”American Idol”: A sad farewell
She’s a dancin’ sistah who can’t lose.
Yeah, okay, so technically, LaKisha Jones did, in fact, lose — or, as I like to say, not finish first — on American Idol‘s sixth season. And to be completely objective, she probably shouldn’t have won. But in my mind, Kiki will always be a winner, thanks in part to her stylish, saucy exit from the competition tonight.
There was her hilarious ”sexy uggh” imitation of Jessica Alba in Fantastic Four. There was her sly remark about being distracted on performance night by the hope that she might get another kiss from Simon. And there was that somber comment about the possibility of being eliminated: ”If I go home, hopefully I’ll remember the words, and I don’t wanna cry” — the kind of unvarnished, un-media-trained honesty that kept me rooting for her all season long, no matter how many times she disappointed me.
Unfortunately, LaKisha’s departure didn’t quite work out the way she’d dreamed it. She shed quite a few tears as she watched the clip package of her ”Idol journey,” and she botched her lyrics, too, repeating the line about ”The New York Times‘ effect on man” during her potent, jazzy, and slightly flawed rendition of ”Stayin’ Alive.”
But, really, so what? To me, LaKisha Jones embodies everything I love about Idol. Just a year ago, she was a single mom working a 9-to-5 bank job, perhaps holding on to a dream of making it big as a recording artist. Today, she’s a household name, the fourth most-popular competitor on America’s greatest talent competition. Whether or not the Idol powers-that-be pick up their option to sign LaKisha to a deal (I kinda doubt it), and whether her career ultimately trends more Baby V. than J. Hud, she still managed something extraordinary.
As Paula (who’s been way more lucid than Randy these last few weeks, no?) told LaKisha and Blake while they awaited word on their fates tonight, ”It’s hard what you do. It’s exhausting. You deserve a big, big career ahead of you.”
And really, all Paula needed to do was point to exhibits A (Pink) and B (Barry Gibb) to show how difficult it is to get up on that stage and belt it out in front of a massive TV audience. Not to be overtly cruel — although I kind of need to dig my way out of the sapfest of the preceding paragraphs — but Pink’s performance of ”Who Knew” was so nondescript that I’d actually forgotten it happened till I reviewed my notes from tonight’s episode.
As for this week’s guest mentor warbling his way though ”To Love Somebody,” here’s a question to ponder: Does every vocal coach really need to perform on results night next season? Wouldn’t it have been better to remember Diana Ross, Peter Noone, Mr. Gibb, and Gwen Stefani in their primes, rather than suffer through their post-peak wheezing? (Go ahead, Gwen fans, let loose.)
Oh, and on the subject of letting loose, how about Gibb’s alarmingly sheer black shirt? Whatever the FCC fined CBS for Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction, it’s going to have to hit Fox doubly hard, considering that both of Barry’s nipples took center stage tonight. Note to self: I didn’t need to see that! The only article of clothing more dubious was Blake’s abominable ”tuxedo-print” T-shirt. Combine that eyesore with the earsore of Tuesday night’s ”You Should Be Dancin’,” and I’m starting to wonder if there’s some truth to the conspiracy theories that dude doesn’t want to make the final two. Also, the dark hair? Not working.
Thankfully, Jordin’s jaunty Empire-waist dress saved the night. Much as I’m hoping my favorite TV Watch message-board comments will save this particular column. So without further ado…
5. Master Survivor: ”Someone PLEASE tell Jordin Sparks to STOP doing those dumb, irritating hand signals while Ryan reads the numbers! She looks like a complete dork!”
4. Murderpuss: ”Why did Barry Gibb seem so flummoxed, saying ‘This song was originally written for a man with falsetto’ in almost every comment? Who did he think he was mentoring? Alvin and the Chipmunks?”
3. [Inappropriate alias redacted]: ”LaKisha has some talent, but she is using too much tough love on her songs. Girl, you have to hug the melodies once in a while; spanking them all the time isn’t the way.”
2. Stan: ”Where last year we were sent to download original versions of ‘Black Horse and the Cherry Tree’ and ‘A Little Less Conversation,’ this year I am just wondering if finally it WILL be the most intense House ever.”
1. Q: ”My brother used to get in trouble for making those noises during dinner that Blake makes when he’s ‘singing.’ ”
What did you think of tonight’s results? Did you notice Melinda brought back her ”stunned face” when she learned she was safe? What did you make of all the sound-mix woes on the group performances? And which of the final three is most likely to take home the crown two weeks from now?
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