This article is written and owned by: Arne
American Idol has brought back its theme nights and along with the themes we get to enjoy an array of Icon greats who have staying power in the music industry. I have long argued that it is premature to ever call new singing talents or singing groups diva’s and Icons. These treasured names are reserved for talents like Barry Manilow and Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Barbara Streisand, Elton John, Patty Labelle, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, the Four Tops ECT…... This is why if the talent is new or has not been around as long as they should; my articles will only refer to them as great. (That is if I feel they are great). Mariah Carey, Alisha Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, Fantasia Barrino and Avril Levigne are great! They are not divas or Icons yet!
On December 21 /2006, Barry Manilow graced our television screens and allowed us to glimpse at the hard work that goes into preparing for singing performances. Mr. Manilow observed and helped each of the competitors hone in on their vocal ranges and assets to help them prepare for the fifties theme night. I would imagine that appearances of Icon greats like Manilow and Wonder also helps those that are not in the competition but dream of having a singing career. Barry Manilow had made his debut Album “Barry Manilow” in 1973. He has 33 years experience of captivating the pop music industry. Before he made his debut album, he was a musical director for a CBS show titled “Callback”. In 1971, Icon Great Bette Midler hired him as her pianist, arranger, and musical director. He directed her first two albums (1972's The Divine Miss M and its self-titled follow-up), and debuted some of his original material at her Carnegie Hall show in the summer of 1972. Needless to say, it is safe to assume that Barry Manilow knows what he is talking about given his knowledge of music, music career and staying power. Barry had stated that if he would retire from singing performances that he would help other younger singers achieve their dream.
The show opened and dapper dressed Ryan Seacrest makes his appearance (a week before Simon Cowell had a new shirt on, but he did away with it and went back to his routine of wearing drab uninspiring plain T-shirts). Simon actually looked good in his new shirt; it made us all pay attention to him. Ryan does his usual intros of the competitors and judges and they exchange small talk. However, Simon was not in a good mood that night! He seemed to of been pissed off and he showed he was pissed off in his critique of the competitors.
Mandisa sang first,” I don’t hurt anymore by Dinah Washington”. Barry said that Mandisa is one of a kind, she has no range limit and can sing anything( he is in agreement with Stevie Wonder, they both know what they are talking about). Randy said, Classy, great, amazing. Paula said flawless performance and Simon said, Mandisa is blossoming and gave a “sexy performance”.
Bucky was up next and he sang “Oh Boy” by the late Icon great Buddy Holly. Barry coached Bucky and said that this song was a joyful piece of music and in his opinion; it was the right choice for Bucky’s vocals. Randy said, rights song choice not best vocal. Paula said good song choice and performance. Simon said, he would give a reality check ( heh, heh, heh). Nothing more then a pointless Karaoke so what performance! ( Simon is repetitious with his Karaoke renditions don’t you think!
Next up was Paris Bennett who sang a Peggy Lee song, “ Fever”. Barry said, that Paris is so young to have that kind of depth in her voice, it was shocking. He extended that Paris has an enormous singing career before her. Randy said, wow, middle was so, so but she blew it out of the box. Paula, thought it was amazing and for lack of anything more to add, she commented on Paris’s dress. Simon said, this is what you do best, perfect voice for that type of song.
Next up was Chris Daughtry who again didn’t rise to the challenge, he sang the late icon great’s Johnny Cash’s “Walk the line”. Barry said, he has a good handle on who he is and what are his strengths. Randy said, wasn’t best vocal and it took a different spin on it. Paula said, she waits for Chris every week and he is true to who he is. Simon said, wasn’t the best vocal but he is the first competitor on the show that refuses to compromise.( sorry Simon I don’t view him as an artist, that’s why he is on American Idol trying to win, he hasn’t made it yet!!!) My opinion, is that these are nice beautiful feedbacks, however!!! I think its wrong advice to give Chris and let me give you the reasons why! The time for Chris to refuse to compromise is if he wins Idol title! Or he is in the scope of making an album and has a contract! The worst time to refuse to compromise is NOW!
Frankly if Chris is going to sing a Johnny Cash song then I and many of us expect to hear a good performance of country and western( even if he wants to put a different spin on it) not a rock rendition! Finally, Bo Bice was the first to refuse to compromise and he didn’t win Idol title, did he?( he came in second best)! If Chris Daughtry expects to get to the final two, then he better start rising to the challenge. He and the Judges have to remember, that American Idol voters has had enough experience at this, and we have seen the Chris Daughtry’s of the competitions before; and who can’t seem to rise to the challenge of what American Idol competition is about.
In ending, I have received emails from fans who didn’t want to run the risk of having an online battle with other fans, who basically have said, that Chris Daughtry’s performances are nothing special! They are in agreement with my assertion that he needs to rise to the challenge and prove why he would be the best choice for American Idol win. This of course goes for any of the competitors. It’s not just one great performance, you have to be great, outstanding and set yourselves apart from the rest of the crowd! Refusing to compromise, cute, pretty or handsome isn’t going to get any of them the win and the judges need to relay that information to them in their critiques.
Moving along we had Katherine McPhee sing the late Icon great Ella Fitzgerald’s” Come Rain Come Shine” Barry said, ( sorry forgot exactly what Barry said, but I know he was impressed with Katherine’s vocals.) Randy said, Wow, was not his favourite vocal but she still gave a strong performance. Paula said, she looked exquisite! ( this is Paula’s way if she doesn’t think the performance is on par, she comments on how they look, very boring and not very unique Paula).Simon said, that she turned into a star and he loved it.
Taylor Hicks was up next who does rise to the challenge every week. He sang for us Icon great‘s Buddy Holly‘s “Not Fading Away”. Barry said he sings way high, but it does not sound like its high. Randy said, not the most challenging song vocally, he is a big fan of Taylor‘s. Paula said, fantastic, confident, one of a kind. Simon who prefers to play footsey with Kellie Pickler said that it was a complete mess (then amid boo‘s and jeers from the audience, Simon had to scream to be heard that it was a hideous party performance.) (I think that should have been given to a couple of performances but not to Taylor) Simon is wrong!
The Underrated Lisa Tucker is up next and she sings for us, Frankie Lymons’s “Why do fools fall in love”. As usual Lisa blows it out for us, does an excellent job, and as usual the Judges do not!!!! Give her proper credit! Barry said, that Lisa is a powerhouse!!!! I think he does know and has a good ear! Randy said, and says it was a good song choice and performance, just aight. Paula says she got back to the youthfulness. She’s a powerhouse. Simon says he feels he trapped in some high school musical, it was cutesy, just ok, not a wow performance. ( Again, wouldn’that comment be best reserved for Kellie Pickler Simon? You know the gal that is working you over and your to dumb to even know it)!!! So Lisa gets overlooked because she doesn’t make goo goo eyes at Simon??? Give me a rather large break! Simon! Kellie isn’t as innocent as she is portraying and as a social worker who works with Kids, I see the game that Kellie’s playing with Simon! That won’t work with American voters!
Kevin Covais sang next, singing another snooze fest song “When I Fall In Love” by Icon great Doris Day. Barry said that Kevin was the most precious of all the competitors. Randy said that it was not one of his favourite songs but he did a good job even though he had some pitch problems. Paula said, she loves him (sigh) .Simon said, he is a man and he takes it well. Now for the exception of Randy, the other two dummies did not give a good critique, they waded in the pool!
Next up was Elliott Yamin. Who sang Icon Greats Al Jarreau’s “Teach Me Tonight” (can’t quite recall what Barry said, but he was wowed with Elliott) Randy says he picked the toughest song to sing and Elliott worked it out. The level was difficult for that song. Paula has goose bumps. (sigh) she loves him to!!!! Simon said it was fantastic.
Next up was Kellie Pickler is up next! Who sang Patsy Cline’s “Walkin After Midnight Randy says it was a great song choice and she did a good performance. Paula said she was awesome. Simon says she got it absolutley right. It was sexy, it was great.
Ok now here is the big freakin problem I have with this. Kelly sang a Patsy Cline song about a woman losing her man! I would love to know why she was not told that song was too old for her! According to Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest (specifically Simon) Kellie should not have that experience yet! They have in past seasons said as much to Diana DeGarmo, Carrie Underwood, Paris Bennett and they especially work this consensus on Lisa Tucker. What a bunch of literal crock coming from the judges. No again we (America) are noticing how Simon favours Kelly, not because she has the best vocal, it is because she flirts with him and he is attracted to her. Not very fair to more talented singers. Perhaps Simon needs to take a very cold shower when he Judges!
Ace Young closes the show and sings for us the Five Satin‘s “In The Still Of The Night”. Randy is impressed and gives Ace props. Paula says that was probably the sexiest sultry performance he has done the whole season. Simon says it was not the best vocal tonight, one of his stronger performances.
Best performances of the Night: 1. Katherine McPhee 2. Elliott Yemin 3. Lisa Tucker
Worst Performances of the Night. 1. Kevin Covais 2. Chris Daughtry
Who went home: No Surprise Kevin Covais.
Dumbest award goes to Simon Cowell: for being to dense to give proper critique to the more talented singers, and for not realizing that Bo Bice was the first American Idol competitor not to compromise!!!
Dumbest award goes to Paula Abdul: For not giving any worthwhile critique.
Dumb award goes to Randy Jackson: He was just aight, but much better at the critique then the other two judges.
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