Look at them all. Happy. Optimistic. Each hopefully thinking he or she is the next Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood. Each knowing that, hey, even if I don't win, I could still be the next Clay Aikin or Daughtry. Niether one even thinking that, instead, we might all be looking at the next Ruben Studdard or Taylor Hicks - two that seem unable to attract a loyal following, sell CDs, and launch into superstardom.
Last night was the ever popular "Judge's Choice" night, or "Randy's Opportunity to Remind Us of the Mega Famous Artists He's Worked With Night." I have to laugh every time he says something like, "I worked on this song with so-and-so and thought it would be a good challenge for you..." blah, blah, blah. Randy did not disappoint.
Let's get to the singers.
JORDIN SPARKS (AKA LINEBACKER, AKA THE-NEXT-BEYONCE): If she wins, she'll sell albums. Probably 10s of thousands. But I have a question for American Idol producers, for Simon, or for anyone who'll have a hand in putting together her first CD: Are you going to try and make her old through music? My next question ...are Idol contestants not allowed to pick a Beyonce or Aquilara jam? Jordin is 17. Young, vibrant, and not bad looking. Yet each week we're treated to her renditions of 20, 30, and 60 year old songs. Sure, "She Works Hard of the Money" was a triumphant single for Donna Summers in the mid 80s, but that was already late in her career and not even one of her best songs.
Then we get her rendition of Tom Jones' "I Who Have Nothing." Don't try and tell me anyone else sang it, because Tom Jones did ...period. And we all know, once Tom Jones sings a song it becomes his own. Why won't these judges say that. They always make a big show to point out when someone tries (and usually butchers) a Mariah, Whitney, or Celine selection. Always using the one-name. So why doesn't a song by Tom get that same respect?
I thought Jordin was good, but not great. Mostly due to song choice. I preferred her choice - the Tom song - best, it was a good final performance for her, and her likability might keep her around for one more week.
BLAKE - A stellar night. Three catchy tunes (which would sound like something he might record for an album ...not like those Jordin song choices) with limited vocal challenges. The 3 single best ingredients needed to move him on for one more week (and possibly win the whole thing). Idol producers and would-be record producers should be campaigning like the Presidential candidates for this guy.
I call it the "David Cassidy Challenge." Blake is a little old, actually, but he's their best shot. The "David Cassidy Challenge" is what I see as Idol's quest to find a teen-Idol with that golden-smile that will capture the hearts of every 9-16 year old girl. A guy who's picture will be hung in lockers and taped sloppily onto Trapper Keeper covers. They were oh-so-close with Justin Guarini, but he just didn't have the staying power. Clay Aikin didn't quite cut it. Daughtry is nice, but he is married with a kid and, well ...teenie-boppers don't really dig that.
Blake, however, is just what the pop-gods ordered. Kinda cute, he could be taught to dance in front of back-up dancers, he could easily wind-up dating a tier 2 Hollywood starlet (maybe someone from Gilmore Girls or a reality show pseudo-star), and he even has the potential to write a song that could be used at high school dances and/or on next year's American Idol Results shows that plays during the send-off videos.
He was great.
MELINDA - If there's anyone with the potential to be forgotten, it is Melinda. She can sing, no doubt about it, but can she sell albums?
Let me put it this way. Let's say you have a 57-year-old Aunt that can sing. She's also very funny, performs at children's parties, and hosts the best New Year's Eve parties in yer entire home town. Basically, your Aunt is just plain talented. That's something to be proud of and enjoy. She probably sang at every family wedding and maybe she even broke out "Wind Beneath My Wings" at a funeral or two and simply nailed it! Great. Super. I bet she's a real humdinger of a gal.
Question for you? Could your mega-multi-talented Aunt fill a concert hall, hold her own on The Ellen Show, and make a cover of any magazine?
Now, she might still win because she's so nice, appeals to the boomer-Moms and soccer-Moms, and loves her own Mom (and we all know Blake and Jordin hate their own Moms, right?). However, I think she's boring. And if someone had picked some better songs for Ms. Sparxx, this vote tonight wouldn't be close.
I still think, because AI is a popularity contest above almost all else, she'll be booted tonight.
PREDICTIONS: If I believe the Internet polls and various talk shows, I have to say Belinda and Blake will be here next week. However, if I have to go with my favorites and my gut, I'm saying Jordin and Blake will be back and Melinda will be booted.
1 year ago