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"American Idol": The Top Six Try to Inspire

"American Idol": The Top Six Try to Inspire

Tuesday's "American Idol" was one of the most earnest hours of television I've ever seen. From Seacrest's intonation — "This Is 'Idol Gives Back.'" — to the videos from Africa to the "songs of inspiration" theme, "Idol" went to great lengths to prove that "Idol Gives Back" is Very Important. How important? For what might be the first time, the performance show was taped in advance so producers could spend more time on Wednesday's benefit.

Really, though, it's tough to be snarky about "Idol Gives Back." I appreciate that "Idol" picked a charity that will help both in the U.S. and abroad, in inner cities and rural areas. And hey, maybe this will encourage people to seek out other organizations that could use their time or money.

But because I can't be nice for this whole recap (unlike the judges, who were unusually sweet on Tuesday), I've got to harp on a couple of things:

  • In one of the taped segments, Simon visited a food bank and discovered that — shock! — there are poor people in America! And there are kind-hearted volunteers who help feed them! Either he exaggerated his surprise, or he needs to get out more.
  • News Corp. is donating 10 cents per vote for the first 50 million votes. Now, $5 million is nothing to sneeze at, but I just wonder how that $5 million compares to their revenues from just one episode of "Idol."

Onto the performances. Don't forget to tell me who you think should go home, and you can get my take on the matter if you

Chris Richardson (at right): Chris sang "Change the World" that way he does, which is to say nasally and oddly high-pitched and boy-band-ish. We even got a little Backstreet Boys-style dancing breakdown about halfway through. The judges seemed pleased — Simon thought it was sexy, even — and I'm going to bet that if you generally like Chris, you probably liked this, and if you don't, you didn't.

Melinda Doolittle: I didn't think her version of Faith Hill's "There Will Come a Day" was her most compelling performance, but I could also imagine it being on the soundtrack at a Starbucks right now, and I mean that as a compliment. Honestly, now that she's looking better and more comfortable with herself, I'm not sure anyone (including Jordin, this year's dark horse) can beat her.

Blake Lewis: Blake rocked the popped collar — well, as much as a popped collar can be rocked — while singing John Lennon's "Imagine." Not gonna lie, I thought the performance dragged on a bit, but that's what "Imagine" does, and it was cool to see him try a straightforward take on a classic. It's maybe the most pure singing we've heard him do, and it wasn't bad.

LaKisha Jones (at left): OK, this is LaKisha's third time singing a song made famous by another "Idol" contestant: "And I Am Telling You" (Jennifer Hudson), "Jesus Take the Wheel" (Carrie Underwood) and now "I Believe" (Fantasia). Hey Keesh? Put the iPod on shuffle next time; we're tired of the "Idol" songbook. I've got to admit, LaKisha's worn out her welcome with me, and I wouldn't be surprised if she's the one going home tonight.

Phil Stacey: Phil (who's now being backed by Vote for the Worst, if you hadn't heard) went country again this week, singing Garth Brooks' "The Change." I'd started to come around to Phil after last week, but this performance reminded me of all the things I don't like about him (wobbly notes on verses, awkward stage presence). It also felt like it was about 20 minutes long. The judges must have been listening to someone else, though, because they said it was his best outing on the show. Simon even said he had a "spring in his step."

Jordin Sparks (at right): As we've seen several times already, Jordin's quite the crier, so I'm going to blame her emotions for all those wobbly, super-quiet notes at the beginning. By the chorus, though, she was on. I hate to keep hammering on the "she's 17!" thing, but ... dudes, she's 17, and she's miles more mature than the other "Idol" teens of the past (Diana DeGarmo and Paris Bennett come to mind). I wouldn't say this was one of the best "Idol" performances ever, like Randy did, but it was pretty great.

Who should be in the bottom three: Chris, LaKisha and Phil

Who will be in the bottom three: It's hard to say — will the Idol Gives Back incentive incite more people to vote? and will they spread their votes around or pick favorites? But I'm actually going to go with Chris, LaKisha and Phil

Who's going home: I have a pet theory that nobody's going home; it would spoil the charitable mood. But if someone does, I'm guessing it will be LaKisha. Her support seems to be waning (only our national frustration with Sanjaya saved her last week) and her "Idol" copycat behavior might doom her this time.

Photos courtesy of Fox

Join The Conversation
Shiloh-Jolie-Pitt Shiloh-Jolie-Pitt 10 years
I totally support the cause but those weepy songs were so freaking boring. Aren't any inspiring happy songs out there? _________________________________________ * zzzzzzzzzzzzz *
SassAndBide SassAndBide 10 years
Well I am watching Idol right now..the performances by the celebs are good, I wonder if they are making their own contribution though ..? Like I dont mean that in a harsh way, I mean it's great that they're singing to create awareness and stuff but 5 million is like less than what some of them make on working on ONE movie (for example doesn't Jim Carrey make like 10 Mill per movie, he's not on idol though but thats all i could think of). ? Anyway i'm just saying they should practice what they preach they have way more money than most of us who are voting, and they're probably voting too.. at least I'd like to think that. Lakisha should go home, I don't find anything original or unique about her. Yes, she has a great voice but so do lots of other people. Melinda i see no star appeal. She's a good singer n stuff but is it just me or does she flare out her nose everytime she sings? is that a form of singing lol like how chris said "Nasally is a form of singing" And speaking of Chris how the hell would or can he know what "a form of singing" is? He's not a professional, he's a wannabe and worse yet he's a poor man's Justin timberlake (though i do find him hotter than justin, which is stupid i know and i am contradicting myself). So anyway I think Chris should go home but he probably won't cuz he has alot of fans so it seems. Even Gina had a better voice than Chris. Anyway I hope Jordin wins she has a lot of star quality and can only get better. And i see her selling the most records..Melinda i guess could too, but like i said before she should do Broadway or something because in a way, she is too good for American Idol. Winning american idol doesn't mean fame though just ask Taylor Hicks (no offense if you're a fan of his) or Ruben Studdard (wonder what he's up to lately..?). Chris Daughtry (wtf is daughtry it sounds like daughter tree) or uh Jennifer Hudson did such GREATER things than American idol. Overall i think the whole idol gives back thing is such a good idea, cuz since its the most watched show it brings lots of awareness and it's great that it's for Africa and America. I applaud them for that.
HeatherStJoeMI HeatherStJoeMI 10 years
I feel Kiki's days are GETTING VERY NUMBERED. Phil really didn't do that well either. Phil should be sent packing I HOPE.
UTgirl UTgirl 10 years
I agree, Linda. Great recap! Thank you!
Linda-McP Linda-McP 10 years
Great recap, Buzz. You may be right on with your theory that no one is going home this week (perhaps that's the surprise that was hinted at last night), but if someone is exiting, it's likely to be Lakisha.
LizaToad LizaToad 10 years
i find melinda kind of annoying actually.... she really doesn't seem to have much of a personality. Although she has a great voice, i don't know how much of success she'd be in terms of record sales post idol....
govols govols 10 years
I find it a bit ironic that a Lakisha fan thinks Melinda has no personality.
summer-roberts summer-roberts 10 years
I did not get to watch the show last night , but my guess for bottom 3 would be Phil, Chris and sadly Lakisha. Phil and Chris have not been very good lately and Lakisha has lost her 'Yo' factor. Jordin and Melinda keep bringing it and I think will be with us till the bitter end.
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 10 years
I only watched the first two performances last night, but I have to say, I thought Chris was AWFUL. I couldn't BELIEVE that the judges raved about it.
krampalicious krampalicious 10 years
i have been over melinda doolittle from the get-go. if she's so incredible and awesome, why couldn't she get a career on her own? she's a good singer, sure, but she has pretty much zero personality when she's not actually singing. i am so sad for my kiki. i want her to win but her days are numbered, for sure. the single moms get me EVERY TIME.
calibabi calibabi 10 years
i kind of had the same theory that no one is going home will be interesting to see what they do. but you're right...lakisha wasn't great. i'm hoping phil or chris are the ones to go soon.
Maggie-Mae Maggie-Mae 10 years
Good recap. I also think that LaKisha should go home- she just hasn't been in it lately like she was in the beginning. Also, like the judges said- singing another idol's song isn't a good ideal because you will get compared. I actually voted last night, which I hadn't done in years. It was funny because when you got the voice message, it was like "thank you for voting- your voting means a contribution will be made to help fight poverty"
SparklinSeahorSe SparklinSeahorSe 10 years
i agree. i want lakisha to leave. i was a big fan of hers at first, but she doesn't put everything into her performances like she did at the beginning of the show. the song that jordin sang is one of my favorite songs and has been since i was a little girl. as soon as she started it, i started BAWLING. i thought she was amazing.
RCLdesigngirl RCLdesigngirl 10 years
Wow, we are so on the same page here...I still don't know how Chris made it to Hollywood in the first place; Melinda did not do the Faith Hill song justice and I'm sort of tired of hearing the whole "professional in residence" thing; Blake sounded nice, but I wish he'd show some emotion when he sings (I'm tiring of the blank stare and fish mouth); Lakisha is in a downward spiral, which makes me sad for her because her voice is so powerful; I listened to Phil with my eyes closed last night, and you know what? He actually has a pretty decent voice...maybe he'll get a country record deal; Jordin has potential, but I agree...she's wobbly. And what's up with this making yourself cry when you sing business? That's weird to me. "wow, I sound amazing! It's making me so emotional!" I have NO idea who'll go home...I hope that it's not Lakisha, but we'll see.
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