episode threads. This way we can enjoy/comment/encourage/rationalize these long posts more easily. We spend the time on them, here's another spot for them to have 'life'. Not a forum replacement but a sub-set: Post there, paste here! Or more? We'll see. Oh, and NO SPOILERS! Welcome back for a new year of soul crushing pimping of Chosen Ones. -WS

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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Welcome to the '60s! (Except for you, Lindsay, Anthony and Carrie, you just stay right in the '70s and we won't mention it at all, will we?)
by spacecitymarc

So here we are, as the finals kick off with a typically self-congratulatory "They're becoming the most famous faces on your screen, and you put them there" from Ryan. I swear, this show is so far up its own ass that it's come out its own mouth again.

Last week on a little blog some of us put together, I subtitled my results show posting "We have the monkeys, we just need to teach them to dance." As if in response, Ryan uses the [product-placed cola] pre-show interview to force Bo and Two Cats Fucking to twist. Shout-out! Interestingly, the finalists all start singing (or "singing," since they clearly don't know the words) "Let's Twist Again" instead of "The Twist," which is fine, because it's actually a better song, falling into the great tradition of early '60s sequel songs that were superior to the originals (see also: Gore, Leslie – "Judy's Turn To Cry").

So in the words of one of the great sages of our time, let's rock this thing!

Jessica Sierra, "Shop Around." This is the first week that my opinion of her hasn't improved by leaps and bounds. I agree with Simon: not as strong as she's been, but otherwise fine. During the chorus, she sounds really good on the low notes, which can't be said of a lot of the women in this competition.

Anwar Robinson, "A House Is Not A Home." Good, but also lacking when compared to past performances. Randy falls prey to the trap of the mediocre critic by judging Anwar based on what Randy thinks he should do, rather than what he's actually doing.

K-Lah, "Son Of A Preacher Man." Her lower range is really weak, and she lives there for a huge chunk of the song. Plus, she has weird pronunciation issues. Is this how the Fantasia-haters felt? Still, once she got out of her lower register it was probably her best so far.

Two Cats Fucking, "You've Made Me So Very Happy." He actually sings the whole thing, with notes and pitches and everything (except for that last, horrible note, which Paula loves), and he gets a tongue bath simply for not sucking the way he usually does. Feh.

Lindsay Cardinale, "Knock On Wood." I get excited, because the Eddie Floyd original is the song that I'd totally do on Soul night, but then they piss me off by doing the disco version. Part of me assumes that that's because the band just isn't good enough to pull of Booker T. and the MGs. A shame, really, because I think that she might have been able to kick ass on the Stax arrangement. Not a great vocal, but not horrid like some of the others. The pan across her family and friends shows a woman who looks a hell of a lot like her who seems to be wearing a slip as a top. So maybe wardrobe, like prettiness, is genetic. Ryan, switching up this "you" that he seems to be talking to, tells the audience and Lindsay simultaneously, "I think you have to remember when you're watching that the 60s theme isn't the easiest for some of you guys, because these are new songs to you." Which, obviously, since Lindsay didn't even really do the theme. But also, isn't the fact that they aren't familiar with a whole world of popular music, a world which isn't exactly hidden in the shadows and swamps, a problem? I mean, at least Bo knows the songs he's performing.

Anthony Federov, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do." He interviews that he connects "spiritually and vocally" to the song. How in God's name do you connect spiritually to "Breaking Up"? He takes a cue from Lindsay and does a yawnworthy soft rock rendition that starts on a stool so that, you guessed it, he can stand up for dramatic effect. Drink! I think his problem is that he oversings everything; even when he's not blindly powering through, he's articulating the notes and words too much. Uch.

Nadia Turner, "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me." Looks like Tamyra, but she's awesome, the best of the night. Nadia, I've noticed, tends to sing without a lot of the bullshit that so many of the others deliver by the [product-placed car]-load.

Bo Bice, "Spinning Wheel." I think David Clayton-Thomas is who I've been trying to find for the past few weeks to compare Bo to. This was perfect for his voice, and if the performance wasn't as mind-blowing as he's been, he just did what he needed to do this week, I think.

Vonzell Solomon, "Anyone Who Had a Heart." I'm still not wowed by her; I think that the higher notes are somewhat outside of her register, and she hit a bad last note. But wow, she looks and sounds exactly like a girl-group singer. All she needs is two shorter girls in the same dress on either side of her. So that earns some affection from me right there.

Scott Savol, "Ain't Too Proud To Beg." Horrible stage presence (at least he's not trying to dance), but a strong vocal that kept him from looking like an idiot in comparison to George Huff's asskickery last year. What's with the Marines in the front row? And were there no "family and friends," or did I just miss it?

Carrie Underwood, "When Will I Be Loved." She too avoids the theme by doing the Linda Ronstadt version rather than the Everly Brothers original. She's shakier here than she's been so far, which is weird, because she's usually a much better singer than this. Special dislike for her makeup, which eliminates her facial features entirely.

Nikko Smith, "I Want You Back." Ha! At least he has a sense of humor about the whole thing, singing, "Oh, baby, all I need is one more chance." He puts in a decent mid-level vocal performance. The question is whether it was strong enough for him to avoid being the first man voted out, which is what he needs to escape being this year's Leah LaBelle.

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