IDOLS TOP 6 – SHOWSTOPPER THEME
This week on Idols, the contestants theme was showstoppers and before I talk about the performances I just want to talk about the song choices and how I felt about how the contestants would cope before I saw them performance and then how they fared.
SHEKHINAH – TILL THE WORLD ENDS
The song itself is a proper showstopper and helped Britney fully stabilize her return as a pop phenomenon, and what makes it worse so to speak is that Britney performs the song live with very intricate choreography (even though she’s been known to lip-synch) which can actually amplify the performance because it “reduces” mistakes. So in essence this is a monster of a song to take on…
I was very scared for Shekhinah when I heard this was her song mainly because I thought her voice was too heavy for such a dance-pop track and would have preferred her singing something more urban to the likes of “Love on Top” or “Aint No Other Man” that has that throwback feel that suits her voice but still up-tempo but I guess that people would she’s getting redundant so the risk may have been necessary
Her performance was good – I have to admit I was waiting a considerable amount of time for the dougie to come out; the vocals were there even though she sometimes went into that territory of letting notes drag. She kept up with the dances and was on top of the song and I thought with the song that she had that she did the best that she could. In terms of genre this was a far stretch for her as I see her as more of that Neo-Soul/mid-tempo R&B artist but can’t be faulted for experimenting…
MELISSA – WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN
Where Have You Been is a proper showstopper, this song is coming in a time where Rihanna is transcending into the ranks of Beyonce, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears in the sense that she’s now incorporating very intricate choreography into her music videos and live performances while her voice seems to be getting stronger, somehow something happened between Rated R and Loud that Rihanna’s voice broke out. This song is a monster to take on with the added risk that the song still rotates on radio.
Out of all the Top 6 I feel that Melissa is the most likely to be played on the likes of Jacaranda, Highveld and 5FM and she knows that. She like most of the Idols contestants right now are sticking to their tried and tested formula so when I heard she was doing this song I was rather excited what she would do with this song
Melissa performed the hell out of that song, if there was more work on the lighting that performance on screen would have looked unbelievable. There was a very visible cracked note in the beginning but apart from that she was there. She was dressed in the same way Rihanna was in the desert scene of the music video, Unathi needs to watch music video before making specific comments. The dancing was so intricate and at times similar to the that I found myself wondering how anyone was going to be able to top that performance. This performance showed just how much of a superstar Melissa can be, she’s got the look, a good voice and the moves to take on the pop world. Major props to her for that performance.
MONDE – SCREAM
Usher has been a reckoned force for 15 years now; he’s perfected the art of producing show-stoppers which is why he’s been able to sustain his career for so long. So when choosing an uptempo song from arguably the top male urban performer of his generation, there is a huge amount of risk involved because of his vocal and rhythmic abilities.
At the start of Idols this year Monde showed he was an entertainer/performer. He danced in his All Night Long audition, continued to dance in group round for Because of you where it worked for him and then went overboard in solos when he did Pumped Up Kicks. I knew Monde could move which made me think that with this song that he could dominate this week’s theme.
The performance was good but something was missing… I’m not sure if I had my hopes up to high or what but there was just an element that was not there. His dancing was on-point, he kept up and lead his dancers, his vocals were good I just don’t know… Maybe I’m subconsciously comparing him to Usher but there was something in that performance that was missing… I see him being in the bottom 3 but I hope he does not go home, because it was a good performance but maybe personally something did not click
SIMPHIWE – TURN UP THE MUSIC
This song along with Crazy in Love had to be the deadliest song choices of the week. The reason this being is that this is a real club-banger that Chris Brown performs the living daylights of, and to make it worse he pre-records his vocal performances (See Grammy 2012 Performance) and then dances the hell out of the song live, the crowd goes wild thinking it’s live and only a few are the wiser. So for someone performing this song live is a hard task because Chris Brown “cheats” his performance, I would generally stay away from any of Chris Brown’s euro-pop material for a show like Idols because of Chris Brown’s treatment of such songs.
I was beyond scared for Simphiwe performing this song because of the way Chris Brown performs the song, vocally Simphiwe could do the song but added in with the dance moves and tempo of the song I was unsure of how he would fare. Simphiwe has this tendency to go for humongous songs and it sometimes works in his favour and others not so much. I would have loved to see him perform something along the lines of “Closer” by Ne-yo or My Love by Justin Timberlake or even Run It by Chris Brown, something less dangerous and more performable.
I have to say that Simphiwe’s dance moves came in full force for this number, behind Melissa he danced the best of the night for me. But Simphiwe and Melissa this week had a disadvantage with their “head-mics”. they had no way of removing the mic to breathe so all their faults were there to show whereas the other contestants could adjust their mics as they performed. Simphiwe over-worked himself and you could here it in his breathing, he was out of breath as the performance progressed which led him to screech some notes here and there and there was no place for him to hide all those mistakes with that mic. I see a second trip to the bottom3 for Simphiwe, the song was too big of a spectacle for him let alone any of the Idols contestants to handle…
KHAYA – KNOCK YOU DOWN
Somehow I felt cheated with this song being included as a showstopper because it really isn’t. It’s a mid-tempo song which would only be used at the end of Keri Hilson’s concert because it is her biggest hit not because it’s a show stopper. The song doesn’t actually peak, it just maintains itself for it’s duration and solely remains on the power of the vocalists and the hook to make it work…
Khaya has a way of bending these rules, first in Top 8 week when he sung September which wasn’t released from his birth year but charted in that year. Which would mean someone born in 1993 could sing Bohemian Rhapsody or someone born in 2002 could sing A Little Less Conversation by Elvis Pressley but I digress. He chose a song which really isn’t a showstopper, but was a big hit and leaves little room for error which is indeed a smart move but hmmm…
I have to give major props to the choreographer for how she positioned Khaya, Khaya rhythmically did very little work but the dancers really made him look good even though the moves were very repetitive and plain. Since he wasn’t moving as much as all the previous contestants his vocals really got to shine. He worked and took control of his songs, more than his fellow male contestants were able to do but he had an easier song to deal with. Khaya’s performance was not intricate, was not out there, it was very safe but it did the trick and he’s the only contestant so far who I don’t feel has to worry about the bottom 3. Khaya is more sly and is cleverer than what I give him credit for…
TSHIDI – CRAZY IN LOVE
Beyonce is one of the most acclaimed female performers of this generation, and Crazy in Love is her signature song. Beyonce releases show-stoppers in every album and somehow this song still manages to remain on her performance setlist which shows the longevity of this song. As previously mentioned, this song is one of the deadliest because Beyonce really performs this song and has become synonymous with the booty-hop. Beyonce performs this song live while dancing which really leaves extremely big shoes to fill.
Tshidi has been this season’s most consistent contestant. She has the big voice and a performance attitude to match so vocally she could handle this song, my only worry (very minor) for her was how she would be able to perform this song
I loved it, the entire performance was very “The Beyonce Experience” concert inspired especially with the Gnarls Barkley Crazy vocal run at the end of the song. She strutted around the stage and owned it, she had her little booty-hop and was the diva we’ve seen her grow to be. All in all a very strong performance by Tshidi, I seriously enjoyed it
MY PERSONAL RANKINGS
I think that Simphiwe, Melissa and Monde will be in trouble this week mainly on the size of their fan base in comparison to the other 3. I have strong feeling Simphiwe could be the lowest vote getter but I also hope the save comes in contention this week.
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