March 30/31 -
Finals Round 3
It's been called the city
on the move. Its sound is legendary in Americana.
Michael McDonald paid tribute with a cover album. And
now, our ten remaining Idols will be covering today's
theme, Motown, with some help of course. And by some
help, I only mean the creators of the Motown Sound. You
hear a classic Motown song, you've heard these guys.
Motown's legendary backing group, the Funk Brothers, are
in the house, as are this season's first guest judges,
singers/songwriters Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson,
or, commonly, Ashford & Simpson.
But will we hear the next coming of Ashford & Simpson,
or will we just pop in a DVD of "The Simpsons"? First
one out of the gate is Camile Velasco with the Tony
Bennett (yes, Tony Bennett) tune more famously covered
by Stevie Wonder, "For Once in My Life". And for once in
my life, I'm seeing Camile get down with the get down.
Sounds a lot better than what we're used to (of course,
that isn't saying much), but still has that little face
grasping problem. But hey, a small step is still a step.
Okay start, but not great.
Randy: You had a rough ending. Very pitchy, but a good
Paula: Randy, you have wax in your ears tonight. Carmen,
err... Camile, it's you. You're having your best
Nick: I love your voice. I love your energy. I love your
eyes; they pulled me into it.
Simon: Average, Camile. Not good enough. You just didn't
raise the bar.
Song choices. Camile knows we're getting into that
stage. Now onto Jon Peter Lewis, singing Isley Brothers'
"This Old Heart of Mine". Not even a good song choice
here. As much as I like the guy, and as much as he works
the stage, it's not the consistent JPL we're used to. At
least at the start and the end, but he nails the chorus
dead on. I would've picked a better song, though.
Randy: Like the energy, you got a good personality. The
voice let you down. The voice was not kickin' tonight.
Paula: JPL, I think you're in the pocket tonight. I
think you had fun. I think your pitch was better than it
was last week.
Valerie: I'm definitely with Paula. You did your thing.
You served it up.
Simon: If I'm being honest, it was awkward. To me it was
an amateur-ish performance of a very good song.
Have to agree with the boys here. La Toya London sings
the Miracles' "Ooh Baby Baby" next on. We all know how
good La Toya is, really. She's a mite pitchy on one
point. First chorus. Beginning. But that's it. Apart
from that, she delivers somewhat of a La Toya-lite.
Good, but not as good as we've seen in the past. Still
the one to beat in my eyes, though.
Randy: I don't know what's going on with the hair. You
started kinda rough, but you brought it home in the end.
Paula: You can do no wrong. You're beautiful.
Nick: Knowing what a powerful voice you have, I think
the way you cooled it down into that nice sex appeal, I
thought it was beautiful
Simon: You sounded great. You controlled it well. I do,
however, agree with Randy about the hair. It looks like
you have a cat on your head.
What about the hair? I like it. I think it suits her.
Now go change it. Heh. We're back with Amy Adams, "Dancin'
in the Streets". After last week, I was expecting her to
follow up with the same energy. She does... to a point.
Really dig her vocals on stage, but for the most part,
it's just rockin' a la RJ from series one. Add a couple
of pitchy spots and an ending that I wouldn't really
wish on my worst enemy, and we might have a problem. It
just screams "Don't know how I'm going to top last week,
so I might as well play it safe."
Randy: Started off great. That last note, I don't know
what song that was in but it wasn't in that one.
Paula: The button on that was not the right choice, but
overall we were dancing.
Valerie: You sounded wonderful, but I just wanted you to
veer a little bit from the original version and show us
a little more Amy.
Simon: You were safe. Nothing good about it. Nothing bad
about it. But you know who you remind me of? Jay Leno.
Jay Leno has a sister?! "He does now." Someone tell Jay
that. And speaking of J's, we've got John Stevens up to
bat now with the Temptations' "My Girl". And my
temptation is to switch over to something else. Pitch is
all over the map. The tone is nonexistent. The body
language clashes with the song. It was just wrong. This
one-trick pony just became a lame duck, I'm afraid.
Randy: That was a little rough. I was all right under
Paula: It was a little safe. You've got to approach this
show to win.
Nick: Very pure and innocent. Not bad.
Simon: If I'm being honest, that was abysmal. Absolutely
terrible. I don't think there was a note in tune. This
was your worst week BY A MILE.
Halfway there, halfway home with Jennifer Hudson feeling
a "Heat Wave". And I'm feeling a heat wave of my own
here. Not really a standout performance, but refreshing
from the last five minutes I had to hear. She's got the
voice, the spunk, and the mindset, and they all match
correctly. Even though I couldn't really tell whether
she forgot the words or just went for the money shot
midway. That's a good thing, though. Hey, worked for
John last week.
Randy: It was good, a little over the top, but it was
Paula: Absolutely great, Jennifer.
Valerie: You went for the big notes and you hit'em.
That's what you gotta do up here.
Simon: Entertaining, manic, mad, but good.
My words exactly. And here's Idol hint #23.6: if you
can, play to the guest judges. Enter Jasmine Trias with
Ashford & Simpson's "You're All I Need to Get By". Has a
little bit of trouble with the lower/higher octave
ranges, but she's got the presence and the tone to nail
this one no problem. A little pitchy, but nothing to get
all up in arms about.
Randy: It was a great last note. Other than that, it was
Paula: You're controlled, and you're effortless, and
Nick: I really love your voice. Having written that
song, I thought you did a great performance of it.
Simon: You brought back what we love about you. Without
question, the best we've seen tonight.
Well, for me, not the best, but one of the best. Next
up, Diana DeGarmo wants to know, "Do You Love Me".
Honestly, not really. As good as her voice is and as
high as her energy is, she's shouty and the performance
just reeks of immaturity. Best among her peer group,
probably. Best on stage tonight? Not by a longshot,
friend. But at least Matt Rogers and Eric Yoder are
grooving to it in the audience.
Randy: So far, the performance of the night.
Paula: You have a voice as strong as this whole entire
Valerie: You really made ME relax.
Simon: Vocally, you were very good. But visually, it was
rather like a high school production. I just don't get
And Randy, I hate to say it, but Simon is right. You CAN
hear that in any high school. I just heard it the other
week. Fantasia Barrino is next with "I Heard It Through
the Grapevine". She puts herself in this performance, as
she does in every performance, and that's why America
loves her. But I can't seem to shake the tone. Other
than that, it was the "star quality" that Simon earlier
Randy: That was absolutely brilliant, and that's what
this competition is about!
Paula: I love the way you worked the stage. You touched
every one of these gentlemen, which was great for them.
And I like the fact that you're changing it up.
Nick: Fantasia should be fantastic.
Simon: It takes more than just a good voice to win this
competition. That performance proved my point. Superb.
Nick and Valerie are enjoying the show, albeit the
judging is difficult. Valerie really enjoys the poking
and prodding of the English guy. After all that, we have
"Motown back-up singer" George Huff singing up front
with "Ain't Too Proud To Beg." Going back to song choice
for a moment, this is a decision done right. George is
all in his element on every aspect, and the
handkerchief... classic. Think we might have a tie for
best performance... okay, after that last run, George
takes the title. Sorry, La Toya.
Randy: When I knew that this was going to be a Motown
show, I'm thinking this is going to be George Huff's
night. You worked it out.
Paula: A while back, Simon said that you sounded like a
background Motown singer. Tonight, you've proven that
you're a front man and you're a star!
Valerie: George, you've got the biggest voice, baby. You
don't even NEED a microphone.
Simon: You know what I said earlier on, what Paula was
referring to? I take it back; I apologize.
Another silencer! 1000 points for you! Okay, singing
time is over. Voting begins! Tomorrow, the results, of
which will put another person on the midnight train to
Georgia, going back to find a simpler place and time.
Wait, soul was two weeks ago. Sorry. As for my pick,
while Camile has been the weak link for most of the
competition, John is more likely to go based on what we
heard this week of Camile, which was, truth be told,
Chico's Idol Chart - Motown (or: "I'm Gonna Make You
1 - George (George in his element... what more can we
2 - La Toya
3 - Jennifer
4 - Fantasia
5 - Jasmine
6 - Diana
7 - Jon Peter
8 - Amy
9 - Camile
10 - John
After three rounds:
1 - La Toya (34)
2 - George (34)
3 - Fantasia (28)
4 - Jennifer (23)
5 (tie) - Jon Peter (21) and Jasmine (21)
7 (tie) - Amy (19) and Diana (19)
9 - John (13)
10 - Camile (8)
"We have to send another
of our Idol finalists into obscurity. Remember Jim
Verraros? Well, that's my point."
You can say the same thing for Julia Demato, who was the
10th placed finisher on last year's Idol. Tonight, one
of these ten people will join them into obscurity and
trivia questions. Here are my opinions after Motown (and
ONLY Motown) -
1 - George (La Toya is still the one to beat, but George
did outsing her this week)
2 - La Toya
3 - Diana
4 - Jennifer
5 - Jasmine
6 - Fantasia (Sorry - hate the diva attitude and I hate
her vocal tone)
7 - Amy
8 - Jon the Pen Salesman
9 - Camile
10 - John the word mangler
Mr . Stevens is truly a greenhorn here - but he's not
going anywhere because he was awful and all of his
friends know that he has to stick around. Based on my
judging from last week, I keep my three picks of
Jennifer, Jasmine and Amy - but I think that Jasmine
outsang Amy, so Amy will be going home.
We start off the show with a (shudder) Motown Medley -
but this time around, they were much better than they
were 2 weeks ago (which is good, because I couldn't see
how they would be worse. That was comparable to a Fame
musical medley, for crying out loud).
The good news it that they sounded good. The bad news is
that next week's medley will be down to 9, as one of
them will be leaving the show. We go on to the couch and
Fantasia Barrino is safe. John Peter Lewis is safe as
well and Jasmine, who really did sing well, gets a
voting reprieve. George Huff is safe also, which means
that three of of the next 6 are in trouble. Amy
Adams...is one of them as she gets to move to the center
of the stage. Cue to her mom - who also has pink hair.
Well I guess the flamingo runs in the family.
Who's next? Jennifer Hudson is, which isn't a surprise.
She has no fan base, which keeps dropping her into the
Bottom 3. She better get one soon, or she will be the
first African-American singer who will be toast. That of
course, means that the next 2 people talked about are
safe - which will be Diana and Camille (as the chaos
theory once again holds form). 2 people are left -
LaToya and John. We will see how close John's mangling
gets him to be eliminated...
...as we get another rotten Ford commercial, as we see
the singers pulling a Milli Vanilli and having some
incredibly bad lip syncs - but at least no one is
dressed up up as a goat or any other food part. This is
better than the previous ones - but that's like saying
that eating a pile of moldy cheese is preferable than
eating a pile of moldy pineapple.
We are back, and the person who gets the third seat of
eviction is....LATOYA??? WHA????? John, who looks like
he just survived a bullfight with a pack of bulls, just
stares into space as LaToya joins the bottom three.
The audience groans in disbelief as Paula is asked
whether or not this is the correct bottom three. Paula's
response? 'NO'. Randy says that 2 of the three that are
there should not be there. Simon? 'You let America vote,
you live with the decision.'
America will be breathing a little easier, as La Toya
gets sent back to the safe zone. This leaves Jennifer
and Amy, two of the three that I thought would be in the
bottom. After both women say how much they have enjoyed
the competition, the women who will be leaving is...Amy
Adams. Jennifer Hudson shall stay for another week.
Well, I did call the right person, but La Toya???? You
won't see La Toya finish in the bottom three next week -
and I think that people will be burning up the phone
lines for Jennifer Hudson, too. I think that it won't
stop Jennifer from going into the bottom three - but I
think that the surge will send Camile and John the word
mangler to the bottom, where Camile and John will be
singing for their existence. I think that John will
finally show up - which means that people will think
he's safe. That will be his downfall, as I think that
Mr. Stevens will be done.
Amy sings us out with her reprise and we leave the show.
We'll see next week who will be the next to join her.