Thursday, March 10, 2011

American Idol -- Top 13 Performance Show

And we're live! I guess last week's results show was live as well (although I don't know that for sure), but some of you may or may not know that last week's performance shows were not. They were pre-recorded. I suppose there's nothing wrong with that; but I mistrust Idol (actually all TV) producers and I feel like giving them the chance to edit the proceedings makes it more likely that we're being manipulated. However, from what I've read, even when the show is live it can be "modulated" and auto tuned so I guess we never really know that we're seeing the real deal.

Two quick notes about J-Lo before we start -- she came out from backstage staggering swaggering like our old lovable Drunk Paula. And what was up with her lips. Did she forget her lipstick and have to borrow some from a hooker at Hollywood and Vine? All of which just makes me love her even more! On with the show. (Points are out of a possible 100.)

Lauren Alaina (Any Man of Mine) -- Is it me, or do her outfits always seem like they would be more appropriate at a church social than on the Idol stage. I'm sure hardly anyone ever watched Samantha Who? (because otherwise it wouldn't have been canceled), but Christina Applegate's full-sized friend (currently on Mike & Molly) always dressed like that. Maybe Lauren still sees a fat girl when she looks in the mirror, but she shouldn't because I think she's beautiful.

She always looks comfortable on the stage and there's no doubt she can sing, but this wasn't the song she should be singing. She made all the rookie mistakes as well. Not only did she try to defend herself to the judges (never wise), she did it by saying she wanted to show everyone a different side of her. Woman, at least half of the people tuning in tonight either haven't seen you yet or don't really remember you. Show 'em your FIRST side first. And she told Ryan she "had a good time". Don't care. You're at work. Do some work.77

I'm glad the judges were tough on her because she's way better than that and I was afraid they were going to just coddle her. When Ryan said that after the break we were going to hear Joe Cocker and Diana Ross from Casey and Ashton, was anyone else hoping it was going to be the other way around? I want to hear Casey singing The Boss.

Casey Abrams (Little Help From My Friends) -- I wrote, "He's looks like he's never been happier to be anywhere than here right now." Then he essentially said the same thing when talking to Ryan. There's not a lot to say about him. Even his geekiness is cool. Even with all the competition, he seems like a lock for the top three. 92 (I'm grading tougher this year.)

"A plethora of passion." -- Steven Tyler.

Aston Jones (When You Tell Me That You Love Me) -- I was so excited for this because I love her and I love this song. And she had almost perfect Miss Ross hair. She's soooo beautiful. But the arrangement was too fast and she really struggled to stay in control of the song. I think the judges were too kind when they told her that she pulled it back in when it got rough. If it was noticeable at home, then she didn't do a good enough job pulling it back in. I love her, but this was not good. 69

Paul McDonald (Some Ryan Adams song I've never heard of) -- He reminds me of Barry Gibb. No, he reminds me of Jimmy Fallon doing Barry Gibb. He looks like he's having a seizure up there. I felt better about not knowing who Ryan Adams is when Jennifer didn't know either. And Seacrest's impression of Paul was brilliant. I'll give him props for his unique voice, but he's going unique himself into a 10th place finish if he doesn't watch out. 80

Pia Toscano (All by Myself) -- The friends I was watching with started to groan when she said her idol was Celine Dion, but fortunately the song she chose was actually an Eric Carmen song from the 70s and not a Celine original. I loved how, when she was chatting with Ryan, she was trying so hard to not sound like she's from Jersey.

I get a total Tamyra Gray (season one) vibe from her, and most people know I love me some Tamyra. She's awfully polished and put together up there -- even if there is something a little pageanty about her. She's got an almost perfect voice. My concern with her is that she's almost too good and people might think she doesn't need the votes. 92

James Durbin (Maybe I'm Amazed) -- First the good news -- he can really clean up his vocals and his performing skills under pressure. That was so ultra-controlled on the heels of last week's Judas Priest performance. (Note to Lauren: If you want to show people something different, really SHOW them). Now the bad news -- the wardrobe/hair/makeup people destroyed his look. Can someone please unpluck him and let him be who he is. 90

I forget what Steven said here, but in my notes I wrote that he channels Paula sometimes -- which makes me love him all the more.

Haley Reinhart (Blue) -- You don't often hear someone yodeling on the Idol stage (usually those idiots are on the audition shows), but she made it work. She's beautiful. I really like that throaty sound her voice has and she did a good job. But there's really almost no way she can get very far here. Even as good as she was, after only seven performances she's fourth best. That's just not going to get it done in the long run. 85

Jacob Lusk (I Believe I Can Fly) -- Why hasn't this song been banished from Idol yet? Jacob is difficult for me. I see/hear that he's very talented, but I just don't get him. And really, a gospel choir?! On the first night? How over the top are you? If he makes it to the finale he's going to pull a Diana Ross and leave via helicopter (her "ride home" after she performed at the Super Bowl in either 1995 or 96). 82

Thia Megia (Smile) -- All I can think of when I hear this song is that Paige Miles disaster from last season. And really, can anyone do it better than Charlie "Chapman"? During the performance, I noted that she keeps surprising me because I have expected her to be destroyed by the pressure and the moment and she hasn't been. And then they showed her backstage interview. I was wondering what the look on her face during the judges' comments was about, but apparently she felt like she completely butchered it. It wasn't amazing, but I don't think it was as bad as she thought it was. 80

Stefano Langone (Lately) -- I don't know what the judges were hearing, but I didn't hear the same thing. I don't think he's nearly as good as they think he is. And he was reminding me of Tom Jones up there. As an aside, did you notice that Ryan is almost a head taller than him? How friggin short is he? 75

Karen Rodriguez (I Can Fall in Love) -- She was much better last week. This performance is really flat. And there was not a single boo from the audience when the judges were telling her that. Bye bye Karen. 65

Scotty McCreary (The River) -- He's the country version of Jacob Lusk to me. I know he's good, but that country male twang always annoys the crap out of me. 86

Naima Adedapo (Umbrella) -- Thank God they updated her look. On all the cop/detective shows, they always have someone dressed like her (the way she WAS dressing) working in some African-based religious/spiritual store. And they always know more about the murder than they let on at first. This was a completely different Naima and I love it. And I like her version of this song better than Rhianna's (but I don't really get all the Rhianna love). 90

All in all a pretty good first live show. Based solely on tonight, I'd put Karen Rodriguez, Ashton Jones and Stefano Langone in the bottom three. I think America will put Karen Rodriguez, Ashton Jones and Haley Reinhart there. And Ashton Jones will be very, very lucky that she's getting to stay another week, because it will almost certainly be Karen Rodriguez going home.

Thoughts? Comments? Unabashed praise for my judging and writing acumen?

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