Tin Pan Idol
Whether or not I stick around for the rest of this year's AI shows, will largely, I suspect, depend on the themes. Queen was right up my alley, as was last night's standards show. But I still don't really have a dog in this hunt (although Paris continues to impress me), so should they go with, say, disco night, or worse, Dianne Warren night, I'd likely have to sit out. We'll see.
Nonetheless, here are some quick reactions to last night's songs:
Chris Daughtry--"What A Wonderful World"
Good but not near great. He showed he can sing without doing the heavy rock-scream thing, but he didn't prove he could sing better than pretty much anyone else on the competition. It was a good, safe, enjoyable "Wonderful World," but not an interesting one.
Paris Bennett--"Foolish Things"
Simon's transparent vote begging for Katherine McPhee notwithstanding, this was the performance of the night. Such impeccable command, rich, deep tones, even on the non-belted or higher notes, and an instinctive understanding of the material. A great performance.
Taylor Hicks--"You Send Me"
Does Taylor bore anyone else? He's good enough, and gun to watch, but it's becoming very rapidly one-note: decent but nothing-special strong singing followed by a pale Cocker-esque freakout. Yawn.
Elliott Yamin--"It Had to Be You"
I just don't get the Elliott love. A thin voice, horrible stage presence, and no real special way with a lyric. He's not horrible, but is he really any better than the equally bland Ace?
Kellie Pickler--"Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered"
After this I ran to my trusty iPod to queue up Ella Fitzgerald's definitive take on this classic of classics. Had to hear it done right. Before she started I had doubts at how well she'd do, if only because the song is a sophisticated, knowing one, and if there's anything the Pickler persona ain't, it's "sophisticated." She was OK (but only OK) to start, but by the end it was cringe-worthy, noticeably flat in spots and wildly off-tempo. I think the band actually cut some measures just to catch up with her--had they not the level to which she botched the song would have been much more evident. Kudos to them. I have to admit to loving, however, her unabashed, if perhaps too accepting, honesty--"I butchered it." Yes, you did, Kellie. Yes you did.
"Ace Young"--That's All"
I think I was mopping while he sang.
"Katherine McPhee"--"Someone to Watch Over Me"
Very good. But. She copped to the Mr. Holland's Opus love readily enough, and yet seemed to miss the whole point of that bit in the movie. The singing was gorgeous, technically perfect, and wonderfully controlled, but the wistfulness, that hint of sadness that defines the song was wholly absent. Singing is acting, folks. Or at least it is when done right.