This week, some of the competitors on American Idol were positively dreadful. Most were fair (or, in Randy Jackson's language, "aw-ight"). And that's too bad, because they all really ought to be taking it up a notch at this point in the competition.
So, here are my thoughts:
Going home tonight: Bobby Bennett (who sang "Copacabana") reminded me of the old Bill Murray sketch on "Saturday Night Live" in which Mr. Murray (one of history's funniest men) imitated a horrendously bad lounge singer (singing the theme to Star Wars, of all things). Terrible stuff; Bennett needs to go. If he does not, we have another Scott Savol phenomenon/disaster on our hands. Also going home will be opera singer Stevie Scott (the female Josh Grobin), who may actually have a good voice, but you'd never know that based on her performance this week. It was less than professional.
Those two are my locks to go home; after that, it's just a guess. Several singers failed to distinguish themselves. My hope is that sweet Kellie Pickler (whose performance of "How Far" I found exceedingly annoying, though not absolutely horrible) gets another shot, as well as supermodels Becky O'Donahue ("Because the Night") and Heather Cox ("When You Tell Me That You Love Me"). I fear that Kevin Covais ("One Last Cry") will go home, but I hope he remains, as this young singer (who looks like he could be the illegitimate son of Bill Gates) gave one of the week's better performances. I also worry that David Radford ("Crazy Little Thing Called Love") will go, because I disagreed with the judges and felt he did a fine job. I hope that Bucky Covington goes home; he was painful for both the ear and the eye.
The Best: Lisa Tucker is amazing. She could be the next Whitney Houston (I mean that as a compliment). Sixteen years old? Incredible poise for one so young. Paris Bennett is wonderful. She could record a Gospel album today and it would be great. Both Lisa and Paris captured the audience; they are not only wonderful singers, they are the best performers on the show. Mandisa Hundley (Heart's "Never") was very good, and I thought Ayla Brown ("Reflection") was quite good as well.
The real surprise for me was Katharine McPhee (Streisand's "Since I Fell For You"), who really challenged Lisa and Paris for the title of "Best Female Singer" in the competition. Her vocals were stunning, and she's cute as a button. If she learns to move a little more when she's singing, and become a performer and not just a fine singer, she could win it all.
Among the men, Taylor Hicks ("Levon") is my boy. Great, just great. A young, white, gray-haired bluesman. No one else in the competition seems to enjoy the music as much as Taylor. I hope he goes far and wins the title. Kevin Covais was good, and rocker Chris Daughtry ("Wanted Dead or Alive") did well. My twelve year old daughter is in love with Ace Young ("Father Figure"), and I think he'll go far. Elliott Yamin sang Stevie Wonder's "If You Really Love Me", which is a great song but I didn't feel a good choice; but Elliott can sing very well.
So, let's hope that Bobby and Stevie get the boot, with Bucky not far behind. And let's hope that Lisa, Paris, Katharine, Taylor, Kevin, and Chris do well, with Ace and Elliott surviving as well. I really hope the voters get it right.