UPDATE: Sarah, as she said in my comments, is on a very different page than me this week.
UPDATE 2: Tracey also disagrees with me on many points. Except the main one -- The Pickle sucked.
UPDATE 3: Dean's thoughts are up and he's got Kellie and Paris at the bottom (as does Dial Idol for that matter).
UPDATE 4: Wizbang Pop!, as always, conveys the deeper ramifications of American Idol on the American psyche. Um, OK, not really, they're talking about Katharine's minor wardrobe malfuntion.
All Idols have two phone numbers tonight. Hmm, wonder why that's happening.
Italian superstar Andrea Bocelli is assisting the contestants tonight. Wonder if they'll listen.
BWAHAHAHAHA! The vocal warm up! Bocelli totally pwns and the producer pulls no punches. Fantastic! "Are these the finalists?" the producer asks.
1. Katharine: Singing a song made famous by Whitney (I Have Nothing), written by the producer who's helping them. She sounded bad at first, but it seems like she took their advice to heart. And she sang a really good duet with Bocelli.
Her live performance ... wow, vocally I'm thinking this might be her absolute best performance. Quite good. WOW! At the end she really brings it home, she's doing more than singing -- she's putting herself in the song. Her personality is really coming through. Great job!
Judges: Randy - Thinks the song was too big for her. I really disagree. She was very good. Paula - Also didn't think much, but she doesn't ever think much, does she? Simon - By choosing that song you're saying that you're as good as Whitney, and you're not. Well, I agree that she's not as good as Whitney, but she didn't necessarily sing like her either.
Again, thought it was a very good performance. I mean, if you make a song your own, you don't have to be better than the original performance.
2. Elliot: Resinging his audition song ... I kind of feel like this is Elliot's domain. He should do quite well.
The background scenes this week are quite revealing and I think the producer dude (can't ever catch his name for some reason) is really helping these guys out. I think he gave Elliot some advice that really helped.
Again, like Sheila has mentioned here and elsewhere, Elliot just makes this all seem so effortless. He's so good, on pure vocal talent. He just doesn't sell the song on stage like some of the others. Tonight's a bit better perhaps, his vocals are like honey, with butter, on velvet. I mean, his best vocals ever. These guys are ratcheting it up.
Judges: Randy - Didn't like the arrangement, but I liked your vox. Paula - You know, I can't even follow what the hell she's saying. Really, I've lost it. She sounds like Drew Barrymore, trying to create her own metaphors, only one-eighth as coherent. Simon - Superb vox.
3. The Pickle: Who isn't dreading this?
Hey y'all, I'm single! Hey y'all, I'm singing that Unchained Mel-o-dy song. You know, I'm gonna sing it like LeAnn Rimes like every other song I sing.
Man, they're being nice to her, and aren't saying anything bad about her singing. But they didn't say anything good either.
Her performance: OK, so it hasn't started horribly. OK, so she can sign this, in her sytle. So, I must ask, what the hell's up with the Ed Grimly effing hairdo? Goodness she can't have both -- decent singing and decent wardrobe/hair. Oh well.
As I listen, I mean, I haven't cringed, but it's not fantastic. I've heard karaoke that's just as good or better.
Judges: Randy - Hey dog, dog, you think you butchered it, huh? It was very strange, not the right song. Paula - Um, um, um, I don't, I can't, um, I adore you, but um, where am I? Simon - That deserved tears, but for different reasons (Paula cried at Elliots performance - for those who missed it). There was no oomph.
The judges were right, though maybe a little harsher than needed. She wasn't bad, just not great. Not top six good. But then, we all knew that.
4. Paris: Both Bocelli and the producer dude thought she was fantastic, but they thought she should pull back her vox on the first eight bars or so. I think it's interesting and something I've been thinking she should probably have done on a few of her performances.
Performance: Very good start, whoop, a couple of flubs, but once the tempo picks up a bit, she really gets going ... and then she cuts in with her full vocal push and it was good transition. She's selling the song too. Very good stange presence even though she's camped out behind the mic stand, she's owning the stange. Very, very well done.
Judges: Randy - Yo, dog, yo, I wasn't blown away, but I liked it. Paula - I felt you oversang the song. Simon - Very good vox, but too old fashioned for my taste.
Hmm. She rocked, shut up judges.
5. Taylor: I'm psyched to hear what he's got up his sleeve.
Ah, the producer is David Foster! Finally heard it straight. Anywho, I get the impression that these guys are probably helping the contestants more than anyone else has.
Performance: Oooh, ouch, really pitchy to start (and they said some great things about him in the preview), but he quickly picks himself up starts the groove. It's a good song for him, but he just doesn't seem in it -- until the end, he opens up. Taylor just doesn't seem happy unless he's throwing his voice all the way out there. He doesn't seem very comfortable with the slow and emotional. But, the crowd's eating it up.
Judges: Randy - Completely the wrong song, not good. Paula - Not my favorite song for you. Simon - You looked uptight tonight ... outside of American Idol, you hear this performance at any nightclub or hotel bar.
They were right, but I don't think it was the song. He just wasn't on tonight. I bet Taylor could have eaten this song up on most any other night. Unfortunately, the night that mattered, he couldn't sell it. It wasn't the worst of the night (Kellie), but it wasn't a lot better. And that hurts me to say because he is my favorite performer.
6. Chris: Wonder if he's going to sing a rock ballad?
Hmm. They (Bocelli and Foster) were a little rough on Chris. As they should have been, he's signing a feckin' Bryan Adams song for God's sake.
Performance: Again, a pitchy start. I mean, the power's there and he closes each line stong, but the lyrics to get to those strong, punchy points are a bit warbly. Well, as he warms up to the song, it gets a little bit better. Still, not great, but not horrible. Better than Taylor.
Judges: Randy - Loved it. Paula - Loved it. Simon - Very good choice of song, great performance.
Hmm, I haven't agreed with these guys much tonight. I'm sure I'd feel different about his performance if I was there on the floor, but I'm listening to it here, and I could hear some pitchy issues.
Not a great night for my favorites. And as I listen to the recap, I give The Pickle worse marks than I did above. Man, I was really hoping to effortlessly enjoy myself tonight. It wasn't there. It just wasn't a lot of fun tonight. No one was amazingly good. No one was amazingly bad. It was one long hour of mediocrity.
Bottom 3 (3?): The Pickle was definitely the worst, Taylor may see the bottom three based on his performance, and lastly, I'd say Katharine, because Paris rocked hard and Chris has too many fans.
We'll see. They better step up the tempo next week dammit.