'American Idol's sixth season Top 10 take the stage and perform live
By Christopher Rocchio, 03/28/2007
The Top 10 finalists on American Idol's sixth season performed live last night and celebrated music that inspired former ska queen and current pop princess Gwen Stefani.
From disco diva Donna Summers to hits in the 1980s by The Cure and The Police -- as well as a few tunes from No Doubt -- the remaining finalists also received some advice from Gwen before they performed. A front-runner emerged among the guys, most of the girls nailed their performances, and one contestant left the Dog speechless yet again.
The following is Reality TV World's recap of the performance broadcast in the order which the 10 finalists sang. Also included are comments from each of the three judges -- Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell -- as well as additional information about each performance.
Wednesday night at 9PM ET on Fox, one of the finalists will be eliminated from the reality competition series during a live results show, which will also feature a performance by Gwen and rapper Akon.
Song: "Let's Dance" Randy said: "You know what's kind of great about that? I'm sitting here thinking that's the first time I've seen you do an up tempo joint and it's good to see you make a change and rock it. I love the boots... I mean you did that like a true, fly diva right there. That was hot." Paula said: "Donna Summers is not an easy artist to start out with, and you did her proud... you did an excellent job." Simon said: (Randy asked Simon if he liked Lakisha's boots) "Love those boots... Well you know great Lakisha, now you're 30 years younger this week. I agree with Randy. It's nice to see you doing an up tempo song, loved the big note at the end and it's the Lakisha that I loved three or four weeks ago coming back here, putting your mark back on this competition... and a great vocal." Additional Info: Gwen said after Lakisha's performance, she found herself "sweaty" and added she "should be asking her for advice"... Idol host Ryan Seacrest told Lakisha following her performance, "That's the way to get us started!"... Lakisha's friends from the bank where she works were in attendance.
Song: "Every Little Things She Does is Magic" Randy said: "I think it was a good song choice for you, I think there were a couple of runs... it was actually a good song for you. The biggest problem with it was exactly what Gwen said in you video package... rhythmically the band was in one tempo and you were in another tempo. You could never quite get in the pocket. It was like you were way ahead rushing. What do you make of that? (Chris answered, 'I had never tried to sing that song before. It was seriously like a master's class on theory for me. I picked it a day late but I did the best I could. I thought I sang it pretty well, but the rhythm...') Rhythm-wise it made it a train wreck for me. Paula and I were sitting her like, 'Where's the run? Where's the beat?'" Paula said: "That's probably the biggest amount of criticism I've had for you all season is staying in the pocket because it becomes like an eyesore for the audience. The audience is trying to groove with you, they want to groove with you. Vocally it sounded really nice... but man, you gotta hear that beat." Simon said: "Forget pockets, timing, whatever, I thought it was a mess to be honest with you Chris. At this stage in the competition... Let's assume this is the first time I'd seen you and heard you, what am I supposed to get from that? It was just a mess. It was all over the place. I don't think the song suited you... it just didn't feel right... (music started playing over Simon's comments) I haven't finished yet... this is not the Oscars." Additional Info: Chris was the first finalist to answer a fan's question during this week's broadcast and joked he spends his Idol down time "knitting, crocheting and doing the bongo in my boxer shorts" before honestly answering that he mostly sleeps to avoid getting sick... Gwen noticed Chris needed to work on the tempo of his song because he was "definitely off"... Chris said the "the kick was rarely on the downbeat," which contributed to him being off... He shrugged the performance off with a "My bad."
Song: "Stand By You" Randy said: "Yo man, this must be boot night, because that's another fly pair of boots right there that you got on. I thought this was one of your best performances ever. And I'll tell you something, what you got to do is -- I said this to you a couple weeks ago -- you got that big old voice... just believe and choose wise songs. This was the perfect song for you. Very nice, very nice." Paula said: "I love the fact that you're improving each week and coming into your own as an artist. You look fantastic, the song you picked really was great because it shows vulnerability and also allowed you to soar with your vocals. Really was your best performance so far." Simon said: "Gina, wasn't one of your best performances (boos rain down upon him from the audience)... it was your best performance (the audience showers him with cheers). It's all about knowing who you are, choosing the right song... the transformation from three or four weeks ago to tonight is literally chalk and cheese. It was the best performance so far tonight, that's how good it was." Additional Info: Gina described it as an "emotional day" when she met Gwen, who she described as a "big inspiration"... Gwen said it's "good to see her stand there and be very emotional."
Song: "Bath Water" Randy said: "Alright Sanjaya, I'm speechless every time. It's like it's weird... you got the Dog speechless man! The hairdo is definitely interesting... I like the mohawk look. I mean listen, at the end of the song what it reminded me of was you sang that one long note at the end -- you sang that little run -- you actually can sing if you would just go on and put it out there dude. That's what Paula and I were just saying... come on man." Paula said: "Sanjaya, if you had the gumption, if you had the ability to just totally go for it then it would fit the wackiness of the mohawk and all that... but to watch you on stage and not go for it... it's kind of like, 'Oh, come on.' You can do it if you want to do it... how hard is it? You're up there... come on. You can do it." Simon said: "Well I presume there was no mirror in your dressing room tonight. (Sanjaya called Simon 'jealous' because he 'couldn't pull it off') I couldn't... I agree. Look Sanjaya, I don't think it matters anymore what we say actually. I genuinely don't. I think you are in your own universe, and if people like you, good luck." Additional Info: Gwen noticed that Sanjaya was "kind of nervous" during rehearsals when he forgot some of the words... Sanjaya then forgot some of the lyrics during his performance... Ryan described Sanjaya's hair as a "pony-hawk," since his mohawk consisted of seven ponytails... a sign in the audience read "Save Sanjaya Vote 4 My People."
Song: "True Colors" Randy said: "It started a little rough for me and got better towards the end... I wasn't jumping up and down about it. It was just kind of alright for me... I wasn't really, you didn't really grab me with that. (someone in the audience screamed 'You're awesome Haley!') Just okay... had some pitchy moments... I don't know." Paula said: "It's one of those songs that -- I agree with Gwen -- it's a beautiful song that really requires nothing but singing the melody and being vulnerable and just singing. You held up more of an adult-contemporary performance to that, and it didn't stay young. You should aim to be more contemporary. (Randy interjected, 'I'm just not sure it's the right song for your voice.') Pretty girl." Simon said: "How do you think you did Haley? (she answered 'well') I think it was sweet but forgettable really. You'll hear thousands and thousands of girls all over the country able to sing like that. There was nothing to remember really... it's just one of those songs and performances. Too safe, and you're really going to have to do better than that Haley." Additional Info: Gwen thought Haley "started out great," but then chose a melody that she thought was "so unnecessary for the song"... someone in the audience held a sign that read "Haley for President."
Song: "Every Breath You Take" Randy said: "I actually kind of liked that. I thought it was a really solid performance from you because you didn't push it. You could have pushed it more because you got that big old voice. You sang a couple of runs at the end which kind of made it nice... I actually kind of liked that dog to be honest with you." Paula said: "It's interesting. There's so much color and personality to your voice when you hit the chorus, it's like that's where you really live and that's where your magic is. The verses though, it's like... you kind of play it safe until you build-up to the chorus, and then you soar. So I'd just work on building a little more character in the verses. Other than that, I think it was a real good performance." Simon said: "This may suprise you Phil, but I actually thought that was very good. You know what, great choice of song. It's the only time I felt in the last few weeks that you're actually taking this seriously and actually trying to do well in this competition." Additional Info: Phil also answered a fan's question, and described it as "crazy, strange and real exciting" to achieve instant fame thanks to Idol... Gwen said she was "pleasantly surprised" by his performance... a sign in the audience read "Lake Havasu City Vote For Phil."
Song: "Heaven Knows" Randy said: "You know what's really so dope man, is that the reason I called you the pro last week is because a pro singer does exactly what you do every week: you look at the words of the song, you interpret the feeling of them, you sing with feeling in the verse, in the B verse, in the chorus, in the bridge... you actually are living the words. That's what a real singer does, not just sing the words. That was the bomb again!" Paula said: "You have charisma from the word go. You sing and tell a story from the very first word that comes out of your mouth. It's fun, you're so joyful when you're singing, and I love when people tell stories. And you do it." Simon said: "I don't think this is the performance we're going to look back on and say it was the best you were. Vocally however, you were as usual outstanding. Hate the outfit." Additional Info: Gwen said she was "blown away" by Melinda, adding "her voice is crazy"... Idol 6 semifinalist Sabrina Sloan was shown in the audience during Melinda's performance... Ryan commented how Melinda "always looks so surprised" following her performances. He suggested she "embrace it," causing Melinda to hug herself and smile.
Song: "Love Song" Randy said: "I'm not sure it was my perfect song choice for you, it was a little bit... you know, the song choice I didn't love. But guess what? You made the most of it. You've got that tender thing, you left it in a tender spot. I liked it. I was jumping up and down, but I liked it." Paula said: "Blake I loved what you did with the song. I thought it was so cool. I think you're taking risks and being original... making this whole competition hip and cool and contemporary. I think you're the dark horse... and I would love to see you in the finale... I really would." Simon said: "Definitely the strongest guy in the competition... that's for sure. But, where you got to be careful here is you're in the Chris Daughtry zone where you are doing your own thing. You've got to be careful though not to become too indulgent and as Randy said it's a bit boring (while Randy never actually said Blake was boring, he did agree with Simon, saying 'It was a little bit.') Having said that, for sure you are the front-running guy." Additional Info: A sign in the audience read "Blake has got the Beat"... Gwen said Blake needed to be "really careful" when he chose to beat box because it "could distract from the melody"... Ryan accused Paula of "using the F word," finale... Blake said he had "no words" following the judges' praise. Paula said, "As Gwen would say 'Don't Speak,'" and Blake proceeded to sing the song's chorus. Ryan said "Don't sing it or we'll have to pay for it. I'll hear about that from Fox."
Song: "Hey Baby" Randy said: "That was a very, very risky thing to do because it's hard for everybody to do those stylized songs -- especially the band and the singer -- but I got to tell you what. You could literally sing anything. You'd be a great recording artist. That was brilliant." Paula said: "And you're adorable. And you're hip and you're young. Just celebrate it. I love seeing you in this kind of mode." Simon said: "I think you are probably the most improved contestant we've seen in terms of the last few weeks. You know I'm seeing another side to you now that's much younger, more confident... the only problem I have with that song is it's a bit copy-catish. (Jordin commented, 'I wanted to do something fun and different though.') Well you did." Additional Info: Gwen said she was "shocked" upon learning Jordin's song choice and described her as "refreshing"... a sign in the audience read "I Love You Jordin -- Sparks Fly."
Song: "Don't Speak" Randy said: "So check it out man. That was a very interesting kind of thing. I like a little R&B style in that song... I like your flavor on it man. I'm not sure it was your best vocal but I actually really like your twist on it. Don't be afraid to jump to your R&B side. You actually can sing the runs so I enjoy when you do that. So just believe baby... that was good." Paula said: "You're good Chris... you're good. Just good." Simon said: "I think your song choice got you in trouble last week Chris and this was a much, much better choice of song. As Randy said, I quite liked the arrangement, however I wasn't crazy about the vocal. It was okay in bits... but there were other parts (more boos from the crowd)... I think you struggled in the middle of that song, I really, really do. I think you've got to pay a lot more attention to your vocals right now. I really do." Additional Info: Gwen said she's seen Chris on the show and was aware he likes to do "this vocal Olympics thing," but suggested "the song doesn't need it" and hoped he "sticks to the melody"... Ryan asked Chris how it felt to hear Simon call Blake a front-runner, and Chris replied, "Blake and I are great friends. And if he's the front-runner, great." Ryan persisted and asked Chris if he'd like to win. Chris replied unenthusiastically, "Yeah."