Welcome to Idolator’s American Idolatry, in which we look at the cultural phenomenon that is American Idol. Last night’s show featured the remaning four contestants taking on the Bee Gees’ catalog, with results that were decidedly lacking.
Yes, the Bee Gees songbook is full of fine tracks–but are they good Idol songs? Aside from “To Love Somebody,” which Jordin sang and which is pretty much a gimme, the group’s songbook needs a) someone with a powerful falsetto or b) lots of backing-vocal oomph or c) a truly original re-arrangement in order for their performance to truly work.
And that re-arrangement should not, in most cases, include beatboxing.
Putting the remaining Idols on it, then, almost seemed cruel, and the alarm shown by Barry Gibb during many of this week’s introductory segments only added to that feeling. (Although maybe it’s because he couldn’t imagine a woman singing any song of his that hadn’t been written for Barbra Streisand–the number of intro segments in which he started a sentence by saying something like “I couldn’t imagine a woman singing this…” had to have added up to at least 50%.)
Also: Why did no one do “Tragedy”? It would have at least fit last night’s mood.
MELINDA (“Love You Inside Out”/”How Can You Mend a Broken Heart”): Melinda’s first performance was fine–a little blah, but again, the song she picked, “Love You Inside Out,” wasn’t your typical Idol crowd-burner. The judges were pretty unimpressed, though–Simon even threw out the b-word (“background”) in his critique. Her second performance was stronger, thanks to an oomphy ending, but last night was her first real stumble.
BLAKE (“You Should Be Dancin’”/”This Is Where I Came In”): If only Sublime’s Brad
Lowell Nowell hadn’t died 11 years ago–he’d be the perfect match for Blake, who turned his second pick, the 2001 track “This Is Where I Came In,” into a track that sounded tailor-made for that band’s next album. Hey, maybe the remaining members of the band should take him on tour! His beatboxing would undoubtedly tickle the nostalgic funnybones of whatever drunken college kids stumbled into the show.
The first performance? The less said about it, the better–let’s just say that it incorporated off-key falsetto, beatboxing, and a jacket that looked like it was left over from My Chemical Romance’s last video shoot. Yeesh.
LAKISHA (“Stayin’ Alive”/”Run to Me”): While her slightly slowed-down take on “Stayin’ Alive” got low points from the judges, we actually kind of liked it–maybe it was because we couldn’t stop thinking of her backstory during the song. But Simon referred to it as “scary,” and Randy called it “weird,” prompting our viewing companion to wonder if the mix in the studio was different than the mix being beamed out across America. Lakisha’s “Run To Me” was sort of boring, and ended on a flat note; that said, she was definitely better than Blake, and probably benefited from going on right after him.
JORDIN (“To Love Somebody”/”Woman in Love”): It’s pretty obvious why Jordin fought so hard to sing “To Love Somebody”–her Aguilera’d up take on the song drew out Mariah Carey and Aretha Franklin comparisons from Randy, and Paula managed to spit out that Jordin’s performance was the best of the night so far. But in her second performance she took on Barbra Streisand, and she just couldn’t measure up–her vocals were sloppy, whingey, and often flat, and it only added to what Simon referred to as the “pageant contestant” feel of the performance. (Jordin, if you’re reading this, stop ironing your hair! It ages you and isn’t flattering at all.)
WHO WE VOTED FOR: Nobody.
WHO AMERICA WILL PROBABLY CUT: We have no idea. It could be Blake, who was abysmal, and whose beatboxing gimmick is finally trying at least two of the judges’ patience; it could be Lakisha, who skated by last week thanks to the “Idol Gives Back” grace period; it could be Melinda in a shocker. It probably won’t be Jordin, if only because the “best vocal tonight” accolades from the judges will still ring in voters’ minds.
PAULA ABDUL OUT-OF-IT SCALE: 9.9/10. We couldn’t understand what she was saying a good chunk of the time, her eyeshadow was about to annex her forehead, and she called Blake “contemporary” yet again.