Thursday, March 17, 2011

American Idol -- Top 12 Performance Show

Let me just say right from the start: If my critiques seem lackluster and uninspired, it's because that's exactly how I felt about this "Songs from the Year They Were Born" episode. The song choices were just so-so, we have yet to see a truly original arrangement of a song (a la David Cook or Adam Lambert) and exactly one of the contestants tonight gave his /her best performance so far. Yawn. Let's get to it before I fall back to sleep.

OH, before we start. I was wrong last week. It was NOT live (according to I did see the "recorded from an earlier broadcast" disclaimer at the bottom of the screen here tonight, so I'm assuming it was live on the east coast this week.

Naima Adedapo (What's Love Got to Do With It) -- During the pre-song clip, we got to see that Naima gets her fashion sense from her dad. This was the wrong, wrong, wrong song. She was all over the place vocally and the look on her face afterward said she knew it. Steven Tyler has to get his head out of her ass. I don't know what he was listening to, but at least Jennifer and Randy were willing to call her on it. This was just downright bad.68

Paul McDonald (I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues) -- Every time I see him on stage, I think of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine dances. Arms and legs akimbo. Plus, his voice cracked a couple times during the song. I'm going to try to be objective when I grade this guy this season, but he creeps me out and I don't really see the appeal. 80

Thia Megia (Colors of the Wind) -- When I saw the list of songs, from 1995 I had a feeling Thia would pick this. It's actually not a bad choice, considering what else was on that list. It's pretty clear that someone told her she needed to start smiling on stage because she had this forced grin on her face through the whole thing. She certainly pulled it together from last week, but there wasn't anything particularly memorable or exciting about this performance. 81

James Durbin (I'll Be Here for You) --I loved when James said that JBJ was "tearing up the charts" in 1989. Dude, that was the year you were born. Your only knowledge of the situation comes from what you've read. Don't talk like you were there. I don't really know this Bon Jovi song, so I don't really know if he's doing it justice, but the whole thing seemed really ordinary to me. I was happy they let him go back to his less clean-cut look (tail and messed up hair). It almost sounded like he couldn’t hear himself. While watching we noticed that up to this point we didn't see anyone wearing the monitor up there, but after this almost everyone did. So maybe there were some issues. 83

Haley Reinhart (I'm Your Baby Tonight) -- Leann Rimes one week, Whitney Houston the next. This girl has clearly NEVER heard herself. I honestly really like her, but the last two weeks she hasn't brought her A game at all. Did anyone else notice that she was totally cross eyed in her baby picture? I guess if you are going to pick a Whitney song, this one wasn't a bad one to pick, but it was just kind of a mess. She was good in a couple spots, but there weren't nearly enough spots. 78

Stefano Langone (If You Don't Know Me by Now) -- I wanted to be resentful that he chose a song that was so clearly not from the year he was born, but then he came out and just blew me away with the performance that I gave him a complete pass on that. Finally someone stepped up and did something worth watching and talking about. It was probably the most difficult song chosen so far and he handled it beautifully. (aside to m² -- now I see what people see in him.) 93

Pia Toscano (Where Do Broken Hearts Go) -- When she said what she was singing, I thought it was way too ambitious, even for her. This is one of those songs from when Whitney was WHITNEY. She made a really smart choice by doing a remixed version. Not only because of the comparisons, but because she was starting to get a little predictable. It may sound crazy, but the thing I loved about this performance was that it reminded me of how great Houston was when she could still sing. Brava! 92

Scotty McCreary (Can I Trust You With My Heart) -- I've always understood what other people like about him, but since I don't like country music much he never really appealed to me. This I liked. I still don't think it was the absolute best he's been since we first saw him, but he he hit more of his notes tonight that he did in almost all of Hollywood week. 89

Karen Rodriguez (Love Will Lead You Back) -- I loved how during the pre-song clip, Jimmy Iovene essentially told her that all she's got going for her is that she sings in Spanish so she had better stick with it. She managed to completely eliminate every drop of drama from that song. That's not easy to do. It wasn't as bad as last week, but she's so far out of her depth right now it's not really funny. She really needed Simon to obliterate her so people would vote for her out of pity. Oh wait, Simon isn't here anymore. 69

TAMYRA! That was worth sitting through the entire two boring hours. I love you Tamyra!!!! Please put out a new album!!

Casey Abrams (Smells Like Teen Spirit) -- Note to Casey fans: Enjoy him while you can. Did you see how pale he was during the interview with Iovene. He's not well. I will be really surprised if he makes it through the season. He's going to drop out at some point. I'm almost sure of it. I have a really wild confession to make now. That was the very first time I have ever heard the song Smells Like Teen Spirit. I know. So, really I don't know what it was supposed to sound like. But it wasn't my favorite Casey performance ever. Something didn't seem quite right. 85

Lauren Alaina (I'm the Only One) -- I KNEW she was going to do a Melissa Etheridge song. Way better than last week. I still think she's better than even this, but since she had the flu I'll cut her a break. 88

Jacob Lusk (Alone) -- If Meshach Taylor and Grace Jones had a baby... He's probably one person that you absolutely can't say this song is too big for. He's so over the top. It's funny that I don't really like him because he's the male incarnation of Jennifer Hudson (at least during her time on Idol). And please argue with me about this if you want, but I still think it's only the third best performance of this song on AI (behind Carrie Underwood and Allison Iraheta). 89

Other than the absence of Ashton Jones, I think America's bottom three is going to look pretty similar to last week's: Karen Rodriguez, Haley Reinhart and Naima Adedapo. I predicted successfully who America would put in the bottom three last week, even though I personally disagreed. This week, I think the people who will be there are the exact three that belong there. I got the elimination wrong last week, but I'm going to keep guessing the same person until I'm right (or until she gives me a reason not to). So, Karen Rodriguez going home.

Thoughts? Comments? Were you as unimpressed by the performances as I was?

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