American Idol - April 20

April 21, 2004, midnight | By Ellie Blalock, Adedeji Ogunfolu, Shewit Woldu | 20 years, 2 months ago

Following the April 20 episode of American Idol, Silver Chips Online's three judges weighed in.

Ellie Blalock

Tonight's episode of American Idol was a "Barry Manilow Special," complete with the singer himself as a guest judge. The contestants triumphed as Barry's songs tailored themselves to each contestant's vocal nuances.

Diana DeGarmo: Diana, the 16-year-old phenom, sang Manilow's "One Voice." She sounded somewhat quiet and tentative in the beginning of the song and was a bit flat on some of her softer notes. However, without a doubt, Diana pulled the song off and performed especially well near the end.

George Huff: George's rendition of "Tryin' to Get that Feeling Again" was a bit off. The song did not suit George's voice well, nor his style. As Randy said, the song is a simple one, and George tried to do too much with it by adding runs that seemed out of place.

Jennifer Hudson: Jennifer has a strong, powerful voice but often tries to overdo her songs. Regardless, this performance of "Weekend in New England" was successful and one of Jennifer better performances.

Jasmine Trias: Jasmine has a good, wide range to her voice and really let it show tonight, singing "I'll Never Love this Way Again." Jasmine accomplished a subtle, understated performance that certainly did
her justice.

La Toya London: La Toya played it a little on the safe side this evening, but since she is a talented singer and one of the front-runners of this competition, it shouldn't hurt her much. In this performance, La Toya was all power, lacking the melodic quality to her voice which makes her such a unique vocalist.

John Stevens: John Stevens realizes now that to stay alive on American Idol, he has to pull out all the stops. While his effort was not amazing, it was one of his best, and as usual, an intriguing performance (in a good way). John sang the Manilow classic "Mandy" and let the soft, angelic quality of his voice do the work.

Fantasia Barrino: Fantasia ended the episode on a good note. She sang "It's a Miracle" and added a gospel twist to the tune that brought the stage and the audience to life. Fantasia is a natural performer, though this performance was not her best of the competition.

As the contest heats up, it gets harder and harder to predict who will be voted off the next day. Last week, Diana and John were on the chopping block, and I don't believe their efforts tonight will save them in the public's eyes. This week's bottom three will be Diana, John and Jennifer. I predict that John Stevens will leave tomorrow.

Adedeji Ogunfolu

With seven contestants left in the competition, the suspense is building and viewers are now seeing who will shine. This week's Barry
Manilow special was different because the contestants were able to tweak the original arrangements of the famous singer's songs so that the tunes would bring out the best attributes of their voices, which worked better for some people more than others.

Diana DeGarmo sang "One Voice". The beginning was very treacherous, and DeGarmo did a good job of pulling it off well. The rest of the performance was average, and during the intense sections of the song, she sounded as if she was straining to hit notes, which detracted greatly from the overall quality of her performance. Despite these flaws, her overall performance was her best thus far.

George Huff's performance of "Tryin' to Get that Feeling Again" showed emotion, but every week it seems that his voice loses a bit of strength. He was always under the pitch and sounded all over the place.

On the other hand, Jennifer Hudson is one of the performers on the show who has raised the bar each week. She brought the house down with her performance of "Weekend in New England," which was brilliant. She has done a good job on perfecting her low range, and she has become a more controlled performer. Her riffs and high range sent chills up my spine.

Jasmine Trias started off by establishing a strong presence. This week, her voice sounded much richer but she was not able to control the technical aspects of her presentation. Her performance was strong, but it was definitely not top-three material.

La Toya London is a performer that always manages to induce a sense of amazement from all who watch her sing. Her performance of "all the time" was very soulful. She is very consistent in the quality of her performances, and she has such control in all extremes of her vocal range.

John Stevens has had miraculous luck in the American Idol competition. His previous performances have been plain awful. This week, though, his performance was more bearable, but viewers need to realize he does not deserve to be where he is in the competition. He started his selection stronger than he ended it.

Fantasia Barrino's performance of "America" was robust, but it was definitely not one of her best. As always, she was energetic and moving. She gets points for not choosing the safe route in her song selection.

While I have always provided insight into what performer will be ejected from the competition, I have found that my predictions are always wrong. This week, I believe that Jasmine Trias will be the next to leave, not necessarily because she deserves to, but because John Stevens has that young-teen fan base that votes based on which opponent is the cutest and not based on who is the most talented. Maybe the American public will do the show some justice and vote John Stevens off of the show, but based on the voting trends, Jasmine looks like the next likely person whose flame will be extinguished.

Shewit Woldu

This week's American Idol was one of the best shown. Most of the contestants knew it was crunch time and sang their hearts away. The two that didn't understand how important it was to sing their best tonight will not stay in this competition very long.
One of those people was George Huff, who usually gives a safe performance but did not tonight. He did not show off his voice as much as he did in the past, so this performance may stick in some watchers' minds and cost him his spot in the competition.
Jasmine Trias sang better than she usually does and will probably make it into the top five. She improved tonight and demonstrated that she is here to stay.
Fantasia Barrino brought church to American Idol. She sang extremely well and will make it to the top two. She sings amazingly, and there is an 80 percent chance of her winning this competition.
Le Toya London, as usual, sang amazingly. She also has a good of chance of winning this competition, but Fantasia has a better chance.
Diana DiGarmo had one of the greatest improvements this week. Her voice sounded amazing, and she sang so well that she might have saved herself from the bottom three this week.
Jennifer Hudson improved as well. It definitely wasn't her best performance yet, but it was good enough not to send her home this week.
But for John Stevens, I made up my own song, called "Hit the Road, John, and Don't You Come Back No More." He did horribly and does not deserve to be in this competition. If America does not vote him off, then something is truly wrong.

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Ellie Blalock. Ellie is a SENIOR in the CAP program at Blair. She enjoys such activities as traveling, being able to say "water" in six languages and having heart-to-heart chats with eccentric politicians. If you're in need of a laugh, please ask Ellie about her driving … More »

Adedeji Ogunfolu. Adedeji Ogunfolu is now a senior. Besides working dilligently on the Silver Chips Online staff, he is an extremely enthusiastic musician. He is not ashamed to tell people that he has been to band camp, but he prefers to call it orchestra camp. He has … More »

Shewit Woldu. More »

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