By Alyce Wilson
This week will determine the final 12 contestants in American Idol, and two more guys and two more girls will be eliminated tonight.
The guys performed Monday night, and some of them really brought their A game to the competition for the first time.
Scott Savol did a rendition of "Sugar Pie, Honeybunch," which although judge Simon Cowell criticized his dancing skills, was far above anything he'd done so far.
Bo Bice impressed once more with a ballad, "Greatest Event in Your life." This is not a song I usually like, but he did a very soulful rendition which all the judges loved. Simon even said the competition is his to lose.
Nikko Smith once more hit a home run with his heartfelt rendition of "Georgia," which was vocally impressive. MarioVazquez broke from his previous performances and did a ballad which judge Paula Abdul said gave her goosebumps. And music teacher Anwar Robinson finally showed his potential with his skillful version of "What a Wonderful World." Simon exclaimed that Anwar is so genuinely nice that they could have had puppies on stage and even went so far as to say that Paula and Anwar should get married and have children, that's how nice he is.
Not everybody performed up to the same caliber. For example, Anthony Fedorov chose a Latin pop song, which seemed out of place. Simon remarked he has as much Latin flair as a polar bear.
And Constantine Maroulis offered another strange rendition of a pop song, this time "Everything She Does is Magic" by Sting. Although Randy and Paula, for some strange reason, liked it (perhaps it sounds different in the studio?), Simon called it a bad impression of Sting. I have to agree. As much as his personality may have appealed to me at the start, I don't think he belongs in the final 12.
The female competition was a shallower pool, with fewer outstanding performances. Among the notable ones were Nadia Turner performing "Try a Little Tenderness." She had apparently took the advice the judges gave to one contestant last week, which was to challenge themselves by choosing a song that was usually sung by the other gender. Her version of "Try a Little Tenderness" started out slower and picked up steam. She was paid off with positive remarks from all the judges, including Simon, who said she reminded him of a young Tina Turner.
Jessica Sierra performed "The Boys Are Back in Town," another countrified song but rocking enough to show off her skills. Vonzelle Solomon finally showed some potential with a respectable version of "Respect."
But the other contestants were mostly forgettable, and I won't be surprised if any of them leaves the competition.
As I had in last week's Musing, Simon took issue with the fact that one of the departing contestants had complained he was cut because he didn't have enough camera time. Simon called this ridiculous and said that the voters know what they're doing and vote for people based on their vocal performances. I agree. Personality can get you only so far.
Case in point: Mikalah Gordon has personality to spare, and yet as likeable as she may be, her performances aren't up to the same level as some of the others. Also, she has a huge problem with enunciation: you can't tell what she's singing half the time. I don't see her advancing much farther.
Similarly, Anthony Fedorov has a great background story: doctors thought he'd never be able to talk, much less sing, because of a surgery he had when he was younger. And yet, that's not enough for people to vote him all the way through.
This week, the most likely to leave the show are, among the guys, Travis Tucker and Constantine Maroulis, and among the women, Janay Castine and Amanda Avila.
We've had the most severe change in weather the forecasters can remember in some time. On Monday, the weather was positively balmy. I even put aside my winter coat in favor of a poncho. And then overnight, the weather turned. Tuesday, it was bitter cold with driven snow and ice.
sidewalks are all frozen over and Una's wearing her snow booties. Both
of us are slipping and sliding on the ice in what we hope is a temporary
2005 by Alyce Wilson