A Dose of Reality: American Idol 4: Week 5 - Birth Year Theme
by The Trades Staff
Published: April 13, 2005
The Top Eight are singing tunes from the years they were born, and in that spirit, our roundtable will be using only words in existence in the years they were born. Molly, Brian, Dan are back again, and The Trades' own Chad is subbing for Mary this week.
Molly writes: America! How could you do this to me? Everything was going great, and then you bumped off Nikko something like four weeks early? That was just so wrong.
Brian writes: Nikko probably shouldn't have gone home last week, but he wouldn't have lasted much longer.
Dan writes: Awwww, poor Nikko is gone... again. I never thought he deserved to be in the Top 12, so no love lost here.
Chad writes: Nikko was out once before and is hopefully out for good. I didn't like him before he was eliminated the first time and I didn't like him when he got his reprieve. Good riddance.
Nadia Turner - "When I Dream" (1977)
Molly writes: Lackluster song, great delivery. I'm not sure what to think about Nadia's song choice. She could have sung a song that would have made a stronger impression. On the other hand, when you look at Nadia's entire body of performances, she has shown the greatest range and versatility of any contestant this season--or any contestant in any season, with the possible exception of Fantasia--and I give her credit for that. And Nadia is still
a star performer.
Brian writes: Nadia was gorgeous tonight. She did a fantastic job, getting every aspect of the song and performance perfectly. I really liked the song choice, though I don't remember ever hearing it before.
Dan writes: One word: effortless. I don't know what the judges heard. Nadia's performance was fantastic and it seemed perfectly natural for her.
Chad writes: Nadia got the show off to a very bad start. The song was terrible and extremely boring. Paula had a difficult time coming up with one of her "positive" comments. Nadia's past performances might keep her around but I think she could easily go home after that nightmare.
Bo Bice - "Free Bird" (1975)
Molly writes: It's interesting having Nadia and Bo back-to-back like this. They're the top two performers in the competition, and while Nadia went with displaying versatility in her song choice, Bo went back to his old bailiwick by singing a rock song. Vocally, I thought he did well; strangely, I thought he looked a little uncomfortable on stage tonight, something we haven't seen from him before.
Brian writes: Wow. Not only do I hate the song, but separate from that, I hated the performance. The entire beginning lacked any kind of energy. But like I said last week, he can get by with doing basically nothing.
Dan writes: Since Bo is trailing behind Constantine in the popularity factor, he's taking a tip from his fellow rocker and really mugging it up for the camera (and probably his weird fans). So, "Free Bird," huh? To me, this would be classified as a "safe" song choice for Bo. He really didn't showcase anything new or special on it. All in all, I thought it was terrible.
Chad writes: I didn't like Bo for his first few appearances but he has really grown on me. He's a natural performer. This week, he picked a song that even this young twenty-something knew. It was a difficult song but he pulled it off. He's done better but he should be safe this week.
Anwar Robinson - "I'll Never Love This Way Again" (1979)
Molly writes: Wow. Hands down, Anwar's best performance. A few wavy notes, but overall he worked that song the whole way through. The man earned himself two more weeks on the basis of this one.
Brian writes: I like Anwar, though I don't think I'd buy a CD of his. I think he's great in small doses, but I think listening to his voice song after song would get quite old. His voice is like a non-annoying version of Mikalah's. As it was, this performance was nearly flawless, with just a couple of sour notes.
Dan writes: Standard Anwar performance tonight: forgettable in the beginning, kicks it into gear by the middle and ends strong.
Chad writes: I was a big Anwar fan early on in the competition but, recently, his voice has become whiny and irritating. He had a few good notes this week but still sounds very whiny. Everyone seemed to enjoy it but I couldn't ever listen to a whole CD of that.
Anthony Federov - "Every Time You Go Away" (1985)
Molly writes: Oh, Anthony. It's time for you to go away. Really. This song just was not working.
Brian writes: A-Fed is good, but not good enough. It was his best performance in a couple of weeks, but he's still in the bottom tier of those left.
Dan writes: I think I know every song Anthony sings from my time working in an office that had its radio tuned to the adult contemporary station. Has he ever sung a song not aimed at 40-year-old women? Needless to say, it was awful.
Chad writes: I was also a big Anthony fan but, each week, he's been worse and worse. He picked a great song but the performance still wasn't that great. Each time he came to the word "away" in the song, he seemed to just stop singing and mumble it under his breath. He ended the song well but I doubt he'll last too much longer.
Vonzell Solomon - "Let's Hear It for the Boy" (1984)
Molly writes: Vonzell gives another solid performance this week. She sounded good and sang with a lot of energy.
Brian writes: I think Vonzell could have done a better job with this song, seeing as I'd think this was right up her alley. If she had had more time to practice, she'd have felt more comfortable with the lyrics.
Dan writes: Great song choice for Vonzell. She always nails the uptempo numbers. My only complaint would be that at times she sounded like she was screaming rather than singing, but that's small potatoes.
Chad writes: Vonzell was one of those "Who?" performers early on. She has been a steady performer and, this week, picked another terrific song. Her performance was excellent. She worked the crowd and had fun. It only took five performers to finally get a great performance.
Scott Savol - "She's Gone" (1976)
Molly writes: Scott's performance of the chorus was the best I've heard him, and he actually looked like a performer tonight. Last week, he dodged a bullet; this week, I think he'll earn another pass.
Brian writes: The chorus was okay, but the verses were so low he had a lot of trouble with them. On at least one of the power notes, he was quite weak. This was my favorite performance of his in a long time, but that ain't sayin' much.
Dan writes: Wow! What a comeback and it couldn't have come at a better time. Between the rap sheet (and for the record, if you kick contestants off for similar behavior in the past seasons, Scott should be no different) and last week's blunder, he needed a great performance--and tonight he delivered one. As for Simon's accusation of bum notes, I'm going to quote another Brit, Roger Daltrey of the Who: "Give me a bum note and the beat is sweet, anytime." When you sing a breakup song, I don't mind hearing a couple of bum notes, it makes the performance all the more emotional. Great job, Scott.
Chad writes: After last week's abysmal performance, I was expecting Scott to come on strong. His opening video talked about how was the "real rocker" and he "rocked out" when he was young. I expected a great performance of a great rock song. Then, he started singing. I've always hated that song but Scott managed to make me hate it even more. The beginning was an atrocious disaster. The ending was an arrant nightmare. The middle was decent but forgettable. He may survive after Nadia's bomb but I will be surprised if he isn't in the bottom three. (Side note: During Scott's performance, Paula was shown dancing in what looked like an elderly person trying to straighten up after back surgery. I can't believe she was ever in charge of choreography.)
Carrie Underwood - "Love Is a Battlefield" (1983)
Molly writes: Holy cow! Carrie was not country at all this week! I don't think this was her best performance technically, but it was far and away her most interesting performance. I'm not a fan, but I have to give her credit this week for rocking out, and I appreciate a break from her usual bland performance.
Brian writes: It was nice to see Carrie break away from her country voice this week. For most of the song, she was very good. She had the perfect amount of vibrato in her voice. But with the "ohs" at the beginning and the final held notes, she was quite a bit off.
Dan writes: The 80's worked once for Carrie, but not tonight. Wasn’t there a Willie Nelson or Waylon Jennings song she could have done instead of Pat Benatar? With such a sweet demeanor week after week, I just don't buy this angry performance.
Chad writes: She is my favorite performer by a huge margin. I never deleted from my DVR the episode a few weeks back where she sang Heart's "Alone." This week was great to see her branch out. She picked a great song, sounded great, and looked about as good as one human being can look. I absolutely loved it and she's still my pick to win.
Constantine Maroulis - "Bohemian Rhapsody" (1975)
Molly writes: He's no Freddy Mercury, but this was my favorite of Constantine's performances. He finally found a song that fit his creepy way of mugging into the camera. This was a brilliant song choice for him.
Brian writes: Well, I figured Constantine would get around to Queen before too long. Very good job, but I still don't think he's American Idol material. I'm sure he'll have a successful musical theater career. P.S.: I really could have done without the Gene Simmons tongue shot.
Dan writes: Vocally I thought it was good, overall performance was pretty cheesy, however. Because the song was so cut up, it seemed more like a medley and it was hard to get an overall opinion of the performance. Oh well, I'm sure he's safe.
Chad writes: I'll hand it to Constantine: he picked an amazing song. The lighting and camera work were perfect. His performance was flawless in every way. Constantine is definitely a powerhouse in this competition. The show started badly but ended with three great performances (with a little crap from Scott in the middle).
Molly writes: Wow, this is one of the best weeks that we've had. Lots of strong performances, with some of the best from people who needed them the most. The only loser--and the one who should be sent home--is Anthony. (Joining him in the bottom three will be Scott and Nadia.)
Brian writes: A great night to follow last week's suckfest, but the theme is still ridiculously broad. I hope the guest judges start coming soon. I actually think that all the contestants are vulnerable this week, but Scott and Anthony deserve to go.
Dan writes: Outstanding performances from Scott, Vonzell and Nadia. Leaving the couch tomorrow should be Bo, Anthony and Anwar (or Carrie) with probably Anthony going home.
Chad writes: Nadia and Scott were two of my favorites but both had huge bombs this week. Scott's back-to-back bombs may be his downfall. I think Anthony will round out the bottom three. Overall, this week was a huge improvement over last week which was probably the worst theme ever selected.
Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3
Episode 4 | Episode 5 | Episode 6
Hollywood 1 | Hollywood 2 | Hollywood 3
Men's Week 1 | Women's Week 1
Men's Week 2 | Women's Week 2
Men's Week 3 | Women's Week 3
Week 1: Sixties | Week 2: Billboard Number Ones
Week 3: Nineties | Week 4: Show Tunes
Other sites: American Idol | Sirlinksalot.net