Welcome back class. We're now down to the Soporific Seven of American Idol as this season drags on. Tonight we've got The Mack Daddy himself Rod Stewart, master of bedding blonde girls a fraction of his age and rasping out schmaltzy love ballads. Rod has more children than #1 hits, just to put that into perspective. Rod has dragged us all into his excursion in "America's Songbook", also known as Hits From The Prohibition and Songs From The Stone Age. I looked up what songs were in Rod's Songbook and I discovered one is an earnest ballad, "Makin' Whoopie!" sung as a duet with Elton John. I'm not making this up. Now you too have the visual image of two hairy, wrinkly septuagenarians pawing at each other. You're welcome.
So apparently Bucky's bandwagon lasted exactly one stop. Oh well, I can always take consolation in the fact that after tonight he'd be gone anyways. In fact the order in the universe has been restored and the cream has risen to the top again.
Professor of Classics, Dr. Rod will be chipping in with his insincere, insipid, hyperbolic comments.
CHRIS DAUGHTRY - "What a Wonderful World" 1968 - Louis Armstrong.
Louis Armstrong would never be accused of being a great singer, but he could imbue a song with layers of heartfelt soul. As for Chris' version, not so much soul, but he showcases his pretty, light singing on this piece, mixing in some flavors of his own. He starts off a little too intense with his vest and chain wearing self. I thought at one point I detected the hint of a Chris smile but it faded fast. Chris then takes a seat next to Guitar Playing Dude and gets Muppet with the song and he hits a sweet "I think to myself" and finishes it off with style.
ROD SAID: Chris will do wonderful, this is a breakout for him. I can't imagine Ozzy Osbourne singing this, for instance, no disrespect to Ozzy but it's a vocal push.
GRADE: A - No disrespect to Rod, but I can't imagine Ozzy even singing "Iron Man" these days, let alone something with more than one note. Every version of "Wonderful World" pales next to Louis, but Chris was about as good as you get on Idol.
PARIS - "These Foolish Things"
Paris must've been licking her lips for this week as she's an old soul who just happens to be contending on a pop music show. Paris even dressed for business with her salmon-colored power-lunch skirt-suit. Paris launches into an earnest rendition of the song without her usual vocal embellishments and trills and sings it great. Love her or hate her, Paris sings this like a pro. You could almost hear her earthy voice on a scratchy 45 that you found in your crazy uncle Eugene's gin locker.
ROD SAID: You either got emotion or you haven't, and Paris definitely has got it.
GRADE: A - This is the stuff Paris grew up on and she sings it like a seasoned veteran.
TAYLOR HICKS - "You Send Me" by Sam Cooke.
Taylor was another one who could only benefit from tonight. I mean, the guy dresses in a dinner jacket every week, so this was old hat for the Old Man. Taylor starts off so slow and deferential that the song actually made time stand still for me. Taylor should've gotten to the shouted bit at the end because then time was restored on planet earth and he finishes the song strong.
ROD SAID: "Nobody sings like Sam Cooke, nobody." Rod suggests that Taylor should ignore Simon and dance the crap out of the songs if he has to. "Do whatever it takes to sell the song. You got to grab the audience by the balls."
GRADE: B - Leave it to Rod bring everything back to his genitalia. Taylor hits all the right notes in an effort to do the song justice but the first half put me into a stupor.
ELLIOTT YAMIN - "It Had To Be You" 1924.
Elliott brings it all the way back to 19-friggin'-24 for this tired wheeze of a song. Elliott sings it in an ultra-cheeseball style with a big counterfeit grin and his hoot owl eyes at full alert. You could almost imagine Elliot doing the song in tux and tails in black and white film stock, while singing into an old-fashioned mic at the radio station with the call letters W-DUD on the microphone. Yeah, doesn't sound like your next pop idol does it?
ROD SAID: Elliott has a wonderful, blue-eyed soul voice. He has a great set of pipes.
GRADE: B -- And still no clue how to use them. Elliott sings the song well but I fear his confidence is shot. His performance is broad and unemotional, but again, it must be tough emoting on a song that's had the last ounce of passion wrung out of it some time BEFORE the great stock market crash.
KELLIE PICKLER - "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" by Rodgers and Hart for the musical "Pal Joey" in 1940. (thank Wikipedia for that one, I assure you I did not know that- but then neither did the 'Pick.)
All things are right with the world as Pickler sank back down to the bog where she came from. Her frail vocals return for much of the song and she's flat from time to time. Actually the song started off okay, but Kellie admitted she was struck by nerves and her nasally vocals that I hated make a strong return. Another hot one tonight! Pickler to her usual good credit apologizes for sucking, but honestly it wasn't that terrible.
ROD SAID: Kellie has some personality. She's a firecracker. She's bubbly. She sings extremely well. I'm most impressed. (translation: Rod is looking to trade in 20-something blonde #277 for a younger model -- just keep away Kellie, I've heard his mole has teeth of its own, like the Alien.)
GRADE: C -- It was good to see the return of bad-singing dumber than dish-water Pickler so I won't get any more e-mails about how I'm being nice to her even though she's supposed to be "The Worst." Even Rod, no rocket scientist himself, has some fun at the expense of the Blonde Savant as he chides for for forgetting her music.
ACE YOUNG - "That's All" as sung by Adam Sandler in the "Wedding Singer."
Yes, Ace even comes up second best to Adam Sandler in a singing competition. Also, as a nod to Sandler, Ace reaches back into the 80's for his hairstyle, the greasy pulled back ponytail from Steven Seagal circa "Hard to Kill." Ace more then ever reminds me of a high school musical singer with his clean, over-enunciated vocals and lack of any passion whatsoever. It seems Ace has accepted his booting this week and doesn't show his usual nerves. He sings the song to the best of his ability and he hits all the right notes, so good job, Ace.
ROD SAID: He branched off from the melody, then came back to the melody. Brilliant!
GRADE: B -- If I'm giving Elliott a B, Ace deserves one too, for possibly his last performance on the show. I feel bad for Ace, as it's a pyrrhic battle for him to mount a comeback on Top 10 Hits from the Titanic (the boat) Night as Ace's talent is '90's era pop vocals. You'd think on a Pop Singing competition he'd get to sing, you know pop songs. Except for "Songs From This Decade" week Ace wasn't given the opportunity to rock our world with some Back Street Boyz or New Kidz on the Block. You just know when Ace heard it was Rod Stewart Night he had to be itching to sink his teeth into "Do Ya' Think I'm Sexy." Poor Ace, at least he got a consolation hug from Rod.
KATHARINE MCPHEE - "Someone to Watch Over Me" by George Gershwin for the musical "Oh, Kay!" (thanks Wikipedia!)
Katharine shows off again tonight. She highlights her effortless light vocals, while adding a touch of sultriness and a wink of deeper naughtier thoughts on her clear and pretty low register. She even dazzles us with some Aguilera runs. Just like Chris, Katharine is making American Idol her bitch. She's a ringer, I tell you. And despite all that the judges STILL manage to praise her even higher than I did.
ROD SAID: "I want me a piece of some McPheever"-- Just kidding, he never said that, but his subtext was leading in that direction. Rod actually said "There's not much I can say about this girl, she's fantastic."
GRADE: A - See, even Rod is bored by how good McPhee is.
If it were my show, and I wasn't making bazillions of dollars each week to draw this thing out through the next millenium I would just take McPhee, Paris and Chris and have a one night, steel cage, choose your own genre Battle Royale Sing-Off and see who comes out with the championship belt.
So class, pop quiz-- Who is going home tonight? Bonus points for guessing anyone not named after a playing card and getting it right.
If you would like to contact Professor Chan about this article, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Back to top|