A Dose of Reality: American Idol 4: Week 3 - Nineties Theme
by The Trades Staff
Published: March 30, 2005
American Idol's top ten perform songs from the nineties. Mary, Dan, Molly, and Brian tell you who's da bomb and who was a buzzkill.
Mary writes: Good riddance Mikalah. I'm glad she's gone. A better choice couldn't have been made by the U.S.
Dan writes: Hurray! It should come as no surprise that I wholeheartedly agree with America's decision to eliminate Mikalah. I never enjoyed one performance by her or ever really understood what the judges saw in her.
Molly writes: America is on a roll! I absolutely approve of the eviction of Mikalah. The snafu in the voting numbers meant a rebroadcast of all of last week's performances, and watching the rebroadcast made me think that I'd been too kind to Mikalah last week.
Brian writes: I was surprised that America let Mikalah go, but it really was the best decision. I don't think I could've taken another week of her voice.
Bo Bice - "Remedy"
Mary writes: I have never heard this song I don't think. He seemed a little off this week. I'm not sure if it is because I don't recognize the song, but he seemed to be singing a little off rhythm from the music at the beginning. I don't consider this one of his better performances.
Dan writes: Ugh, Bo is slipping to new lows. He is no Chris Robinson. And it doesn't help matters that I'm a huge Black Crowes fan and the band just returned from their hiatus to deliver some awesome rock 'n roll. That was just awful.
Molly writes: I love Bo, but I wasn't crazy about this song choice. I wonder if this is something that he used to sing with his band. Maybe it works better when he has his own band to interact with. This wasn't a bad performance, by any means, but it's far from the level I'm used to seeing from Bo.
Brian writes: Bo turned in another Bo-type performance. It was good--better than most in the competition--but it still falls a little flat for me. He has enough talent to last a good long time.
Jessica Sierra - "On the Side of Angels"
Mary writes: Another song I do not recall hearing. This is a hit from LeAnn Rimes. She seems to be doing a good job with this song. I like that she seems to be hitting the notes without obnoxious backup singers and without music during a few seconds of the song. She needs a bit more energy when she sings, but I think she did a decent job.
Dan writes: Though Jessica is a lot better when she's more upbeat and a little rough, it probably was a wise move to showcase some range by singing a ballad. I thought she did really good tonight.
Molly writes: Jessica's performance was okay, but didn't really have much of a spark. Simon pegged it as "forgettable", and I think he's exactly right.
Brian writes: I'm not surprised that Jessica went back to country. She did a decent job, but Simon was absolutely right in that she is the most forgettable contestant in the competition. I would not be surprised if she turns in one of the better performances but still goes home.
Anwar Robinson - "I Believe I Can Fly"
Mary writes: I think this is an okay song, I do not think Anwar did a good job with the song. His voice was a bit too constricted when he started the song. He got into it in the middle of the song, but the beginning was unfortunate. I would have liked him to do a different arrangement of the song and do a faster version (one that I heard in the movie "Drumline"). I think that would have been interesting if he could have pulled that off. Believe it or not, I agree with Randy. I think Anwar doesn't pay
attention enough to the lower register of his voice.
Dan writes: Oh man, how I hate this song. In the 90's I worked part time in an office and every day they played this song, despite the fact that I was only there for a couple hours. But somehow, Anwar didn't make me hate it... that much. While I still can't stand the R. Kelly version, Anwar wasn't half bad. Pretty impressive considering he had so much baggage to plow through to even make an impression on me.
Molly writes: It pains me to agree with Randy Jackson, but I do. Randy said that Anwar needs to pay more attention to the entire song, and I think he's right. This was a decent performance of "I Believe I Can Fly," but it wasn't a particularly well crafted one. Anwar started off with a good shot at winning, since he's a likeable and charismatic guy, but his performances put him as a mid-level departure at best.
Brian writes: This week, Anwar provided the perfect case study of how song choice can make or break you. He has such a great voice, but he keeps choosing songs that make it sound bad. He either needs to fix the problems he has with his lower register or sing songs that don't have those notes in them.
Nadia Turner - "I'm the Only One"
Mary writes: Interesting choice of a Melissa Etheridge song. She did a very nice job with the song. She nailed the notes, brought a lot of energy, wow. I definitely liked her performance best so far tonight. She even got my head moving to the beat. Simon criticized her choice of song and I'm not sure why.
Dan writes: I think Nadia would be more impressive if she gave a non-rock song a rock twist instead of doing a straight-up version of Melissa Etheridge. To me, her
performance tonight was forgettable.
Molly writes: Nadia did an outstanding job with this song. She sounded good, she looked good, and I couldn't ask for better. This was my top performance of the night.
Brian writes: I think that Nadia did a really good job with this song. The only complaint I have is that her attitude was all wrong. She really should have sung it as angrily as the original was. As always, it was a great performance.
Constantine Maroulis - "I Can't Make You Love Me"
Mary writes: It is absolutely absurd that Constantine discussed the Seattle grunge movement as inspiration for him heading up a rock band and his song choice tonight is a slow song by Bonnie Raitt! Good grief. I love this song and I think he sang it well enough. He hit the notes, but he mugged so much for the cameras that it was a little off-putting. I wish Kimberly (from Season 2) were back singing that song.
Dan writes: As Bo slides down in the ranks, Constantine is climbing upward. Each week he gets a little better. After talking about grunge in the intro, I was nervous
Constantine was going to come out and massacre Pearl Jam or Nirvana, but I was pleasantly surprised. That was great.
Molly writes: Sometimes the straight lines write themselves. Constantine, you might have done a decent job with this song if you weren't so busy mugging for the camera, but even with halfway decent vocals, you can't make me love you.
Brian writes: I can't believe I keep softening on Constantine. I honestly don't like him, but this song really fit him. I can see why he keeps getting so many votes every week, even though I wouldn't vote for him. There were some off notes in a few places, but I don't think most of his fans really care.
Nikko Smith - "Can We Talk"
Mary writes: He did not start out well with this song. He warmed up a little bit and got a bit better. He didn't do too badly after his warmup. He had a lot of energy and really put his all into that song. That was definitely one of his best performances yet. I don't think he will win the competition, but he did a nice job.
Dan writes: This kid is a one trick pony: same song style, same dance moves, same power notes. He's good, but it's time for some new material.
Molly writes: I didn't much care for this song. However, I think that Nikko performed it well, and his finish, in particular, was strong. The judges have talked about Nikko doing so much better now than before. To my ears, Nikko needs to get back to the performances he did before, because what I hear now doesn't sound like the kind of breakthrough performance Nikko needs to keep advancing.
Brian writes: I was disappointed with Nikko. He seemed quite confident, but I sensed some shakiness underneath. Even before Simon said it, I was thinking about how good an imitation he was doing of Babyface's original performance.
Anthony Federov - "Something About the Way You Look Tonight"
Mary writes: Oh no. An Elton John song. Well, he did an okay job with the song, but the beginning of the song sounded kind of flat energy-wise. I wasn't thrilled with his performance, but he has done better. I think he had a really poor song choice. I'm not sure why he picked that Elton John song.
Dan writes: Speaking of one trick ponies... Do you think Anthony ever regrets playing the adult contemporary card? Tonight the boy hit some big notes, but overall, the performance was pretty bland.
Molly writes: Anthony's performance wasn't something I'd buy on CD, but I thought he did a good job. He seemed to own the song in a way that a lot of the previous performers didn't. He knew what he was singing and how to get it done, and he didn't hesitate.
Brian writes: Oh, poor Anthony. I was hoping he'd snap out of his downward slide this week, but he didn't. The vocals just weren't there, and his performing skills were subpar, especially against this group. I'm afraid that his time is about up in this competition.
Carrie Underwood - "Independence Day"
Mary writes: Another song I've never heard before. She seemed to do a good job with the song, but she still needs to infuse her performances with more energy. She is a technically good singer, but not an exciting performer.
Dan writes: She's back to the country twang and back to blowing the hell out of the competition. Fantastic. Just fantastic.
Molly writes: Carrie did a fine job with this song. She sang strong, and connected. Unfortunately, when Simon talks about the "it" factor, I just don't see it with Carrie. As well as she sings, I can't imagine watching her on stage for 90 minutes.
Brian writes: I really enjoyed Carrie's performance. I'm glad that at least one of my early season picks has developed into the talent I expected. If Carrie keeps turning out performances like that, she'll make the final four easily.
Scott Savol - "One Last Cry"
Mary writes: He did not do a good job with this song. I'm not sure if it was the right song choice. His falsetto was OFF in the early parts of the song. He got a little better later, but not great. I thought his performance was just okay.
Dan writes: Scott started out really rough in the beginning, but by the end got it together pretty well. He needs to stick with uptempo songs. Definitely not his best performance.
Molly writes: If Scott were putting out an album, and sent a demo of this song, I'd think it was a good song for him but that it needed more polish. He worked the heck out of that falsetto, but some of the other portions of the song were a little erratic.
Brian writes: Scott's vocals, while not quite downright horrible, were certainly the worst of the night. I've been saying for weeks that he doesn't belong in the competition, and maybe tonight America will see what I mean.
Vonzell Solomon - "I Have Nothing"
Mary writes: She is brave for attempting a Whitney Houston song. She did a very nice job with the song. She was one of the best performances for the night. She sang her heart out and showed great control and solid vocal range. She's the surprise performer of the season in my opinion. I could see her in the top 4.
Dan writes: Vonzell had her work cut out for her after her shining performance last week. Tonight she fell a little short, but by no means did she do a bad job. It was just a step back, that's all and a small one at that.
Molly writes: Vonzell continues her upward climb. She did a fantastic job with Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing." I'd say this was Vonzell's night, in terms of making the biggest impression and receiving the biggest boost from her performance.
Brian writes: First of all, Vonzell looked great tonight. Anyway, she is the first to tackle the fabled AI Whitney Houston Benchmark. You can really get a sense of a female singer's ability when she sings Whitney. Vonzell did a lot better than I thought she would, so I think she's guaranteed a spot in the final four. I hope she's not peaking too early and won't get the fan support later on.
Mary writes: Well, the people who stuck out as being bad were Scott and Anwar. I think one of those two will be excused. Anthony wasn't great either, but he wasn't
quite as bad as Scott or Anwar.
Dan writes: Tonight the best were the two C's: Carrie and Constantine. Bo was by far the worst, but for some reason America will keep him around. I think we'll be saying goodbye to Anthony or (sadly) Scott this week.
Molly writes: My predictions for the bottom three this week are Jessica, Nikko, and, surprisingly, Bo Bice. I don't think that Bo deserves to be in the bottom three, but I think that his relatively weak performance (compared to his previous performances) and his status as a frontrunner will combine to give him low vote totals, just as it did last week for Nadia. My pick to leave is Jessica (she's gotta leave sometime, right?).
Brian writes: There were some very good performances (Carrie, Vonzell) and some very bad ones (Anthony, Scott). I think A-Fed should thank his lucky stars that Scott sucked it up and will be sent home.
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