The “American Idol” final four took a roadtrip to Graceland to prepare to become Elvis impersonators for a night. Along the way, they met Priscilla Presley and record exec Tommy Mottola (but no fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches, sad). Birmingham’s Taylor Hicks took on two classics … with mixed results.
Recap after the jump …
Updated with video, elimination.
‘He learns how to steal and he learns how to fight in the ghetto …’
• Songs: “Jailhouse Rock” and “In the Ghetto” by Elvis Presley.
• Judges say: (first song) Randy: “You were in your element. Good job.” Paula: “You were phenomenal.” Simon: “In the real world, that was a terrible impersonation of Elvis Presley. … It was just karaoke with a capital k.”
(second song) Randy: “The right key, finally. The right song, finally. … That was hot, America!” Paula: “This brings it to show how well rounded of an artist you are.” Simon: “Absolutely the perfect song for you. You have just sung your way into the semi-finals.”
‘Jailhouse’ break; ‘Ghetto’ breakdown.
• Tommy says: “When he sang ‘In the Ghetto,’ that was very impressive. … I think this is going to be one of his best performances.”
• We say: “Jailhouse Rock” was middle of the road: safe, upbeat, unsurprising. “In the Ghetto” was the best, by far (even better than Cartman’s version). Again, the two-song format helps Taylor show off his goofy side and his soulful side.
• Taylor says: “Tommy Mottola told me … to leave the dancing out of it (“In the Ghetto”).”
Tommy, can you hear me?; playing to the entourage.
• Idol thoughts: Chris Daughtry, a decent rendition of “Suspicious Minds”; “A Little Less Conversation” was a little more lousy. Elliott Yamin, “If I Can Dream” was soulful and powerful; “Trouble” was tops (though the camera doesn’t love him, judging by the number of cutaways). Katharine McPhee, “Hound Dog” … um, bouncy fun; “Can’t Help Falling in Love” wasn’t her best, by far (McPheever downgraded to McSniffle).
Voting closes at 10 tonight.
Update: See Hicks perform “Jailhouse Rock” and “In the Ghetto.”
Update: Eliminated on May 10: Chris Daughtry.
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This week’s roundup
- Simon Cowell predicts a Taylor vs. Chris showdown. (Of course, earlier he predicted Kellie Pickler would be Top Three …)
- You can skip work Friday because it’s Bo Bice Day. He’ll be in Helena (near Birmingham) to sign autographs and receive the key to the city, but no singing.
- Boston Herald columnist: Taylor, go home!
- Latest theory on Birmingham’s lock on Idol finalists: religion, karaoke and pride.
- Wikipedia’s Taylor Hicks bio has an interesting source: me.
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Read more on Taylor Hicks.