Scott, To Be Certain


Saturday, August 25, 2007

S2BC's Top 20 All-Time Australian Idol Performances: 8-6

It's time to resume our Top 20 retrospective extravaganza, taking us deep into the Top 10 with Numbers 8 through 6. We're really getting to the special stuff now.

8. Guy Sebastian, "When Doves Cry" (Season 1, Top 6)

Unquestionably Guy's second most memorable Idol moment, this performance of the Prince classic is criminally unavailable on YouTube. I own the Season 1 DVD which features it, I but don't possess the requisite know-how to breach copyright and load it on there myself. Instead, you get a brief video grab without sound and some screenshots of the performance. Thankfully, it's all you need to jog your memory: it was that good. There's the hair; the appropriately purple theme running through Guy's choice of clothes; the unique arrangement, kicking off with a slow, stripped back intro; a natural and assured use of the whole stage; and the comic final moment, where Guy's attempt to close the song out with a dramatic flourish is foiled by his missing the microphone stand as he spins around. It all rolls into one fantastic, two-minute thrill, one of the show's absolute all-time creative highs.

7. Rebekah LaVauney, "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" (Season 1, Wild Card Round)

One of approximately 1,000 former finalists hailing from New Zealand, Bek was the one from the first season who re-invented motherhood. She so visibly ached with love for her two boys, whose names she had tattooed on her arm and who she desperately missed during the finals. This was briefly quirky and endearing, but it eventually took on a tiresome and disturbing Billy Bob-and-Angelina-blood-sharing style intensity, and her performances became insufferably worse the longer she was apart from those kids. She recovered in time to deliver a fondly remembered swansong, Renee Geyer's "Heading In The Right Direction", which she later released as a single. Turns out it was the wrong direction.

It's a shame because hers was one of the most exciting and promising Idol beginnings: She finished 3rd in her semi-final group behind Guy and Shannon with a gorgeous version of Lauren Hill's "Ex Factor", before deservedly winning a Wild Card and a trip to the finals with this, a stunning rendition of Whitney Houston's early 90s ballad. There's so much to love about this performance: the heartfelt, self-penned intro dedicated to her boys, which at the time seemed sweetly and earnestly inventive; her segue into the song proper, a world-weary and knowing tilt of the head as she inhales; an imperfect but no less commanding vocal delivery, both rich and restrained, full of innate R&B sensibilities; and a singular specialness in the way she relates the song's message, with a quiet story-telling intensity second only to Casey Donovan. I quite simply adore this performance.

6. Chanel Cole, "Glory Box" (Season 2, Semi-Finals)

Chanel's finest hour came early in the piece, wrapped up in the sexiest and most daring performance in the show's history. In 1 minute and 44 seconds Chanel manages to, um, channel all the bold sultriness of Beth Gibbons' original vocal, while imbuing it with an unforgettable new sensuality. Watch how, about 25 seconds in, Chanel instinctively draws her arm across the microphone as she coos, "I've been a temptress too long...". It's a movement so feline that you almost expect her to purr at that point. Chanel never bettered this truly amazing performance: it's cleverly arranged, confidently and beguilingly sung, and charged with such distinctive sexual energy that it almost deserves an M15+ rating.

Top 5 to follow soon. Recap 20-16 here, 15-11 here and 10-9 here.

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  • At 2:41 PM, August 26, 2007, Anonymous Ben said…

    Spot on Scott - all 3 worthy Top 10 finishers. To be honest I'd forgotten about Bek, and especially that perf - but you're right, v good. And Chanel - need I say more. Do you think she climaxed during it?

  • At 11:37 PM, August 26, 2007, Blogger lisa said…

    i love Chanel..

    i'm looking forward to your thoughts on Husny from the semi-final tonight scott.

    New most daring perhaps?

  • At 9:43 AM, August 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I missed the first bit of the show on sunday 26 august 2007, and only saw half of junior singing. if it's two people going through, I think it will be carl and the first guy even though I didn't see him sing. if it's three that gets through, then (although I hate him; he had his chance on x factor and withdrew) the thrid one will be jacob butler (and he's gotten fat cheeks since his last time on idol and x factor as well). the other three (the weird princey looking one, the kebab shop owner, and the gap-toothed junior) will be eliminated on the basis of ethnicity. just you watch.

  • At 10:15 AM, August 28, 2007, Blogger Scott said…

    Ben - Sadly, I think Chanel climaxed years ago and not since.

    Lisa - I think possibly Husny climaxed as well during his performance. And how unexpectedly sculpted are those arms?

    Anonymous - you were almost spot on, but not through any evidence of xenophobia as you allege. It just so happens the white boys didn't suck as much as the others.


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