Thursday, March 09, 2006

right, right, right, wrong

And now for something completely devoid of symbolism and generally irrelevant to life in general. American Idol! Down to the Final 12 tonight. Four had to be eliminated to create this group. Ayla Brown -- good decision, besides she'll probably be President some day. Kinnik Sky -- agreed she didn't quite cut it. Will Makar -- definitely had to go (if for no other reason that he looked creepily like Peter Brady). But Gedeon McKinney? What were you thinking, America?

This young man has talent, first and foremost. But more than that, he has passion for music, creativity, artistry, confidence, and stage presence. He wasn't perfect: the first note of last night's performance was not good. But he quickly redeemed himself and went on to an otherwise wonderful rendition of a well-chosen song. He has obvious ability, and at 17, lots of time to develop it.

As much as I can appreciate people's near-maternal instinct about Kevin Covais (whose female cohorts all rush to pinch his cheeks and dubbed him "Chicken Little" because of his physical resemblance to the cartoon), he is simply too green and too stiff to be a pop performer. His voice is nice, but interpretations lack any emotion whatsoever. He shakes and freezes and generally looks like he'd rather be hanging on the door of the bully's gym locker than on stage trying to become a famous singer.

Bucky's more subdued interest in singing and laid back attitude seem well suited to him, but he often looks intimidated and downright uncomfortable on stage. He's also been inconsistent through the whole process. Last night was probably the best of his performances, and the presence of an identical twin named Rocky upped the likeability ante. But he, too, lacks the spark that transforms a singer into a star.

I thought sure Kevin or Bucky would join Will on the way out. Actually, I thought Will might be left to compete while Kevin and Bucky were booted. Gedeon deserved another opportunity to prove his musical meddle. Oh well. What do I know?

Taylor Hicks just makes me happy. And man, he picks songs that work exactly for him. Mandisa is simply a force to be reckoned with. Makings of the next Aretha Franklin. Elliott Yamin has a surprising voice and the talent to utilize it well (his version of "Moody's Mood for Love" ranks as one of my favorite Idol performances, up there with Fantasia's "Summertime"). In the words of my friend, Rina, Ace Young is yummy (oh and yeah, he can really sing... it was brave to tackle "Butterflies" for a couple divergent reasons, but he transcended them both). Paris Bennett and Lisa Tucker definitely deserve to be watched. Each has had moments of crystalline brilliance. Chris Daughtry has 'arena rock god' written all over him. It almost feels like he just needed to get the right person's ear (Clive Davis, are you listening?). He doesn't need American Idol. Katharine McPhee's version of "Think" was smokin'.

Looks like a good competition this year. It would have been slightly more interesting with Gedeon in it, but such is life. Now, it's time for bed.

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