"Round of 11:
Billboard Number Ones"
- March 22-24
One down... 11 to go. Time to take control on the music series YOU control.
This week, Ryan... hearts expensive t-shirts. Good for him.
Now to the theme. Wait, Paula has to get her love in first. Okay, NOW, the
theme. First of all, Ryan has some parting gifts: copies of "The Billboard Book
of Number 1 Hits". The writer, Fred Bronson, is on hand to tell them that today,
the Idols get to perform one out of the 930 songs from that book. So there you
have it. Today's theme is... Billboard Number Ones.
First up, Anthony Fedorov, who has run the gauntlet of being really sexy and
really off-tone lately. Will his streak continue? The weapon of choice: "I Knew
You Were Waiting For Me" by Aretha Franklin & George Michael. He says that it's
about "having your faith in what you do in life. I believe in the end, something
special's waiting for me." With that, I say...
What they say: Randy says, "That was a good song choice for you. Anthony's
back." Paula adds, "You came back strong. Way to go." Finally, Simon tells
Anthony, "It was an OK performance, but you tried to do a sexy routine, and it
just didn't work. It's kind of like Randy being on Baywatch." Another fine
FremantleMedia production. Randy taunts him by asking him to take his shirt
What we say: It's very breathy, and Anthony doesn't have the energy to hold
it together vocally. And it really shows. He was off in a few places, especially
in the beginning. Good song choice, yes, but he doesn't have the pipes. No way.
And the routine? "No! No! Too sexy! Too sexy!"
Next is Carrie Underwood. Now she was a country girl at her very heart, but
tonight, she'll try something different with a power ballad by Heart, "Alone".
"I wanted to take a risk and break out of my shell." About time, child.
What they say: Randy says, "Wow, man. That was one of your best performances
yet. You were unbelievable!" Paula tells Carrie, "My hat is off to you." Simon
says, "You're not just the girl to beat; you're the person to beat. I will make
a prediction. Not only will you win the show, you will sell more records than
any other previous Idol winner." Bold statement from the brash Briton.
What we say: IT'S ABOUT TIME! Carrie has finally arrived. She took a risk and
damn it if it didn't pay off. I wouldn't wish that hair on my worst enemy, but
still, coming from a person who didn't give her long in the contest, I'm finally
a believer. Strong voice, great presence, and finally outside of the box. That
said... Hey, is that Donny Osmond? Sorry about Pyramid, dude...
Next is the Big Man, Scott Savol, who sings a significant piece given his
situation, Phil Collins'/Mariah Carey's/Westlife's/Montell Jordan's "Against All
Odds". Is there any one who hasn't remade this song?
What they say: Randy tells him, "You worked it out tonight, baby." Paula
thinks he's getting better week after week. Simon, thrilled that it isn't a
three-minute striptease, says, "I don't think that was a fantastic vocal."
What we say: Again, he didn't have the energy to pull it off to start, but he
did have the presence and the voice. The performance isn't that bad, but it
could be better. It reminds me of latter day Ruben Studdard. But that was two
years ago. Time to step it up, man.
When Bo Bice was young, he bought Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle" at a garage
sale for a quarter. Now, it's HIS quarter to shine.
What they say: Randy didn't see range, but he's still a believer. Paula
calls Bo, "a gift to the 60 million people that watch this show." Simon adds,
"When I see you perform... it's just like watching someone who's already made
it. The only downside (*Paula kisses*) is that your hairstyle now matches
What we say: A subdued Bo. Weird seeing it, but still, a powerful presence
behind it. A bit off from here and there, but those moments are few and far
between. The tone is just spot-on.
Next up is Nikko Smith, who is back to sporting his own little pimped-out
look instead of borrowing from others... oop. Spoke too soon. He was influenced
by Dru Hill, so he sings something from their lead singer. Here's Sisqo's
"Incomplete" from the Unleash the Dragon record, if you remember.
What they say: Randy says, "Finally, America is seeing the real Nikko Smith."
Paula, once she calms down, calls Nikko brilliant. Simon concludes with, "Give or take a few tuning problems, that was by far your best performance."
Paula makes out with Simon... again.
What we say: Breath control is still lost on Nikko, but he has the presence
down. And once he has that down, everything else falls into place. But are those
gyrations absolutely necessary? I mean come on, there's thrusting, and then
there's THRUSTING. But again, Simon's right. It was his best.
Vonzell Solomon was told to do something great. To that end, she gives the
crowd "The Best of My Love" by the Emotions.
What they say: Randy says, "That was brilliant. Vonzell's back!" Paula adds,
"Your personality came out. But, more importantly, your vocals came out.
If Simon Cowell doesn't recognize what you did, then I give up." Finally, Simon tells Vonzell,
"For the first time, people will remember you. That was very good."
What we say: Very strong performance, nice use of the platform, but there was
a little bit of issue I had with the tuning, especially with the beginning. It's
always with the beginning. Why is that? Other than that, Vonzell's energy is in
full form tonight, and it contributes to a great performance. We love you too,
Vonzell. We love you, too.
And by the way... Happy birthday, Vonzell. Drinks on me.
Next, Constantine Maroulis surprises America with one of his favorites
growing up... The Partridge Family's "I Think I Love You."
What they say: Randy says, "That was a very interesting song choice. It was
just aight for me." Paula tells Constantine, "You have one of the best senses of
showmanship. You did the song great justice." Simon concludes with, "I thought
it was an odd fit. It's like ordering a guard dog for your home and getting a
poodle in a leather jacket. It's not the real thing!"
What we say: Actually, it's a very good song choice for the rocker. He does
it proper justice to start and kinda lets it all go in the middle. But not bad.
Not something to write home about and very theatrical, but still, I'd give it a
B. But still, see Evrard, Peter, the Belgian Idol. Not quite to "sheep in wolf's
clothing" but pretty close. He better raise hell next week.
Nadia Turner was thrown with the theme this week, because a lot of the songs
she doesn't like (read: Ani DiFranco and such), but she manages to choose
something that suits her, Cyndi Lauper. "Time After Time," the song.
What they say: Randy tells her, "You are definitely a star on that
stage all the time." Paula adds, "That was not my favorite song choice, but you
still rocked it. You're still a star to me." Simon says, "I thought it was over
the top. It reminded me of a cruise ship cabaret. It was very old-fashioned.
That was your weakest performance by a mile."
What we say: What the hell us up with the Mohawk? What the hell is up with
the reggae/rock mix? What the hell is up with the lack of breath control? What
the hell is up with this whole performance? Are you begging to go home? That
performance was crazy, and not in a good way.
Three more. It's time for the FABULOUS! Mikalah Gordon, as she tries to avoid
the bottom two this week with "Love Will Lead You Back" by Taylor Dayne.
What they say: Randy says, "I miss the young, fun, energetic Mikalah. The
performance was kinda pitchy a little bit." Paula adds, "I'm concerned you're going to get caught up in not having a unique style." Finally, Simon calls Mikalah's performance
"a complete and utter mess." Yeah, I'd say the judges agree.
Okay, so only Randy agrees. And there goes the love.
What we say: Looks good, but... Oh, how can I put this sweetly? Uhh...
Umm.... Okay, I can't. Good news: you just saved Nadia Turner. Bad news: Now
it's your ass on the chopping block.
Funky, upbeat, groovy. That is how Anwar Robinson describes Chaka Khan's "Ain't
Nobody." But how will we describe Anwar?
What they say: Randy calls it ambitious. "You brought it home at the end."
Paula is proud of Anwar for rising to the challenge. Simon called it risky and
adds what Randy says, it wasn't that good.
What we say: Umm... Anwar, I'm going to play doctor. You have what we call
"tragic coolness." You're definitely smooth and cool and suave, no doubt, but
that's going to be your downfall unless you learn to adapt to the song given you
or choose better songs. Oh, and that strong finish? I don't buy it for a second.
You're still going to have to wow me.
One more. It's time for Jessica Sierra, the second bottom 3 survivor. She
goes for Bonnie Tyler/Nicki French's "Total Eclipse of the Heart".
What they say: Randy calls it brilliant. Paula seconds it. Simon thirds it:
"A lot of people said two weeks ago that the girls would be also-rans in the
competition. You and Carrie outsung every other person in the competition."
What we say: Jessica's still sick, but it avoids being called "Total Eclipse
of the Voice." Knowing what she can do, and what she can't, she pulls out
another strong performance on a night that makes me forgive last week.
Well that ends the performance aspect of the competition. All that's left is
Pipes!: Carrie, Bo, Nikko, Vonzell, Jessica
Half-pipes: Constantine, Anwar
Quarter-pipes: Anthony, Scott
Pipe dream: Mikalah, Nadia
Tune in to Roundtable Idol on this very site in 24 hours to see who's going
home... or is it 48? Well, to paraphrase Quiz Show's tag line: "Thirty million
people watched, but no one saw a thing." You'll get it when you...
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