American Idol: Blake Takes The Cake
Rock is tough to fake. One needs a persona to go with the voice and the lyrics to go with the untamed passion. At a Los Angeles celebrity bash where the teenage pop artists and the Hollywood glitterati all mingle, the rockers are the only ones you can tell apart from amongst the crowd. The typical rocker is a tattooed, husky guy with a wild hair-do that could put any fashion conscious girl to shame. For all the metal, these eccentric characters strum on stage, they have quite a few dazzlers on their leather jackets as well. But what puts a rock star above the rest of the crooners, is attitude with a capital A.
The 'Rock' week with Jon Bon Jovi proved to be challenging for all of the current Idol contestants. Alas, Gina Glockson couldn't be part of the one episode where she would've potentially shined. She did manage to smile and wave at the camera in between performances.
I couldn't wait to see what each of the contestants brought to this week's performance.
Phil, the first one on, brought meaning to the lyrics and now that he has been voted off the show, I finally feel compassionate enough to praise him.
Jordin surprisingly did a 'Sanjaya' and brought a weird hair-do. She was stuck between 'rock' and a hard place as she struggled with the low notes of "Livin On A Prayer" and then half way through the song she quite literally was (living on a prayer, that is). But she is only seventeen, has an angelic smile, a terrific voice and we didn't think she was a rock star anyways. So its all good.
Lakisha brought soul and although I initially expected her version of "It Ain't a Love Song" to be softer than the original, she did do the song justice.
Melinda brought style and some spunk to "Have A Nice Day". I do wish she would wipe away that "Oh really! You think I can sing! Really?!, No, come on, really?" expression off her face. About time.
Chris successfully adulterated yet another song with his trademark nasal tone. People keep saying he looks like Justin Timberlake. Maybe he does, I just haven't seen Timberlake sneezing yet.
With all adoring eyes glued to the suave Jon Bon Jovi, being conspicuous this week, was quite a feat. And the only person who managed to stand out was Blake Lewis with his rendition of "You Give Love A Bad Name".
I was a teen when I first heard the Bon Jovi version of "You Give Love A Bad Name". After having heard it about fifteen times, I had in a moment of abandon clutched a tall broom to my mouth like a microphone and belted out the number, flailing my hair, much to my mother's alarm. "An onion! Have her sniff an onion!" my grandmother had screamed, convinced that I was having some sort of a seizure.
Long story short, this song and I have a history together. So when Ryan Seacrest announced that Blake would be doing his version of this hectic melody last night, I startled my roommate with a swift muttering under my breathe. "Oh, he better do a good job of it" I growled.
Nothing prepared me for Blake's version of "You Give Love A Bad Name". He took this much-loved 80s classic and repackaged it for the present generation with his well-timed beatboxing. It was a huge risk. In Jon Bon Jovi's own words, there were a lot of people out there who did not want that song messed with. But he managed to make it his own. Agreed that Ms.Do-little can do-a-lot more with her pipes; Blake, however, demonstrated the attitude, the nerve and the originality this week. Upon hearing Blake's version, even some of my rocker buddies who usually turn up their noses at hip-hop, raised their brows in admiration of his courage. Sure, his rendition wasn't really 'rock' in the traditional sense but who cared. It was catchy!
This week, I finally figured out why they call it the 'American Idol'. It ain't just a singing competition after all! Blake Lewis proved, with last night's performance, that an idol is one, who with the courage of his conviction, stands out.