'American Idol's sixth season Top 6 take the stage and perform
By Christopher Rocchio, 04/25/2007
American Idol's sixth season Top 6 took the stage last night and performed songs they personally find inspirational as part of the Idol Gives Back charity event.
"We've got the same three judges, the same six finalists, but one huge difference," said Idol host Ryan Seacrest at the beginning of the broadcast. "The calls you make will not only save your favorite contestants, they will also save lives."
As usual with Idol, viewers voted for their favorite contestants via toll-free numbers and text messages following the performance show. However because it was also the first night of Idol Gives Back, sponsors donated money to charity for every vote cast, which will go towards organizations that provide relief to children and young people living in poverty in Africa and America.
News Corporation donated 10-cents for every one of the first 50 million votes cast following last night's performance episode, meaning they could contribute a total of $5 million. Last April, viewers cast more than 47.5 million votes for the results show that revealed Idol's fifth season Top 5, an all-time non-finale American Idol record. In addition to News Corp., Ford, Coca-Cola and AT&T also made corporate contributions to Idol Gives Back.
With more than the fates of the remaining six finalists at stake, viewers had double the time to vote -- four hours -- following the performance episode. In addition, each finalist was also assigned two toll-free viewer voting phone numbers instead of the usual one.
The following is Reality TV World's recap of the performance broadcast in the order which the six 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 and comments from each finalist as to why they chose the inspirational song they picked.
Wednesday night at 8PM ET, Fox will air a special two-hour live results show featuring numerous artists and celebrities, including Celine Dion, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Gwen Stefani, Earth, Wind & Fire, Il Divo, Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, Josh Groban with the African Children's Choir, Jack Black, Helen Mirren, Rascal Flatts, Quincy Jones, Carrie Underwood, Annie Lennox, and many more. It will feature performances from both the Idol stage as well as at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, where comedian Ellen DeGeneres will serve as host.
In addition, U2 frontman Bono is scheduled to meet with the Top 6 to talk about the work of ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History and how the Idol audience can contribute to the cause. The Top 6 will also perform "American Prayer," a song written by Bono and Dave Stewart about the AIDS emergency in Africa. At the conclusion of Wednesday's results show, Idol 6's Top 5 will be revealed.
Song: "Change the World" by Eric Clapton Chris said: "To me, it sort of defines what the show is all about this week. It's about how one person has the will to change someone's life. So just imagine what millions could do." Randy said: "Yo Chris! You know what's interesting right now man? This is where I really love the show -- this time of the season -- because I'm here to see who's in it to really win it. And tonight dog, for the first time in a long time for me, dude you were in it to win it. That was great dude! That was really good. Fly jacket too. That's a fly jacket." Paula said: "To start it off you did fantastic. It was a great song choice. It was really well done, I'm really proud of you to see your journey from the beginning to where you are now. It's really exciting." Simon said: "I know what you mean Randy. It kind of feels like the competition starts properly tonight. This reminded me of the very first time we saw you. We said at the time, 'This guy's got potential.' It was a good vocal. It had much more soul in it, it was kind of more sexy performance. I think you did really well." Additional Info: Chris began his performance sitting on a stool before moving around the stage towards the end... Former Idol 6 finalist Brendan Rogers could be seen clapping in the audience following Chris' performance... Ryan said, "That is a nice start to the show this evening. You've got to be feeling good."
Song: "There Will Come a Day" by Faith Hill Melinda said: "I chose this song because it not only speaks about the problems that exist in our country and even our world today, but it also talks about the hope for a better tomorrow, and I think that's what tonight's all about." Randy said: "Melinda, so every week I see you now, every week I see you up there I keep saying you're our resident pro because you're just so dope. You've got it all together every performance. It's just... I don't even know what to say anymore. It's just great. You have arrived... Melinda is here!" Paula said: "It must feel great, week after week, getting the praise and love and support and the great critiques because Melinda... there's no one like you. You are just... you're magical. You really are. You're magical." Simon said: "You're not going to look surprised are you? Promise? What I love about that performance was it wasn't a copy-cat performance. You took a song, you absolutely made me believe you recorded it originally. The second half of the song was incredible. I mean, that really was a vocal master class." Additional Info:The Apprentice: Los Angeles star Ivanka Trump could be seen in the audience during Melinda's performance... a sign in the audience read, "Cincinnati (two hearts were drawn) Melinda Doolitte"... Following the judges' comments, Ryan reminded Melinda, "Don't look surprised, don't look surprised."... Instead of wearing his traditional dark-colored T-shirt, Simon was sporting a white, button-down, collared shirt. Ryan asked, "Simon where's your button?" as his top few buttons were undone. Simon warned, "Stop looking Ryan." But the heckling continued, as Ryan asked the audience, "Anyone seen a button?" Randy also got in on it, adding, "He lost it."
Song: "Imagine" by John Lennon Blake said: "I'm very honored to be singing John Lennon's "Imagine." The song's about coming together as one and an ideal world. And we might not be able to accomplish that, but tonight, we can start by making it a better place." Randy said: "Great choice of song dude. An amazing, amazing song. On the performance side dude it was just kind of alright for me though dog. I was wanting you to do a little bit more with it, but it was just okay for me. I don't know. (loud boos for Randy from the studio audience) Just keeping it real!" Paula said: "I was thinking that at the beginning, then I was being reminded of how beautiful and simple that song is. And it's the first real sensitive, emotional [performance] from you Blake I've seen and I think that goes a long way. I really enjoyed it." Simon said: "Blake this is a tricky one because you've chosen one of the big songs of all time, so there's always going to be a comparison to it. And it's not a song you can belt out, so I kind of know where Paula's coming from. You know, it felt sincere, you sang it... the only problem with it was it didn't really go anywhere. It was a little bit like that throughout (making a flat gesture with his hands). But I think the most important part probably was the fact that you sang it with sincerity, so good." Additional Info: Blake performed after Melinda for a second week in a row... Blake was the first to answer a fan's question this week, and he said the "biggest sacrifice" he's made by participating in Idol is "missing my family and home, my friends." But he added, "Luckily I have their support being here."
Song: "I Believe" by American Idol 3 champ Fantasia Barrino Lakisha said: "I chose this song because it inspired me and I just believe that if we all unite together we can make a difference. There are a lot of people who are suffering and struggling, and it's time to make a change." Randy said: "Lakisha, that was another great song choice for you. It had a couple little pitch problems for me. I don't think it was your best performance, but I did like it though (boos from the audience). It wasn't your best, but I did like it. It's a very hard song to sing after Fantasia... I must admit." Paula said: "Lakisha, there's no doubt about it, you are a powerhouse vocalist (cheers from the audience). You've taken on a monster... we say don't attempt [Whitney Houston], don't attempt [Donna Summers], don't attempt Chaka Khan, don't attempt [Mariah Carey], [Celine Dion]. Even though Fantasia's not been... she hasn't been around a long time, but she is so undeniably and wonderfully and magnificently unique, I just have a hard time getting past Fantasia. (Randy interjected, 'Yeah, you can only hear her singing that.') It doesn't take away from your vocals (boos for Paula from the audience). Simon said: "Thanks for summing that up so briefly Paula (this brought chuckles from the audience). Look, I kind of think I know what Paula was trying to say, which was that she preferred the Fantasia version. That's what you were trying to say (boos). You were... you were. It was very emotional. Again, I'm having an issue here Lakisha with the shouting, whereas before, I thought that you were... (boos from the audience) Please shut-up! (laughs from the audience, then more boos)." Additional Info: A sign in the audience read, "Texas (heart) Lakisha" and was written on an image of the state's flag... Following her performance, Ryan reminded Simon that Lakisha "picked [the song] because it inspired her."
Song: "The Change" by Garth Brooks Phil said: "[The song] had a profound impact on my life. It was released after the Oklahoma City bombings to commemorate the amazing heroism that emerged in this tragedy. And tonight, each of us are being given the opportunity to become heroes if we'll only get involved and take advantage of this amazing opportunity." Randy said: "You know what I'm happy about for you dog? What I'm really, really happy about right about now is that since last week -- country week -- you really came back, showed who you were, did your thing. You're back again this week with another strong performance on a very nice vocal on a very great song. Congratulations dog." Paula said: "I feel like you've really found your comfort. This was fantastic. This was your best." Simon said: "Phil, you know, I really like you. I'm glad that you had a good week last week and you've come back with a spring in your step, confidence. I thought it was a good choice of song. My only thing I would advise you on is that last week, we heard more of a kind of a country-tone in your voice, which I think suits your voice much, much more than the way you sang it tonight. And I'm going to tell you, if you can connect now with the two elements, you actually could do very well in this show because I think people like you." Additional Info: Phil also answered a fan's questions, and revealed what he misses most about home are "his two little babies," who had been in Los Angeles during previous weeks of the competition but were currently in Oklahoma with their grandparents. "Even though it's hard being away from them, we know in the long run it will all be worth it," said Phil. "This is going to make for a better life for them." Ryan commented, "Plus daddy's famous... daddy's becoming famous."... Phil's wife could be seen beaming in the audience following his performance... As Ryan read the numbers for viewers to call to vote for Phil, the finalist yelled, "Everybody vote... everybody vote."
Song: "You'll Never Walk Alone" by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II for their 1945 musical Carousel Jordin said: "I chose this song because it has a great message of hope. There's just been so much going on in our country and around the world, and I really hope that this message is comforting to people so they know that no matter what they're going through, they're not by themselves." Randy said: "You know something? I keep saying it every week, but it's so true this week... I think that's one of the best vocals by any contestant ever on this show ever in six seasons, and it's sung (Randy had to raise his voice to talk over the screaming audience) by someone who's 17-years-old! That was the hottest tonight America! Right there!" Paula said: "Jordin, you sure picked an amazing song to close the night. It's one of those songs that's very haunting and it swells, and only someone who has great vocals can do it. You did a lovely job. You're glorious." Simon said: "Well... unlike Randy, I thought you were fantastic (everybody laughed). Really. I've got to tell you, that song is about 60-years-old, I think you'd have a hit record with that (Randy and Paula said, 'Yeah' in agreement). Brilliant." Additional Info: A sign in the audience read, "Spark It Up for Jordin"... Ryan described Jordin as "the show-stopper"... Following Jordin's performance, Ryan removed his tie and gave it to her so she could dry her eyes. He commented, "I saw the tears coming."