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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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. 

April 7/8 - Finals Round 4

Okay, follow me here. The theme tonight is Elton John. So who better to guest judge than... Sir Elton John, good, you're learning! He's not at the table tonight. Didn't see that one coming, did you? But Simon did personally deliver the pop impresario to work with the idols before the show, so one can only hope to hear good things tonight, does one? First up, Fantasia Barrino, whom Elton would give a record contract. "I thought she was incredible." She starts up in the audience with "Something About the Way You Look Tonight." I can see why Elton John would think so highly about her. She's a consummate performer. Only rough sports with me are the shout-factor, but she's sounding less nasal than usual. But she puts forth herself. All in all, it's the best I've seen her and the worst I've heard her. But that isn't really saying much.

Simon: No pressure, Randy. No pressure.
Randy: Elton is somewhere listening, you did his song proud.
Paula: You are fantastic. Brilliant. You had the whole place going crazy. Simon: I thought it was your weakest performance so far. I love this girl, but there were parts of this performance where you screeched it.

That's not screeching, Simon. That's her voice... and that in and of itself is scary. Now onto Jon Peter Lewis, which Elton thinks has good phrasing. He sings "Rocket Man", and it looks like he's stalled on the launchpad. Good range, but very pitchy. But he does work the stage. Probably won't be enough to save him down the line. He better find himself FAST.

Randy: I love the jacket. Vocally, it wasn't my favorite performance. I'm not seeing the winner's spirit that you had.
Paula: Hardest thing is that they're full of range. You have a great tone, but I still feel that you're trying to find your style.
Simon: I agree with Randy, you have a nice jacket. The most I could say was that it was average. You know what I would say to you? You need voice lessons.
Somewhere inside you is a good voice. You're not growing week by week, you're just doing THAT. Not great.

Onto a sign of growth in the persona of Jasmine Trias. Elton thinks she did a good job rehearsing "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". And justified. She starts out on the money, but when it comes to the impressive range that this song is known for, Jasmine can't hit. Especially when the high parts and the low parts converge. It was the best I've seen her, but... yep, you know what's coming... the worst I've heard her.

Randy: Pretty rangy song, you chose a great song. These are the best songs for you, but you are a little pitchy. You gotta support (the high notes), but a little pitchy overall.
Paula: You were pitchy. You really do well when you color it up with your vocals.
Simon: It wasn't good enough. You're not doing enough to win.

Again, you know, if you are to win, you have to want it. Next, John Stevens sings "Crocodile Rock", which Elton starts backing up. "He's chosen a novelty song. It can either go for you or against you." In this case, it worked against. Bad song choice. Bad BAD song choice. And bad performance of it. It would've worked if he had a) the personality and b) the strength, but as that sour note proved, he has neither. But he enjoyed it. Too bad he was the only one, though.

Randy: This was a valiant effort. Elton was right; it could either go really good or really bad. That was one of the worst high school plays I've ever seen. That was REALLY bad.
Paula: Your pitch was off. I'm trying to overlook that. I'm really proud of you for taking a leap of faith and just enjoying yourself.
Simon: John... there was a film director named Ed Wood who made one of the worst films of all time, "Plan 9 from Outer Space". After making it, he said "I'm going to be remembered for this." That was the musical equivalent. That was awful.

Segueing us right into Camile Velasco. Elton said that she's so emotional. She parlays that emotion in "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". It could have been the best she'd ever been, but it looks like she's fallen back into the "hold back now" mode that made her a danger to be the second person to be booted. It was weak vocally, and excruciatingly painful to hear and watch, especially with her face. I think she bought it tonight.

Randy: Not your best performance. It was just very alright for me.
Paula: I don't think it was the right Elton song for you. I felt like it was shaky.
Simon: Camile, that was, honestly, the end of the road for you.

If that was one of the worst, here comes one of the best, George Huff. Again, with George being star struck (heh, he likes it), Elton cites this song as less of a public one and that, coupled with being least rehearsed, might be a hindrance. The song in this case is "Take Me to the Pilot". That's okay. I haven't heard of it either. But after tonight, I think that all of America will remember that song. Again, George took a song and OWNED it. Perfect presence, and nice use of the "vertical hold failure" bouncing. Quite possibly the performance of the night.

Randy: You worked it out, baby. It gets better every week.
Paula: In the pocket. You're just a singing machine.
Simon: Thank you for saving this competition from being a horrible karaoke competition. You have the confidence.

And the crowd goes crazy, like OMGWTFBBQCBSAEIOUand-sometimesY. We're going to do the bounce for a bit here. (does the bounce) Okay. Onto Diana DeGarmo, who's also like OMGWTFBBQCBSAEIOUand-sometimesY at meeting Sir Elton, who suggests "I'm Still Standing" after last week's sassy rendition of "Do You Love Me". Yeah, it's sassy, alright. It would be a little sassier if (hey, look, it's Amy!)... anyway, it would be a little sassier if it was on key. I mean, do it, work it, own it, but make it be in tune, yo! But at least it was a pleasure to watch, once you get past the shouts and the misfires.

Randy: Wasn't your greatest performance. A little pitchy in spots.
Paula: I can tell you're not completely healthy, but I still think you're one of the most powerful singers in the competition.
Simon: I have nothing to say.

Diana'll take it. And we'll take La Toya London to the stage. Again, Elton would give her a contract regardless of this competition. "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" is the song, and she wants to sing it like she's never sang it before. Mission accomplished. Nice presence, still a little La Toya-lite to start, but she's once again proven that she can perform anything you can throw at her. Very nice.

Randy: All I can say thank you very much for singing great tonight.
Paula: There's something very magical about your performance tonight.
Simon: It think it was a good performance, but if I'm being honest, the first two-thirds sounded from any wedding throughout the country. Wasn't as good as you two thought, but compared to some of the other horrors we had tonight, good.

Be kind. One more and we can call it a night, but first, we meet up with Kate Thornton, one of the stars of "Pop Idol", which wrapped its second season in the UK last fall. Reader's Digest Version, she would love to trade Simon in for all of the singers in tonight's show, especially George. Okey dokey, finally we have Jennifer Hudson, Elton's favorite for this round. We'll see, as she goes Disney on us with "Circle of Life". If I've said it before, I'll say it again, song choice wins competitions. Jennifer, once again, proved my point. Perfect choice, perfect voice, perfect performance... Sorry, George.

Randy: Not only the best performance of the night, the best performance you have ever had on any Idol stage!
Paula: You get it. This is who you are.
Simon: For the first time, you have proved why you are in the final 12.

Yes she has. Okay, that's it. Running low on time here, so I'll just say that Jennifer, George, and La Toya have nothing to worry about. John and Camile, however... Depth chart below, hour long result tomorrow, Gordon, get me some oxygen.
---
Chico's Idol Chart - Elton John (or: "I'm a Bitch, I'm a Bitch")

1 - Jennifer
2 - George
3 - La Toya
4 - Fantasia
5 - Jasmine
6 - Diana
7 - Jon Peter
8 - Camile
9 - John

After four rounds:

1 - George (45)
2 - La Toya (44)
3 - Fantasia (37)
4 - Jennifer (35)
5 - Jasmine (29)
6 - Jon Peter (27)
7 - Diana (26)
8 - John (17)
9 - Camile (13)


Here is my AI chart - again brought out...well, you know the spiel by now.

1 - George
2 - La Toya
3 - Jennifer
4 - Jasmine
5 - Fantasia
6 - Diana
7 - Camile
8 - Jon Peter
9 - John

What can I say? George has been the man, I can't stand Fantasia's tone, and the white guys have been using more charisma than vocal talent. Ouch.

Ryan comes out, and he's going to flip the script a little for the evening. Tonight's singers will be divided into groups of 3 - the Top 3, the middle 3 and the bottom 3. Well, that could be fun to play at home. In addition, there were over 24 million votes - and the audience will e rewarded by a performance from Tamyra Gray! Unfortunately, with all this comes a downside - there will be one less performance next week, as someone will get eliminated.

Ryan introduces the judges, and then the Idol finalists, and then the recap. Ryan talked about the judges to Jon Peter Lewis, who is speechless - and says that they weren't up last night. Fantasia says that Simon must have been sleepy, but that Paula and Randy liked it, while Camille says that it's her father's birthday. La Toya said that she would sing at Simon's wedding. Heh. John Stevens said that he was satisfied and that he couldn't have given more. Jasmine Trias blamed her effort on tonsillitis, but she wasn't that bad. It's funny that the girl who I thought was decent didn't think she was good, and the guy who was just awful was satisfied. That ought to say it all.

We get a hawking of AI 3's new album - the soul classics - obvoiusly taped well in advanced as most of the hawking was done by the now-eliminated Matt Rogers, then we get more hawking as Ryan talks to last season's Idol finalist Julia DeMato, who has a single called 'Let It Rain'. Which I'd rather hear 58 times straight than go through an Elton John medley - but guess what - we get the medley anyway! The musical choreographers were smart as they let all of the girls (who can harmonize) sing together so that they can let the guys (who can't necessarily harmonize) by themselves. We then get to the group ending, where Jon Stevens once again mangles a line. All in all, it was pretty good - and better than the next space filler featuring them at the Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards.

But enough about them - let's go back in time and listen to American Idol 1 finalist Tamrya Gray, as she sings an original piece of music - 'Raindrops Will Fall'. It's a nice song - and what makes it nicer is that unlike most of the idol's work after they leave the show, this song isn't over overproduced and it's got a natural energy. Please take notes on that, Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken.

After the performance, Tamyra tells Ryan that she has been busy acting - and that the acting and singing go hand-in-hand. By the way, she just happens to be in next week's episode of Tru Calling, a show that happens to air on FOX. You gotta like that coinciding ad placements, don't you?

It's time for Tamyra to answer questions from the cast. Jasmine asks her about dealing with the pressure of the show - and she says that looked at everything from an optimistic perspective. LaToya asks her about not being in the Top Three, and Tamyra says that it's not about finishing in the Top 3, it's about taking advantage of the opportunities that you are given. Fantasia asks about dealing with Simon, and Tamyra says to listen to what they have to say - and that after the competition ends, millions of people will be critiquing them.

This week's Ford commercial is about the A.I. Team - which is a mod squad that makes cars appear out of nowhere. That was actually cute - and the commercials are at their best when they let the action flow normally and let people play a normal role.

That being said, someone's role on the show is going to end as Ryan announces the groups of three. We'll make it easy for you as Ryan reads the names off...

Jasmine - Group A
Jennifer - Group C
Diana - Group A
John Stevens - Group B

Meanwhile, the audience is screaming after the group names - like right now any of them have a clue in terms of what group is considered a good or a bad group. But we start to get an inkling as LaToya will be joining Jennifer Hudson in group C. That has to be the group that gets the most amount of votes.

John Peter Lewis - Group B. Camille - Group A. Jasmine and Diana were not happy campers when that was announced, and we all have that feeling that they are the booby group. That is confirmed when Fantasia is in group B and JPL shakes his head in approval. Jennifer is just as thrilled when George is in the same group as her. Here's the rundown -

Group A - Camille, Jasmine, Diana
Group B - John X2 and Fantasia
Group C - Jennifer, George, LaToya

Well, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to see that Group C came in first, group B is in second and that someone in Group A is going home. That turns out to be the case, as Ryan announces it - and he also announces that going back to her seat is...Diana DeGarmo.

So one of the Hawaiians is going home. Paula says that the Americans are voting on personality, and not on talent. That comes from Paula? Ouch! Simon says that Americans have a right to vote for who they want - but someone should be down there who isn't, and they know who they are. Can someone say John Stevens?

The women, who both say that being true to themselves is the most important thing to remember in this competition, get one last reprise of their songs. They are both off-pitch and I can see why they are both are in the bottom two. Jasmine has been the better singer of the two for almost the whole competition and I expect her to stay. I am....right. Jasmine stays and Camile is the person eliminated. Randy and Paula appeal to Camille to move to the West Coast. We see Camille's finishing bio as we fade out.

So who's next? Well, now that Hawaii is unified on one singer, Jasmine will be safe for a while. Diana isn't, and I think that one of the white guys (preferably John Stevens) will be joining her. But I also think there could be a nasty surprise awaiting one of the top singers. I think that La Toya or Jennifer could be making another appearance at the bottom. We'll see next week if I'm right as AI go to the movies.

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