AMERICAN IDOL 3
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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.


FACT FILE:
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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Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

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 song choice.
Paula: Randy, you have wax in your ears tonight. Carmen, err... Camile, it's you. You're having your best performance.
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. His sister!

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 the pitch.
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 good.
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 pitchy.
Paula: You're controlled, and you're effortless, and beautiful.
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 sound stage.
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 it tonight.

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 referred.

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, infinitely better.
---
Chico's Idol Chart - Motown (or: "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me")

1 - George (George in his element... what more can we say)
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.

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