Thursday, March 10, 2011

Crazy talent...and a few duds.

I am left with a few burning questions after last night's performance of the top 13:

1) Is American Idol a promotional tool for J Lo's singing career?
2) Was anyone else distracted by her red lipstick?
3) Do we like the idea of exit interviews after each performance?
4) Where did they find such crazy talent this year?!

I loved last night's episode and its parade of big-time producers - Don Was, Rodney Jerkins, Jimmy Iovine, to name a few. The bad-asses of the music industry. So how did our kids do?

Toughen up, Peaches
LAUREN - our budding country diva, you know I love you. But Shania's "Any Man of Mine" did nothing for your voice, it was rushed, I could barely hear you. I agree with Steven, I just wanted the whole thing to be "more kick ass." Please pick a better song next week. And please don't cry at your next exit interview. I realize you are only 16, but you can't tear up at the first spot of criticism from the judges. But I think you're safe for next week.

"I want you to feel me"
CASEY - it seems the entire world has fallen in love with you. But can I please offer a contrary opinion? What am I watching when I'm watching you, Casey? A gimmick? Taylor Hicks (gasp!), Part Deux? I'm not going to fall for it. Maybe it's going to take pulling out that bass again, but you are 80% show and 20% singing for me right now. I know everyone is going to howl in disagreement. Your flirtatious, yet growling performance of Joe Cocker's "With a Little Help from My Friends" just didn't impress me. You are charming and funny, but I'm not buying it...especially when there are so many amazing singers in the competition this year.

At least you LOOK hot
ASHTON - do we need another second-rate R&B diva in this world? That's what Brandy is for, so please, spare us. Worst performance of the night for me. You channeled Diana Ross in your hair and dress, but that's where the comparisons have to end. All I could thing was, too bad Jennifer Hudson isn't up there, CRUSHING this song right now. Girlfriend, I think you may be in big trouble tonight. 

Love the Sgt. Pepper get-up
PAUL - I love you. I think you may be my musical soul mate. Wilco, Whiskeytown, Ryan Adams - I get it, they are my faves, too. "Come Pick Me Up" is one of the best Ryan Adams songs, but NOT for American Idol. You somehow made that song lose its entire melody. All I could think of was those legions of teenage girls watching you and thinking, "I've never heard this Bryan Adams song before! Doesn't he sing "Summer of '69"? My mom loves that song!' " Paul, you may be in trouble tonight. I hope you get to stay another week, to show that you can learn from your mistakes and choose better songs. 

PIA - classy, beautiful Pia. It was so great to see someone tackle one of the "big three" - Celine Dion - and nail it. All I could say was "DAMN!" All Michael could say was, "She's HOT!" You are 2 for 2, baby. Keep it up.

James sings Sir Paul

JAMES - "Maybe I'm Amazed" at this smooth, understated, beautiful performance. The best of the night. Or maybe the season to this point.

Another diva-in-training
HALEY - how you manage to be sexy and silly at the same time, I just don't know. But to quote Randy Jackson, "I kinda liked it." Your performance of "Blue" was all over the place, but I give you props for yodeling in front of the entire country. You don't take yourself too seriously. I like it.

Hot and fresh out the kitchen

JACOB - when we heard you were singing R. Kelly, I was like, "Yes! He's going to get dirty and sing IGNITION: REMIX on American Idol!" But no, it was "I Believe I Can Fly." A great performance, you are an amazing singer. I'm just over this song.  It seemed a little early in the season to bring out the back-up gospel singers onstage, but for you, Jacob, I guess we'll break all the rules.

Smile, though your heart is breaking

THIA - Do you have a pulse? I'm so glad we saw you cry in your exit interview, otherwise, I'd be convinced you were a robot. The judges could tell you that your performance was awful and I think you'd still just stand there and smile blankly. It's Charlie Chaplin, not Charlie Chapman. All you did last night was reinforce that while you are a great singer, you are not an artist yet. That's asking for a lot at 15 years old. And that's why you won't win.

Reminiscent of J Timberlake
STEFANO - I want to say your dance remix of "Lately" by Stevie Wonder was awful...but it wasn't. You sold it to me, showed me what kind of artist you want to be, and I bought it. You are brave for this performance, and you're just so stinkin' cute, I can't help but root for you. And oh yeah, your voice is gorgeous. The chicks are digging you.

Nap time

KAREN - I'm pretty sure I fell asleep during the 01:40 that you were onstage for this one. Lucky for you, Ashton stunk. I like your Latin "flavor", but you may want to move beyond Selena for next week.

It's just humble 'ol me again
SCOTTY - here's my theory on you. As long as there are country music fans watching the show, you'll do fine. It's still early in the season, so the fact that you are performing these songs verbatim to how they were originally recorded isn't bothering anyone. Yet. But if the judges DO their jobs, they will tell you that eventually, you're going to have to stick some of your own originality into these songs, otherwise, we're going to get bored. "The River" was another great choice for you. But are you an artist? Or a great karaoke singer? Only time will tell.

No, Naima, No
NAIMA - the judges can keep telling us how great you are, what an amazing singer you are, but until you show us, I'm not believing it. That five seconds of reggae that you inserted into the middle of Rihanna's "Umbrella" did not convince me. This is NOT "So You Think You Can Dance." I don't care about your dance moves. I care about the fact that you've been NOT GOOD for two weeks now. It's a race between you and Ashton to see who goes home first, honey.

Who's going home tonight? For me, it's Ashton or Naima. And I think Paul will round out the bottom three.

What did YOU hear last night?!

1 comment:

  1. Gillian, I think you are spot on in your assessments here! Brilliantly so.

    I agree that Scotty is a one-note singer, albeit with a good voice. But did you notice how he wasn't showcased at all in the Michael Jackson medley? He's verrrrrry limited!

    To my mind, the three most talented are Jacob, Pia and James. Pia will probably have problems with the junior high girls voting as the season wears on. She's too perfect. Everything an insecure zit queen isn't. Therefore this Miss America contestant will likely turn off those who are about to see the cheerleader/class president/hottie type get all the glory in school and steal the boys. Once the voting block of 7th and 8th graders realize that, she'll start showing up in the bottom. But for now, she's awesome. I just don't think her run can last with the voters.

    Jacob is perhaps the most amazing of the talents this year. To have that range and control at his age, and that sense of jazz, scat and musical history is truly special. However, he's got to pick worthy material. Burt Bacharach's "A House Is Not A Home" - yes. R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" - Jesus, no!

    James' song was the best of the night. To take classic McCartney and do something wholly original with it was a fantastic surprise. He can wail, but he can also be sensitive. (Like Steven Tyler, natch.) And God knows his back story is the best this year. I think he's the one to beat this season. You watch...

    There, those are my main thoughts. Everything else, darling Gillian, you've already said. Oh, one other thing...why was Casey out? Crohn's? Sore throat? Shingles? Food caught in his beard? WTF?