The ATC Report

"In Control" - Vol. XI, No. 5

The first thing that was apparent about tonight's episode was that it's pretty tough to turn one hour's worth of material into a two-hour show, unless you add extra commercials and other filler, including shots of a pre-teen crying her way through the show.
We found out that this week would be "British Invasion". Finally! American Idol contestants would be singing some songs that Steve and Dave actually know.
We found out that this week would be "British Invasion". Finally! American Idol contestants would be singing some songs that Steve and Dave actually know. Then we were introduced to the special guests for tonight - Lulu and Peter Noone (formerly of Herman's Hermits).

First up was Haley Scarnato singing, "Tell Him" - originally done by Billie Davis back in 1963. First off, the British invasion didn't start until 1964 and the Beatles, but that's a detail we will overlook. We don't remember much about her version of the song, but she was wearing this backless top, and we both doubt she had a bra on underneath. The judges seemed to like the song, but we suspect Simon may have had the same reaction as we did when he called her a "naughty little thing".

Next Chris Richardson did his rendition of, "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" - which was originally done by Gerry & The Pacemakers. Have we ever mentioned that Chris reminds us of a mechanic at the local bowling alley? Just in case, here's a shout-out to "Larry the bowling mechanic", if that's what you want to be known as during the week. Oh, as far as the song went, we thought his voice was completely wrong for this song but the judges seemed to love it. Simon even called it the best performance by "Chris" yet.

Stephanie Edwards performed, "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" - originally recorded by Dusty Springfield in 1966. We were both intrigued by the fact that consecutive singers had chosen songs with the word "don't" in the title, but then again we are also both intrigued by bright shiny things being dangled in front of us. Her singing seemed to be overpowered by the band and the back-up singers, which is a bit odd since she normally has a pretty big voice. Even the judges gave her mediocre reviews.

Blake "The Spitter" Lewis sang, "Time of the Season" - originally by The Zombies in 1967. Peter Noone was actually pretty funny as he talked about how Blake would probably be spitting on the first few rows as he "beat boxed" his way through the song. Steve and Dave don't understand the attraction here. Without the sound effects, this guy isn't much. Last week the judges ripped contestants for "updating" classic Diana Ross tunes. This week they praised The Spitter for updating a classic Zombies tune. We guess the Zombies aren't as classic as the Supremes.

Next we saw Lakisha Jones belt her way through "Diamonds Are Forever" - the Shirley Bassey tune that was the theme song for the James Bond film of the same name. In her lead-in, we discovered that Lakisha was debating between the song she ended up singing, and "You're My World" (the Cilla Black tune). Lulu thought she should do the latter. After watching her performance, so do Steve and Dave. We know it's going to be very tough for Lakisha to live up to her first performance, but she seems to have been regressing week by week. (Oh, and by the way - 1972, the date of release for this song, is way too late for it to qualify as part of "The British Invasion".) Even the three judges weren't especially kind in their remarks about this one.

Phil Stacey took the stage and screamed his version of "Tobacco Road" - originally a hit for The Nashville Teens in 1964. Notice that we used the word "screamed" instead of "sang". Phil was one of the bottom three last week, and his attempt at an up-tempo song this week didn't really pan out. It was also a bit sad watching him plead for people to vote for him during the post-song interview with Ryan Seacrest. We didn't care for it much, Randy & Paula liked it, and Simon predicted "problems" this week.
Seven singers in and no one had done a Beatles tune, nor had anyone done a Rolling Stones song, nor a Who tune - arguably the three biggest groups in the British Invasion.
Justin Sparks sang, "I, Who Have Nothing" - the second Shirley Bassey tune of the evening. About now, Steve and Dave began to wonder just how small the list of potential songs for this week was. Seven singers in and no one had done a Beatles tune, nor had anyone done a Rolling Stones song, nor a Who tune - arguably the three biggest groups in the British Invasion. Anyhow, we thought Justin really nailed her song again this week. She's also the one contestant who seems to really be showing improvement weekly. She was the best of the night so far, and the judges liked her too.

Next came the singer we love to hate, Sanjaya Malakar and his rendition of "You Really Got Me" - originally sung by the Kinks. Sanjaya was the second to scream his song rather than sing it, so he wasn't even original in that aspect. Unfortunately, his voice isn't even strong enough to hold his screams properly, as they all faded away. Tonight was probably his best performance of the competition, but that doesn't say much. We could tell you that the Australian Spotted Hissing Slug was the best slug in the world, but it's still a slug. We wonder why none of the people associated with the show will admit that the only reason Sanjaya is still around is due to the folks at "Votefortheworst.com" and their efforts. Anyhow, we disliked him, as did the judges - but we predict he'll be around next week.

Gina Glocksen sang, "Paint It Black" - by the Rolling Stones. Finally, a song by a group actually responsible for the British Invasion! Not many people know this, but Gina is from the same town as Steve. In fact, several years ago Steve even asked Gina for a date. Fortunately her parents pointed out that it wasn't really a good idea for a nine-year-old to be dating someone in his late 20s. Anyhow, the song choice was good but the performance was a bit lacking. She got relatively low marks from the judges as well - particularly Simon.

Chris Sligh performed "She's Not There" - the second Zombies song of the night. We were impressed with Chris' shout-out to the folks from votefortheworst.com, and liked his "Fro Patrol" comment as well. The song wasn't his best, but the judge's comments were OK.

Melinda Doolittle closed the show with "As Long As He Needs Me" - a song from the musical "Oliver". Both of us admit to being completely unfamiliar with the song, so it obviously wasn't really a part of the British Invasion. She really sang it well, though. It was quite probably the night's best, and the judges raved about it.

After the show, we both agreed that Sanjaya deserved to go, but that he probably wouldn't. Steve felt that Haley would probably get the boot. Dave felt that it would be Phil...or Stephanie...or maybe Chris. Steve pointed out that Dave had just selected over one-fourth of the total remaining contestants as potential losers. Dave pointed out that Steve hadn't shaved recently. Steve pointed out that Dave still had a couple of years before he could retire, while Steve was retiring next week. Dave pointed out that Steve was a big bully, and began to cry. Steve pointed out that he now felt terrible, and began to cry as well. Group hugs ensued.

The next night saw a bottom two of Stephanie and Chris. Stephanie got the axe. Sanjaya somehow didn't even end up in the bottom two.

Oh, and The Amazing Race was a non-elimination leg, but you knew that. Charla and Mirna won the leg. Uchenna and Joyce are now...MARKED FOR ELIMINATION. Tune in next week when we should have another team get dropped.