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"American Idol" Notebook

By admin Published: April 28, 2009

Starting late. Dinner at Lockview -- grilled cheese! tater tots! -- and some shopping which continued online at home. Now on to songs of the Rat Pack, after the jump. ...

First "surprise" of the night: Jamie Foxx is guest mentor. First contestant: Kris. "The Way You Look Tonight." Jamie says he's not trying to sing the "Throat Olympics." And says he'd do a record with him. Performance: Breathy. Mellow, and then goes for swing and a little falsetto and gets more questionable than he was in the mellow part. But, as Howling Wolf would say, the little girls understand. Randy says he's looking to see who's in it to win it, and that this is Kris's best performance to date. Well, Randy's been reading the Kris-in-the-finals clips. Kara says he has set the technical standard "so incredibly high" and he is "truly a dark horse." Which, as Andre the Giant would have said, does not mean what she thinks it means. Paula exults. Simon calls it "a little bit wet," and not incredible.

Allison. 17 yesterday. "Someone to Watch Over Me." Jamie comments on how young she is, suggests she sings it about family instead of about boyfriend. She tries to be a little bluesy, but also to sing it straight -- tuneful. Nicely torchy in tone, but a little slow and she loses some of her control of the melody when she gets soulful. Randy thought this would be tough on her but she came out looking dope and singing like Pink but with more octaves. Kara says "I ain't nervous for you anymore," and calls it "gut-wrenching ... way beyond your years." Paula thought it had an innocent sensibility. Simon asks Allison if she thinks she can win; she thinks she can, but Simon doesn't sense that she believes it. He thinks she might be in trouble tonight.
Says the performance was a little mechanical. Kara says he's crazy.

Matt. "My Funny Valentine." Studied jazz in college. Jamie tells him to change the key. Matt starts terribly. Marginally better, then worse, then the orchestra comes in. Odd phrasing. Labored vocal. Blah. Bring back 'Noop. OK, so he hits a good note there near the end. But generally ho-hum. Randy says that is one of the toughest songs ever, but it was a little pitchy and "it didn't all quite come together for me." Kara appreciated the runs but didn't feel Matt was emotionally connected. Paula loved what he did, and he did an excellent job. Simon disagrees with .... Randy. He thought it was the only believable, authentic song he heard tonight. Compares to Nat King Cole and says "absolutely brilliant." Lot of love from the judges tonight. Always a reason for suspicion. Wanting to keep it close, keep viewers interested, promo those record deals down the road.

Danny. "Come Rain or Come Shine." Associated with, among others, Ray Charles. Jamie gets close to Danny to make him more intense. Bleaty in spots. Nights like this remind me how very, very great Frank and Dean and Tony and others are at singing and phrasing. This is workmanlike most of the time, and has an impressively big finish. But next to Frank or Ray? Naw. Randy says Danny is the only one who could have an album of standards, and brings up that "this is a singing competition and you can sing." Half of which is not true. Kara says she's missed the Rat Pack swagger and Danny had "swag." Paula calls it stellar. Simon echoes Kara, and says that Danny proved a point.

(Technical difficulties. Back now.)

Adam. "Feelin' Good." One of the "Idol" warhorses, and I can't say that he brought anything special to it. Way too much at times with the shriek. But look at the staging. For that matter, go look at Peter Gallagher in "The Idolmaker." Oh, let me show you what I'm talking about:

You THINK Adam and the "Idol" producers have seen this movie? Anyway, the staging on "Idol"
is what the show does to make someone even more obviously the champion. Staircase, lights and so on. And, aside from Randy thinking it's a little too Broadway, the judges rave. Coronation night.

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