Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Jon Bon Jovi shows Idol contestants how to rock...for the first time

With the Wizards mercifully out of their misery and the Mavs-Warriors game not on until later that night, it was time for me to get re-acquainted with a little Tuesday night program with which you may be familiar. Here we go, baby. American Idol. Da nannananananaaaaaa! Silver singing guy! Da nanananananaaaaa! Let's get it on. I know -- my verbal description is just like being there.

The bookend theme for
last night's episode was that the show raised $70 million for kids around the world, including Katrina victims. In a magnanimous gesture at the end of the show, President Bush appeared via video to thank Idol viewers for picking up his slack. Very nice, George. Now off to bed with you. With the American Idol address, plus the war bill veto, you've had a big, big day!

Time to rock...with that dude from the Goo Goo Dolls' dad!

Anyhoo, on to the music. With Haley, Sanjaya, and all the other chaff now separated from the general wheatiness of the remaining contestants, last night's episode was probably the best one of the season. Your guest mentor for the evening? Jon Bon Jovi. Or, as I like to call him, JBJ. While I enjoy JBJ just as much as anyone, I think Idol missed the mark a little bit. A few years ago, Bon Jovi enjoyed a little resurgence as Gen Xers discovered the pleasure of screeching out the lyrics to "Livin on a Prayer" on the karaoke stage or just before last call at the local alehouse. But unfortunately, 20- and 30-somethings have moved on in their search for retro acts that they can enjoy ironically while insisting they are not enjoying them ironically. Christopher Cross, anyone?

But as for the actual songs last night, they really were top shelf as far as American Idol goes. Jordin Sparks was, for the first time, the exception, as she completely shat the bed with her faux-rocker-girl take on the aforementioned "Prayer." Earlier, Phil treated us to a good (if strangely heartfelt) rendition of "Blaze of Glory." He said he grew up singing that song in the mirror. That's great.

I have to say that the highlight of the evening, however, was Lakisha Jones absolutely owning "This Ain't a Love Song." It was especially impressive considering that she has been forced to sing stuff she isn't familiar with week after week. JBJ, Gwen Stefani, Tony Bennett, the guy from Hermann's Hermits...not exactly an overly, er, soulful bunch there. Would it kill American Idol to work a little Jill Scott into the mix? A little Alicia Keys? Something? Throw Lakisha a bone here, guys. You bunch of filthy racists.

Following Lakisha was Blake, who I don't normally like, but last night he blew the roof off with a sweet beat-box rendition of "You Give Love A Bad Name." It really was fantastic. Seriously. Maybe you had to be there.

Anyone who followed those two acts was going to look pretty bad. And never one to break from the expected, Chris Richardson stepped up to the plate and did just that. During rehearsal, JBJ told Chris to sing "Wanted Dead or Alive" in a sad way. Chris proceeded to heed JBJ's advice, insomuch as he totally and completely ignored it. He opted instead for smoldering. You can tell that the fame and
the dating of fellow reality stars is going to his head a little bit. When he got to the "I'm wanted...dead or alive" line, I thought he was going to stop the song and say "sexually...know what I mean? I am wanted sexually."

But luckily that didn't happen, and Melinda closed things out with a JBJ rocker("Have A Nice Day") that the judges said sounded like Tina Turner, but I thought just sounded awkward, albeit well sung. And speaking of awkward, how about JBJ trying to relate to black people?!?! JBJ seemed nice, but Jesus, JBJ, could you be any whiter? With him calling Lakisha "girlfriend" and telling Melinda she had to "take it to church" as a way to feel comfortable singing his rock song...well, it was pretty embarrassing. Stick to the owner's box, JBJ.

Overall, I think Chris Richardson and Phil (despite a nice performance) might be going down this week, with Jordin as a potential shocker. However, since last week's votes are also factoring in, pretty much anything can happen. I'm on the edge of my seat. Just livin on a prayer. And thanks to JBJ, for showing us all how to rock again. I love you, man!

The President's Thanks, and Other Forms of Kissing Up [Washington Post]
'Idol 6' finalist Chris Richardson dating 'The Hills' star Lauren Conrad? [Reality World]

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