Sylvester was bizarrely bad this week, it felt like watching a car crash. After junking his previous identity (which I actually liked) for a less radical hairstyle and a lot of gummy smiles (while he was about it he might as well have junked the pathetic rocker poses which no one above the age of 12 should find cool, but alas, he didn’t), this week he seemed to have completely lost grip even of that second tenuous identity, and instead just tried to be everything to everyone.
I mean, Music Of The Night? (Or should I say, Der Music Of Der Night?) Has he heard Michael Ball singing it? And if he has, why did he even think for a second that he could? I haven’t cringed so much since Christopher Lee’s Josh Groban attempt, and even then at least Christopher had the right type of voice and good diction, neither of which seemed within Sly’s reach in this performance. His other two were less embarrassing but still stunningly mediocre compared to what I have come to expect from him. Boyzone’s Picture Of You??!! Ozzy Osborne run for covaaaaa, this man is truly a bad boy rocker. Kiss From A Rose is a nice song, but so hard to sing well that even Seal himself screwed it up when he tried to sing it live at the Oscars, and I think it was also slightly beyond Sylvester’s ability tonight.
Sly’s biggest mistake this week was in song choice. Music Of The Night and Kiss From A Rose need to sound effortless. Boyzone was actually a pretty good match because there are some similarities between his raspy style and Ronan Keating’s, but out of the cesspool of crap that is Boyzone’s repertoire, he certainly reached right down to the bottom and groped around. Sly is a good singer, who has impressed me many times in the past. But tonight confirmed that his rightful place must be third.
Olinda has the best voice in the competition, but I keep longing for her to grow some stage presence. As far as I’m concerned, that’s her biggest inadequacy. Her size and build is fine with me. I’d rather look at bubbly funky-haired Olinda than, say, the surgical (and sartorial) nightmare that is Nicolette Sheridan.
But it was just awfully disappointing to see a performance of Holding On For A Hero that sounded even better than Fantasia’s, but featured Olinda just…well…bobbing around. Hopelessly Devoted To You was a boring song boringly performed. Olinda is not good at looking dewy-eyed, although she’s fine at conveying less sweetie-pie emotions. Don’t Cry For Me Argentina is a case in point, especially that one brief shining moment (brownie points if you can name the musical those last four words come from) where she thrust the mike downwards so that her (fantastic) high note wouldn’t deafen everyone, and she was utterly compelling.
I want more of those moments from Olinda, which is why I don’t want her to leave this week. I want to see more of those moments from her in the finals, where she really does deserve to be.
Every week I worry about Taufik the same way I used to worry about Fantasia – after such a good performance, how is he going to top that next week? And then I see him the next week and am amazed, and so I start worrying about the week after. True to form, if he gets through this week you can bet I’m going to be worrying about whether he can top Ain’t No Sunshine in the finals.
Unlike Sly, Taufik did know how to sing a song from a musical, and knew how to change his voice accordingly. Unlike Olinda, Taufik knew how and when to just ground himself and radiate presence even while standing still, and I don’t think anyone can deny that where dancing is concerned, he’s head and shoulders above the other two. The only criticisms I could make are that he did go flat a number of times during This Is The Moment, and his outfit for True To Your Heart was awful, but really, assessed in completion, Taufik ruled this night.
But! DO NOT ASSUME TAUFIK IS SAFE. Sly has crazy teenage minions, and Olinda has money. If you think Taufik’s pretty good but can’t be bothered to vote for him, then for the first time ever on this blog I must appeal to your sense of patriotism. Just imagine Sly representing us at World Idol. Cringing? Good. Text 2 to 43657. VOTE FOR TAUFIK.