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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.

Is your favorite still in the running? Check out the Idol Set List!

Recaps by Chico Alexander & Gordon Pepper, GSNN


FACT FILE:

Host: Ryan Seacrest
Judges: Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson
Creator: Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
EP: Nigel Lythgoe, Ken Warwick, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller
Packager: 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America
Airs: Tuesdays at 8pm ET and Wednesdays at 9pm ET on Fox


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Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

"Round of 6: 2000s" - April 26-27

We're halfway home in the search for America's next pop star. Six singers left... you have the guy with the hair, the blonde, the other guy with the hair, the other blonde, the Vonzell, and the other blonde.

Now we separate the good from the outstanding in this last month, and we start with... songs from the 2000s... so far. That's from January 1, 2000 to tonight, April 26, 2005. That's about five years and change of music to choose from, and if you're anything like me, it can easily be whittled to about 30 or 40 good songs.

Regrettably, you'll only hear two of them. And it's from the people who did the best job in my opinion.

First off, we have Carrie Underwood. After two weeks of God knows what, she returns to her country roots, singing "When God Fearin' Women Get the Blues" by Martina McBride. This round, we get the bio pieces, as Carrie illustrates the simple life of a farm girl in Checotah, OK.... which really explains a lot, if you think about it.

What they say: Randy is glad for the return to her country roots, but in the end, she never matched pitches with the band and the singers. "It was just under the whole song. It was kinda there, but it slipped back." Paula just says that it was good that she had so many fans, BUT... "you need to pick songs that show off your proud vocals and your personality, the fact that you love singing country music." Simon credits Carrie for proper song choice, but still says she is a credit to her target demographic. Although he doesn't understand country music, being English.

What we say: Well, I'm not English, and I don't understand this new-age country (^_^) either, so that argument... REFUTED! Performancewise, at least if you pronounce the words so we can't understand them, then we can't accuse you of mangling them, but overall, if we're being kind, we would say that beginning, middle, and end... umm, D, what's a stronger word for horrible?

What D says: Deplorable.

Thank you. Pitch, off. Arrangement, off. Carrie, slowly getting annoying. Carrie finally admits to having a word problem. Personally, she has more word problems than a grade-school math book. Let's keep it real here.

Ryan's in the audience with... Clay Aiken! He looks like he's just quietly enjoying the show while resigned to the fact that he needs another hit like a... oh, he's recording another album? Well, now... Anyway, we move onto Helena, AL, hometown of one Bogart "Bo" Bice, who has a doting father, a loving mother who wanted Bo to do gospel, and a girlfriend who just puts up with everything. He sings one of the two songs I like, "I Don't Want to Be" from Gavin DeGraw...

...

Fine, the One Tree Hill theme.

What they say: Randy....

What the crowd says: (screams)

Back to what they say: Randy loves that the song choice was appropriate and that Bo is honest. Paula calls him consistent and true to himself. Simon likes him, too. "Strongest contestant so far", but he needs to lose the Lenny Kravitz sunglasses.

What we say: Great great great, and very apropos, because Bo's been himself this entire time. But please lose the dashiki.

The audience tour continues with some guy Ryan uses as a chair. Next up, though, we go to Ft. Myers, FL, hometown of Vonzell Solomon... the mail carrier... the ass kicker... youngest of the family, therefore the nickname of Baby V. She sings "I Turn To You" by Christina Aguilera. Bit of trivia: it was actually written in 1996 for the Space Jam soundtrack. All-4-One recorded that original version.

What they say: Randy calls the song difficult, but welcomes her to the Dawg Pound. "I'm proud of that performance, because you sang that." Paula was a little nervous, but calls on Vonzell's innate ability to connect with her audience. Simon seems to think that the performance wasn't as good as the other two made it out to be.

What we say: Okay, she messed up two lyrics, but she did it so seamlessly where you really can't noticed. It happens. Boyz II Men did it on their cover of "Yesterday". Aside from that, it's typical Vonzell. She sings. I smile. Except for that one mess at the beginning. That (^_^)'s gotta go.

The audience tour continues with Heather Locklear, who has a) no show on Fox and b) a cancelled show on NBC. So that begs the question... Why are you here again? From there we go to Trevose, PA, home of one Anatoly Fedorov, who wisely changed his name to Anthony. And from there, we go back to the Ukraine, where Anthony was born. Their parents call him a dreammaker. His dad recorded him singing as a kid, and he was a little pitchy back then, too. He sings the Celine Dion "no, really, she sung that?" song "I Surrender."

What they say: Randy think he's good with the high notes, but not so good with the low notes. Paula harkens back to season 1 when Kelly Clarkson sang it (BTW, happy birthday!). "I think it's the first performance where you really grew with the song. I think it's one of your best performances." Simon calls Anthony a really brave man. "I personally hated it, but you sing the kind of songs that appeal to the people who vote for you."

What we say: That performance has "Pop Idol" (the show, not the ultimate goal) written all over it. It's Anthony at his best, which still had a bit of pitchiness. That's sad, really. But way to channel that inner diva, Anthony. Now if you did that at the beginning of the competition, you wouldn't consistently be in danger of leaving the show. And there's Heather Locklear again...

He says the song just does something to him. Well he better head to the lavatory. Now let's go to New York City. Born in the home of our own Block is a "very nice Greek boy" Constantine Maroulis. Coming from a traditionalist Greek family, they were kinda weirded out when he turned to the dark side. Well, not really. More trivia: Constantine is actually a popular Greek name. Not in America, though. He sings Nickelback's "How You Remind Me."

What they say: Randy imagines himself at a bar. "High on performing, low on vocals. This is a singing competition. The singing for me is like a five." Paula: "This was not my favorite song", but he gets to every genre flawlessly. Simon notes that once he quit the band to go on Idol, he crossed into the dark side of the force, calling the performance "a bad imitation of the original."

What we say: That was a Clay Aiken's Butt performance... those who remember the spiky git who lost Idol two years ago performing that song know why I call it that. But I'll stop there because he looks like he can and will kick my ass.

And finally, we hear Scott Savol's life story from Shaker Heights, OH. Note they left out the chapter that the Smoking Gun provided. See, that was a sacrifice made to the god of ecumenical politics so that he could stay on the show. See? Makes so much sense now! He performs Luther Vandross' neo-classic, "Dance With My Father."

What they say: Randy thought it was Scott's weakest. Paula blames the song. Simon: "I'd pack your suitcase tonight."

What we say: So we've come full circle. We started with a deplorable performance. We end with full-on crap. Just admit it, you sang flat enough and emotionless enough to be in the bottom two because you like to be
there. It feels like home. It's a safety blanket.

All in all, after last week, I was expecting something to arise, someone to take the forefront by storm. Instead... an earful of suck. That said, and keep in mind that what follows is only a comparative guide...

Fly-2K!: Bo, Vonzell, Anthony
Why-2K?: Carrie, Constantine
Scott Savol: Scott
They won't let me vote for them: Clay, Heather, Chair Guy, Constantine's Mom, Rachel & Michelle from the Roundtable

It will do a great injustice to America if Scott is not on the next plane back to Ohio. But then again, I have a trick ear and 20 years experience in choral performance with a concentration in a cappella arrangement under my belt, so what the hell do I know? Let's go to a body of my peers for an honest assessment of America's pulse...

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