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In the world's ultimate talent search - where the eyes of a nation are upon the best undiscovered singers in the country, where the audience has the power to make or break you, and where a million-dollar recording contract is on the line, there is only one rule: If you can sing it, bring it.

Recaps by Gordon Pepper and Chico Alexander, GSNN

Disclaimer: Idol Charts are based on the opinions of the GSNN editors and are compiled before the votes are tallied and the result made public.

Host: Ryan Seacrest
Judges: Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson
Creator: Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
EP: Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller
Packager: 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America
Airs: Tuesdays at 8:00pm ET and Wednesdays at 8:30p ET on FOX

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No infringement of copyright is intended by these fan pages; production companies of shows this site covers retain all rights to the sounds, images, and information contained herein. No challenge to copyright is implied. 

Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

March 23/24 - Finals Round 2

Before today's show, I must admit something. I'm not big on country. I've NEVER been big on country. And after tonight, I fear that you'll know why. Either that or I'll be... moderately big on country. We'll see. First off, a wish for speedy recovery to a true American Idol, Aretha Franklin. Our wishes as well. After welcoming the Idols, the Man in Black, the Darlin', and Bling Bling Jackson, we have our subtheme, the Idols as kids. I'll tell you right now, expect many "ooooh-s/he's-so-cuuuuute" moments. Like this one from Diana DeGarmo, who has been singing since she was five. She's become the "National Anthem Girl" in Snellville, but can she fly on Martina McBride's "A Broken Wing"? Her wings of a perfect stage presence and a note that shook the heavens (read: one held for more than five seconds flawlessly. TM Chico Alexander, 2004) are clipped by pitchiness here and there. But still, pretty nice start.

Randy: I think this is the best performance she's had so far. That was incredible!
Paula: I can't picture you doing anything else.
Simon: Definitely a style that suits you. My only slight worry is that you were like a product of a pop farm. It's very effortless, but you're not yet connecting with the audience.

Have to agree with the Man in Black on this one, even as a judge fight ensues. I mean, it's really good, but it seems like it's stereotypically good. Speaking of which, in the audience today is Steve Young of the 49ers. "It's all about harnessing the creative tension in the performance." Words to live by, really. Let's see what George Huff can do with them. He grew up in the projects, but was able to find a place of peace in his church music and in college, where he played in an opera that made him look like Hercule Poirot. His song: The John Michael Montgomery/All-4-One tune "I Can Love You Like That." Like last week, he had to grow into the role of singer. But once he does, look out. Another note that shook the heavens caps a fitting performance.

Randy: It was good. I liked it, but I didn't feel the energy of the George I liked before.
Paula: You have the sexiest voice ever.
Simon: You have a connection. That is a connection. At the moment, you look like you're totally in the hands of the stylists.

Judge fight ensues. End result: George = Ruben + help from the wardrobe department. Fantasia Barrino's next, and we see her performing in a gospel choir, which could explain a few things if you've ever seen a) Fantasia perform and b) a gospel choir up close. She hopes that she's "Always On My Mind". Doesn't sound like Willie or Elvis, but in some ways, that's a good thing. She puts herself in the performance, but, and I wouldn't say this if it wasn't a personal issue, but it's becoming too nasal and whiny. But good presence, I must say.

Randy: You proven that you could do a controlled performance. You probably could sing anything.
Paula: I love the fact that you gave a more subdued performance. It was so classy. I like the way you are now.
Simon: You've proven tonight that you are not a one-trick pony, but my problem is that I hope that this doesn't continue, because you're not a middle-aged singer. You are young and fun and different and perky.
Fantasia: Simon, YOU DON'T KNOW CLASS!

See what I mean? A pure whine. And here we go again with another judge fight, and... my God is that a middle finger? FCC, Simon! Retract that claw. But at least they love her getting down with the get down. And so do we. She just has to cut out the nasality is all. And I then push the fast forward on my DVR to skip over the adverts and the Simon/Paula clip form the season two finale. Shudder, is what I say to that. And speaking of which, John Stevens is next. We see him back when he was just plain "Carrot Top". The name had since been trademarked by, well, someone else, but John's the "King of the Road" tonight. Again, he goes from strength to strength (when you have one strength, it's not that hard). But tonight, he went from weakness to weakness, forgetting one of his lines. But he covers for it. Will it be enough to save him? Not, but he schmoozes. He schmoozes!

Randy: Even though you forgot the words tonight, I must say I enjoyed you tonight for the first time. Perfect song. Even though you forgot the words. Paula: You covered it very nicely. You're becoming more seasoned each week. Simon: On the bright side, you only forgot the words in front of 30 million people. I actually think you're great. On the slightly negative side, you are going to have to learn to get your personality over.

That, and he's starting to wear thin with his shtick here. Camile Velasco and her shtick are next. She's the first born and a Navy brat. The Eagles get the Idol treatment on "Desperado"... which could describe Camile's performance style. She tries to power her way through so obviously that you can see it on her face AGAIN. Even with her otherwise good presence, I'm going to have to pass on this one.

Randy: It was alright for me. It's all very jerky. I know you were trying to make it your own, but I just didn't get it.
Paula: I love your voice, and I see the soulfulness coming back. You did a great job.
Simon: I've got a horrible feeling that that's going to sound out of tune (C-Note: justified). I honestly think your nerves are going to be your biggest problem in this competition.

No judge fight. In fact, a consensus. Camile, you're your own worst enemy. Those nerves will be the end of you. And it's the end of this act, as Steven Cojocaru stops in for a style makeover/Old Navy plug. Going over to the formerly small Jennifer Hudson, who would eat but not gain a pound. She gained it all in high school, but lost it in time for the competition. Looking good, really. "No One Else on Earth" by Wynonna... Sounding good, really. Put her own swang on it once she got the jitters out, and there were jitters. Definitely the best I've seen her this competition. And the way she works the crowd could definitely keep her out of the danger zone this week, even as she sours the end. And parts of the middle.

Randy: Overall, I thought it was a good performance.
Paula: You need to get your personality back again. I thought you were holding back a bit. I thought the real Jennifer wasn't shining through.
Jennifer: I got funk. I got style. I got attitude. I can give you whatever you want.
Simon: I think you're out of your depth in this competition.

Yeah, she is one of the better singers, but she's is only ONE of the better singers. She can sing, but she's got to beat about three or four others. Another ONE of the better singers (in terms of this competition) is the man they call JPL, Jon Peter Lewis. "I didn't do anything sweet when I was a kid." Very direct, this middle child is. He sings Kenny Rogers' "She Believes in Me". Not the power performance we're used to, but at least he's not dancing. And he's not tiring. I don't think. It's a good song, but I would've changed the arrangement or done something with it or something. But still, not bad. Just not as dead-on as we're used to. And if you get past the dancing, yes, he's dead on to a point.

Randy: You know what's really weird, you're not being your funny self, and the vocal wasn't really there.
Paula: I thought it was pleasant. Kind of safe. You need to lay off the mic a bit when you're going for the power note, but all in all, good performance.
Simon: You have an odd voice, but America seems to have fallen in love with you.

Listening to you sing, I'm puzzled. You look like the guy from the Waltons. You know, John Boy? And that's why part of the reason you're going to get a lot of votes.

Reminds me of one Clay Aiken, really. Jasmine Trias, a native Hawaiian by birth, got her start in singing by... crying. She learned the piano, the ukulele, and the voice (not in that order). Hopefully, she also learned how to "Breathe" a la Faith Hill. Very classy looking, but off-pitch and off-tone in more than one crucial point. In the chorus alone. Song choice notwithstanding, though, her personality just glows. It's almost amazing to watch, albeit a little painful to listen to.

Randy: You look beautiful tonight, but I don't think that was your best performance. It just didn't quite connect with me.
Paula: It was pitchy, but having said that, you've had so many strong performances that this isn't going to hurt you one ounce.
Simon: Nothing much I need to add, really. It's very mumsy, dadsy, very sweet.

It's just becoming a little bit boring.

Come on, man. Be kind. "I like puppies." Okay, that's a start. Big man Matt Rogers is next, and believe it or not, he used to be a small fat kid with a slight "R" problem. He's close to Tim, his big brother. In fact, he's "Amazed" (Lonestar). Good someone is, because again, it's a song choice that any sane singer wouldn't have really made given the circumstances. He tries to make the best of a bad situation, and it really shows. Just not in a good or bad way. Still, not as bad as it could be, but damn pitchy.

Randy: I like that, man. It's one of your better vocals. I still don't know if I would look at you and say, like Cowell would say, the American Idol, but you definitely got the American Idol personality.
Paula: I think it's good you're in touch with your female energy, because that's what makes him a well-rounded performer. You're more subdued and I like that.
Matt: Hi, dad!
Simon: I think you're a fun guy, a nice guy, but from the beginning where you had that terrible smile like you were singing at some ghastly children's party! It was just nauseating!

The judges agree that this is becoming safe night. Oh gosh have we lost the season so soon after we got it back. Simon and Matt trade "I love yous" and we're going forward. Ryan's in the audience with second season Idoler Josh Gracin, whose single, "I Wanna Live", is blowing up on country radio right now. His album's due out June 15, and I believe that would make him the fourth season two vet to have an album behind Ruben (obviously), Clay, and Kimberley Locke. If you remember, he sang at last year's country show, Garth Brooks' "Ain't Going Down 'til the Sun Comes Up". And that's exactly what La Toya London sings. Tomboy as a kid, she shows that some habits can be harnessed for just the right moment. Enter the right moment... NOW. She does it better than Josh did it last year, and that's pretty hard to accomplish. Very nice playing to the crowd, and the stuff that she can do with stiletto heels is amazing. And somewhere between all that, note that shook the heavens #3. And all I have to say is "Final-fricking-ly, a risk taker."

Randy: Another incredible performance tonight.
Paula: That was the most fun performance of the evening tonight. You are on fire.
Simon: That's what I've been waiting for. You took a risk and it worked. Fantastic!

And was Simon clapping? I think that's worth a few thousand votes in and of itself there. Before we get to the final performance, here's a clip of the Idols at a country bar flaunting their dance moves... or absence there of. Hero button time! *pushes button, Marie Del Giorgio, dance instructor, appears*. She teaches the line dances to our group, who has to rely on Fantasia's pipes to call expert wardrobist Miles ("As luck would have it, I collect cowboy boots."). Okay, less dancy, more singy. Final performance is Amy Adams. She had always loved music, or "oogits" as she would call it. The goofball is back as she lays down the Dixie Chicks' "Sin Wagon". A bit rocky to start, but definitely in her element in all aspects. Not the best of the night, but damn near close. To say that it should be enough to avoid the red zone for another week would be an understatement at this point.

Randy: As a former A&R guy, this is your style of music! This is the best performance you've ever given!
Paula: You're so in the pocket. It proves who you are as a person. You could release this song right now, and it would go to #1 on the country charts (C-Note: I don't think Josh is happy with that).
Simon: I don't understand this kind of music and I hated the song. I just don't get, but yeah, it was... umm... yeah. Honestly for once, I haven't got a clue what to say.

Silencer, baby! SILENCER! 1000 points! Another risk taker, another good choice, and another fine performance to cap your night of country music. Votes are tallied all night and into the morning if we have to. Next time, Gordon has the RE-sult, and someone's riding into the sunset. I don't know who, but I have a good idea...


Chico's Idol Chart - Country (or: "After the Finger of Death Mix, Part Two"!)

1 - La Toya (once again, top of her game)
2 - Amy (in her element)
3 - George (again, had to grow into the role)
4 - Fantasia
5 - Jennifer (shaky to start, but workable)
6 - Jon Peter (also shaky, but down with the ladies)
7 - John
8 - Diana (a little pitchy)
9 - Jasmine (a little more pitchy)
10 - Matt (still a little more pitchy and bland)
11 - Camile (shaky to start, and to end. The middle, that's good)

After two rounds:

1 - La Toya (23)
2 - George (22)
3 - Fantasia (19)
4 - Jon Peter (15)
5 - Amy (14)
6 (tie) - Jasmine and Jennifer (13)
8 - Diana (12)
9 - John (10)
10 - Matt (9)
11 - Camile (4)

Here is my AI chart - again brought out before seeing the results -

1 - LaToya
2 - George
3 - Diana
4 - Jon Peter
5 - Fantasia
6 - Matt
7 - Jennifer
8 - Amy
9 - Jasmine
10 - John
11 - Camile

Not a heck of a lot of change here. Matt slips down because it's obviously not his forte, but everyone else stays the same and Fantasia slips down due to her hissy fit with Simon. Camille was once again awful and she should be going - but maybe the red-hared Mr. Stevens will be joining her.

But now that we know a little about the voting, let's talk chaos theory. Everyone knows that Camille and Jennifer are both on the bubble - which means that the fans will be coming out in droves. They will probably not be going home. The question is - who gets to go in their place?

After some more gratification and a recap, we get a quick concert by Kimberley Locke, who sings "8th World Wonder". If I remember correctly, both me and Chico predicted that Kimberley, Ruben, and Clay would all have #1 hits. Message accomplished, as Kimberley's single debuts at #1. After a cute trip through the judges (in which Simon says that she could make it to next week), Kimberley thanks the fans and implores them to buy her album "One Love".

Enough of the pleasantries. John Stevens, the man who mangled his safe. This is not looking good already and I am wondering what the audience was drinking when they were voting. My confidence is better when Fantasia is safe - but then takes a u-turn when Matt Rogers find themselves in the Bottom Three.

George is safe. Jasmine, who was awful along with Camile, is safe - and so is the over-gyrating John Peter Lewis. The awful in the bottom three and she may as well be packing and joining Leah. Diana or Amy will be joining her, and that person is...Diana. What were you guys on?

Time to hear from the judges. Paula is very surprised and didn't expect Diana or Matt there - but tells Camile that she needs to be more excited. Simon wasn't surprised and said that Matt chose the wrong song. Being able to rectify her mistakes for next week is Diana, as she is safe. That leaves Matt and Camile. Either everyone thought that Camile was awful and she's gone, or Hawaii knew that Camile was awful, so they called up like crazy and Matt, with the supposedly 'safe' performance, got caught in the backdraft.

The person who's going home is.....Matt Rogers.

The Chaos Theory has claimed it's first victim.

So what happened? Well, everyone has their favorites - and people will vote for the person in danger, which means that if you turn in a performance that people think is 'safe', and you don't have the fan base, then you may be in trouble. For Matt it may be that - and the fact that he threatened to squished SImon's head like a grape. Matt realizes this, and changes the lyrics to loving Simon before he leaves. That's a lesson that he learned a little bit too late.

So who's next? Well, Camille should be safe, as should Diana, as their fans will be calling off the hook for them. Fantasia, George and Latoya must have their fan bases - and I don't think that the men are in danger yet - just simply because John Stevens should have been in the bottom three and he isn't. That leaves Jennifer, Jasmine and Amy. Based on prior performances, it will between Jasmine and Amy next week to see which one is toast, and I think that Jasmine is a very edible spread...

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