Silver Chips Online's three judges weighed in on the March 24, 2004 episode of American Idol 3.
Tonight, American Idol's 11 finalists took the country music genre and ran with it. Everyone brought a piece of themselves into their song, and, while there are no clear stars yet, there certainly are no clear losers.
Diana DeGarmo: Singing Martina McBride's "Broken Wing," Diana received the first standing ovation of the night. Her natural talent and obvious comfort onstage made up for a dull song and rough beginning. Diana will be around this competition for a long time.
George Huff: George Huff is a star, 'nuff said. George picked a perfect song in John Michael Montgomery's "I Can Love you Like That" and got in touch with his ever-widening female fan base. While George's cute, goofy side continued to come through, this performance showed that George can be serious if he wants. This flexibility of style is what will keep George a contender for quite a while.
Fantasia Barrino: Another finalist who consistently connects with her audience, Fantasia is a contestant with the "X-factor." Fantasia is my favorite to win the competition, and this performance of Willie Nelson's "Always on my Mind" confirmed Fantasia's undeniable skills as a singer. The performance was classy, flawless and as close to perfect as anyone got tonight.
John Stevens: John is quite the performer, and his song choice, "King of the Road," by Roger Miller, fit in perfectly with his Dean Martin-like style. Although he certainly pulled it off, this song selection was a bit safe. To stay on top, John should let loose and try something new next week.
Camile Velasco: Camile sang the Eagles' "Desperado," putting her own soulful twist on the country classic. She couldn't quite make the song her own, however, due to a stage fright that has troubled her throughout the competition. Camile faltered at several points during the song and needs to relax more onstage to stay afloat in the coming weeks.
Jennifer Hudson: Jennifer came into her own tonight with her song "No One Else on Earth" by Wynona Judd. Jennifer made a real attempt to connect with the audience, trying to step it up from last week when she was one of the bottom three. Jennifer finished strong despite a pitchy beginning.
Jon Peter Lewis: Jon Peter showed the audience tonight that while we all know he can dance, he can also sing. Although lacking some of the bounce he has shown in weeks past, Jon Peter pulled the performance off, and my guess is that he will stick around until next week at least.
Matt Rogers: Matt tried to shed his jock persona tonight, singing a peppier tune by Lonestar called "Amazed." The performance was pitchy in some parts, but, like Jon Peter, Matt is a dark horse who will be difficult to
knock out of the competition.
La Toya London: LaToya has talent and, boy, did she show it tonight. Singing Garth Brooks' "Ain't Going Nowhere 'til the Sun Comes Up," LaToya bounced all around the stage, engaging the entire audience in a fun, unexpected performance. LaToya is very versatile, a quality that will serve her well in future weeks.
Amy Adams: Amy was in the bottom three last week, but tonight's performance redeemed her completely. Amy sang the Dixie Chicks' "Sin Wagon" and showed that she can be a captivating performer with a big, powerful voice. She took the perfect song and made it her own without missing a beat.
Although no one performer stood out as far below the rest tonight, the few that are at-risk are those who have yet to secure a loyal fan base. I predict that the bottom three tomorrow will be Jennifer Hudson, Jasmine Trias and Matt Rogers. Unfortunately, though she is one of the better vocalists in this competition, I predict that Jennifer will leave tomorrow. Her performance tonight was simply not enough to bring her back from the bottom.
This week of American Idol was dominated by a country music theme. Overall, the performers had exceptional presentations, but there were a few exceptions towards the end of the program.
The astonishing talent of the 17-year-old Diana DiGarmo shined through in her performance of Martina McBride's "Broken Wing," which was a brave song choice. She had a rich and deep tone quality, but she could work on her choice of ensemble. She did appear, though, to be an American Idol. She's a bit too peppy, but as long as she has a good voice, I am okay with her.
George Huff performed an energized rendition of John Michael Montgomery's "I Can Love You Like That." He had too much of a raspy quality to his voice tonight, almost as if a frog was caught in his throat and couldn't find its way out, but his performance was serious and his mood suited the theme of the song.
Fantasia Barrino performed "Always on My Mind" by Willy Nelson. She had excellent voice control and made a wise fashion choice. She showed good contrast tonight, since her style was more calm and subdued and less bubbling over the top with enthusiasm.
DiGarmo was not the only teenager to put on an excellent performance; 16-year-old John Stevens' performance of "King of the Road" by Roger Miller showed star quality. His performance was so perfect it sounded like a studio recording. He had Frank Sinatra properties and a cool, jazz-like quality to his performance.
Camille Velasco sang "Desperado" by the Eagles. Her performance was airy and lacked any semblance of substance. It was too forced, and her anxiety will be the death of her in this competition unless she figures out how to conquer it.
Jennifer Hudson is another contestant that has no real shot at making a true mark on American Idol. Hudson sang "No One Else on Earth" by Winona Judd. She started off with some pitch problems, then tried to pump the song up with more energy, but she was all over the place. She has a good voice, but does not have the stuff to be in the top three of American Idol.
As the show progressed, the quality of the performances went downhill. Jon Peter Lewis sang "She Believes in Me" by Jimmi Rodgers. Lewis had a performance like one of a second-rate Broadway singer. When Paula only says that a performance is "pleasant," there really is no redemption for the performer.
Jasmine Trias sang "Breathe" by Faith Hill. "Breathe" is a song that has a great deal of energy. Amazingly, Trias found a way to make the song monotone and wearisome.
Matt Rogers sang "Amazed" by Lone Star. Honestly, his performance was just plain awful. He sounded like he was performing in a bad Brady Bunch Movie.
La Toya London's performance of "Ain't Going Nowhere 'Til the Sun Comes Up" by Garth Brooks picked the show up. She is a very versatile performer and can fit the moods of any genre of music that she sings. She got the audience involved but kept their attention on her voice, not her movement on stage.
Amy Adams closed out the night with "Sin Wagon" by the Dixie Chicks. She should be considered one of the top three performances of the entire night.
For best performance, La Toya London gets my vote. She had outstanding stage presence and had tremendous ability to connect with the audience.
For worst performance of the night, I would emphatically nominate Jon Peter Lewis. He is a shallow performer, and doesn't have any kind of star quality. Since he is a pretty boy, though, he will most likely get at least one more week on the show. My prediction for this week's cast off would have to be Jasmine Trias, since her performance was so lackluster.
I was tossed around, as first it went up, then down and then came right back to where it started. No, I am not talking about a rollercoaster ride. I am talking about none other than American Idol.
This episode was one of the most shocking shows to date. The contestants who usually stun the audience with their voices did poorly, and those whose performances I usually look forward to were not half as strong as they usually are.
It started out with Diana DiGarmo, who I didn't think was a strong singer at first but she proved me wrong with her performance. Although Simon said DiGarmo did not connect with her audience, she did spectacularly, and the crowd jumping to its feet after her performance showed that she had a connection with the audience.
Then the performances went down. George Huff, who usually has a satisfactory performance, was a bit weak while singing. His I-need-to-clear-my-throat-because-something-is-stuck-in-it voice and unusual personality (talking to his hands!) is not good enough to win this competition.
My spirits were lifted once Fantasia Barrino came on stage. Barrino can really sing and every time she opens her mouth, my eyes widen. She switched up her style this week with a slow song, but made the song her own. Simon, who was the most critical I have ever seen him during the American Idol finals, suggested that she not try to appear "middle-aged" and suggested that she stick to her young, vibrant personality.
Following Barrino was the boy who should not be in this competition, John Stevens. He had his best performance tonight. Before, I didn't understand why they did not reject him as they did Jimmy Hung, but Stevens was finally able to prove why he was chosen. It was a well-chosen song and he sang it well, but he still can't win this competition.
Sadly, the same goes for Camile Velasco. I was rooting for her to win, but every week her voice gets weaker and she gets less confident. It won't be long until she is gone.
I wasn't half as disappointed in Velasco as I was in Jennifer Hudson. She is sticking to the same style of singing, and pretty soon it is going to get boring. Simon said she can't win this competition, and if she does not change her style around, Simon might be right.
Simon did not say that about Jon Peter Lewis, but he should have. Lewis changed from his traditional style and sang a slow song, but he was so off-key that I wished he picked a fast song and danced instead of destroying such a beautiful song.
Lewis was not alone; Jasmine Trias decided that it was okay to take the beautiful song "Breathe" by Faith Hill and make it sound horrible.
I could sit through Trias' performance, but it was hard during Matthew Rogers' performance. He was epitome of terrible! Whoever told him to show his softer side should be locked away! Simon told him he shouldn't smile, but Rogers told Ryan Seacrest that he would keep on smiling. He should really listen to Simon, however, because nobody wants to see his crooked teeth.
I was going down the rollercoaster for a long time, but the downward portion was over once Le Toya London came on stage. She took a risk by using her soulful gospel voice on a country song, but it worked out. It was the only performance all night that Simon really liked, and he told London that it was exactly what he was looking for.
Next was Amy Adams, and she did wonderfully. She had never done country music before, but it suited her voice perfectly. I thought her journey in American Idol would not be long, but I can see her staying for a long time, because country music is perfect for her voice.
This was one big rollercoaster ride, but tomorrow won't bring any surprises; Matthew Rogers is next one to go. He is what American Idol does not need.
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 record...you … 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 »
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