UPDATE 2: Tracy also has her thoughts up. Again, it's interesting where our opinions meet and diverge and we still come up with the same end result.
UPDATE the third: Sheila posts her thoughts.
Coming at you live:
Mandisa: WOW! How great was that? Opening with a barnstormer like that! She just owned that song. I am not familiar with the original, but I don't have to be, she destroyed it without me knowing it.
Great way to start the show.
Paula's, "Yer, yer a thoroughbred." Sh-she's on horse tranquilizers.
Bucky: Barry Manilow rearranging Buddy Holly? How arrogant. And the execution sucked. Once again, Simon is the voice of reason, "pointless karaoke," was beyond apt. Sounded like the rehearsals were better than the performance. Things are not boding well for the Bucktoothed one.
Paris: Had my doubts, but this one is on par with Mandisa's performance. Paris is on tonight. I must say, I think Mandisa obviously has Paris in experience. She's not as hot and cold as Paris has been, but when Paris is on, she is on!
Can we just forget that Randy and Paula are there. I understand why Simon is so upset having to sit next to those two.
But doggonit, don't talk so much. Or calm down before talking. Yes. Definitely calm down first. Your voice is way too wacky when you're excited.
Chris Daughtry: I am really looking forward to this ...
Oooh, Johnny Cash. I'm worrying. Doesn't seem like his style. Hopefully he makes it his own, appears that it's going to be, they're not really giving us any sound bites. What little we are getting sounds interesting.
I like the all-black.
Started a little boring, honestly. Kicked up a bit, but I'm not sure I liked it. Not when there were so many other '50s-era tunes to choose from. However, it definitely seemed to be a crowd pleaser. He really could have rocked out some of those old tunes, and I guess that has more to do with why I'm disappointed than with the actual choice of song.
Randy ... yadda, yadda; Paula ... snore; Simon ... back to reality Chris, you didn't give your best, but even not at your best, you rock.
Random thought: Hmm. Some of the best singers in the country ... you thoughts?
Katharine McPhee: I hope she sings something rocking. Her voice is great and she is very good looking. Hmm. Sounds like she's going to do some lounge singing.
I'm not sure I'm fond of Barry. That is, last week they had Stevie Freakin' Wonder and this week Barry Manilow. That's like Spam after Porterhouse, know what I'm saying?
UPDATE: Re-listened during the final sequence and I reverse my initial review. This was quite good.
She's safe though. And, her dress selections do tend to be compounding the "baby on board" rumors, don't they?
Randy: "Once again, I am wasting oxygen." Paula: "Vodka? Where? I love everybody ... telling you, really I love you ... it's not the medication talking." Simon: "You've turned into a star."
Well, what the hell do I know, huh? I mean, not everybody can do Ella, and she nailed it, but it just wasn't there for me. Her voice is just too ... clean, yeah, clean, for that song.
Taylor Hicks: My favorite. I am effin excited to hear him sing tonight.
Very strong performance, but not something that really showed off his vocal chops. Wow, I'm agreeing with Randy. Dammit. Paula is having a moment of lucidity also. Simon: Not the Taylor Hicks fan, and I think he's off base here. He fights back a little, but it doesn't matter. I usually find Simon to be the voice of reason, and perhaps I'm letting my opinion taint any objectivity, but I really think Simon is off-base here. I think he just doesn't like Taylor much.
Mid-show analysis: As much as I want Chris and Taylor to rule the show, Mandisa and Paris have delivered the best performances. However, all four are my top four, and I don't think any of them have to worry about being booted.
Lisa Tucker: Here's someone who really needs to show off her chops this week. After last week's performance and her rating in the bottom three she's gotta do something to stand out, especially since she's very talented.
Well, she ain't gonna do it with this song.
I guess it was fine if she was a Mouseketeer. Just not enough to stand out there. I think she's in trouble.
Wait for it, wait for it ... Simon: "Trapped in high school musical." Ha! Perfect.
Kevin: Aaargh! His rehearsal clip is physically painful. I lost my balance walking across the room. We should ship him to Iraq and put him on a damn loudspeaker. "We surrender!" They would shout.
Well, we'd probably wind up in The Hague for war crimes.
"Prepare to shed a tear, America," bwahahaha! More apt than you know, Ryan.
Seriously though, this kid's just not in the same league as the other contestants. He was flat more often than not. And I just can't buy this song from this kid. I know there are plenty of geeky musicians out there, but he just isn't appealing.
But, dammit, the crowd loves him. I want him gone, but he's probably not going anywhere. It just wasn't bad enough.
Randy: "Believe your press, dog. It never lies to you!" Paula: "If you were legal, you'd be in trouble!" Simon: "Kevin, you and I both know you shouldn't be here, but you're probably not going anywhere."
Elliot Yamin: Great singer. Interested in hearing what he has to do. Fanilow is a bad joke and we are all stupider for having heard it.
He always starts a little weak, but it picked up quickly. I'm not sure I'm impressed with how much vibrato he puts in his voice. At least not with something this mellow. It comes across like he's trying to put too much into the song.
The little vocal runs are good though. Even with him overdoing it a bit, it's the best male performance so far.
Randy: "I'm not telling you anything you don't know." Paula: "Ab, dabba, derp, you're good." Simon: "Fantastic."
Kellie Pickler: She's gonna sing Patsy Cline. Anyone as shocked as I am? (He said with sarcasm palpable enough to smack you through broadband.)
She's obviously still an audience favorite. I mean, I was fooled for some time by the innocent country girl act, but as Hollywood week tore on I began to have my suspicions. The final straw was the salmon comment. Who's never heard of freakin' salmon? It's a Crayola color for Bob's sake.
"I didn't know Patsy was in the '50s, tee hee."
To be fair, that wasn't bad. Wasn't great, but it wasn't bad. She would rock most homegrown karaoke.
Randy: "Must. Waste. Oxygen. Dog." Paula: "I want to go to the zoo." Simon: "Did it right. Welcome back."
My feelings pretty much. I still think she's out of her depth, though.
Ace Young: Wonder what he's thinking? Hmm. "Must appeal to little girls. Must not come off as friend of Dorothy. Must man up. Man up ... hmm."
Good lord, rehearsal clip, what the hell is up with the Michael Jackson sharp intake of breath? That is amazingly annoying.
Flat, flat, flat. Ouch. What is going through his mind? "Must do Creed pose. That will go over well."
All right. It's starting to come along a bit better. Once he opens up a little bit it's better, but those closing notes are bad and off-key. Not his best performance. Not at all. Damn audience. What the hell do they know?
Randy: "Dude. You're back. Don't know where you went, but you're back." Paula: "That was sexy, what would you do for a crisp hundred-dollar bill?" Simon: "It wasn't the best vocal tonight, but you're safe."
Well, I must ruminate a little.
End of show synopsis: I think it's easy to say who the top 5 or 6 are, so the more difficult question is who's in trouble? Lisa, definitely. Buck, quite possibly. Kevin, hopefully.