Tuesday, May 9

Top 4 - Elvis Has Entered the Building!

This week the gang got to visit Graceland, meet Priscilla Presley, and work with Tommy Mottola. Tommy thinks Idol is the "greatest platform to ever come along for the music industry" (as Ed Sullivan and Dick Clark roll in their graves... um, yeah, ok, Dick's still alive, barely). Anyway he says each contestant made their songs "very personal." Each will be singing 2 Elvis songs.

Taylor opens with "Jailhouse Rock," which is mostly a predictable Taylor performance. He starts out in the audience & the guitarist is on the platform; I liked the last chorus he did on stage because he did some quasi-Elvis-style dancing and everything balanced well. The audience, Randy & Paula all loved it; Simon, predictably, did not.

Chris does "Suspicious Minds," which is his favorite Elvis song. Oh, before he performed, just in case they might get lazy (or jealous of the 2000th mention of Taylor's "Soul Patrol"), Ryan asks Chris the names of his fan club(s)! Chris lists 3 and also lists several gifts he's received; lastly he settles "the debate" by saying boxer/briefs, which skeeves Ryan out. Ok, back to the music... in his Graceland clip we get Tommy saying how he loves the sound of Chris's voice and thinks he would sound great on a record. Ok, I think that covers all the bases for how wonderful Chris is... ;-) I was a bit disappointed in the song. It was nice, but too mellow for me - not intense or emotional enough, I guess. Also didn't like the Brad Pitt sunglasses on him. Randy was also just meh on it, though Paula & Simon loved it.

Elliott - "I Can Dream." He said in his clip it would show his "love me tender side." ;-) I don't know it, but it's a fairly mellow song & a pretty typical Elliott performance. Got better throughout & especially the 2nd verse after the key change was very good. The audience & judges all loved it; Randy said "hot," Paula called it his best performance, & Simon said it was the best so far tonight! Ryan also mentioned how E has "evolved" since the start of the show.

Katharine rounds out the first half with a medley of "Hound Dog" and "All Shook Up." First we get Tommy raving about her voice, the range, the sound; he really, really likes her! The song is fun, she dances a lot and weaves the two together well, resulting in something much more interesting than either would be on their own, and had some very nice spots vocally. She did forget a small stretch of lyrics but covered it fairly well (turned around), as the judges noted. Randy & Paula loved it; Simon did not and called it "manic."

Taylor's 2nd song is "In the Ghetto," which he describes as one of Elvis's "more soulful" numbers. Tommy notes that he enjoyed Taylor's rendition very much. I think it was a great choice, fit his style very well, and he sang it well. I was surprised by the falsetto phrase which was done very well also! The judges all loved it; Randy praised the song style and the key; Paula said it shows how "well-rounded" of an artist he is; and Simon said it was the "perfect song" and that he had just "sung [his] way into the semifinals."

Chris - "A Little Less Conversation." Wow! This was in a low range and musically there's not a lot to work with, but he sang (& enunciated) very well, was very into it and enjoying it, and it was a very good, intense & even sexy performance!! The last chorus was higher with more of a rock sound some screaming, but overall I really, really loved this. (Ironically I expected his 1st song to be more intense & sexy & this one to be less so.) He showed more personality (and dancing!) than ever (as Paula noted). Randy & Paula loved it too, though Simon preferred the other one.

Elliott (whom they showed being goofy & dancing into the commercial break) is doing "Trouble," which he enjoys because it's "rebellious" and shows his "wild side." Oooohh!!!! Awesome, awesome job. Granted almost anyone would do it better than Carrie did last year (she's sooo not "evil"!), but I think this was a great choice for him with incredible execution. Definitely a stand-out performance for him and for this season of the show, IMO. The audience & judges all loved it as well; Randy & Paula said it was his best (yes, Paula changed her mind from earlier!), and Simon said that he "deserves to move on." I couldn't agree more! :-)

Lastly Kat does "Can't Help Falling In Love." Tommy again gushes, saying her voice is "magical" and that she can do "incredible things" with it. Not, however, alway stay on key, as this song demonstrates. It starts like a typical Kat ballad, very beautiful (Simon echoed my thought!), but lost its way and was anticlimactic to me; I think following Elliott's performance hurt her (stylistically as much as talent-wise). Randy said it was pitchy in parts but still better than her first; Paula liked the fun song better, and Simon said it wasn't her night, that the song (arrangement & execution) was over the top.

I think it'll be a very close week as far as votes & positions. Katharine had the weakest performances so I expect her to go, though with Simon's negative comments being the last thing shown her fans will know she needs the votes. This makes several weak weeks in a row though, which was enough to get Kellie booted and should do the same for Kat.

Joining her in the bottom 2? Probably Taylor. I think Elliott & Chris had really great performances and lots of pimping and will be fine... I hope! :-) (I tried maybe 50 times to vote for Elliott and only got through once; I'm hoping that's a good sign.) Ooh, they didn't say, but I wonder if we get a group Elvis medley tomorrow?! Hope so for that too!!!

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