Jordin Sparks’ week-by-week journey to ‘Idol’ semifinals - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Jordin Sparks’ week-by-week journey to ‘Idol’ semifinals

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Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 6:58 am | Updated: 6:48 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Tonight on “American Idol” the Valley’s Jordin Sparks will square off with the other two remaining singers in a bid to become the popular reality show’s sixth champion.

Along with fellow “Idol” hopefuls Melinda Doolittle and Blake Lewis, Sparks will perform three times during the show, including the tune Simon Cowell has handpicked for her to sing, Rose Royce’s 1978 hit “Wishing on a Star.” As is an “Idol” tradition, the three singers returned to their hometowns last week for celebrations and performances that will be shown as part of tonight’s broadcast. If Friday’s turnout in Glendale for “Jordin Sparks Day” at Westgate Mall is any indication, the 17-year-old has a rabid local following that will be voting in force for the singer tonight.

“I thinks she’s the best,” said Arden Cathey of Chandler. “She’s young and fresh, and I think she’s going to have a career like (inaugural ‘American Idol’ winner) Kelly Clarkson.”

Donna Rowan of Avondale picked up seven girls — ranging from third to sixth grade — from two different schools to bring them to the mall to show their support for Sparks, the daughter of former Arizona State Sun Devils, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys cornerback Phillipi Sparks.

“We’re huge ‘American Idol’ fans,” said Rowan. “The girls love Jordin — she’s got the pizazz. She’s going to win!”

While Valley fans are behind the singer, Sparks will ultimately have to keep impressing the judges: Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul. While they don’t vote, the judges can leave viewers with an impression, good or bad, that can sway public opinion. So far, she has suffered through only one rough performance on the road to the “American Idol” semifinals.

On TV

“American Idol” airs 7 p.m. today and the results show airs 7 p.m. Wednesday on Fox.

Final 12

What she performed:

Diana Ross was the celebrity guest coach, and Sparks performed Ross’ “If We Hold on Together.” Ross said that Sparks has a “glow” about her.

Key judge comment: Randy Jackson said, “Tonight, with that, you just made it a threegirl race,” presumably with Melinda Doolittle and LaKisha Jones. Jones was voted off last week.

Final 11

What she performed: It was “British Invasion” night on “Idol,” with Lulu coaching the girls and Herman’s Hermits’ Peter Noone coaching the guys. Sparks performed Shirley Bassey’s “I Who Have Nothing.” Lulu said she loved the song and worked with Sparks on her delivery.

Key judge comment: Simon Cowell said Sparks performed the song “wonderfully, beautifully.”

Final 10

What she performed: No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani was the guest coach, and Sparks performed No Doubt’s dance hit “Hey Baby.” Stefani said she was “shocked” that Sparks picked the tune, perhaps because the song is one of the hardest No Doubt tunes to sing.

Key judge comment: Cowell told Sparks, “I think you are probably the most improved contestant we’ve seen in terms of the last few weeks.”

Final 9

What she performed:

Legendary crooner Tony Bennett was the celebrity guest coach, and Sparks sang Bennett’s pop standard “On a Clear Day.” Bennett tells viewers that “Jordin is terrific — she sang in tune, which is rare these days.”

Key judge comment:

Jackson said, “We got some good heat up here — you are a pro!”

Final 8

What she performed:

Jennifer Lopez was the celebrity guest coach on “Latin Night,” and Sparks tackled the Miami Sound Machine’s “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You.” Lopez told the singer that she reminds her of Michael Jackson, which she meant as a compliment.

Key judge comment: Cowell said “We all know you have a great voice,” but told Sparks that she and the previous contestants’ performances were “nothing stunning.”

Final 7

What she performed: It was country music night, and multiplatinum singer Martina McBride was the celebrity guest coach. Sparks performed McBride’s “A Broken Wing,” and McBride told the singer in rehearsals, “That was awesome!”

Key judge comment: Cowell told Sparks: “This is the first time since we have met where I actually believe, based on that performance, that you could win ‘American Idol.’ ”

Final 6

What she performed: On a night where the contestants performed inspirational songs as the show raised millions of dollars for the starving in Africa and at home, Sparks closed the show with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the 1945 Broadway musical “Carousel.”

Key judge comment:

Jackson called the performance “one of the best vocals of any contestant ever” in the show’s run.

Final 5

What she performed: It was rock night on “American Idol” with Jon Bon Jovi as guest coach. Sparks performed Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer,” and Bon Jovi said it was a hard song to sing.

Key judge comment:

This was Sparks’ worst performance of the season. Cowell told Sparks that she looked like something out of “The Addams Family” and that she was “out of control” and “terrible.”

Final 4

What she performed:

The Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb was the guest coach as the singers performed two Gibb-penned hits each. Sparks performed “To Love Somebody,” prompting Gibb to say “I haven’t heard a better version,” and Barbra Streisand’s “Woman in Love.”

Key judge comment: Cowell says “Best song choice, best performance so far” on “To Love Somebody,” but Jackson calls Sparks’ rendition of “Woman in Love” “pitchy.”

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