Thursday, February 28, 2008

Yuck and yuckier

Alaina Whitaker says the one thing we may not know about her is that she doesn't like the food on her plate to touch. She says the worst is when the juice from one food flows over to other food on her plate. She also admits that when she was younger, she used to have to use different forks for the different foods on her plate but that she's gotten much better, so she's hopeful that she'll one day get over it.

I almost can't believe she's really doing this, but she's singing Olivia Newton-John's "Hopelessly Devoted to You." It's a horrible mistake and here's why. First off, the song is so well-known from "Grease" that anyone who has ever watched the movie - and that's pretty much everyone - will be unable to keep from envisioning Olivia Newton-John swirling that piece of stationery in the kiddie pool. Besides that, Olivia Newton-John has such a distinct and beautiful voice - there's no way Alaina, just 17 years old, is going to be able to top it, or even come close to comparing. I fear this will be her downfall, quite possibly her last song on the show. And now that she's actually singing, it's confirmed. It's not good... at all. She's out of tune through most of the song, which is a shame because her voice is so powerful - it could have really been good if she had stayed in tune. Ugh... it's just really bad.

Rand tells her it wasn't the right song choice for her, that the verses were really pitchy and even when she belted, she overshot it, going a little sharp. Paula says she did a real good job, which is completely insane. It was terrible. Simon says he likes her, but that he says it's almost as if he grandmother prepared her for the performance, told her what to wear, how to do her hair, what to sing. he says everything about her very old-fashioned. He says he knows the theme is the 70s, but that there's still a way to be be current. But on a positive note, he tells her he thinks she's a dark horse, that he likes her more now than he did weeks ago, but that she has to sort herself out and become relevant.

Alexandrea Lushington's little known fact is super-duper boring. She says she used to be a poster child for the Atlanta Fire Department because her dad worked for them for like 19 years. She says she sang every year for different ceremonies and that she sang at Ground Zero a couple of months after 9/11. She said it wasn't planned, so it was a huge moment for her to have so many people watching her sing, that it was very emotional.

I have to be mean here for a minute. The Sept. 11 attacks happened like 61/2 years ago, when she was like 10 or 11. It was tragic and horrifying and it's a day that has been etched into my memory - visions of the towers falling - watching it LIVE on TV - it will never fade for me. I find her saying that her Ground Zero performance was emotional really bothersome. Was she emotional because there were tons of people there to watch her sing? If so, then that's just selfish and insensitive. Was it emotional because of the significance? In that case, I still don't buy it - at 10 or 11, she was too young to understand the magnitude of the impact that day had on history, too young to grasp the loss and grief felt here in New York and across this nation. I'm getting sidetracked here, but she totally rubbed me the wrong way in that interview.

But let's move on. She comes out dressed all funky - her top is dressed for winter, but her bottom is ready for the beach. Plus it seems kind of tacky to wear shorts for a performance. She sings Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now," a beautiful choice of song, but I feel like it doesn't suit her - plus she insists on singing these really high notes and it's like her voice totally thins out and loses its tone when she does that. Plus, she was out of tune in some spots - I don't know - I may still be annoyed by her interview, who knows? But I didn't think it was her best performance at all.

Even she seems a bit defeated and Randy asks her, "What did you think?" and she says, "It's over." He tells her the problem is that the song was so safe for her, that she's one of his favorite performers and that she should never make safe choices, that she should always challenge herself. Paula says a bunch of nothing and Simon tells her he was a big fan of hers in the early stage but he thinks she's struggling right now. He tells her that song has never been covered because it's so stuck in its time period and there's nothing she could do with the song. He also tells her she was inconsistent on the song, in tune, out of tune, that she looked uncomfortable with it and that it was boring.

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