'American Idol's sixth season Top 9 take the stage and perform live
By Christopher Rocchio, 04/04/2007
The Top 9 finalists on American Idol's sixth season performed live last night and were mentored by Tony Bennett while celebrating music considered to be American classics.
The 80-year-old Bennett has won 15 Grammy awards as well as had hits in six different decades, so who better to provide some words of wisdom to the remaining Idol finalists. While some impressed with their vocals -- another continued to provide the entertainment factor -- and judge Simon Cowell had a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde mentality all night with his comments.
The following is Reality TV World's recap of the performance broadcast in the order which the nine 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 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 Bennett.
Song: "Mac the Knife" Randy said: "Yo Blake... that was a very good way to start off the evening. You know it's really interesting with you because you've got that whole kind of cool-jazz vibe and this was the perfect song for you to pick. It had a couple pitch problems however, but I always wait to see what you're going to do because this is kind of your thing... you're the funky, jazzy, cool kind of guy. So I liked it dude... I liked it." Paula said: "Well tonight you personified pizzazz... you're a hip cat! You were great. It was a great way to start the show, and fun as usual. You're just cool." Simon said: "Good choice of song. You performed it well. I give you a seven out of 10, but I give the band an eight out of 10 though. The band played a big part in that." Additional Info: Tony thought Blake needed to "get into the meaning of the song," explaining it's "pre-rap" and a "soft gangster"... Blake told Idol host Ryan Seacrest that it was harder dealing with the lyrics then going first because, "Going first is fun. I like getting it out of the way."
One week after his mohawk, Sanjaya Malakar stuck with the 80's and channelled Miami Vice's Sonny Crockett during Tuesday night's American Idol Top 9 finalists performance show (Photo credit Michael Becker/FOX)
Song: "Night and Day" Randy said: "It was an interesting choice for you. I liked your little clip there with Tony... you sang it good. The big notes were cool for you but I just didn't feel any real connection, any passion. I don't know man, it just didn't really hit me (the studio audience boos). I know how you feel, I was listening to it too (Simon thought that comment by Randy was 'rude'). I kind of felt it was just disconnected a little bit for me... I don't know." Paula said: "The good news is you're reminiscent of a young Frank Sinatra. (Simon interjects a startled, 'What?') I think so... but the criticism is I still need you to just have more joy and warm those vocals up so that they don't just become warm and swell in the chorus. I need to have that personality come through." Simon said: "Which Frank Sinatra are you referring to? Seriously. I think you had all the joy of somebody singing in a funeral parlor. Exactly what came to mind. It was completely and utterly gloomy, and slightly dark I thought. There was just no life in this performance. Really dark..." Additional Info: Prior to Phil's performance, Ryan said more stars had joined the Idol Give Back special, including Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, Helena Bonham Carter, Forest Whitaker, Pink, Gwen Stefani, Rowan "Mr. Bean" Atkinson, Daniel Radcliffe as well as original Idol winner Kelly Clarkson, who is scheduled to perform... Phil called Tony his "hero"... Tony suggested Phil put "a little beat behind the tune," and called him "one of the better singers he's heard in a long time."... Phil said he appreciated Randy's comments and said he "was trying to focus on [his] wife" while signing the song.
Song: "I've Got Rhythm" Randy said: "Melinda, Melinda, Melinda! Do you know what I love? And this is the God's honest truth. You come out here every week and you give everyone here a lesson in singing. You interpret the lyrics, sing with the feeling that the lyric portrays... this is how you do it right here America!" Paula said: "You're like a master class for everyone else to watch. You have a beginning, middle and end. It was a flawless performance. You've got rhythm, you've got CDs, you've got No. 1, you've got concert halls..." Simon said: "Every song has a beginning, middle and an end. I didn't like the first part of the song. I thought it was a bit cabaret. I like the last part of the song. I thought the last part... (Simon's voice is drowned out by boos from the studio audience) Oh shut up! (the boos turn to laughs) I thought the second half of the song was great. It was personality, fun. But I don't think we're ever going to be able to criticize you... this is a problem." Additional Info: Tony thought Melinda has a "big chance in the business"... Melinda thought "it's amazing" for somebody of Tony's caliber to "believe in her"... Ryan asked Simon why it's a problem the judges can't criticize Melinda. Simon answered, "Because we like being mean to people occasionally." Ryan commented, "You know Simon you can't just be mean for the sake of being mean." Simon answered, "Yes I can."
Song: "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" Randy said: "You came out there with a vengeance. I think this is one of your best performances of the whole season. That was hot! You know how to interject your own style into an old standard... that was very cool and young and hip." Paula said: "That's true artistic integrity. Because you did keep yourself and didn't compromise and you made it so hip and so cool. I really think this was your best performance, bar none." Simon said: "I thought that was very good actually Chris. I thought it was very believable and I actually agree with what Randy and Paula said. You made it kind of hip... you worked it out very, very well actually. Probably one of the strongest tonight I would say." Additional Info: Chris was the first to answer a fan's question this week, and said when choosing a song he "first and foremost does something [he's] comfortable with and then see if it's something the audience would like and then ultimately what the judge's like"... Prior to practice, Chris said he had never sang this song before, and forget several of the lines while performing for Tony... Once Chris "really memorized the song," Tony said he would "have a lot of fun with it"... Ryan said Simon is "so uncomfortable being nice," and the cameras cut to Simon with a scowl on his face... A sign in the audience read, "Chri$ is rich with R&B."
Song: "On a Clear Day" Randy said: "I know we've got nine people left in the competition. What I'm loving right now is we've got some heat up here. There's some fire going on here. Jordin listen, that was the bomb again. Very controlled. I mean you're like a pro and you're 17 and I'm like, 'What!?!' Yo she's hot America! (After this comment their was some feedback from a microphone, causing both Paula and Randy to go 'Whoa') That's that heat man... that's that heat." Paula said: "Watch out. Jordin, you are... a lot of people need to know this, getting to know you a little bit off-stage, you really are this magnet of joy. And God you exude it when you walk on stage. You're hip, you're cool. You took a song... I'm just so frigging proud of you I don't know what to say. You're going to sail through to the next round." Simon said: "Well magnet of joy... I thought you sang it very well but I don't think you achieved what Chris did before you, which is to make the song young and current. I just think you sang very well, but it was very old-fashioned, traditional (boos from the audience as well as Randy and Paula). I didn't quite like it as much as Squiggly and Diddly here (referring to Randy and Paula)." Additional Info: Tony thought Jordin is "terrific," and added "she sang very much in tune, which is rare these days"... Ryan said it was like the judges were watching "two different shows."
Song: "Smile" Randy said: "That was a very nice controlled performance from the rocker girl. I actually kind of liked that." Paula said: "That was a flawless performance. Understated, beautiful and sentimental." Simon said: "I can't rave about the vocals. Sorry Gina, I can't because two girls came on before you and completely out sang you." Additional Info: Tony thought the song Gina performed provided "hope in your darkest moment" and added it was "beautiful" the way Gina sang it.
Song: "Cheek to Cheek" Randy said: "Sanjaya you know what? I can't even comment on the vocals anymore but what I like about you now is you've turned into a great entertainer. You've got the different hairdos every week, you're dancing with Paula... he's an entertainer now. Look at him Paula." Paula said: "He is an entertainer. I get why people love you. You're charming. You're charming. Your vocals were a little off at the beginning, but I understand what Tony said. You've got this charm about you. I love the suit. I don't know if it was Dancing with the Stars or American Idol, but thank you for the dance." Simon said: "Let's try a different tactic this week... Incredible!" Additional Info: Ryan said "two legends collide" when Tony met Sanjaya... Tony called Sanjaya "interesting"... Sanjaya said his goal this week was to "make America see [he] can sing"... Tony noticed Sanjaya "dares to be different"... Throughout his performance, Sanjaya mingled with the crowd and even danced with Paula for a bit... Ryan told Sanjaya he "does a great job staying under the radar"... A sign in the audience said "Sanjaya is my Papaya"... As Ryan read Sanjaya's phone number, Sanjaya yelled, "Lucky number seven!"
Haley Scarnato continues her Katharine McPhee-like makeover on Tuesday night's American Idol Top 9 finalists performance show (Photo credit Michael Becker/FOX)
Song: "Ain't Misbehaving" Randy said: "I thought this might be a good week for you because this fits in your wheelhouse of songs and what you can do and what your vibe is kind of, but... what do you think Paula?" Paula said: "Did I mention green's a good color for you?" (Randy said, "We want to hear what Simon has to say.") Simon said: "That's rude. You should say what you think of the performance. (Paula jumped in, '[Haley] wants to know what you think.') I think you've got great legs. (laughter from the audience, Ryan told him to 'be nice.') Actually, I agree with Randy. It was a good style of music for you. It was a little bit pageanty I thought." Additional Info: Haley answered a fan's question this week, and revealed she's more nervous singing before the crowd because she "gets the jitters," but said waiting to here what Simon has to say is "insane," but a good compliment from him "means the world"... Tony thought Haley needed to sing to one person to make it "a better performance."
Song: "Stormy Weather" Randy said: "I love this, it was the perfect song for you. It started a little rough for me, a little pitchy problems in the front, but I'm telling you, you saved it all for the middle and the end. That was the bomb baby." Paula said: "This is the most gorgeous you've ever looked Lakisha and you sound beautiful. It proves we all love Tony Bennett, we all love him. he did an amazing job." Simon said: "Back on form Lakisha. That was a sassy, great performance." Additional Info: Tony thought Lakisha needed to "hit the big note at the end and hold onto it"