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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March 2/3 - Wild Card

Well, we had the second coming of Martha Krabill on yesterday's show. Now we move onto some reasonably more talented fare, as we welcome Group Four. Now as you know, Donnie Williams had a little episode of his own involving some hooch and a V6, so he's been thrown out of this competition. Enter alternate George Huff, who is determined to make the most of this second chance.

Well, wouldn't you be?

First up, a name you have to practice. Suzy Vulaca (pronounced VOO-la-tha), who won her ticket to audition by virtue of being crowned "Arizona Idol". Luckily you don't have to sing in Fijian, so Suzy's performance of "Unbreak My Heart" should be something to watch. And it is, showcasing a perfect blend of innocence and powerful. This is selling. You can tell she believes in this performance.

Randy: "That was actually really good for your voice, because I don't remember you having this huge range before."
Paula: "Perfect. You've shown so much growth."
Simon: "No question of doubt that was a good vocal performance, but did you see anything original in that performance, other than a sound-alike Toni Braxton? Because the trouble with you is that you're going to be forgettable."

Well, we have a good singer, but not a standout star. I think she can grow and break out. May be top 3. Wish I could say the same for John Preator, but only because we haven't had any good males in a while to balance out the females. Can one of the Bleach Boys come through with "That's What Love Is All About." You know, we preach charisma like crazy around here, but dude... have some rhythm and pitch to back it up! The schmoozing, in this case, was what we call compensation. That won't get you anywhere.

Randy: "I'm glad that's over, man. That was painful for me."
Paula: "Your pitch was off."
Simon: "If ever we do American Idol as an ice-dancing musical, you would be perfect."

Meanwhile, we want what Simon's smoking. And speaking of smoking, remember Kim Caldwell lookalike Heather Piccinini? Well, after meeting the real deal, she went into wardrobe and hair to be "officially de-Caldwelled". Too bad they took her vocals with her, because her performance of "New Attitude" was all flash and no meat. Talk about your sensory overload. It was just one meaningless cheesy wail after another, trying to make up for a lackluster arrangement and a really bad song choice.

Randy: "I feel like I've just checked into a hotel, and I glance at the lounge, and there's a band playing. And you're the singer."
Paula: "It was, for me, not the right song to choose."
Simon: "I wouldn't want to be at that hotel. Your problem was that you try too hard. That was a desperate performance."

Moral of the story, want it, but don't look like you want it. Idols don't beg. Next up, the dapper John Stevens, who first wowed us with his admiration for Frankie. But can he keep the magic in a pop performance? Song of choice: "She's Always a Woman to Me." Not a bad performance... but, and again, I have to say it, WRONG SONG! But I dig the charisma. Too bad it's not enough to save what is otherwise an average performance.

Randy: "I was almost falling asleep."
Paula: "I miss the throwback to the Rat Pack."
Simon: "I hope you do well tonight, because to me, you're different."

Well, people listen to the judges, so this one's a mixed bag. So is Jasmine Trias, who wants to bring Hawaii to the rest of the world via hula. This contest is via singing. Since her audition, Jasmine lost the braces and upped the positivity, which can be evident in her performance of "Run to You." Dead on all around. Favorite to win tonight's vote and maybe the whole shebang, but I wish she wouldn't cook some notes that don't need to be cooked.

Randy: "You really do have potential. Choose better songs."
Paula: "I think she handled it like a pro. I think she took twists and turns on a song you're familiar with and you made it your own."
Simon: "You're gonna get a lot of votes, because you're 17, you've got a nice smile, and you've got a flower in your hair. Good enough for me."

Good enough for me, too. Can George Huff follow suit? He has the permanent smile, at least. Last time we saw him, he was too old, getting younger, and then out. Now he's back. We see his instrument in action with "Always and Forever". Good when Clay did it. Started out awkward. But once he hit the chorus, he owned it. Nice pitch, great tone, love the presence. He may get a lot of votes if he tones down the "shouting with tone."

Randy: "You're probably the best male singer in this competition yet."
Paula: "You fell into it and I love your tone."
Simon: "You have a good voice. I don't think you have the charisma to be a star."

Probably one of the best tonight, but will a good voice and a dead-on Randy impersonation get him through? Might. Or it might be Lisa Wilson, the model who hung out with Alan Ritchson in Hollywood and, as a result, was nearly persona non grata in the competition. And with a too-raspy-to-be-anything-but-in-tune "Come to My Window", she may be persona non grata again. Too much power and not much finesse translate into a flat-as-all-get-out persona. She's not even shouting in tune. If she gets voted through, it'll be on two assets. And I don't mean her voice and her charisma.

Randy: "Kinda felt to me like it was out of your range."
Paula: "I did feel like you were screaming. And that became a little grating."
Simon: "I've never seen anyone open her mouth so wide in my life."

And yet you think someone loves you? Lisa, Randy hates you. Paula hates you. Simon hates you. They're the ones guiding the voting public. I don't think you want to be the target of their ire. Getting back to something a little better is Tiara Purifoy. She's grateful for the opportunity to sing "I Wanna Dance with Somebody". Someone sang this earlier in the competition. And they did it better. It was pitchy at times and a little too overblown for my taste. She offers a lot of energy, though. Will that be enough? It's enough for two of the judges.

Randy: "You started really good, but that modulation was ridiculous. You almost had the best performance of the night."
Paula: "One of the strongest vocal performances tonight. Top two. I wouldn't push as hard."
Simon: "I thought it was a complete and utter mess. You are capable of an awful lot better than that."

And once again, Simon agrees with me. But then again, I'm only one man with one phone. Two if you count my cell. If I used my brother's, I'd put in votes for Jasmine (obviously), George, and Suzy, with George squeaking out the poll. But that's just what I think. It's on you, America. RE-sult tomorrow.

And please for the love of God, don't vote through Lisa Wilson.


This is a very hectic evening - we get the results of group 4 - and the names of the Wild Card people - and with a 90 minute show next week, there's bound to be more than 9 people performing. We get a quick hi to the judges, a quick hi to the family of Group 4, and a quick hi to gruop 4 themselves. We also get a recap of what happened - and even though they weren't as bad as group 2, they weren't as good as groups 1 and 3. My top 3 are George, Jasmine and Jon, with George and Jasmine getting in.

Jasmine and George are the favorites of Paula and Randy - while Simon likes Jasmine and Jon. By the way, you can be a star in the American Idol music video competition! Whoopie!

Who will be whoopieing their way into the final 3? Not John Preator or Lisa Wilson, but George Huff is in! Heather Piccinini did not get in, and Tiara is joining her on the outside, looking in. Jasmine, however gets to join George. Either Suzy Vulaca or John Stevens will be advancing, and that person is...John Stevens! The person who has a nice voice but who can't remember any lyrics is in the top 3.

Randy now says John and Jasmine will win - and Paula agrees, while Simon, who brags that he was right yesterday, will say that he will continue to be right. The first person to go through, with 28%, is John Stevens! Simon is as smug as the cat who ate the canary, while Paula and Randy thinks that the cat should eat Simon. Jon doesn't sing nearly as well as he did yesterday, which is good because this is the throwaway performance. Joining Jon will be = Jasmine Trias, and George Huff, as the 33rd singer, will not be able to take advantage of this voting.

Which people will have a chance to not throw away a second opportunity? We get 12 people to audition for the Wildcard Round - and the people who come back are Jennifer Hudson, Leah Labelle, Elizabeth LeTendre, Lisa Leuschner, John Peter Lewis, Matthew Metzger, Eric Yoder, Marque Lynche, Katie Webber, Tiara Purifoy, George Huff and Suzy Vulaca.

My take? Eh. I like a bunch of them, but they are all in top 32 and it would have been nice to see the judges take a chance and get some new people in there. Maybe it's a chance at redemption, but this group is bordering on Lackluster. They better be able to make the 12 finalists shine when we get to the final stage, because there has just been 2 power singers and a lot of good but not mindblowing efforts, unlike last year, where you had at least 6 people who I thought put phenomenal efforts in this section last year.

Maybe the Wild Card round will be different. We'll see next week.

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