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


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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May 4/5 - Finals Round 8

It's true what they say, there's a moon out tonight. And not just because it happens to be full, but because it's Big Band night on Idol. Somewhere, John Stevens is kicking himself. Here backing up the music sounds like the same band from season one, when Kelly came to play, RJ messed up the words, and Christina just plain fainted out of the competition. Diana DeGarmo hopes not to make the same mistake. Now this week, each singer has a two-song set, so I'm firing up a new Idol Chart for that. She starts out with "Someone to Watch Over Me". The dress is an improvement. Too bad I can't say the same about her vocal range. Seems like she does the best when she's hyper, and you just can't do that with this song. It's mediocre at best to start, but it gets better. Once she stops talking through her mid-set blurb ("Thanks you guys! You guys rock!" Feh.), she tells everyone to "Get Happy". I'm still not a fan, but you have to appreciate the way she owns the performance. Still a couple of notes that I'm not a fan of. Basically, a 7 that offsets a 3. It was just okay. Better, but not quite the power player she SHOULD be by now.

Randy: I never think of age, I just think that yo, this girl's the bomb. Like a seasoned talent already.
Paula: This is the night for you. You picked two songs that suit you beautifully.
Simon: Well let's be clear; I didn't choose that [dress]. I think this is your style of music. My only slight reservation is 16-year-old sounding like a 50-year-old in a contemporary singing competition. You are an old soul.

And a jolly old soul was she. And we call for our George Huff to sing "Cheek to Cheek". He sounds more old school, more Ben Vereen. Still a little "having to grow", but the song choice suits him on this and his second selection, "What a Wonderful World". Again, beautiful tone, good song choice. Chances are he'll get some of John's votes from last week, judging from singing alone. BUT I have one concern here... He's a very good singer, but the performance itself reeked of safety. Come on, man... Give me a run, give me a high note. Bounce a little! DO SOMETHING!!!

Randy: You picked two great songs. They were really good, but really safe. I was looking for something. George, give me a high note or something! I didn't feel George in this song.
Paula: I found it truly enchanting. (from here, Paula's mic becomes muffled).
Simon: I have to agree with Randy. I love this kind of music. Tonight is about being cool. You could go on any Caribbean cruise liner and hear that.

True dat, true dat. Next up, La Toya London, who's "Too Close for Comfort". Obviously, now. What can I say that hasn't been said already. Is it possible that she could be too good? Or are we past that phase of the competition? In any event, definitely came to play tonight. Reminds me of Natalie Cole. And she's honest. You gotta love that. Second song: "Don't Rain on My Parade" from "Funny Girl." Definitely Big Band-ish. And she suits it nicely. Again.

Randy: For me to you, right now, this is the kind of music you were meant to sing. All the personality we were waiting to see is right here. This is your groove, yo!
Paula: It's just another type of album that would sell millions and millions.
Simon: This is meant as a compliment. I will give you 10 out of 10 for a very good Broadway performance.

That'll do. "The Way You Look Tonight" is Jasmine Trias' first song. It's trademark Jasmine, starting off strong but delicate, ending weak but delicate. You know, it's nice, but you know, so what? She makes up for it (in presentation) in her second song, "Almost Like Being in Love". Vocally, it was the same. Like, eh, she's a good singer, but then again, so are the other four. And she's not really that great either.

Randy: Very good performance. I'm looking for "Dude! I feel it! Bring it on!"
Paula: I've seen tremendous performance. It's a thrill for you and I've enjoyed it.
Simon: I don't think Jasmine has grown. She's been steady, consistent. You had to pull something out of the hat tonight, and she didn't. It was predictable. I don't think "very pleasant" is good enough in this stage of the competition.

Ryan disagrees to the point where Randy and Simon are challenged to sing on stage. They get up... and go back down. They're either chicken or they got the red light from Fox and/or Coca-Cola. I'm betting on the former. One more for you, as we get Fantasia Barrino putting a swingin' spin on Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" Personally, I didn't think it could be done, but props to her for being a risk taker. She starts going into the nasal thing again, and falls flat a couple times, mostly on strata and the tailing off note at the end. Will she do better on Frankie's "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" In a word, yes. Still a tad whiny, but this is the Fantasia I like, the one that shines through the performance with raw talent. Don't know why, really.

Randy: That song was absolutely brilliant. It's that tone. It's about tone, people! Even though that was a subdued Fantasia performance, still unbelievable.
Paula: I don't know what to say. Just good.
Simon: Honestly, it's so clear to me. You and La Toya are just in a different league.

True, but is it on talent or something else? We'll see with the vote, won't we? We're on that phase where every elimination will be quite deserved. On that note: Should and will be in the bottom two: George and Jasmine.

---

Chico's Idol Chart - Big Band (or: "Waaah waaah waaah WAAAAAAH!")

1 - La Toya
2 - Fantasia
3 - George
4 - Diana
5 - Jasmine

And the second chart...

1 - La Toya
2 - Fantasia
3 - Diana
4 - George
5 - Jasmine

After one final five round.

1 – La Toya (10)
2 – Fantasia (8)
3 – George and Diana (5)
5 – Jasmine (2)


Results coming...

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