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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Paula: I can tell you're not completely healthy, but I
still think you're one of the most powerful singers in
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
Paula: There's something very magical about your
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...
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
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
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.