American Idol: The Top Ten Finalists

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

This week on American Idol the top ten finalists battled it out for the nine spots left in the competition. This week's theme was 'Songs of the 21st Century,' which meant the contestants could choose any song from the last six years. There was no celebrity guest this week to work with the performers, so the show jumped right into the top ten, especially since the series went from a two hour event to that lasting only an hour.

The show began with a performance by Lisa Tucker of Kelly Clarkson's hit song, Because of You. The song had some good moments, but I agree with the judges that the song just wasn't right for her. She has a talented voice, but this song was definitely bigger than her.

Next up we had Kellie Pickler. I fully expected Kellie to do well this week because there are so many amazing country and country pop songs she could choose from in the last six years, but instead she picked one I hadn't ever even heard of. Once again it is song choice that hurts the contestant here. She had a good performance, but it wasn't great.

Ace Young came up next with his soulful stylings by singing one of my favorite songs by Train, Drops of Jupiter. This was another case of bad song choice. I know I personally didn't enjoy this performance as much as Ace's past performances. It just wasn't the right song for Ace. I don't know if I agree with Simon calling it a karaoke performance, but it just didn't measure up to me.

Next up, Taylor came on stage, and he sang a song I wasn't quite familiar with, but he did an amazing performance. In the eyes of the judges, it wasn't one of his standout performances, and I think that might once again be because of song choice. He did well, but the song might not have been the one to best demonstrate his talent.

Mandisa was next, and she sang a gospel song she has sung many times before in a church song. It was a good performance, but it had some problems. She is the one of the best singers in this competition though, and even with this performance's problems it was still one of the better performances of the show.

The same can be said about the next contestant to perform, Chris Daughtry. He's come under fire this week for his performance last week because he hadn't credited the arrangement to Live. That matter was handled quickly on this week's episode, and he sang a song by Creed, What if. Chris rocks each and every week, and last week that received him praise. This week, that got him put down. The judges want him to branch out, but I think he should stay in his element. This is where he will become famous one day, why change?

Katharine McPhee was next, and she sang a Christina Aguilera's, A Voice Within. Now, I'm a Christina fan, so I might be biased, but I just didn't like this performance. The judges, however, said it was the best of the night, and Christina would be honored to have this version performed by Katharine. That made me shake my head a bit, but then again as I mentioned I might be biased.

Bucky went back to his country roots this week by performing Tim McGraw's, Real Good Man. One of his better performances, but I do agree with Paula and Simon here. I could barely understand him at some points. Could this spell the end of the road for Bucky? He has been in the bottom three now, so there is a chance of that happening.

The last two performances of the night by Paris Bennett and Elliot Yamin were probably the best of the night in my mind. Paris went back to a bit more youthful, even if her moves did raise some eyebrows. Elliot did another one of my favorite songs, and I thought he did well, but his arrangement of the song was a bit different than what I'm used to. This isn't a bad thing. He made the song his own.

Tomorrow night, one more contestant will go home following America's vote. I think this might be the week we say good-bye to Kellie or Bucky. Kellie just hasn't been doing it for me at all the last few weeks, and I'm a bit surprised she is still in the competition.

This is the list of tonight's song choices, mostly available for download on iTunes.

Lisa Tucker: Because of You - Kelly Clarkson
Kellie Pickler: Suds in the Bucket - Sara Evans
Ace Young: Drops of Jupiter - Train
Taylor Hicks: Trouble - Ray LaMontagne
Mandisa: I wanna praise you
Chris Daughtry: What if - Creed
Katharine McPhee: Voice Within - Christina Aguilera
Bucky Covington: Real Good Man - Tim McGraw
Paris Bennett: Work it out - Beyonce
Elliot Yamin: I Don't Want To Be - Gavin DeGraw


David Levasseur said...

Thanks for the analysis. I agree with most of it, but I think Lisa Tucker is leaving tomorrow. Thanks for all of the song links!

Last night's show was pretty awful. I only enjoyed Taylor and Elliot's performances (though I didn't care for Taylor's song choice).

This is why Chris needs to show a little more range -- yeah, when he's past the competition, and is making records, his fans will love the kind of music he makes and will buy, buy, buy because of it. I'll be one of them. But, right now, while he's trying to get votes on the show, it's critical that he appeal to a huge cross-section of America. To do that, he has to show some diversity.

The good news is, he's SO good at what he does, I don't think American Idol votes really matter for him. He's already gotten enough exposure to launch his big career.

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