So who delivered, as Simon Cowell bluntly put it, “the $5 million song” last night?
Truthfully? No one.
If we're being honest – and after hearing the judges once again be of little help, doesn't someone have to be? – none of the six performances were truly great. Melanie Amaro's version of “Listen,” which L.A. Reid called her “$50 million song,” was so close to Beyonce's original and so lacking in the proper emotional delivery that it almost cancels out how technically well she sang the notes.
Amaro has only mastered one move – the “diva looking down from the heavens on the little people” stare – and, despite how well the song suits her actual position, couldn't convey its desperation. She should have used a little of her confusion from her duet with R. Kelly on “I Believe I Can Fly,” where Kells forgot where he was and tried to out-sing her at the end.
Lucky for her, the other guys weren't any better.
Josh Krajcik, who really should have given her a run for the money, kind of faltered. His acoustic blues version of “At Last” was good, but its arrangement needed some straightening out. It should have built to a big ending, but instead it had a bunch of smaller moments and no big payoff. Someone – if not Nicole Scherzinger – should have helped him with that. Someone also should have talked him out of singing the dreary “Uninvited” with Alanis Morrisette. Not only did he seem scared of her at the beginning, but their voices didn't fit together at the end. How un-for-TU-nate.
And then there's Chris Rene, who must be an extraordinarily nice guy, because the judges all seem to love him when he can barely sing on key. Somehow Paula Abdul tried to defend this saying, “this competition isn't about note for note being perfect.” Wait! It isn't?
Rene was missing notes right and left in “Complicated,” which was a terrible choice compounded by how off key Avril Lavigne was as she tried to sing with him. He smartly reprised “Young Homie” as his final song, which he knows well enough to sell, even if it pales next to all the other classics he could've chosen.
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Theoretically, Amaro should win based on her performances last night, but because it's up to America, it's really anyone's game. If Rene wins, though, it will really be because he has the “X Factor,” as in a mystery to me.
Melanie Amaro, “Listen”
Josh Krajcik, “At Last”
Melanie Amaro feat. R. Kelly, “I Believe I Can Fly”
Chris Rene, “Young Homie”
Josh Krajcik feat. Alanis Morrisette, “Uninvited”
Chris Rene feat. Avril Lavigne, “Complicated”
WILL WIN Melanie
SHOULD WIN Melanie
ACTUALLY WON Melanie