Top Idol Performances: #60-56

So I went to crazy typical ballad-y belting land in the last update. I’ll try to make up for all those glory notes and runs with this one because the remedy for any overdose of dreary are a few rockin’ uptempos, yeah? (And really, I don’t intend for these groupings to have themes. They occasionally do though and I can’t say I mind. It fills this space! See! Woo hoo!) More space-filling text goes here and then a lead-in to the performances followed by a colon:

60. Melinda Doolittle – “Have A Nice Day” (Bon Jovi) (Season 6, Top 6 Bon Jovi)

One of the most carefully crafted characters in an Idol narrative was that of meek, mild-mannered, touch-too-humble Melinda Doolittle. From her audition to the judge’s praise of her in Hollywood to just about every pimp stool interview with Ryan Seacrest, that’s the persona that was on display. Of course, that image became increasingly difficult to uphold as Melinda shredded it to pieces every time she stepped on stage and it all-but-shattered when she confidently strutted her way through Bon Jovi night. She proved that she could put on the attitude (a fact any loyal viewer of Idoloonies should be well aware of) and that her voice really could handle anything. I’m not asking for a Melinda Doolittle rock album, but she sounded perfectly at ease on this rock song.

59. Elliott Yamin – “Trouble” (Elvis Presley) (Season 5, Top 4 Elvis Presley)

While we’re talking mild-mannered contestants on image-shattering songs, I guess it’s only appropriate that we take a hop right over to Elliott Yamin declaring he’s “evil” five or six hundred times in a two minute span. Of course, unlike Season Ten’s Lauren Alaina, he managed to do so without worrying about using the word “evil” in his pre-performance package. With just about every instrumentalist the Idol band has on deck, Elliott chucked himself head-first into a convincing on-stage bad boy. His always immaculately polished phrasing and recognizably unpolished voice didn’t hurt the performance, either. At the very least, the performance was enough to get him to slip ahead of now multi-platinum fellow competitor, Chris Daughtry.

58. Paris Bennett – “Midnight Train To Georgia” (Gladys Knight) (Season 5, Top 24 Girls)

This performance is straight up the definition of fun; everything from Paris’s bubbly personality to the bouncy arrangement to the literally bouncy visual performance was pure entertainment-on-a-stick. It was the perfect live introduction to Paris Bennett, future Beyoncé dance move enthusiast. Plus, the song is awesome. So that helped.

57. Allison Iraheta – “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” (The Temptations) (Season 8, Top 10 Motown)

And “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” makes its second appearance on the list. Not bad for a song that has only been performed twice on Idol.  While significantly less dramatic, Allison’s rough voice provided the song with a rock edge that David Hernandez’s never attempted to bring. She held herself on stage with a refreshing rawness that’s been an extremely rare quality among the show’s capable teenage contestants. In Allison’s only solo pimp spot of the season, she made a tunnel-vision America notice long enough to keep herself out of the bottom three for a night.

56. Tamyra Gray – “If I Were Your Woman” (Gladys Knight) (Season 1, Top 7 1970s)

I don’t even know what to say about this performance. Every time I watch it, Tamyra’s gigantic stage presence (and hair) just sort of mesmerizes me.  She was ahead of her time. Robbed. Divine. Perfect. Etc etc etc. (Hurrah for half-assing in a desperate attempt to finish this.)
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