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. 

April 14/15 - Finals Round 5

It's Movie Night on Idol, albeit one night late. I was waiting the last week for this not only because this is usually where the competition gets a little one-sided, but tonight as guest judge, we have one of my favorite contemporary directors as guest judge. The director of "Kill Bill Volume 1" (on DVD now) and "Kill Bill Volume 2" (in theatres Friday), Quentin Tarantino's in the house. What he knows about pop music, I don't know, but expect some heated discussion, if only because he likes the way his voice sounds. Oh, wait, he's a huge fan! Now I get it.

First up, we have George Huff, whose favorite movie was "The Wiz." He better not follow up on that, because the last person who sand something from that movie on movie night got the axe the next episode. Lucky for him (and us), it's all about "Against All Odds". I seriously would've picked a better song and/or a better arrangement, and as much as he tries to make it work, it's increasingly hard to grow into it. Maybe he needs to bounce some more. Basically put: George didn't do too good. Weakest performance thus far.

Randy: That was the wrong choice. It started really rough. I did not love it.
Paula: This week, I thought, would've been like, for you singers, kids in a candy store. Why would you pick this song out of all the movie choices? (George says it relates to him as a person)
Quentin: You made me forget that I hate that song. I think more than any of the contestants, you're the one that I see start owning the space every week.
Simon: I think it was your weakest performance. Bad choice of song. I thought you were great last week. It was almost flat tonight, George.

Agree. Next up, the singing Jennifer Hudson, whose favorite singing movie is the singing nuns in "Sister Act 2". But she's really partial to Whitney in "The Bodyguard" singing "I Have Nothing". Sure doesn't look or sound like nothing. Excellent follow-up to last week, going from form to form, strength to strength. Perfect choice. Perfect tone. Flawless! Well, almost. Couple of notes I would've dodged, but that's it. You can hardly notice them.

Randy: You worked it out. You got into the modulations, got a little pitchy, overshouted it a bit, but corrected it late in the end. Good performance!
Paula: You're really coming into your own. You look beautiful tonight. The only thing I felt was wrong was that I didn't hear you sing more of the song.
Quentin: Hudson takes on Houston and wins! You've gotten to this place this episode and the last. You can't ever go back. I expect this from you every week. Anything less than this is a D.
Simon: Jennifer, I think last week you proved to us why you should be in this competition. I think you've put yourself in the position where you could be a front runner. I wouldn't be surprised if two of the girls have a little doll of you sticking a pin in it at the moment. I'm not mentioning any names!

Hey, Cowell, Mad Mad House is tomorrow. Next is Jon Peter Lewis, whose favorite movie is "Dead Poets Society." Nice film there. Carpe diem. Nice message. "Jailhouse Rock". Not a nice choice. Perfect for him, really, but doesn't do Elvis justice. Especially with the shouting. Oh, the shouting. And with the dancing, he's about as white boy as they come. And he flubbed the lyrics. Yes, JPL is back, but do we really want him back?

Randy: All I can say is JPL is back. I was worried about you, dawg.
Paula: This is who you are. This is what America loves, yeah yeah yeah.
Quentin: JPL, you are the geekiest rock singer since Freddy and the Dreamers, alright? But when you get into your geek mode, there's no one quite like you.
Simon: I thought it was terrible. If that was presented to me as an audition, I would have let it last two seconds.

Yes, I thought it was horrible. But will America cozy up to him for a third week running? Diana DeGarmo hopes so. Her fave flick is "Bowfinger", and I have to wonder what on earth is she taking orally to think so. Apparently she won the backstage draw and gets to perform "My Heart Will Go On" from "Titanic". And yes, it's about as saccharine as I remember it. And Diana singing it does nothing for the cause. Pitch problems near the strata and really flavorless, but the best we've heard her. But again, it's a "so what" from here. I think she knew she was going tonight without a power play, and this was her Hail Mary.

Randy: You chose a very very tough song. It wasn't your best, but it was a-ight.
Paula: Your voice stands the test to do it. Nice job, again, not the most moving performance from Diana DeGarmo.
Quentin: You pulled off the song, but so what? Couldn't be a song that we're more sick of hearing and you pulled off the notes, but I don't care!
Simon: It's always risky with that song, because you hear Titanic and you feel the world sinking. You are like an overgrown child. Somewhere in the middle. You're not reflecting your age. It was just automatic and predictable.

Now that's what I call criticism from the Bastard Brothers on the end. "Finding Nemo" is the favorite of Fantasia Barrino, because she can relate to Nemo. She hopes to find herself in "Summertime" from "Porgy and Bess". This is consummate Fantasia version 2.0 here. You have everything America likes about her, and then you don't have as much whininess in the tone of her voice, and that makes her more bearable. She's bringing a lot to the table, and she's coming back with that much. One of her better performances. But the old lady earrings have got to go.

Randy: (standing O) That is the single best Idol performance of any season I've ever heard.
Paula: Oscar-winnning performance!
Quentin: That was the bomb. You're the bomb. And you know that. I have one thing to say though. You haven't been funky in WEEKS! You're showing off the voice, and you have it to show off, but I want to see you rock the house again.
Simon: There was something magical about what you did. I don't think you've ever put those lips to better use. (wink)

Dirty old man, Mr. Cowell. But, yeah, I feel her. Next up, Jasmine Trias, whose favorite movie is "Lilo and Stitch" (no surprise there), not because she's from Hawaii, but because she likes little furry koala-type aliens with ray guns. She chooses based on last week's comment, going for "Sleepless in Seattle's" "When I Fall in Love". I can hear every breath. Not really that good to start. But then she grows into the performance and shows off her vulnerability. Love the tone, but the pitch still needs work. Yes, Jasmine's back. But then again, she never left. She's just not maturing fast enough to stand a real enough of a chance.

Randy: You ran out of gas at the end, but it was good.
Paula: At least you hit that note in the end. Real risky one. You have such a real nice tone to your voice. Pleasant.
Quentin: In a show full of powerhouses, you're like this delicate powerhouse. I don't think that was that great of a performance this week, but I'm such a big fan of yours that it almost don't matter to me.
Simon: (referring to her and Diana) You are children trying to be adults, and it doesn't connect. I could go to any Sheraton hotel or resort and hear someone singing like you. We'd all have a nice dance, but so what?

After checking up with Neil Sedaka from last season, John Stevens reminisces about animated movies. His favorite being "Aladdin." He says it's his week. He's in the element with "As Time Goes By" from "Casablanca". Let me break this down here. John's still got a rocky road ahead of him, but not a bad choice, and not a bad play. He knew he needed to come up big. But not really big enough to sway me. I still don't feel it, but he saved himself today, even with somewhat questionable tonalities. He's just all superficial charm, though.

Randy: Perfect song. Perfect rendition. Great jacket. The best John Stevens I've seen yet this competition.
Paula: Perfect voice for this genre of music.
Quentin: I ain't one of your fans. But this was your genre and you did the song very truly. Bravo.
Simon: You sang it very well. The problem, though, is you have no charisma. It's your age. And you're starting to look like Ryan Seacrest.

Ouch. Well, the Idols are getting ready for a night on the town... and I don't care. A commercial's a commercial and it gets the fast forward treatment. Last but not least, La Toya London, who also likes "Finding Nemo". Everyone likes "Finding Nemo". I like it for the same reasons La Toya likes it, the animation itself. Of course, she's not a graphic designer on the side, so she'll just have to hope that one day, she'll voice an animated flick. For now, though, she'll sing "Somewhere" from "West Side Story." Odd choice, but she makes it work. Then again, she always makes it work. She's as good as Jennifer, but from a delivery standpoint, the push factor goes to La Toya. Impressive range and nice delivery on the note that shook the heavens at the end.

Randy: I'm really happy to see you playing for keeps tonight. You're trying to win this. That was great!
Paula: This competition is getting exciting, and I just love having you here.
Quentin: La Toya, I have two words for you. Power House!
Simon: La Toya, it was, yeah, one of your best performances so far.

Okay, that's all for now. Best... episode... ever. QT's prolly the best guest judge, because he's the voice of the fan... like me and Gordon, who has the results tomorrow. Anyway, Jasmine and Diana have every reason to believe that they're going to be in the bottom three, and while JPL may join them, the JPL-adoring public will put him back on the couch, leaving Diana and Jasmine fighting it out for "I've Got More Fans Than You"-ness. My money's on Jasmine having more fans.

Oh yeah. And my favorite movie: a tie between "Selena" and "The Princess Bride".
---
Chico's Idol Chart - Movies (or: "Popcorn Idol")

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

After five rounds:

1 - La Toya (56)
2 - George (54)
3 - Fantasia (47)
4 - Jennifer (46)
5 - Jasmine (35)
6 - Diana (33)
7 - Jon Peter (32)
8 - John (25)


Before we start, I have to completely agree with Chico. Quentin Tarrantino, the first judge that actually spoke his mind, is the best American Idol guest judge EVER. Note to producers - PLEASE keep bringing in opinionated people in to judge. That was awesome. Also awesome - the performances last night, but we have to rank them, and here's my ranking.

1 - La Toya
2 - Jennifer
3 - George (I don't care if he was flat, and I don't care if Fantasia was much improved, there is NO way I am ranking him ahead of Fantasia)
4 - Fantasia
5 - Jasmine
6 - Diana
7 - Jon Peter
8 - John Stevens (Sure he's in the genre that he's good at - but if that's the only thing that makes him sound good, then he's in trouble.)

With that out of the way, Ryan tells us that there are more important things to worry about than taxes - like who will be sweeping the sweat off of Randy Jackson's treadmill (that is NOT a pleasant thought). We see the judges, we see the idolers, and then we see last night's recap, where we see Quentin at work.

We see Ryan at work hawking away. Look, it's Jason Priestly - and don't forget to see him and Tamyra Gray in Tru Calling - next on FOX! Chances are you'll be seeing the Apprentice finale, so bye-Tamyra. Ryan also says hi to R.J. Helton, who brushes him off, even though he has a new release coming out soon.

Someone else who has a new release coming out is Christina Christian (First season Finalist) - and she's the guest singer for the week. I'm glad that AI is using the stage as a showcase for all of their Idolers, regardless of how they did in the finals. Her singing is VASTLY improved over when she was on Idol, and her song is actually pretty catchy. Christina's CD will be in Europe (which is smart to get a fan base) and then she will be coming to the states. It seems like she has been doing her homework.

One of the singers will be doing their homework in time to go to school - because one of them will be going home. LaToya will not be going home, because she's safe. Fantasia is...safe, George is...safe, Jasmine is...safe, Jennifer is....safe. That leaves John Peter, Diana and John Stevens in the bottom three - with JPL and Mr. Stevens being at the bottom for the first time.

We will be seeing the singers with Barry Manilow, so fortunately, we won't be seeing a tacky Ford commercial with them in it. Instead, we'll be seeing a tacky Ford commercial with paper cutouts of them driving in a car and being chased by a policeman. HAVE WE NO SHAME???

Before we get to see who gets eliminated, we look to the judges. Simon says that they are too young for the competition, Randy says that they need more experience, and Diana...will be joining the people back on the happy couch.

So who is going home? I don't know, but I will guarantee you this - with no other white males left, the white male who survives this cut will be around for awhile. We'll get to that - and my observances - at the end of the show.

The person leaving American Idol is....John Peter Lewis. John Stevens is shocked - though I'm not, as they both pretty much stunk up the joint last night. We see the pen salesman's closing bio and JPL sings the wretched Jailhouse Rock as we leave.

So my thoughts? We have George, Fantasia, Latoya and Jennifer as the powerhouses, which leaves Jasmine, John Stevens and Diana as the obvious three to be in the bottom next week, right? Wrong. This is where the Chaos Theory Works the best - when everyone thinks that people are safe and they won't vote for them. Next week is the week where there will be a very nasty upset in the making. I think Diana will be at the bottom - but I also think that John Stevens, who will get John Peter Lewis's white male vote, will not only not be in the bottom three - but he will be around for a while. I also think that Jasmine, with Hawaii carrying her, will also not be in the bottom three. Diana may also be getting a little of the JPL vote - which leaves two of the powerhouses making their way to the bottom. I am sensing that the two people with the lowest amount of votes on the top is Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia Barrino, so I will say that they will be there (pending on performances) and I will tell the Jennifer Hudson voters that they better be flooding the lines - because I think that she will be the person getting caught in the Chaos Theory Trap and right now is the target of elimination.

We'll find how next week how accurate I am.

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