On to the performances. First up is Tamyra "Sophisticated Lady" Gray. This week's clip shows are all about the family roots again. I suppose that's better than listening to a photographer talk about them. Tamyra has ten brothers and sisters. She plays Uno with her family and worries that little Treven is going to see her as a big celebrity and not as her sister. Yeah, not many celebrities give you noogies, except for Tom Arnold, Charlie Sheen, and -- strangely enough -- Joan Allen. She's also a pre-school teacher, and her kids all call her "Miss Tamyra." Tamyra takes the whole "role model" thing seriously, and has no problems with being thrust in the spotlight like this. I guess working with kids is supposed to mean "automatic role model." Did you know that Sheryl Crow used to be a school music teacher? I knew people who had her as a teacher before she hit it big. And we can all see how that worked out in the "role model" department.
Tamyra hits the stage to sing "Minnie The Moocher." She's chosen the Harlem Renaissance as her fashion guide, with a black pinstriped pantsuit and period hair (with a giant flower over her right ear). I like this look better than the earth-mother colors and afro. But I think I just like this era of fashion in general. This, like her performance of "A Fool In Love," is a rather risky song choice for her. The energy for the performance hinges on whether or not the singer can get the necessary audience participation for the chorus. When we get to the "hidey-hidey-hi" part, the results are mixed. We hear some lackluster responses, but when the camera pans across the audience, most of them are just smiling blankly and clapping. I think the band members behind her may be helping out with the chorus, since most of them aren't playing during that part. Her voice is typically solid, though she's a bit louder than usual. She's also obviously having a lot of fun with the song. She handles the "scat" part well, though it was obviously very rehearsed on her part and comes off that way. Best of all, she gets to perform nearly the whole song, now that they're down to six singers. I think there was still a verse cut out for time and the ending is rather abrupt, but I'd guess she got in about three-quarters of the song.