News Article

Pipes 'Dreams'

Rating the Rock & Role Reversals on an NBC Series

Michelle Branch as Lesley Gore ''You Don't Own Me'' Branch is one of the few musicians with lines. Big mistake. She acts worse than she sings. C-

Usher as Marvin Gaye ''Can I Get a Witness'' Usher's stated obsession with Gaye pays off: He's got the singer's smile, tilted head, and boundless energy. A-

Ashanti as Dionne Warwick ''Walk On By'' The pride of Murder Inc. conveys the Motown era's stilted stage moves, but she can't carry Warwick's tune. C --

B2K as The Temptations ''My Girl'' The hip-hop boy band turns in a surprisingly faithful, nuanced rendition, with black-rim specs and laughable wigs. B

India.Arie as Nina Simone ''Come Ye'' Arie doesn't sound like Simone, but when it's this good, who cares? And Arie's bothered swagger is dead-on. A --

LeAnn Rimes as Connie Francis ''Where the Boys Are'' Rimes is the perfect belter to channel Francis, in all her glass-shattering glory. B+

Duncan Sheik as Bobby Darin ''Beyond the Sea'' As the lounge-y singer, Sheik is dull. C As the arrogant backstage jerk, he's a genius. A

Nick Carter as Jay of Jay and the Americans ''Come a Little Bit Closer'' It may seem impossible, but Carter is even dorkier than the '60s crooner. C

Wayne Brady as Jackie Wilson ''Baby Workout'' No surprise that the only TV regular here does the best acting -- but he's also a great singer. B+

Vanessa Carlton as Dusty Springfield ''Wishin' and Hopin''' Carlton brings a bit too much of her swinging hips and vocal tricks to the part. B --

Vivian Green as Brenda Halloway ''Every Little Bit Hurts'' The little-known soul siren (and Jill Scott backup singer) nails Halloway's allure. A --

Third Eye Blind as the Kinks ''All Day and All of the Night'' The rockers capture none of the Kinks' energy and, for that matter, few of their notes. D

Originally posted May 16, 2003 Published in issue #710 May 16, 2003 Order article reprints
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