'American Idol's sixth season Top 7 take the stage and perform live
By Christopher Rocchio, 04/18/2007
American Idol's sixth season Top 7 performed live last night and were mentored by Martina McBride while performing country songs.
Having tackled pop songs, American classics and Latin beats in the last few weeks, the remaining finalists dove head-first into a genre that has proven successful for numerous former Idol favorites, including Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler and Josh Gracin. The guys' performances were hit or miss, while two of the three girls sparkled brighter than stars on a clear Texas night.
The following is Reality TV World's recap of the performance broadcast in the order which the seven finalists sang. Also included are comments from each of the three judges -- Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Cowell -- as well as additional information about each performance.
Wednesday night at 9PM ET, one of the finalists will be eliminated from the reality competition series during Idol 6's second one-hour live results show. Martina will also perform her Top-5 single "Anyway" from her new CD "Waking Up Laughing."
Song: "Where the Blacktop Ends" Randy said: "Who would have thought... You know what Phil? Dude from an accomplished producer, you're going to have a career in country music. That was hot baby! That was good. That was really good. I didn't even know? Now I know Phil Stacey!" Paula said: "It does seem that this is the genre you feel most comfortable in. It's the first... I can't even critique it by saying, 'Well when it swells into the chorus...'" You sound good from the beginning to the middle to the very end." Simon said: "Well it's only taken 10 weeks Phil. But listen, I have to agree with what the guys said. This is the only time that I've heard you in a long, long time where I thought you chose a good song, I thought the style of music suited you and even more surprisingly, we actually saw some personality." Additional Info: Phil said he picked the song because it reminded him of growing-up in Kansas "and really just getting out and playing in the dirt. Being a country boy"... At first, Martina thought Phil sounded " a little stiff," but towards the end "he did a great soulful lick" and she wanted to see more of that in the song... Phil's family held a sign that simply read "Phil"... Idol host Ryan Seacrest asked Phil if he was surprised by that feedback, to which he replied, "Tonight, I think they gave me that feedback because I just came out and had a good time. It was different. This is my genre..." Simon jumped in and commented, "I don't know if it's going to be enough to save you Phil but you definitely chose the right kind of song. This suited you."
Song: "Broken Wing" Randy said: "Probably one of the most difficult songs to sing because when the original was done, it was definitely sung right. But guess what man at 17 -- I keep saying at 17 because you just blow me away every week being so young -- I like the way you started it slow and took your time... Dude that was the bomb man. Another great performance." Paula said: "You look gorgeous tonight. I love you too and I think you did a fantastic job... the way you just stood there and how you built the song and how you did tell a story. It was all over your facial expressions. It was gorgeous. You did a great job." Simon said: "This is the first time since we have met where I actually believe -- based on that performance -- you could winAmerican Idol." (The crowd erupts with cheers) Additional Info: Martina originally recorded "Broken Wing," and said she "can only imagine" what it must be like to sing a song in-front of an artist that recorded it... Jordin said she was "scared," but Martina thought it was "awesome" and suggested Jordin just "plant her feet strong and sing it"... A sign in the audience read "Jordan Sparkles," incorrectly spelling Jordin's first name... Ryan told Jordin that Simon's comments must have given her chills, and she proceeded to shiver... Ryan also told Jordin, "I think you'll be alright this week."
Song: "Let's Give 'em Something to Talk About" Randy said: "You know the dog always keeps it real man. That was really just like karaoke dude. (Randy gets pelted with boos) Vocally it really wasn't good at all, it was just very bland and boring for me. Just to be honest. Come on... what are we doing up here? Paula what are we doing up here?" Paula said: "Well, we're watching somebody who loves adversity. You thrive on it don't you? You love it. You're having fun. You're a loveable guy Sanjaya... you are." Simon said: "Utterly horrendous. (The boo-birds come calling again, this time for Simon) I'm being serious... I'm being serious... honestly it was. It was as bad as anything we see at the beginning of American Idol. (At this point, Ryan appears on-stage and says, 'Simon, Simon, Simon... Even if it wasn't his best performance, you never liked this guy, so was it the song or you just don't like Sanjaya?') Excuse me?! Who rattled your cage? Oh shut-up Ryan... I know this has been funny for a while. But based on the fact we're supposed to be finding an American Idol, it was hideous. Ridiculous choice of song." Additional Info: Sanjaya was the first to answer a fan's question this week, and he revealed if he could make one of the judges sing a song he'd have Simon sing "Shiny Happy People" so "he could show his true personality"... Sanjaya said he chose the song he did because he "often gives a lot of people something to talk about" and he "thought it would be fun to actually say that"... Martina thought she noticed Sanjaya was singing "stronger," which made him sound "more confident"... Ryan asked Randy if Simon would ever really like Sanjaya --even if he "nailed it" -- and before Randy could answer Simon replied, "I liked him last week big mouth!"... While Randy reiterated he thought the singing was bad, he complimented Sanjaya for the scarf on his head... Prior to Sanjaya's performance, Idol 4 finalist Constantine Maroulis was seen in the audience.
Song: "Jesus Take the Wheel" Randy said: "Lakisha, Lakisha, Lakisha... so check it out... I mean (Randy kept getting cut-off by screams and cheers from the live studio audience) Wow. For me, this had some pitch problems in the beginning. It wasn't my favorite vocal of yours. I'm not sure... (Boos) I think that you could have done more with it and made it more in your wheelhouse of being like a Gospel kind of girl rather than just kind of singing it straight. So it wasn't my favorite." Paula said: "Coming from where we're sitting, I'm going to have to agree with what Randy said as far as... (Boos for Paula!?!) I believe this is the first time with the swell of the band and everything, you may have heard differently, and I think that a lot of your vocals were powered and it sounded a little bit like you were shouting. But you know what? So what. You're still brilliant." Simon said: "It's like eating a hamburger for breakfast. It doesn't go together. And I don't think you and that song went well together at all. And I think it was almost like half-way through, you thought, 'I'm going to give it the Lakisha treatment.' And the song couldn't hold that. So it actually ended up like you were shouting at us. It didn't feel that it had a natural song to it. (The trifecta... Simon gets booed) I'm right! You're in the back you can't hear! And I'm going to tell you Lakisha: you absolutely blew us away eight or nine weeks ago... okay. You were the one to beat. And you've got to now choose the right kind of songs because that was the wrong choice of song for you. Sorry." Additional Info: "Jesus Take the Wheel" was originally recorded by Idol 5 champ Carrie Underwood... Lakisha said she chose the song because "a lot of things that I've been through in my life. Being a single parent and just struggling. And sometimes you just gotta say, 'Oh Jesus.'"... Martina noticed Lakisha was "connected" to the lyrics.. Martina also said Lakisha's performance left her feeling "verklempt."
Song: "Mayberry" Randy said: "So check it out dog... you know what is funny about this? I was wondering how you were gonna do country week because it's not that the songs... actually what Martina said is absolutely, 100% correct. You sang it okay. It was cool; you sang it a little nasally and there were a couple of pitch things but I just didn't feel any sense of connection, any emotion from you. You can sing... it just didn't quite hit me. I felt lost during the song. (Simon commented he "didn't understand" what Randy was saying) I felt no emotion from him... he sang it okay but I felt no emotion. No connection with the song." Paula said: "I kind of understand what you're saying. The joy and the love that you have on stage didn't come through. As a performer... (to Simon) You would know if you were a performer." Simon said: "Oh Paula, Paula. I think sometimes this audience and me are hearing different things. I mean they gave you a standing ovation. What I heard was a very nondescript, nasally, tinny vocal which had no impact on me at all. (Boos) I thought it was completely and utterly insignificant... the whole thing." Additional Info: Chris thought people would be "surprised how comfortable" he is with country music, but reminded viewers he is from Virginia and was raised in North Carolina, so he does have some "country roots"... Martina said she "questioned" Chris's song choice, but thought he was "fantastic" and added he could "definitely be a country singer because he's versatile"... Following Simon's comments, Chris remarked, "Nasally is a form of singing. I don't know if you knew that." Simon replied, "So it was intentional?"... Chris said his "heart and prayers" go out to Virginia Tech because he has a lot of friends over there.
Song: "Trouble is a Woman" Randy said: "So all I can say about that is it's another solid performance from our resident pro Ms. Melinda Doolittle." Paula said: "Once again, a girl who knows how to pick the right song and sing her heart out and perform like there's no tomorrow. Way to go." Simon said: "Melinda, I'm about to compliment you and I'm going to ask you to lose the surprise... It was fantastic. It was a great choice of song. I think you look much better than last week. I saw a little bit of kind of Tina Turner going on there as well. There was an attitude going back to your whole southern thing. But you have to lose this, 'Well I'm a great singer.'" Additional Info: A sign in the audience read "Do It Doolittle"... Melinda also answered a fan's question, and recounted an incident where she was frightened by an enthusiastic fan... Melinda thought "Trouble is a Woman" tells a "great story" and is also a "little sassy"... Martina had never heard the song before, but she was "completely glued" to Melinda performing it and described it as a "perfect song choice."
Song: "When the Stars Go Blue" Randy said: "I've got a couple things for you dog. You know what I love about you man? I love your sense of style. That's a nice jumper, I love the vest. I also loved that you picked a song, and you also picked the right song for yourself. And also the arrangement suited you, so I love that you know who you are." Paula said: "You kind of have the whole package. You picked the right song, you have your little isms with your little choreography and different quirky things. It's always fun to watch you and you do pick the right songs, and this was a great song for you." Simon said: "It wasn't a jumping out of my chair performance... I thought it was okay. I'm with Randy in so much as maybe it was a wise thing not to go down a route that didn't suit you." Additional Info: "When the Stars Go Blue" is a Tim McGraw song, and Martina said she had recently spoken to McGraw and he hoped somebody was going to perform it on Idol... Blake hoped to "do it justice"... Blake also felt "pressure" because country's not his genre... Martina noticed Blake was a "little nervous" and added he "has a really interesting style"... Following Blake's performance, Simon offered "best wishes and support" to the families involved in the Virginia Tech shootings and said it was a "tricky week" for the contestants because of it.