April 21/22 - Finals
Welcome to the whitest episode of American Idol since
Neil Sedaka was guest judge last year. I say that
because we have in the house, as the theme and the guest
judge, Barry Manilow. "This is what Clay Aiken is going
to look like in 30 years."
But don't worry, as Barry has redone his catalog to fit
the Idols' vocal strengths. Good for him. First on the
block is Diana DeGarmo, with her Hollywood intro to "One
Voice". And this one voice starts out shaky, but then
again, this is reminiscent of Clay's "Solitaire"
performance last year. No doubt her best, but then
again, that's not saying much. If she can mature even
more next week, then... and ONLY then... will I be
Randy: You were a little pitchy, BUT the most
ambitious 16-year-old I've ever met, because you choose
these songs that are so much bigger than what you've
grown to vocally, and you just win'em!
Barry: I dreamed this song, and when I wrote it,
I imagined somebody like you singing it.
Paula: This is a big moment for you. You needed
it. You deserved it. Congratulations.
Simon: Without question, your best performance in
the entire competition.
I wouldn't say all that now... Okay, so what if I'm
tired of her. That's just me. Next is George Huff, who,
according to Barry, has fantastic vocal acrobatics. Will
we flip over "Get That Feeling Again"? He needs to get
the feeling of Halls, it sounds like. But itchy throat
aside, it starts out alright. A little subpar, and then
he realizes it, turning on the trills. Yes, he
overtrilled. But that's him again. If he focused more on
his tone, he would've rebounded from last week, but as
it stands, it's just as average.
Randy: It was a good song choice. Did not love
that rendition. Trying to do way too much with it. It's
a simple song with a great melody, just sing it!
Barry: I thought you did it great no matter what.
Paula: You took a different twist, you put your
George Huff into it. You went behind it and even with
all you did, you stayed in time.
Simon: I thought the arrangement was too fast and
you made a complete mess out of it. And you'll notice
that there aren't too many boos out there because the
audience agrees with me.
And then the audience boos. Nice one, Simon. Next up:
Jennifer Hudson, who calls working with Barry a dream.
Dream song: "Weekend in New England". It's textbook
Jennifer. She sings, I smile. But before I turn into a
Naomi here, she seems to play off every arrangement
she's given, which is not a bad thing, until she
overplays. But the kiddies seem to like it. Oh, did I
mention... note that shook the heavens?
Randy: Unbelievable, you just get better every
Barry: You took it all the way, sweetie.
Paula: Looks like you're staying on that cap and
not looking back.
Simon: You created something we've never heard
before - "Battle of the Divas".
Jennifer says "This is Jenny's world." And welcome to
it, I say. Gee, I wonder who's in the audience today? Oh
look, it's Australian Idol Guy Sebastian and three of
the finalists on "The Swan"! Fremantle, free ticket.
Guess I'll have to unseat Richard Karn. Anyway, onto
Jasmine Trias, who thinks that Barry is a genius. "I'll
Never Love This Way Again" takes the stage as Ryan takes
a punch from Simon. Again. I'll admit, Jasmine is
finally starting to get ahold of the whole Idol thing.
But when she hits the strata again, she starts to
crumble. But given a few weeks, she may learn to stop
doing that. Well, one can only hope, right? And where's
Randy: Very good job. You're finally coming back.
Barry: I think you give (Dionne Warwick) a little
Paula: Beautiful job.
Simon: Well, I'm glad we lost the silly flower at
last (no we didn't, man). Barry, what've you done to the
girls? You've made them all sing very well!
La Toya London is next, and Barry would love La Toya to
sing more of the truth. And she does with "All the
Time". She just goes from strength to strength, power to
power. And that's what we love about her. Honestly, what
can be said about her that hasn't been said already?
Randy: Great performance. I feel like the show is
Barry: You made me proud to be a songwriter.
Paula: That one note just gave me chills all
over. You are consistent.
Simon: It was great. You are, I think, the best
singer in this competition.
And she believes it. Females of America, your man is
next. Here's John Boy. John Stevens steps up with
"Mandy", as Barry tells him not to worry about singing
and just tell the story. He scored in rehearsal, but can
he score here? Yes, it's about as flavorless as he
comes. He poured on what juice he had in him, which,
admittedly enough, wasn't much. End result, different
energy, same old John Stevens.
Randy: Did I tell you that I like you and you're
just the nicest kid? I just think it was a little above
Barry: I think you did just fine.
Paula: You kinda fell off just the middle, but
you turned 17. That just comes with experience.
Simon: The problem is that Mandy fell asleep.
You've gotta think about what the song it. Tonight more
than anything else, I'm really getting the feeling for
who the best singers are. You're not one of them. And
you remind me of Stan Laurel.
**Compiler's brother from the other room: "Man, I will
(^_^) you the (^_^) up!" ** Well he does! Okay, one more
and then we can leave the vote to you, America. Fantasia
Barrino gets a squeaky intro from Ryan, as she feels the
spirit, quite literally, in "It's a Miracle." And lookie
here the old Fantasia is back. Good thing or bad? You be
the judge. But she brought back what America likes about
her, and she was funky, so at least one person's happy.
It's total Fantasia. It's her stage. It's her church,
really. She's the pastor, we're the congregation, and I
can only milk this metaphor so long, so let's go to the
Randy: I feel the spirit in here tonight! The
spirit of Fantasia Barrino! You did a good job! I love
Barry: I don't know what to say. This has been a
long while. You should open your own concert with that
Paula: This is the Fantasia we've known from the
beginning. What can I say, it's great!
Simon: You bring excitement, you bring danger.
It's very tempting to go the safe route, and it could've
been very sugary. Thank God you're still in this
And the baby comes out in a last-ditch effort for votes.
And it might work. So it comes down to "who should be in
the bottom (Jasmine, George, and John)" versus "who will
be in the bottom (Jennifer, Jasmine, and John)". I'll
stick to the middle route and put in Jennifer, Jasmine,
and John. And if America is anything like me (which I
doubt, but if), then George is going to have all the
ladies to himself next week. IF... We'll see if middle
works with Gordon and the results tomorrow.
Chico's Idol Chart - Barry Manilow (or: "Aiken
1 - La Toya
2 - Diana
3 - Fantasia
4 - Jennifer
5 - George
6 - Jasmine
7 - John
After six rounds:
1 La Toya (68)
2 George (62)
3 Fantasia (57)
4 Jennifer (55)
5 Diana (44)
6 Jasmine (42)
7 John (31)