American Idol, Top 13 performance review.
I know it’s terribly silly for someone like me to care about American Idol. Still, for some odd reason, I do.
Last Night we saw the Top 13 perform. It was an odd night. The Theme was Personal Idols and each contestant chose a song from their personal source of singing inspiration. I have to suspect that some may have been lying just a little when they identified their Personal Idols, just to pick a song they wanted to sing. If not, I think some of them should have lied and picked something else.
Let’s talk about them, from worst to best.
Worst in Show:
Hands down this goes to Jacob Lusk for his performance of “I Believe I can Fly”, the R.Kelly original. The arrangement was, well, absent. I think there was one note that lasted for 95 of the one hundred seconds the contestants are allotted. Okay, that’s an exaggeration; it wasn’t really a musical note. On a side note, no one should ever openly admit to choosing R.Kelly as a personal idol.
Diana Ross’s “When You Tell Me That You Love Me” didn’t do Ashthon Jones any favors. It was an entirely unremarkable performance, except for the utter unpolished feel to it.
Charlie Chapman, er Chaplin’s song “Smile”, covered by Thia Megia who thought she was covering Michael Jackson, was not a high point in Thia’s Career. In fairness, she got bad advice to change it up in the middle. She started the song beautifully in a demure style reminiscent of a Disney Soundtrack. Two verses in, she changed it up, and it died a muddled mess of a performance at that point. I’d like to say it’s not Thia’s fault, but at this stage in the competition, she should have the talent to carry through the change up. Trivia: Chaplin never wrote lyrics. The song was just a musical score to the “Silent Film”, Modern Times. Modern Times, released well into the talkie phase of movies in 1936, was not actually a silent film, but the characters didn’t speak in the tradition of Charlie’s earlier Tramp movies. There was an embedded musical soundtrack. John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons wrote the lyrics for Nat King Cole’s version in 1954.
I didn’t like Stefano Langone’s cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Lately”. It sounded like a bad clone.
Ditto on the clone thing with Karen Rodriguez singing “I Could Fall in Love” by Selena. I count this one as pandering to J’Lo, since she played the part of Selena in the movie celebrating the too short life of Selena. Karen, by focusing her appeal to the middle judge and not the American Population is probably not long for the show.
Paul McDonald’s version of Ryan Adams’ “Come Pick Me Up” didn’t do anything for me. It probably didn’t help that I have no idea who Ryan Adams is and have never heard the song before. Still it didn’t seem a fit for Paul.
Six singers down, and nary a truly good performance yet. Next up, three good performances.
The judges were harsher than I’d have been on Lauren Alaina’s Cover of Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine.” I’m probably not great at evaluating country music, but, to me, she seemed to do an adequate job of it. Honestly, If Lauren hadn’t been first, she’d have gotten rave reviews from the judges, given the permeating mediocrity of the night.
Country came up again with Haley Reinhart’s cover of LeAnn Rimes’ “Blue”. Again, adequate. But people covering LeAnn Rimes makes me feel old. Realizing the song was released by Rimes nearly fifteen years ago just makes me feel older. Personal disconnection aside, the song didn’t do anything special for Haley. Changing from Alicia Keys one week to LeAnn Rimes the next will probably confuse her fans.
Scotty McCreery sang Garth Brooks’ “The River”. Scotty is a perfect country singer and did a perfect job with Garth Brooks song. And while it may be a good thing that he makes everything he sings sound like only Scotty can sound, I’m getting bored with the predictability of Scotty’s sound. Good job, but not appealing for me.
Then there were the stand out good performances.
Pia Toscano played the diva again with Celene Dion’s “All by Myself”. Though she went a little off a couple times on the hard and high notes, she proved she is the shows only bona-fide diva style talented singer.
Casey Abrams, who may be the quirkiest Idol ever, sang The Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” a la Joe Cocker. Entertaining. Great rendition.
Naima Adedapo, “Umbrella” by Rihanna. I’m not sure how her fans are going to react to her going a little more pop r&b. But given that she’s not in the top 13 because of her fans she may just benefit from the change. An overall good performance. Great stage presence.
James Durbin did Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” perfectly. He added a little bit of a James Durbin Edge to it and it worked for him. Best Performance of the Night.
So the predicted results:
Bottom 3: Three of the following 5 with odds:
Ashthon – 100%
Jacob – 80%
Haley – 25%
Thia – 50%
Going home: Ashthon.