'American Idol's sixth season Top 11 take the stage and perform live
By Christopher Rocchio, 03/21/2007
The Top 11 finalists on the sixth season of American Idol performed live last night -- celebrating the music of the British Invasion -- an influx of rock and roll, beat and pop performers from the United Kingdom who became popular in the United States during the mid-1960s.
The five remaining male finalists were mentored by Peter Noone, frontman for the 1960s rock group Herman's Hermits. The six remaining female finalists were mentored by Lulu, a Scottish singer, songwriter, actress, model, and television personality. Some finalists continued to shine while others tried a new image, but at least everybody remembered their lyrics.
The following is Reality TV World's recap of the performance broadcast in the order which the 11 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.
Song: "Tell Him" Randy said: "You hear this from us all the time, it's all about song choice. That was the perfect song for you. And America, Haley's back in the competition... that's your best performance right there. That has the 'Yo!' factor all over it." Paula said: "Haley, you have this girlish quality about you. This was the perfect song for you and the flirtatious side of you was great. You were adorable tonight, you performed it, good for you." Simon said: "You naughty little thing... different side to you Haley. It was fun, young, a bit shrieky in the middle... little bit, little bit. I think people are going to be talking about a lot more than your singing tonight." Additional Info: Haley said she hoped "Tell Him" would show she's "more aggressive" and "not so sweet"... After Simon commented about Haley's look, Idol host Ryan Seacrest told him, "I think based on some of the glares you gave her you're in trouble with your girlfriend when she gets back in town.".... Haley said the only way she was able to navigate the stairs while wearing heels was "prayer."
Song: "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying." Randy said: "I'm really excited about the show tonight because that was another great performance. You know what was really cool about that? It showed a really different side to you. When you sing soft and you don't push it, every note was in tune, it was beautiful. I think that was one of your best vocals yet dog." Paula said: "It's all about being smart with your choices, and you're like playing this game to win it. And I'm telling you, the arrangement, the acoustic... the whole thing was very sexy and charming and right on." Simon said: "Chris, I think that was your best performance so far. And I'll tell you why, your control of the song was excellent. Most importantly, you didn't make the song sound old-fashioned. You did your own slant -- and I don't know the song -- little bit nasally, which you've got to watch. But it was a very, very good performance." Additional Info: Prior to the performance Ryan mingled in the crowd and the camera caught Idol executive producer and So You Think You Can Dance judge Nigel Lythgoe sitting in the live studio audience.... Chris said he wanted to "connect more" as opposed to "just jumping around all the time."
Song: "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me." Randy said: "It was a great song choice... I think it wasn't my best performance from you for me. It was a little pitchy for me, and I feel like it's hard when people sing a lot of up tempo songs -- and you're a brilliant up tempo singer -- when you get to ballads it's harder because each note is longer and has the same tune. So you can't kind of chop it up and make it rhythmical... so it was a little pitchy for me." Paula said: "Okay, great news first because that's the way it is, I love what you're wearing because it mixes contemporary and sex appeal (commented Simon, 'Oh that will cheer her up.'). I think that you did pick the right song, minus a little bit of some notes that fell off. You're a great singer, and the only thing I want you to do is start going back to having that fun. I feel the spirit of you having fun might be drifting a little bit." Simon said: "Stephanie how do you think you did? (She answered, 'I think I did well.') I think you are losing your edge. It was a bit night-clubby... I think you're losing your soul. It was a very good... it was a cabaret performance, that was the problem. And I don't think that is necessarily you Steph. You are becoming far too old for yourself at the moment and I miss that passion from you, that rawness. So I wasn't crazy about it to be honest with you." Additional Info: Stephanie was the first finalist to answer a fan's question during this week's broadcast and revealed the hardest part of getting ready for the show is "picking a song"... Stephanie said she's noticed all the finalists are "more focused" backstage since the Top 10 finalists get to tour with Idol once the season is over... Randy also suggested Stephanie "just have fun," even with a ballad.
Song: "Time of the Season" Randy said: "Check it out baby check it out. Blake you know what man, I'm a huge Blake fan since day one. This week, you put together a very cool, edgy, massive 'Yo!' factor version of that song, that's like 40 - 45 years old. You made the song really current, that is really hard to do, so much props to you... that was brilliant baby, brilliant!" Paula said: "This season I think is for Blake, I really do. I think that he really, really raised the bar and I felt like I was at a concert... and I think you cold release that, put that on your record." Simon said: "A million times better than last week. I think this week you chose the right song and you found a way without messing with the melody but making the song contemporary. So we get the melody intact, you put your own slant on it. Again it sounded very contemporary, and I think strongest performance so far." Additional Info: True to form, Blake beat-boxed during the middle of the performance... Blake said he "puts as much energy and passion" into each song as he can... Ryan was dancing and singing with Blake following the performance, and even attempted beat-boxing before commenting, "I spit when I do it."
Song: "Diamonds are Forever" Randy said: "'Diamonds are Forever' is from a James Bond film... I think it was a good choice. I don't know if it was my favorite performance, but at the end you showed that big old voice. It's just, I don't know... I didn't feel enough Lakisha in it, you know what I mean? It was alright for me, it just wasn't like I'm expecting every week for you to blow us out... put more Lakisha in the song." Paula said: "I don't think you picked the wrong song, I think you made the right choice, picked the right song... and you're a very, very smart girl. Any time you're going to sing about diamonds, they're going to give you the real diamonds to wear. How many millions are you wearing? (Lakisha answered, 'A million.' Simon commented, 'No she's not.') Simon said: "Lakisha, we know that you are a fantastic singer. However, this was Lakisha in 50 years time in my opinion. I thought everything from the hair, to the dress, to the mannerisms, to the choice of song... it was like seeing you really in 50 years time. It wasn't my favorite performance. It really wasn't. (This brought boos from the crowd) I'm sorry... sorry for having an opinion. It's everything combined together. It's too old... too old-fashioned." Additional Info: Lakisha was deciding between performing "Diamond are Forever" or "You're My World" up until the last minute... Lulu thought Lakisha should perform "You're My World" because it would be "much more soulful for her" and "she could make it her own"... Ryan asked Lakisha if she was surprised with the feedback, and she answered, "You take the good, the bad with the ugly." Ryan said, "And I know which is which over there, trust me."... Ryan then asked Simon why he didn't like Lakisha's dress. Simon answered, "Your subject." Not wanting to have a repeat of last week, Ryan said, "Not tonight."
Song: "Tobacco Road" Randy said: "You had a good time up there didn't you dog? It was a pretty good performance for me, there was a couple pitchy spots. But in the end, I always like your upper register because it's really strong and you've got all those surges and the falsetto and stuff. So you know it was pretty good for me actually." Paula said: "It was a real good choice of song. I do fell like there were some parts that were pitchy, but I think the emotion of the song, you were right there having fun. And I like hearing the various ranges of your voice and how you played it off. I thought you actually had a good performance." Simon said: "I'm going to be honest... I wasn't crazy about it. I thought it was kind of a third division bar band performance. I actually didn't find it believable because I don't hear any grit in your voice, and I think you need grit in your voice to be able to pull a song like that off. I think you've got a problem right now because I don't know what advice to give you. I think you're being out sung by a lot of the singers... and that had to be believable and it wasn't believable and you may have a problem tomorrow." Additional Info: On Phil's performance, Noone commented, "I've never heard it sung as good as that"... Phil was in the bottom three last week, and he said it "put more tension" on him, and hoped the performance was good enough to get him into the Top 10.
Song: "I Who Have Nothing" Randy said: "That was a very tall order for you. You're 17, and I keep saying every week I'm really impressed with you at 17. You picked this song that was very difficult, very controlled, great, great performance.. one of the best performances I think we're going to see tonight." Paula said: "Each week we learn just how great your range is becoming. We always say '17-years-old, 17-years-old'... it doesn't matter. A good singer is a good singer, and you're also a wonderful performer." Simon said: "You sang it beautifully, but I feel like jumping off a bridge. It was so gloomy... I just want the sun to shine or something. I'm glad you're smiling after that because it was a bit depressing. But you did sing it beautifully." Additional Info: Jordin also answered a fan question, and said "I'm So Excited" is the song that describes her most because she says the phrase "all the time"... Lulu thought Jordin had a "big chance of making it to the finale"... a fan in the audience held a sign that read, "Jordin Sparks Sparkles"... Jordin said she "had to get in some sort of zone" to perform the song.
Song: "You Really Got Me" Randy said: "Yo man, I got to tell you that you shocked me tonight. Usually you're kind of reserved, kind of like just lively, cool, very cool... you came out of your shell tonight. That was your best performance to date. I'm in shock Paula... the new Sanjaya!" Paula said: "That's what we've been waiting for. You know what? Go for it, go for it... you went for it. It was a lot of fun to see you like this, I hope you had fun up there." Simon said: "I think the little girl's face says it all." Simon was referring to a young girl sitting in the audience who was crying throughout Sanjaya's performance. Commented Ryan, "I actually think she liked him." Ryan then introduced the young girl, Ashley, to Sanjaya, and the two embraced. Additional Info: Like Lakisha, Sanjaya was also deciding between two songs, "You Really Got Me" and "I'm Into Something Good." Noone suggested he go with "You Really Got Me" and "really get into it" ... Sanjaya commented, "I don't think that I'm the best singer in the competition."
Song: "Paint it Black" Randy said: "So you're our resident rocker this season right? I love that. I love the whole kind of edge vibe. I don't know if it was my favorite vocal... it was just alright for me. It was a little pitchy in spots." Paula said: "First of all, I think it was miles better than last week. Second of all, I think that this is really what you have fun doing. And I think you're going to have even more fun if you let more lose and just do your own thing. And honestly, you picked Simon's favorite song." (Simon fake laughed at Paula's joke.) Simon said: "Gina there were moments of complete torture in that vocal to be honest with you. It was so off melody at moments, it was just horrible. It was... it was just not very good. That for me was style over content Gina, and honestly, if you want to do well in this competition you're going to have to sing a heck of a lot better than that. Vocally, not good enough sweetheart. You've got to sing well, and that's what this competition should be about." Additional Info: Gina also answered a fan question, and revealed being on Idol has made her "stronger" as a person... During her performance, Gina kicked over her microphone stand... Gina commented the contestants "try not to" pay attention to what the media and blogs say about them... Gina said she "appreciates" everything Simon says... Paula advised Gina to "work on her vocals" and "not abandon" who she is.
Song: "She's Not There" Randy said: "Everybody's performing tonight man, I like it. You coming out of the crowd and stuff dude... it's like a concert in here dog! It started off a little bit rough because you were a little ahead of the beat because you were probably walking... but you wound-up good. It's a great song for you actually, I thought you ended it really strong. It started a little rough for me." Paula said: "First of all I think you're dressing much nicer. I like the fact you're working the audience, but feel free to be more personable with the audience." Simon said: "I actually don't think you had a problem with the audience Chris. I think you did your thing. I thought it was fun. It wasn't the best vocal we've heard tonight, but it was a good choice of song for you. You showed personality, and I think you did a lot better than last week." Additional Info: Chris joked with Noone that he considered performing "I'm Henery the Eighth, I Am" because his father used to sing it to him as a child... Chris said he is a "huge, huge" British Invasion fan... In the audience, Chris' family and friends held a sign that read "Bringing Chubby Back"... While Ryan told home viewers what number to call to vote, Chris kept shouting "Fro Patro!"
Song: "As Long as He Needs Me" Randy said: "I think we can say tonight, we probably saved the best vocal for last. It was another stunning performance. I love the way that you take your time, you listen to every work, you have great relative pitch... I mean dude, you are a pro up there." Paula said: "You are in your own league my dear. You tell a story with the song, and there is a beginning, middle and end, and its not forced. It just is, and it's beautiful." Simon said: "Melinda, I have to ask you a question. Are you really as nice as you seem? (Melinda answered, 'I hope so.') I thought when it started, it was a very boring song. You made the second part of the song absolutely sensational with an impeccable vocal. And you really are that nice..." Additional Info: Melinda commented this is the "first week that a song has been this much out of my comfort zone"... Ashley, the little girl who cried during Sanjaya's performance, could also be seen crying during Melinda's performance... Melinda's fans held a sign that read "Melinda Do Lots"... Ryan asked Melinda if viewers see the real her, and she answered, "This is it... I wish I had more for you."
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