Recap Top 9

The top 9 performance show revolved around songs of Tony Bennett. Apparently this meant that the songs would be somewhat on the boring side, and with an old fashioned flavour.

First to perform this round was Blake. Unlike his previous two
showings, he finally decides to show off more of his vocal range. I must admit he is not bad. However, he doesn't exude any wow factor, and so should never be rated anything more than average, at least not until he elicits a WOW! The judges liked his performance. Simon graded it 7/10, while giving the band 8/10. Certainly some mixed sentiments there. But it seems Simon is on to the fact that Blake is still in the average crowd.

Next up was Phil. In the clip they showed of him with Tony, one can observe that Phil's hair was growing back. However, by the time of the actual performance, he was completely shaved again. Pity. He didn't look so odd with the fledgling hair.

I think many people are put off by Phil's completely bald look, and so just don't vote for him. Some people can obviously carry off the bald appearance without making one think twice about it. But for Phil, this just seems to be a distraction and so takes away from his performance. His vocals weren't bad tonight. In fact they were decent. However, the judges were right on target when they said his performance was gloomy. There was indeed something haunting about it, and it wasn't just his look.

Melinda --What is there to say? - Except that it was excellent as usual! I think Randy summed it up well when he said she interprets the lyrics, and sings with the feelings the lyrics portray. If you pay attention to her facial expressions during the performance, and at how each note comes out, you can tell she is feeling it. Paula unwittingly attempted some comedy when she exclaimed how Melinda gave her song a beginning, middle and end. Simon highlighted the simple truth that all songs have a beginning, middle and end. It's amusing watching Simon laugh at Paula.

Chris --Chris was decent tonight. I'm certainly no fan of his, but I'll give him that. However, I do think his vocals were somewhat shaky. It has that funny sound to it, because he gives it a nasal quality. He probably can't help this, so I won't bother suggest he try working on it. Nevertheless, the judges loved him, including Simon. Randy and Paula thought it was his best performance so far.



Jordin --Excellent showing! Paula had trouble uttering something intelligible, and for some reason the cameras focused on Simon's face. (see pic below)



Gina
--I must say that this was an extremely BORING performance. Vocals were not bad. Randy thought for a rocker, she was able to nicely control her voice. Paula said "flawless". Fortunately Simon was there to bring back some semblance of reality to it, when he told her it was not the best vocal.

Sanjaya --The much despised contestant came back with another change in hairstyle. At least this time it was not outrageous. Did he cut his hair? Or was it always so but with extensions? Anyway, Tony was shown actually saying that he is a big fan of Sanjaya's. Actually, I was not surprised when I heard that. Sanjaya seems best suited for these lackluster Tony Bennett type songs. (This is just my opinion, so please don't attack me if this kind of music knocks you off your feet). The kid's performance I thought was decent. I got to see glimpses of what could have possessed the judges to put him through to the top 24. Nevertheless the judges continued to 'dis' him. Randy said he couldn't really comment on the vocals anymore but conceded he was entertaining. Simon said he'd try a different tactic this time, and told him, "incredible". Poor kid.

The Lovely Haley --Haley was fantastic this round. Just excellent all round. I would say this is probably her best performance so far. The judges were cruel to her though. Randy said he had expected she would do well, but he didn't actually say whether he thought she met his expectations. Paula was clearly playing the bitch by refusing to comment on her performance and only commenting that Haley looks good in green. Simon said he liked her legs. Eventually he added that it was a bit "pageanty". These judges certainly have some nerve. The theory for why Randy and Paula behaved so unprofessionally, is that before Haley's performance, in answering one of the questions Ryan directed at her, she made a comment about how precious Simon's comments are. It seems that the other two judges felt insulted that she didn't acknowledge anything about them. I can honestly understand their feeling slighted. But if they weren't so self-absorbed, they would easily see that she really meant no slight. It was an unfortunate phrasing on Haley's part, but which I think is pardonable, considering that it was an on the spot question. When in front of so many people, without getting the time to prepare a response, it is easy to make that kind of mistake. What the judges did is nothing less than an attempt at sabotage. See theory on What Impact Do Judges Have On Voting

Lakisha --Great vocals. She did a little funny pouty thing at the end though. The interesting thing is that Tony actually commented on it, and told her to lose it. For some reason she thought it worth keeping. Anyway, the judges gave good reviews of her performance. Simon said she was back on form.

So that's the top 9. My own assessment puts Gina, Phil and Chris or Blake as the worst performers for the night. Now of course, I'm not saying that I predict the bottom 3 will necessarily come from these.

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