Idol will be giving back tonight. It's a great reminder to all of us that while we sit comfortably in our homes, with air conditioning or heating, depending on where you live, there are actually people in our very own cities who are unable to enjoy the commodities that we take for granted - not to mention those in other countries. Yes, despite all of the tragedies, atrocities, and things that we complain about, we really are a blessed and prosperous nation. Why not share the wealth? So, for every vote our fave receives, a ten cent donation will be made for every call up to 50 million calls. Pretty awesome, huh?
The theme for tonight's show is "songs that inspire." These should be songs that pull us through the tough times, give leeway to our imaginations, allow us to get away from the perils of this life, if only in our dreams. I am looking to be inspired.
CHRIS sings "Change the World" by Eric Clapton. Chris tells us that he chose this song because, if one person has the will to change someone's life, then imagine what millions can do. He started out well, especially because he neglected the "nasally way of singing" that he christened last week. By the middle of the song, though, it was back. Now, I had loved who Chris was starting to become as a singer in weeks past. But then he started throwing in the runs and drawing words out into twenty syllables, and the song lost its appeal. Now, I like this song, and I think it could have been a perfect choice for Chris if he would have simply sung it. Chris might be "in it to win it", but I don't get the feeling that this was a winning performance. I could stomach it, but he could put himself in danger of the bottom, and even elimination.
MELINDA sings "There Will Come a Day" by Faith Hill. Melinda tells us that she chose this song because it not only speaks about the problems in our country and even our world today, but it talks about the hope for a better tomorrow. Part of the reason that I love music is because it has the potential to provide such an escape. Music does to us what a great movie can also do. If only for a moment, we can disappear into our minds, allow the words of the songs and the music to take us away to that place where regardless of what is going on around us, we are in a zone where there are no feelings of hopelessness, despair, loneliness, fear, or uncertainty. It's paradise. That's exactly what Melinda's song spoke about. Melinda has a deeper alto tone to her voice but, tonight, I got a great glimpse of her higher register. When she belts, it's beautiful. With such a moving song as this, the effect was powerful. Randy continues to call her the "resident pro." Paula says she's magical. Simon is chuckling for some unknown reason, and says that part of the song was vocal master class. I'd have to agree.
BLAKE sings "Imagine" by John Lennon. He chose this song because, although we may not accomplish creating the ideal world, we can start by making it a better place. This is such a beautiful song. With the right choice of song, I love the no-frills Blake Lewis. His voice is very interesting. This was a good vocal delivery. But the lyrics of the song are very powerful and passionate. Imagine that there was no need for heaven or hell or war or religion or greed or poverty because everything is perfect right where we are. It all goes back to the power of imagination and dreams. Although his voice was gentle and simple as it should be with such a song as this, I don't think that Blake successfully conveyed the emotional force of the words. It was "just okay" for Randy. Paula was reminded of how beautiful and simple the song was, and she really enjoyed it. Simon said it was tricky because it was one of the "big songs of all times," but he sang it with sincerity, so it was good. When the original version was initially heard, considering the events of that time, everyone was probably moved to tears. Reflecting on the events of recent weeks, it just left me wanting...more.
LAKISHA sings "I Believe" by Fantasia. LaKisha chose the song because it inspired her; there are lots of people suffering and, if we all unite together, we can make a change. Why she continues to choose songs that are still fresh in our minds as being sung by original artist is beyond me. I'm going nuts trying to figure her out. The first "Mmmmm-hmmmm" I heard was pitchy. Now, whether you wanted her to win Season 3 or not, this song will forever be defined by the way Fantasia sang it. LaKisha is a great singer, but lately her choices have been all wrong. It wasn't that this was a bad vocal but, besides the fact that it was pitchy in several spots, it just sounded like a copy of Fantasia's version. After all, she's the only one who made the song a hit, right? LaKisha even threw in the yeahs where Fantasia had them. If she would just take a risk, she would blow us all away. At the beginning of the game, she and Melinda might have been fighting for some of the same voters. Now she's letting out too much rope, and Jordin is quickly taking up the slack. I saw her on Oprah talking about her scare when she was in the bottom two with Sanjaya. She said that she told herself that she needed to "pull it together." But I think that this song will earn her another trip back to center stage.
PHIL sings "The Change" by Garth Brooks. Phil chose this song because it had a profound impact on his life. It was originally released after the Oklahoma City bombings and commemorates the heroism that emerged from that tragedy. I'm so glad that Phil is singing another Country song. It can definitely work for him. He sounds a lot like Michael English, and that's a good song on him. I don't know what's happened to him lately but, whatever it is, it's definitely working. I would so buy this song. I could feel that Phil felt this song, it meant something to him, and he was inspired by it. Dare I say that I found a couple of goosebumps? Woo-hoo!! Randy says he's happy that Phil found his country niche and came back with a strong performance. Paula says she thinks Phil found his "comfort" (her exact words). Simon really likes him. He said that if he keeps the country tone to his voice, he could do well in the competition. Phil, stay right on this road and don't look back. Please, please, please, please, please.
JORDIN sings "You'll Never Walk Alone" by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Jordin chose this song because it has a great message of hope. Jordin looks very beautiful tonight. Ooooh, she starts off, and I get goosebumps. She bottoms out a little bit in her lower register, and the vibrato gets a little wobbly. I got the feeling that Jordin is somewhat emotional, and she appeared to be close to tears as she was singing. As we all know, your throat clenches when you cry, hence the "lump in your throat" feeling. I think that, at various times, she had difficulty pushing past it. But this was a powerful vocal. It was heartfelt. It was beautiful. It was genuine. It was real, great way to close the show.
So tonight was a great night for a good cause. Vote for your favorite and help to fight poverty!!! Vote like crazy because, while you're lending a helping hand, you're also keeping your favorite in the game! VOTE!!!!