Ladies and gentlemen. Boys and Girls. Songbird’s Disney week was a success (and after last week’s Celine Dion nightmare how could it not be?!)
The night opened up with, what I believe, to be the only way to open a Disney show, Be Our Guest- performed by the one…the only…me! Throwing in some Songbird lyrics into the mix recognizing the venue (Tabu), my fellow judges, and Josh Schonewolf’s producing powers to eradicate the bottom 3… we were off to a solid start to a magical evening.
The awe-inspiring Lisa Parks led with “A Whole New World” from Disney’s Aladdin and was joined by season 2’s Jovan Chaney. Both were in incredible voice, costumed, and perfectly matched vocally. A shining, shimmering, splendid number. Jesse Braff was up next to continue the Aladdin power-hour with a song cut from the original film, “Proud of Your Boy.” Beautifully sung, dressed as Aladdin, and a “subtle sad nip slip” (to quote host Eric R. Thomas) made this a very enjoyable number. Brianna Roth took us under the sea as The Little Mermaid’s deep-sea diva, Ursula, with “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” In a key that kept her grumbling out the tune, her second go at this song (this was her Broadway pick last season) found her in the bottom 3 along with Keely and Zach who were absent due to illness.
Dan Callahan took to the stage in his Jungle Book best to perform a show-stopping, jazz-scat, song and dance rendition of “I Wanna Be Like You.” Perfectly matching his Jazz training to music form the Disney catalogue suited to his style, Callahan won the evening as well as tickets to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the Kimmel Center’s Academy of Music this February and a gigantic The Lion King on Broadway poster! A little extra treat thrown in by yours truly and our friends at the Kimmel. Katie Gin brought out an acoustic Cruella de Vil and Lobstar Bisque completed our tour of villainous music with Tangled’s “Mother Knows Best,” a perfect song choice for this Broadway baby. Chali closed Act 1 with an upbeat number from A Goofy Movie– “Stand Out,” becoming clear that Chali is starting to find her place on the Songbird stage as well as her swagger.
Rob Anthony opened up act two with a Kim Possible remix, bringing not only his name/brand to the number, but the S&M as well. A full on performance with props, a delightful twink, and the excitement factor! A perfect way to start the second half. De’Soul sang the house down with “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” and we did, but we are not seeing much in terms of performance ability. If De’Soul can’t find the stage presence to match his unbelievable voice, I believe he’ll quickly find himself at the bottom of the pack. Tait Gehman brought out the perennial show-stopper from The Lion King, “The Circle of Life.” Fully transformed into the baboon, Rafiki, Gehman gave Broadway realness complete with Beanie Baby heard animals brought to life by his fans, the “Taitertots.” Brittany Marie, Krista Starr, Justine, and Katie Mae channeled their inner Disney princesses bringing to life Rapunzel, Princess Tiana, Pocahontas, and Ariel in all their glory. Complete with costumes, duet partners, and drag queens these ladies gave us a strong finish!
Daniel Paugh fell victim to a Schonewolf twist. With the benevolent act of saving the bottom 3, one person had to be sent home last night. Paugh always delivers high energy and is a delight to watch, but also brings songs in way-to-high keys leaving this ball of energy on flat notes. A Goofy Movie’s Eye to Eye was Daniel’s swan song.
Season 3’s glam-rock, gender-bending, glitter-bomb Joey Gallagher (last year’s Disney week winner) came back to close the show in a way that only he can. Covered in gold ruffles and sequins-for-days, Gallagher delivered a mash-up for the Disney-Gods! “Let It Go,” “He’s A Tramp,” “I’ve Got No Strings,” and countless others poured onto the stage in a pop-rock ballad as Joey disrobed to a rhinestone gold body suit. The crowd gagged on his eleganza and we all went home happy.
In a season of tremendous talent, each show is becoming a full-on concert worth its admission price. The crowds are out in numbers…don’t miss a single show.
Next week the contestants perform their favorite songs. I can’t wait to see what they do!
Winner– Dan Callahan
Out– Daniel Paugh
Bottom 3– Brianna Roth, Keely Sibilia, Zach Ryan
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