Thursday, March 31, 2011
Do Over: American Idol -- Top 11 Performance Show
I hope you all appreciate what I go through to bring you this blog. It's my day off (Thanks Cesar Chavez) and not only am I sitting in front of my computer (OK, I'd be doing that anyway) but I've queued up last night's episode so I can give you the best possible recap.
Just like last night, I'm fast-forwarding through that crap about last week. I love these two-hour shows where they waste the first 15 minutes. OK, so I'm exaggerating about the 15 minutes, but the first performer didn't come on until almost the nine-minute mark. Move it on.
Just one thing before we do though. Does J-Lo get hotter every week. She looked stunning.
Scotty McCreery (Country Comfort) -- When I heard they were singing Elton John songs, I had no idea what Scotty should or would perform. I've never heard this song before. I wasn't really feeling him at the beginning of the song. But from right about the "I love you grandma", I started liking it. In fact, it was probably the most I've enjoyed one of his performances all season.
A couple of notes: it seems to be taking them longer than usual to find a look that works for him -- they had Clay Aiken looking completely different by the first week of the finals -- but they are getting there. He looked less like he just stepped off the cover of Mad magazine tonight. Also, it seems like even when they let the contestants use instruments, they are making a conscious effort to reduce the effect by the way they arrange the songs and by use of the camera angles. Maybe that's my imagination, but that's what I'm thinking. 83
Naima Adedapo (I'm Still Standing) -- I thought Naima might have done well with Someone Saved My Life Tonight because I wanted her to just stand and sing this week, kind of like she did with Summertime. But she did I'm Still Standing because she said there are a lot of people that thought she wouldn't get this far. Fair point, but in our defense, we thought that because she was actually eliminated in the semi-finals and then wasn't one of the three best when she sang to save her life. Our bad. I loved how Jimmy Iovene called her decision to do it with a Reggae flavor brave when you could see on his face he meant stupid.
This should have been one of those performances that everyone had an opinion about -- good and bad. Not only did she do it Reggae style, she pulled out a Jamaican accent that we hadn't heard up to this point. Honestly though, there wasn't anything I loved or hated about this performance. From one line to the next, I liked it a little then I didn't. I think she's in trouble after this, but for the exact opposite reason I thought it was going to be before she started. I just don't think the performance was all that memorable against the rest of the night. 79
Paul McDonald (Rocket Man) -- I had him and Stefano switched. I thought Paul should do Tiny Dancer (mostly for my own amusement) and Stefano should have done Rocket Man. Paul definitely should have taken my advice because there was absolutely nothing interesting about this performance. Even his outfit was tired. I didn't even bother to watch this one over this morning. 65
Pia Toscano (Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me) -- I chose Mama Can't Buy You Love for Pia because, like I ranted last week, I'm a little over the balladeer schtick. So, I had my arms folded and my mind closed when she started singing. But even before the back-up singers got to the stage -- which, by the way, was a good way to make it look like the stage wasn't swallowing her up -- I was sold. This was her best night since I'll Stand by You for sure and maybe her best so far. I'll stop doling out advice to her now. And I'm excited to see how she does with River Deep, Mountain High next week. 92
Jennifer got it exactly right when she said it was the most we've felt Pia so far. That's what made this more than just another ballad. You could feel her in the song as well as hear her.
Stefano Langone (Tiny Dancer) -- Anyone else enjoy the irony of tiny singer (look at him next to Ryan Munchkin Seacreast) doing Tiny Dancer? I'm glad someone finally told him that if he walked around out there he'd have to keep his eyes open so he wouldn't fall down. This was a very good night for him, but I'm still not on the Langone express. He's by far the most uneven performer of all of them this year. Some nights he kills, others he dies. But tonight he did good. 83
Usually Randy is just a dork, but when he held out his hand at the end of the song when Stefano was reaching for J-Lo I cracked up. Good one dawg.
Lauren Alaina (Candle in the Wind) -- I picked Daniel for Lauren because it's a great song and I thought would be a great moment for her. (Foreshadow warning) It did end up being a great moment, but not for her. There are four of us that watch together every week and I think this was the most polarizing performance of the season so far. We were all in agreement that she hit all the notes. But two of us felt she nailed it and two felt she lacked even the remotest connection to the song. But I'm the one with the blog, so... If she were a wireless adapter, the little "limited connectivity" triangle would have been flashing through the entire performance. And remember, I love her. I want her to do well. And she looked amazing. I'm starting to think she really needs a few more years of maturity before she'll be able to really shine. I did, however, like it just a little bit more when I watched it this morning so I'm bumping her score just a bit. 84
And the judges obviously didn't agree with me about the connection problem. But they are wrong.
James Durbin (Saturday Night's Alright) -- Another schism in North Park after this one. But again, it's my blog. The first week he performed I wrote that he sort of mesmerizes me. He had a little hiccup the second week. The last two weeks, I was back to being mesmerized. In fact, I haven't written a single note during his performances the last two weeks. I just sit and watched, completely entertained. I can't even tell you if he hit all the notes. I just know I love him.
That said, I still wish he had sung Levon instead. I think he might have had a Lambertesque moment with that. Also, the band was way too loud. And, they should all rehearse coming down those steps more because they always have to stop focusing on the song while they're doing it. 89
Thia Megia (Daniel) -- I wouldn't have chosen this song for her because I love the song and don't like her. But this might have been the best she's sounded all season. There were a couple of moments where I actually got chills.90
Casey Abrams (Your Song) -- FINALLY! Someone took my advice. I picked Your Song for Casey because he absolutely needed to remind everyone that he's a singer. I'm not sure he's 100 percent back to where he was, but he absolutely made the right turn to head back that way tonight. Nicely done. And I liked it even more when I watched it this morning. 87
Jacob Lusk (Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word) -- OK, so I thought he would do Circle of Life and he didn't. Score one for Jacob. But they said things like "softer and gentler" and "not over-dramatizing". This was him not over-dramatizing? Eh. Still not a fan. 80
Haley Reinhart (Benny and the Jets) -- I cracked up when she said Jimmy Iovene likes the "hardcore bangage" on the piano. I've already noted on Facebook that this was probably my favorite performance of the season so far. I've watched it at least six times so far. So often, we see potential in some of these kids during the auditions and Hollywood but they can't ever really relax on the live show to fulfill it. Everything about her was relaxed and dead on tonight. I'm soooo glad she proved that she has this in her. I love her. 95
Only five of 11 performances scored above an 85 for me. They have got to do better. Thank God two of them are going home tonight. Bottom three should be Naima, Paul and Jacob. (As an aside -- last week, I think for the first time since I've been blogging the bottom three were the three I said should be there). It probably will be Naima, Paul and Stefano. I have a feeling we will be saying farewell to Naima and Stefano.