"From 75 to 44" -
The week from Hell has ended for 75 singers. Earlier,
they sung one more time in our sudden death round. No
background music. No judges' comments. No backup
singers. Just you, a stage, a song, and a mic.
From there, the singers
are wrangled into four separate holding rooms.
In room number one...
Sharon Galvez, the singing cocktail waitress from Las
Vegas. Her "Greatest Love Of All", is way over the top.
There's Shunta Warthen, who made a name for herself by
getting on the wrong bus on the first day of auditions.
Alicia Keys she isn't on "If I Ain't Got You". Next is
Angel Hicks, the vocal teacher who tried out for the
show with one of her students (and all but lost it when
she made it past the local audition and her student
didn't). She's on and off on "'Til You Come Back To Me".
Up next is Rashida Johnson, who has made it this far
despite a very bad cold. Her "Overjoyed" is a bit
over-range, but she makes it work. Sean McNeill "Your
Song" didn't do ANYTHING for me. Do not channel Ewan
MacGregor... NEVER channel Ewan MacGregor.
The verdict, as
delivered by Randy and Paula (Simon is absent on what
Ryan calls "a personal matter")... "Sad to say, you're
all going home."
Going to room two...
Jamar Jefferson, who channeled Sisqo earlier this week.
He takes a HUGE risk by singing "an original piece" that
he "wrote at his grandmother's house" for his last
audition. The song is called "Shake", and it's alright,
but nothing really that we haven't seen before. Mario
Vasquez is next, and he displays his pipes on "Bohemian
Rhapsody", but dude... now is NOT the time for the big
guns yet. Save it for the public vote. Next up is
Matthew Kester, who delivers one of Simon's favorites,
"Unchained Melody". He sounds pretty good. Plus, will he
earn bonus points for singing a song so near and dear to
Simon's heart? Then comes Carrie Underwood, who plays
off her strengths on "Independence Day". Super
Dimensional Dirty Alternative Rocker Constantine
Maroulis is in this room, as is Judd Harris, who rode
out "Mustang Sally". He can't sing, but he can perform.
We'll see if that helps. Also in the room are
David Brown, Anwar Robinson, Janay Castine, and Vonzell
"First I'm going to entertain you, then I'm going to
kick your ass" Solomon. Oh yeah, this room is going
The verdict... "It was a
tough decision, but some people get to stay and some
have to go home" (fastforward TiVo) And they're in!
Halfway home in more
ways than one, going right to room three. There's
Dezmond Meeks, the James Brown wannabe that Simon hated,
but was good enough to survive two cuts. "I Heard It
Through The Grapevine" was overripe, as Paula was once
again playing favorites. Next up is Jennifer Todd, who
sings "I'm So Excited" for her final performance. It was
a bad song selection gone good... But still, a bad song
selection. Carrie Zaruba's "Lately", was a little off
for me. Of course, it doesn't help matters ANY that her
voice just couldn't match the range. Aa'shia Jackson
looks like a chipmunk, and sings "Never Can Say
Goodbye"... like a chipmunk. Which is good... only if
you're a chipmunk. Larry Ellis butchers "One Last Cry"
beyond recognition. better than Camile Velasco form last
season... but that isn't saying much. Finally, we see
that crooner Ross Williams is in this room. He sings
Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke", and he does a very nice job,
even throwing in some nice scat singing as well. I think
he sounded good, right up until the scats. If you're
going to scat, do it right.
Going right to group
four... Anthony Fedorov reprises "Angel" by Jon Secada a
la Clay Aiken. Use your imagination, folks. Jaclyn Crum,
the youngest (and arguably the most dramatic) person
still left in the competition, makes a beautiful noise
out of "Beautiful Disaster" Next up is Tammy Nash
goes "Somewhere" smoothly, and I'm hoping for good news.
Scott Savol does a very good rendition of Stevie
Wonder's "Ribbon In The Sky", but we don't hear from
roommates John Zisa and Bo Bice. We do hear from Mikalah
Gordon, who continues the personality-as-performance
vibe on "God Bless The Child". Also in this room are
Lindsey Cardinale and Jessica Sierra, both of whom give
solid performances earlier in the day.
The vote goes.... to
room ... number... wait for it... don't you love drama?
... Four. Room three is going home, as no one is more
pissed than Larry Ellis (who begins a frantic search for
his version of the truth) or Aa'shia Jackson ("I wasn't
fed with no silver spoon... but I'm RICH!"). A humbling
experience for both.
So we're left with 44.
By tomorrow, we'll have 24. All that stands in the way
are a chair, an elevator, three judges, and an
acid-tongued recapper named Gordon Pepper. This gon' be
See who has what it takes to be in the
Final 24 on the next American Idol.