American Idol mostly drove home for me how great a singer Elton John is, as the contestants bungled or oversang his songs. It was pretty much torture last night. I don't have a good sense of pitch myself, so I didn't suffer as much as someone who really hears pitch well, but I was cringing at all the bad notes. I didn't even like my previous favorite Fantasia, who doesn't seem to care enough about the melody or musicality of a song, and who tries to make up for it by redoing her old trick of adding ten "yeahs" to the end of the song (which I think is most like something Paul McCartney used to do). Jennifer Hudson--oh, great, we said at my house--she's going last so she must be the best. Well, really, I think the show was trying to save Jennifer and LaToya by putting them last and as far away from Fantasia as possible, because they were in the bottom three last week. I suspect the producers think that Fantasia is getting a lot of votes that should be shared with LaToya and Jennifer. Because John Stevens (newly Aikenized) or JPL (looking like the young Elton John) are getting the young-girl-loves-cute-boy vote, which has no potential to shift to the more adult sounding black female singers (even if they are the best). Actually, last night George Huff was the best. He cracks me up, because he has the most mature-sounding voice and then after he's done singing, when he's interacting with people, he gets really childish facial expressions, that are kind of endearing, but that also remind me of Gomer Pyle or a cute baby. Well, at least he's distinctive.
Jennifer, my original favorite, didn't impress me with her bellowing of that Lion King song, though I still want her to stay around and really like her personality. Picking the Elton John song young kids know best was a sly move. But I don't like that kind of cornball singing. It's not poppy. It's not sophisticated. It's devoid of real human feeling. I really find it tedious. But the judges loved it. But then I like John Stevens. He's adorable! And he had nerve to do Crocodile Rock. And the judges, who want to destroy him, seemed to be going all out to make him cry on camera. They know he's getting a lot of votes and they want him out. His performance last night reminded me of the time Clay Aiken sang Grease and the judges pilloried him for it. But Clay gained energy from the adversity. They always tell you to get out of your box--as Television Without Pity's commentator likes to point out--but then they slam you for doing it. Did it take nerve to do the Pat-Boone-singing-Speedy-Gonzales part of the song (the falsetto la-las)? Yeah! I enjoyed it.
So what are Prof. Yin and Prof. Brito saying? Go check them out.