Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's a Motown Throwdown.

I stopped getting excited about Motown Night about 8 seasons ago. But last night's AI show was pure entertainment from beginning to end. Cheers to our Top 11! And it proved once again - this competition is wide open; it's impossible to pick a winner so soon.

Harnessing the Beast
CASEY -  you redeemed yourself after last week's train-wreck of a Nirvana song. You grunted and growled through Marvin Gaye's "Heard It Through the Grapevine" and made the song interesting again. You kept your "crazy-ass-out-of-control-ego" under control, and I loved the restraint. You're back on track. And I didn't think of Taylor Hicks even once during your performance.

Waking from the Dead
THIA - you are alive! You have a pulse! For that, I congratulate you. But here's my problem with you: every time I want to give you a compliment, I have to caveat it with, "...for a 16-year old." Your performance of "Heat Wave" was great...for a 16-year old. Your connection to the lyrics and music was admirable...for a 16-year old. I noticed you forgot the lyrics in the middle of the song - did anyone catch that? If you aren't in the bottom 3, you're dangerously close. In my opinion.

Waiting to Exhale

JACOB - you were in your zone last night. "You're All I Need" was incredible. You had the groupies jumping out of their seats to touch you. You had J Lo begging for more. Steven Tyler got out of his seat to hug you! That's a good night. You're a natural, you were feelin' it. And I loved it.

Honky Tonk Badonkadonk

LAUREN - "You Keep Me Hanging' On" was a great song for your sass and swagger. A crisis of confidence? I certainly hope not. You've got it going ON, girl!

Coming to a Cruise Ship Near You

STEFANO - sorry dude, this wasn't good.  Do we all remember when David Cook performed this song and killed it? Not so for you, Stefano. I'm pretty sure that if Simon were still around, he'd be encouraging you to fill out your application for Carnival Cruise Lines. Yes, I'm glad you kept your eyes open. But I'd rather have you shut them...and sing a great song. Oh and PS, my mom still loves you. She's a cougar.

We're getting warmer
HALEY - I want you to stay. But you'll be in the bottom three this week. Again. As much as I love your smoky rasp, you just get lost in the shuffle with these eh performances. You did better this week, "You Really Got a Hold on Me" sounded perfect for your voice. Steven intoned, "You don't look a day over fabulous." But honey, we all know your days are numbered. The competition is just too fierce this year.

George W does Motown
SCOTTY - what's that saying? You could sell ice to an eskimo? That's you. Everyone has bought in to you, you can do no wrong. Your vocal wasn't that strong this week, we all heard some seriously off-notes, but guess what? No one cares. That deep, soulful stare into the camera at the end of "For Once in My Life" was pure genius. You've got the girls lovin' you.

PIA - "All in Love is Fair". All in this competition is NOT fair, however. Because your voice is just superior and no one else can do a damned. thing. about. it. So what if you sang another ballad? When it sounds that good, when you look that good, I could care less. As Steven says, you are "the closest star in the AI universe." Beauty. Grace. Talent. Humility.

Motown. Is. Good. Times.
PAUL - thank god you finally strapped on that guitar and got yourself contained behind a microphone stand. This was your best performance yet. "Tracks of My Tears" is a song that no one can get sick of, it's just too good. Seacrest says you are going for the Cougar vote. That's ok with me. You looked great, sounded great. I HATE to bring this up, but my only criticism: when Adam Lambert performed this song, it was a watershed moment - both for him AND American Idol. No one will ever do it better. So while I really liked the Paul'll never own this one.

Naima wants us dancing in the streets, damn it!
NAIMA - try as you might, I think you're still in the bottom 3 with this one. I liked your energy, your personality, showing your flava, as J Lo would say. But it just doesn't work for me. Your African dancing was quite beautiful, but this is a singing competition. And although this song showed off your voice to its best ability, you can't compete with Pia. Or James. Or Jacob. Sorry girl, you may be going home.

I see a Finale in your Future
JAMES - your "Livin' for the City" was so entertaining to hear and watch. You are getting quite comfortable up there, aren't you? It bugs me when you bask in your post-performance glory a little too long onstage, but I'll forgive you. Awesome.

My bottom three: Naima, Haley, and Thia.
Who goes home? Haley.

What did YOU hear last night?


  1. I am listening to the last half as my girls had to go to bed so we have to watch it in two parts.

    I like Casey Abrams but I actually wasn't thrilled with his act last night.

    Meh for Thia and Haley and Paul.

    I didn't like Lauren but I she made me like her a little bit last night.

    I can't stand Jacob. It's. Just. Too. Much.

    I can't stand Stephano.

    I can't stand Naima.

    I like James although I worry that he's going to screw up.

    I sort of liked Scotty but my husband and my kids can't stop laughing at the faces he makes that it's now getting very difficult to watch him.

    I like JLo again. Steven Tyler is cool too but I am not an Aerosmith fan. And Randy is Randy.

    I miss Simon...

  2. Gillian, love your commentary. Spot on. Well written. And I agree wholeheartedly with your take. It seems to me that there are those who really have the chops to already be a recording artist like Pia, Jacob, and maybe Alfred E. Bumpkin.) The rest have some talents, true, but they strike me as the best you'd see on a competitive karaoke night. We'll see who grows as they go along, but right now that's where I'm at.

  3. Oh, and Gillian I do think there is a resemblance between you and Haley.

    BTW why is Haley the only who regularly shows her legs? She's almost always in a skirt. If you got it, flaunt it, but what about the others? They're always in pants or covering it up. Boring! Come on, Pia, make Steven Tyler's millenium.