Idols' opening night of tour a bumpy one
By HOWARD COHEN
Given that American Idol set the bar so low this season a mole would give
itself a concussion, the opening night gaffes for the tour from Sunrise's
BankAtlantic Center Friday night weren't quite as off-putting as they
might have felt at another more professional concert.
This is, after all, the top 10 performers out of more than 100,000 who
showed up for auditions and it led to . . . Sanjaya Malakar.
Strictly amateur hour.
And yet, Idol producers at least tried a little something different with
this tour by stifling some of the numbing predictability of previous
versions. Instead of trotting out the finalists in order of elimination,
producers teamed the cast in various combinations, but this led to too
much Chris Richardson and Blake Lewis, both of whom lack the voices to
fill an arena. It was too long a wait to hear from Idol winner Jordin
Sparks, who didn't get her spotlight until the finale.
These mix-and-match performances rose and fell based on the chemistry
between the singers. LaKisha Jones' huge voice impressed, her solo on I
Will Always Love You was, by far, the standout of the tour. But she
exhibited the warmth of Antarctica when paired with Melinda Doolittle. The
gifted Melinda held back vocally, seemingly overwhelmed on the first
night. The format could also use polishing, as the concert's herky-jerky
flow felt like a car with a faulty transmission.
Producers should also limit Blake, the beat boxer who finished in second
place. He proved an irritating gnat, sputtering and spitting through too
many contestants' performances. Technical problems also marred his attempt
to use loop pedals for a hip-hop portion -- someone forgot to switch his
mike on, he said. (Yeah. Right. Maybe that was just an excuse to explain
why his voice failed to carry in the large space.)