You say jump, the Idols say how high

2011-08-21 20:59
As we've discussed before, there's no lack of talent on the Idols stage this year. That said, whether a contestant stays or goes depends on so many sensitive variables, like honesty, attention to detail and confidence.

What happened to all of that? The group's collective need to please fills me with pity and bile. Urgh.

R&B week's mentor Loyiso was a pleasure and his enthusiasm seemed as genuine as the contestants' nerves. Plus he really added to their performances.

However, it was a crappy week. I had a problem with every performance but one.

Freddie was simply intoxicating with his Amy Winehouse tribute. His command of his voice is superb and he corners those notes like he's on rails. (Thanks for the line, Vivian Ward.) He was also the only contestant who genuinely seemed to be having a blast.

The rest of the Idols all disappointed on some level.

Here's my shit-list.  

I did not Rock With Kelly. She should sing or dance – she's not good at doing both. Few people are. The venue's tinny acoustics did her no favours, either.

Dave's Sexual Healing was vocally fantastic – but boring. He's gone from hero to zero. Instead of dialing back the crazy he turned it off. It's time to learn about moderation.

Christina Aguilera's Voice Within is indeed a big song, and it's almost as if Dene was hiding from it. The performance would have been terrific had she not been so afraid of messing it up.

Please can we scrap Just The Way You Are from the playlist? No Mark, it's not a great song. You're a great singer - so stick to songs of the same calibre. If Crushanda's allowed to stick to what she's good at, so are you.

Erin is unfortunately on a losing streak here. While I agree with Randall that this was a big improvement on last week, the tempo of her version of Beyonce's Halo was all wrong and she sounded more like a nervous Tracy Chapman.

I love John Legend's Ordinary People, and while Lefa did a good enough job covering it, it lacked light and shade. The volume and tone were the same throughout. A shame, really.

Crushanda was made to sing Whitney Houston ballads, but she was also given a tongue with which to enunciate her words. She was so excited to belt out the notes she left her consonants in the dressing room.

Dave's letting go of his defining trait to "show a different side", Lefa and Crushanda are making silly, totally avoidable mistakes and Mark is hell-bent on proving Randall wrong. All this determination is misdirected as a result of being so scared of screwing up.

Idols is obviously a popularity contest, but desperation and nerves are far more likely to be the downfall of a contestant than song choice. While the Idols have a spot on the stage and a mic in their hand, they should make their best of it. The honesty will resonate louder than any recognisable pop tune.

Speaking of playing to your strengths, Randall keeps ragging on Mark's confidence and his other “musical career” (in case you didn't know, Mark is the vocalist for the band 12th Avenue), but isn't every contestant entitled to use their strengths to their advantage? Let’s not forget that Crushanda was also a vocal performer before entering Idols. Just saying.

Once again I fear for Erin's safety this week, and I predict Kelly could be in the bottom three.

Let us know who your favourites are.

The need to please got the better of the Idols contestants as they overdosed on nerves and left their guts at home this week, writes Sam Brighton.
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