Idolator’s American Idolatry: Sanjaya Wants To Kiss You A Lot

Apr 11th, 2007 // 8 Comments

sanjaya_besame_mucho.jpg
Can someone please clue us in as to the point of “Latin Night”? There’s a wide repertory of songs to choose from, and the best the American Idol hopefuls can come up with is three Gloria Estefan songs (including a cover!) and two songs on which Carlos Santana was a sideman? We know the whole point of this show is to be somewhat cheesily “American,” despite Simon’s constant “karaoke”/”cruise ship” put-downs, but really, the fact that Sanjaya was the only person to break free from the pack by singing a song that hadn’t been given a splashy pop-star treatment in the past 25 years (well, unless you count Frank Drebin) is a big sign that this theme is a seriously flawed one.

THE DUELING GLORIAS: It’s always a rough night when 75% of the female contestants try to make Gloria Estefan songs into their own. In order of being any good at all, you had Jordin, who did a passable version of “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” that, somehow, reminded Jennifer Lopez of Michael Jackson; Lakisha, who did an oddly bouncy version of “Conga” and whose cleavage-flaunting is getting almost as bad as a certain leggy lady’s penchant for showing off her assets; and Haley, who fell in line with our expectations by losing the beat on “Turn The Beat Around” and matching her short-shorts with a sheerish top and a plastered-on makeup job that aged her by about 25 years.

THE DUELING CARLOS SANTANA SIDEMEN: Carlos Santana was nowhere to be found on stage (perhaps he was off designing shoes somewhere), but that didn’t stop Chris and Phil from pilfering songs from “Supernatural.” Chris sang “Smooth”–an odd choice, given that it was all wrong for his vocal range, particularly on the low end. Phil, meanwhile, performed “Maria Maria,” and all we could think of during his performance was this: Can you see that dude going anywhere near Spanish Harlem? Yeah, neither can we.

MELINDA GETS DINGED: Simon was finally not impressed by Melinda; her take on “Sway” sounded a little bland to us, and while Randy was quick to throw out the Celia Cruz comparison, the cranky Brit thought the performance made her seem older, and even dangled the c-word in front of her. So what did she do? She said she was glad that Simon finally got the chance to critique her. Sure, that may be another sign of her low self-esteem, but it only made us love her a little more.

BLAKE WEARS ANOTHER HAT: And it must have been a magic one, because he somehow fooled the judges into thinking that his karaoke-lite rendition of “I Need To Know” was more than a Marc Anthony Xerox.

NAKED GUN IV: SANJAYATIME: His voice is still paper-thin, his attempt to look older by sprouting facial hair should probably wait until his season ends, and the way he was giving the camera the stinkeye sort of creeped us out–but at least he didn’t go up there and try to do that Santana/Michelle Branch song, right?

WHO WE VOTED FOR (IN OUR HEARTS): Maybe Melinda, for showing grace in the face of being compared to a lounge singer. But really, tonight’s show was just bottom of the barrel, thanks to poor song choices that stemmed from a not-well-thought-out theme.

WHO AMERICA WILL PROBABLY CUT: Haley, if the voters have ears. Phil, if they have a bug up their butt about authenticity in song choice.

PAULA ABDUL OUT-OF-IT SCALE: 2/10.

Tomorrow: Will Jennifer Lopez actually sound better than some of the Idol hopefuls? Tonight was so lousy that it’s possible!

American Idol [americanidol.com]
Earlier: Idolator’s American Idolatry archives
[Photo via Reality TV Magazine]

  1. Hallux Valgus

    all of the women were awful. This group couldn’t have less spice if Ricky Martin were coaching them. And I’m still not quite sure how covering Gloria Estefan covering Vicki Sue Robinson qualifies as “Latin” in any way, shape or form.

    I would’ve voted for Phil. His performance was passable, and he brought two (2!) wacky hats to Blake’s one wacky hat. You can’t argue wiith the math, people.

  2. derby

    It was a mediocre night to begin with, but the problem is that a song like “Turn the Beat Around” is already pretty annoying even when sung by a professional – so to hear Haley, legs and all, howl away makes it even more unbearable. Latin night just didn’t work. For the better singers it was week to ‘survive and advance,’ if I may borrow a catchphrase commonly used when discussing the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Still, who is choosing these songs? “Conga” isn’t a good song to sing when you’re by yourself in the shower. Oddly, last night was the first time in years(!) I was actually not irritated by the presence of Jennifer Lopez.

  3. The Gigante

    The hat that pinned back Phil’s ears was his best move yet. Simon calling out Haley’s ‘strategy’ was awesome. As was her outfit. She personifies how a casting couch came about.

    How many great latin artists and classic songs could they have choosen from and they pick the drivel. It pretty much says where we are at with the current musical landscape. Sad.

    I agree with Derby – any show that makes JLo the most likeable part of it is a bad one.

  4. Dan Gibson

    I didn’t see the show, but I do appreciate Sanjaya’s stylistic tribute to El DeBarge.

  5. Chris Molanphy

    I………………..I, um…

    [smallvoice] I thought Sanjaya was pretty good last night. [/smallvoice]

    He still has all the same problems – hits a few key notes, then completely drops syllables at the ends of lines like they’re not even there. And yeah, the bedroom eyes were slimy. But I thought his look actually worked (having brown skin, even if you’re from a different part of the world from Latin America, does help); he picked the best song of the night; and he sang it with the right tempo, tone and sense of the lyrics. Only Blake did better, I thought (count me among the judges giving him a pass), and maybe Melinda, too, though she was bland overall. But Sanjaya? Last night was the closest he’s come to being as solid as he was in the audition with his sister.

    Don’t worry, it’ll never happen again.

  6. janine

    @dennisobell: Thank you for confirming that I wasn’t entirely on crazy pills.

  7. chrisb

    Holy crap, DialIdol has LaKisha in last place!

  8. Xenu

    @DanGibson: That’s it! Thank you! It’s been killing me, but that’s who that is. He needs a thought bubble over that pic reading, “Wow, I can feel the beat of the rhythm of the night!”

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