The Love Songs theme on AI5 tonight made my allegiances shift once again. Elliott Yamin's moving, passionate version of "A Song For You" has me wanting him to win and thinking that he has a great chance to do so. Elliott is the classic Idol success story - the underdog everyman with the golden voice. Tonight, he gave the performance of the season. Not that this should be the standard by which Idol performances are made, but he made Paula cry. (although handing her a bottled water would probably make her cry these days. Whoah, is she on drugs, or what?!)
Katharine McPhee also had a strong night (at least in my eyes), singing "I Have Nothing" and putting a different twist on the song. She sounded great and looked fantastic (near-wardrobe malfunction aside), but the judges absolutely annihilated her for tackling a Whitney Houston song when she isn't as good as Whitney. Well no shit, judges. And Chris isn't as good as Freddie Mercury, yet Paula still said he superceded him. And Trenyce isn't as good as Whitney, nor is Vonzell or Jennifer Hudson. Did any of the Three Stooges say that to those three when they sang the same song in previous seasons? Uh, no. Katharine got hosed by the judges' comments tonight. I thought she sounded great and even better when she did a mini-duet with Andrea Bocelli on "The Prayer".
Chris Daughtry killed some of his rocker cred by singing one of the cheesiest songs ever on AI - "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman" by Bryan Adams. He got serious pimpage, though, not only singing last but getting flanked by two guitarists on stage. But I have to hand it to him ... he sounded really good. I think I preferred his version to the original. I'd prefer it more if he'd stop making scary angry faces while singing a love song, though.
Taylor Hicks seemed a bit out of sorts while singing "Just Once", one of my favorite songs. Maybe he's sick. He wasn't as good as James Ingram, but I thought Taylor did a good job, especially with the low notes. The glory notes impressed me as well. I think Simon just doesn't like this song. Just ask Brad Estrin (once you find him at the Chilean karaoke place, that is).
Paris Bennett reverted back to her "Wind Beneath My Wings" performance by singing "The Way We Were". While she brought the power pipes, she really picked such an old-fashioned song. It didn't quite work for me, but she deserves to stay. Unfortunately, I think she's going to be ousted at the expense of ...
Kellie Pickler. Who was god-awful with the most boring version of "Unchained Melody" since that girl sang it on the auditions in Season 3 and put the judges to sleep. I can only hope that even her fans will find it so appalling that they won't be bothered to vote for her. This should be her Constantine Nickelback moment. We shall see!