The Diva Showdown on American Idol between Melinda Doolittle and LaKisha Jones can no longer be considered a two-woman race after Jordin Sparks' performance this week. Singing "I (Who Have Nothing)", Jordin proved that she's not just an animated movie singer. She sang a mature, heavy song with such conviction that Simon Cowell felt depressed afterwards. In other words, she sang the hell out of that song.
But it's not as if Melinda lost any ground tonight. Singing "As Long As He Needs Me", Melinda delivered another flawless vocal and also sold her song, if not her Dr. Bailey hairstyle. I'm a little on the fence with LaKisha. There's no denying she can sing, but I just haven't warmed up to her yet. She seems very closed off and shows little personality. But she has a terrific voice, which she showed with "Diamonds Are Forever", although her tempo was a little off.
Speaking of off-tempo ... Blake Lewis was way off on "Time Of The Season", but his modernizing (without bastardizing) of the song with some beat-boxing in the instrumental parts, was impressive, as were his vocals when he wasn't trying to hit the high notes in the chorus. Stephanie Edwards was off-tempo and off-key and warbly on "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" that didn't come close to reaching the greatness that Nadia Turner had on this song in season 4.
Phil Stacey channeled season 4's Bo Bice with the microphone toting on "Tobacco Road", but, unlike Bo, Phil has absolutely no grit in his voice, and his stage movements are so hammy that when you put it all together, it's exactly as Simon said: "a third-division bar band performance".
I expected Sanjaya Malakar's "You Really Got Me" to be like a third-division karaoke bar performance, but it really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. He still performs and sings like he's on a high school talent show, but at least this time he showed signs of life. At least now the train wreck is becoming entertaining. He's AI's version of Zayra Alvarez!
Haley Scarnato was also entertaining ... the boys with that skimpy outfit. Short shorts, heels and a backless halter top with no frontal support. She's a very pretty girl, and I can't blame her for using sex appeal to get votes. She needs all the help she can get because she can't hold a candle to the other girls vocally. Not that she's a bad singer. She's not by any means. She sounded incredible during parts of "Missing You" last week. This week's choice, "Tell Her" was a good choice for her, and she performed pretty well.
Gina Glocksen was supposed to bring the drama on "Paint It Black", but she fell short. Shoot, after Ryan Star did this song in full eye makeup and Mohawk hoodie, anything less will fall short in the dramatics. Gina didn't help her case with shaky vocals and off-tempo singing, not to mention her reaction to getting criticized.
Paula Abdul and I shared a brain momentarily when she told Chris Sligh that he needs to work more on connecting with the audience. Chris trekked through the audience in the opening of his "She's Not There", and he looked like he could barely be bothered with those people. You could just tell as he was wading through obligatorily high-fiving people who stuck their hands out that he didn't give a shit about them. His eyes were fixated on the camera and trying to pander for votes from the audience at home. And must he always talk during the judges' comments? He always has to have the last word. And don't get me started on the Soul Patrol mocking.
I've said before that Chris Richardson is someone I feel like I shouldn't like and that he's a smoke-and-mirrors guy and a Justin Timberlake wanna-be, but he keeps giving strong performances that I can't help but like him. He sang "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying" straight (for once), and he sounded great.
Bottom 3 predictions: Stephanie, Phil and Gina
Going home: Phil. But if they are trying to keep the tour gender-balanced, then bye-bye Stephanie.