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The Washington Post's TV writer blogs:

Chris [sligh] sings dc Talk's "We All Want to Be Loved." It was by far the night's strongest performance but the judges aren't kind, though Randy says it was the night's best vocal, which is damning with faint praise.

--So is Chris a believer? I don't know too many people who enjoy DC Talk who aren't believers.

I should know that song, but don't.

Yeah, Chris is, and so are Lakisha and Melinda. Really, a bunch of people this year are. Find out more here. The song was track #8 from Supernatural.

FWIW, Phil Stacey sang 'Water', originally performed by Christy Starling, another CCM artist. So we had two distinctly Christian songs in a row last night.

Gosh, I'd vote for Chris based solely on his musical tastes. Ben Folds, Fiona Apple, Imogen Heap and Jon Foreman? Count me a fan!

As to the Stephanie/Fantasia reference, I meant it was something we've already seen, only three seasons ago. I just think when it comes down to it, based off of finalists and near finalists in the past, the winner will be more unique.

Edited by Joel C

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So Christian, you wanna rethink that thought about Melinda? :)

She was great. Again. I wonder if that version of that tune is well known? Like Melinda's take on "My Funny Valentine," I'm guessing these soulful renditions might have been popular within the black community, but I'd never heard either "version" of these songs. That's not so surprising with "Valentine," a standard that's been recorded by a zillion different artists; but last night's song -- never heard it sung that way. I LOVED it!

I think the judges were a little hard of Stephanie, who was fabulous. Lakesha is the one contestant who can pull off a Whitney tune, but I couldn't help but think, as powerful as her voice is, that her rendition was "a little karaoke," ya know? That's the double-edged sword that never gets pointed out in regard to those who do Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston songs. If someone *can* pull them off, they often end up singing the song *exactly* as Whitney and Stevie did. Impressive and not easy to pull off, but still "karaoke."

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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  • 1 month later...
Ms. Dolittle should win, handily. She's one of the best contestants I've ever heard.

I know some of us are fans of Ceili Rain--an Irish-American CCM pub band.

Mindy Doo was one of the backup singers on their latest album.

She also sang backup on a friend of mine's album... Kitty Cleveland's "Be Not Afraid." So I have two degrees of separation here (which, with $3.98, can get me a Starbucks' latte).

I'm just sayin'...

Nick

Nick Alexander

Keynote, Worship Leader, Comedian, Parodyist

Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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So Melinda is a Christian? I would have guessed, but the local Christian music station a couple of days ago said that Phil and Jordin were Christians -- no mention of Melinda.

Melinda's performance was just great. I'd never heard that song, but now I never want to -- not if it's Faith Hill's version.

I felt a little cheated by the non-elimination. As for the broader show, which I expected to like, excesses and all, I really was put off by "Idol's" mile-wide-and-an-inch-deep approach to problems on two continents. A narrower focus would've benefited "Idol Gives Back," rather than a "let's conquer all poverty in our time," with comparisons between people who are literally on the brink of death from AIDS and starvation to kids in an after-school program because mommy has a hard time paying the bills.

I'm sorry, but as sucky as it is to live with a parent who barely gets by paycheck to paycheck, those kids in that program didn't look like they were going hungry.

And so I was conquered by cynicism once again...

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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It's painfully clear why Jordin and Phil--but not Melinda--would have been mentioned on a Christian radio station. (Phil is a PK.)
Okay, I'm out of the loop--I don't watch AI, but I've been following the leads. Perhaps you can PM me so I can avoid embarrassment as to why Melinda would not be mentioned at a Christian radio station?

Nick Alexander

Keynote, Worship Leader, Comedian, Parodyist

Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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I am curious as to what your observation was, Alan. I don't watch American Idol, but I just looked at the contestants' photos and noticed that Phil is white and at least two of the other names you mentioned are black -- is that what you were getting at? (Kind of like how "gospel" music and "Christian" music are segregated in music stores?)

I remember being rather irritated during the first season of Survivor that everyone made a big deal of white boy Dirk Been's Christianity, but nobody seemed to notice black girl Ramona Gray's Christianity (even though she mentioned it in the diary that Entertainment Weekly published, complete with multiple Bible quotes, etc.). But maybe my memory of that discrepancy is causing me to speculate that your observation was something quite different from what it actually was.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Back to observations about the show, while you guys converse via PM. :)

--Jeff Beck is great.

--If it hadn't been for Earth, Wind and Fire's performance, there would've been an awful lot o' white folks on stage singing about the poor black kids.

--I was reminded that Groban's single, "You Raise Me Up," has been "baptized" by Christian radio and is now in regular rotation on the CCM station in my market. (Blech!)

--Annie Lennox is classy. Girlfriend can play that piano, too!

--Lip-synch videos are dreadful.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's Bee Gees night, y'all.

From USA Today:

Melinda, joining Byrd after shopping, is in a quandary. She really feels Love You Inside Out, but drops it because the chorus seems to have sexual overtones. "My pastor's coming" to the show, she says.

It's an Idol's prerogative to change her mind. "Just a side note," Byrd says, greeting visitors to Melinda's second session. "We changed all the songs."

Love You Inside Out is back in, after executive producer Nigel Lythgoe explained that lyrics such as "loves you inside out, backwards and forwards" aren't a sexual reference.

--Uh, OK. ::blush::

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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GOODBYE, Blake. Tired and odd...

...Blake gone this week (unless he carries the teenybopper hormone vote)

Well, I guess we all come to different conclusions...I like Blake's performances; they've jazzed up an otherwise tedious and unremarkable line up of half-par performers. I think Melinda is definitely on a different level (and my pick to win), but I'd take Blake any day over Lakisha. ick. For her, it's like taking Melinda's performances, stripping them of any and all professionalism and grace, and injecting a massive overdose of poorly induced vibrato.

This season has seemed throughout, excepting those two aforementioned performers, to be somewhat of a joke. I feel sorry for Melinda. She belongs on a much higher plane than her fellow performers that season six has produced.

Edited by Joel C

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Blake reminds me of Kevin Smith. (not the director, the other white Dc Talk). He's trying too hard to be different which is coming off more as insecurity rather than talent. And he should ditch the AI stylists and go back to his original look. His appearance seems messy.

Jordin reminds me of Sara Ramirez (Callie from Grey's Anatomy and star of Broadway's Spamelot), the sexy big-boned lady. Jordin just stands out as a star and is my pick for the win.

Melinda has the talent, but comparing her to Gladys Knight and Tina Turner and other older women doesn't help her cause. Comes across as too polished and too professional. I actually would not be surprised if Melinda say bye bye next week.

Edited by run
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Not wholly unexpected, but still tragic that the best singer didn't even make it to the final two. And this will be a MUCH less interesting finale than Jordin/Melinda. THAT would've been a battle royale. This ... this will just be ... a pillow fight.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I mustn't write here what my first thoughts were...I won't even bother with the finale. Who cares?

That Blake even made into the finals was ridiculous, but for him to beat out Melinda in a singing competition is scandalous.

It wasn't as much about Blake making it through for me. I think he's a pretty talented performer. I know I might be alone in that estimation, and I'm fine with it. I think he'll grow into a fine performer. No performer is at their best on AI. Given some time and a little coaching, he'll be great.

But it's obvious that Melinda was far superior to either other contestant. I'm not outraged; I'm a little surprised, but not a lot. Blake and Jordin are both hip and young, and fit the AI demographic really well. Even if their skill is of a lesser level, their musical sensibilities fit the modern consumer model better.

I have this theory that apart from a couple lucky breaks, for Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood (both very talented), actually winning AI can be a curse of sorts; you're attached to the AI contract, and you have to do it the way the record company wants you to do it. You have to get a CD out within a few months. However, if you lose, you have the ability to assess where you are, and then decide where you would best fit. I'd far rather be a runner-up, than the actual winner, in some respects.

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So the official “AI” single

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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OK, everyone knows that I thought Melinda was, hands down, the best singer this year. And last year, I thought Mandisa was the best singer. Both women are Christians and have roots in gospel music.

So is it just me, or can it be *objectively* said that Melinda

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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OK, everyone knows that I thought Melinda was, hands down, the best singer this year. And last year, I thought Mandisa was the best singer. Both women are Christians and have roots in gospel music.

So is it just me, or can it be *objectively* said that Melinda’s performance with Bebe and Cece Winans last night was the most electrifying performance of this entire season?

Objectively speaking, I'd agree with you. Thank goodness she didn't have to compete anymore to show that she's far and above ANY of the contestants this year (and IMO in a lot of past years too). I gotta say, I'm not sure which I enjoyed better, Melinda or Cece! It was a pretty close call, and that's sayin' a lot, considering the Wynans.

Running a close second for performance of the night for me was Taylor's first performance, with that stellar end on the harmonica. That guy can REALLY entertain. He doesn't belong in the American Idol crowd any more than Melinda does. They're both from another time altogether. I don't think I'd buy his current album (too clean and vanilla, industry to blame), but I'd go see him live in a heartbeat.

In third was Jordin and Reuben, with another gospel-type song. I was glad to see that Reuben is more than just a blob on stage now. He looks as if he's slimmed up quite a bit, and really had quite a stage presence. I actually really enjoyed their performance.

Edited by Joel C

Listen to my tunes by visiting my website, or come say hello on Facebook and Twitter

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Fun Fact: The "Never Again guy" that the Kelly Clarkson song's about - you know, the one who Seacrest said he'd hate to be - is a good buddy of mine. Good times...

"You guys don't really know who you're dealing with."

"Oh yeah, and who exactly are we dealing with?"

"I'm the mother flippin' rhymenoceros."

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Fun Fact: The "Never Again guy" that the Kelly Clarkson song's about - you know, the one who Seacrest said he'd hate to be - is a good buddy of mine. Good times...

Oooo... would telling all constitute gossip? I can't see how it wouldn't. But hey -- YOU opened this can o' worms. So spill. :)

I thought the song was very Alannis Morrisette. I liked it, although I wonder how the crunching guitar will sound on the studio version.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Fun Fact: The "Never Again guy" that the Kelly Clarkson song's about - you know, the one who Seacrest said he'd hate to be - is a good buddy of mine. Good times...

Oooo... would telling all constitute gossip? I can't see how it wouldn't. But hey -- YOU opened this can o' worms. So spill. :)

I thought the song was very Alannis Morrisette. I liked it, although I wonder how the crunching guitar will sound on the studio version.

Well, I guess I could be biased, but it comes across as more "petty" to me. I mean, "I bet it stinks to see my face everywhere" or whatever that line is? Anyway, when the song first came out, his wife made sure to point out that her finger hasn't turned green yet. Though I guess she at least gets referred to as a "trophy wife." That's gotta sort of be a compliment, right? :)

"You guys don't really know who you're dealing with."

"Oh yeah, and who exactly are we dealing with?"

"I'm the mother flippin' rhymenoceros."

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  • 1 month later...

FWIW, USA Today

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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  • 1 year later...

Yes, I'm still watching "American Idol." FWIW, a Beliefnet blogger is is keeping up with who the Christian singers are in this year's audition rounds.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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After last year's shameless exploitation of obviously ill and broken people, I can't bring myself to watch at all, at least not the preliminary bits.

Yeah, and already this year -- after all the talk about how the show would be moving away from that sort of thing -- there have been one or two people in the audition rounds that appeared, to me at least, to be slower than the others. And I've watched only half of the hours broadcast so far this season!

The show could do with less of the bad auditions, whether from mentally challenged contestants or just the usual delusional batch of horrible singers who think they're stars in the making.

But I've concluded that I'm a sucker for "inspirational" back stories of hard-luck contestants who have "one last chance," etc., and who then perform well. It's the same thing I experience every time I watch "Extreme Home Makeover." I want the best for certain people who have faced hard times. However, I feel no pity whatsoever for people with hard-luck stories who can't sing.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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  • 2 months later...

A cruel comment over at the Post's TV blog in reference to last night's Stevie Wonder mid-performance shoutout: "I love you, Barack Obama!"

Stevie the singer: as good as it gets.

Stevie the political pundit: as good as his eyesight.

Posted by: DreamOutLoud | March 27, 2009 11:26 AM

Cruel, but it made me laugh, probably because I'm still not a big Barack Obama fan.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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