OK, so once we got into the BJCC Arena (see, I said it “right”, even though it still is really the Colosseum), took our seats, watched several Carrie Underwood and Eyeliner Boy videos, the concert started.
The lights went down, and a roadie appeared on the stage to set some stuff up. He took of his jacket and hat and turned out to be Blake Lewis, who got the whole thing started with “Let’s Get it Started,” joined by all the rest of the top ten. Each member of the Top Ten had at least one solo (some had more), and they were all involved in several duets, trios, and other group numbers.
There were several memorable moments. Melinda and Sanjaya did a great duet on “Proud Mary”, with Melinda in a long wig (she got the Tina Turner hair flip down pat) and Sanjaya with slicked-back hair and a creepy, drawn-in Ike Turner moustache. Sanjaya has obviously been coached a lot for this tour, because his voice had improved greatly since he left the show. The other great duet was (surprise!) Melinda and Jordin on Natalie Cole’s “This Will Be (an Everlasting Love).” They knocked it out of the park. Chris Richardson and Jordin also sounded great together on a Rascal Flatts number entitled “What Hurts the Most.” The only musical accompaniment was the two of them playing guitars, and they did a great job. As a matter of fact, almost everyone played an instrument at some point during the show.
The guys had even formed a band. It was like watching the Monkees: here were a bunch of guys from a TV show who decided they’d better play their own instruments! Chris Sligh actually turned out to be a great guitar player: his solo on “Life is a Highway” (a trio number for Sanjaya, Haley, and Chris R.) was excellent. I’d give the overall talent award to Chris Sligh, the vocal award to Melinda, and the stage presence award to Blake. Blake, more than anyone else, had the crowd in the palm of his hand. They went nuts for him, much more so than for Jordin. The concert was divided into two parts, with Blake closing the first part with a set of several solos in a row, and Jordin closing the second part in similar fashion, so Blake had almost equal billing with Jordin, and he had a much stronger reaction from the crowd.
Biggest surprises of the evening: Sanjaya (as I’ve mentioned above) and Gina (whom I never really cared for on the show, but who sounded great in concert. Gina’s and Chris Sligh’s rendition of Fall Out Boy’s “Thnks fr th Mmrs” was very good.
LaKisha sounded great, although her rendition of “I Will Always Love You” was pretty much note-for-note from the Whitney Houston record, so it more like karaoke. On-pitch karaoke, but karaoke nonetheless.
Phil was a big hit with the crowd too. I read yesterday that he and Chris Sligh both plan to settle down in Nashville, with Phil focusing on country music and Chris on Christian music. That did not surprise me, since I knew that both are Christians (Phil said that country would afford him more opportunities to include his faith in his songs than pop). I think both will be quite successful. Wonder if they’ll end up at the PCA Church to the Stars up thar in Nashville?
The weakest link: Haley. She tried to make up for it with her costumes, but she was outsung and outperformed by everyone else in the show. Yes, even by Sanjaya.