Later, weird but poignant glimpse into cynic Simon
Ryan Seacrest kicked off last night’s Idol by congratulating Jennifer Hudson, the sixth-round loser in the third season Idol finals, for her Oscar.
She was beaten by George Huff and Diane DeGarmo, but she’s given the show legitimacy it could only dream of despite the massive ratings and status as a bonafide cultural event.
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Phil Stacey launches into an undistinguished version of John Waite’s Missing You. Simon is the only judge who finds it lacking, but he insists that Phil will still be around next week; heed the Simon Rule at your peril — the cynic is the only person in the room who can ignore his own opinion.
Jared Cotter is unwise enough to cover Let’s Get It On; Jared is a good looking chap, but he suffers — as would any mere male — by comparison with Marvin Gaye. Simon dismisses him by calling him “cabaret” — his favorite disparagement.
A.J. Tabaldo gives a performance that’s dangerously low-key; subtlety is for short story writers, not Idol contestants. Sanjaya Malakar turns on the charm fountain by dedicating his version of Stepping Out to his late grandfather, and the judges seem puzzled, even affronted, by his song choice. Idiosyncratic, sure, but he has a vast reserve of goodwill to exhaust before he’ll get voted off.
Chris Sligh does Ray LaMontagne’s Trouble, dedicates it to his wife, and gets Simon to concur that he, too, has been “saved by a woman” — a rare and weird but poignant glimpse into his personal life. Nicholas Pedro’s Fever gets a bitterly flat last verse and Blake Lewis, doing Jamiroquai, is more out of tune than an empty jukebox.
Brandon Rogers covers Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time, which sounded trite even when Miles Davis covered it. Chris Richardson dedicates his song to his granny, then sings about “turning you out,” which is troubling to my ears at least.
Sundance Head’s limp Mustang Sally might be the fault of the peerlessly professional but overly polished studio band — his dad could have told him to find some nastier backup, but it’s not like he had a choice.