American Idol Top Eleven redo: Review

Top Eleven Again. The barely foreseeable Casey getting kicked then saved threw a bit of a wrench in the machine, and this week we lose two.

The chaos seemed to bubble over into some of the performances last night. Some were starting to show their weaknesses. Elton John music is generally so adaptable that anyone with a smidge of talent can make something of them. This didn’t appear to be the case last night. But I will have a big caveat to all this later in my post.

From Worst to Best:

Paul – Rocket Man

I have to say I thought he was humming the song except for the chorus. His satiny voice doesn’t excuse him from having to annunciate, just a little. There seems to be a rather large chunk of audience that believes Paul can do no wrong. I am not one of them.

Stefano – Tiny Dancer

On the other hand, maybe I’m one of the people that thinks Stefano can do no right. I can’t say there was anything particularly wrong with Stefano’s Tiny Dancer rendition, but there was nothing particularly right about it. Boring. Vanilla, Blah.

Jacob – Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

His style is perfect for him; it’s not perfect for Idol. He’s one of those singers who’s far better to listen to than to watch, but I wouldn’t listen to his style anyway.

Naima – I’m Still Standing

I’m still of the opinion that Idol is not the place to embrace minority cultures. Reggae is past it’s prime. I’ve never seen someone do a full reggae version of a song and make it to the next week. She’s got energy and a great stage presence. I enjoyed her version, but I don’t predict good things for her from it.

Lauren – Candle in the Wind

First, this is not a song anyone should try to cover. It’s artificial if the singer was born after 1963 and that one line is tough to change to say “I wasn’t even born” or “My granddad was just a kid”. Second, she lacks charm. Her exuberant extroverted ways are not as sweet as say, Kelly Pickler.

Thia – Daniel

Thia is the youngest on the show and sometimes it shows in her stage presence. She is, however, exactly what America wants to see in a sixteen year old. Still, the song choice seemed wrong. I don’t think she really understands the subject matter of the song. Her description of why she sang it seemed so shallow compared to the actual meaning of the lyrics. At least she didn’t sing “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”

Scotty – Country Comfort

Yawn. It just seems too Scotty. It’s good to take a song and make it your own. It’s not so good to take a song that already fits you. The shout out to Grandma was a bit too sweet. Still, take note that he’s pretty far down the list of from worst to best toward the better end.

Casey – Your Song

Kudos for mellowing out a bit. Double kudos for generally avoiding the creepy stare. Triple Kudos for trimming the raccoon off his face. The performance was a bit off key here and there, but felt very genuine.

Haley – Bennie and the Jets

Haley was very pimped this week. There were subtle things other than just getting the pimp spot in the singing order (last). For example, the intro to the show played the same song she sang, putting it fresh in our memories so we, the audience, would be familiar with the song and see how she made it original to her. Unfortunately it was during her singing that I realized that our Television was not set for ideal sound and was equalizing the voices a bit muted, which, in effect, slightly discredits some of my observations regarding the sounds of all the Idol performances so far. I said ‘Slightly.’ Her best performance to date.

James – Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting

I don’t seem to recall quite the stage show in a non-finale performance before. While not his best vocal performance, it did show a bit of planning and showmanship.

Pia – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me

Pia took the judges advice to sing something other than a ballad and discarded it. I’m glad she did. She is an undeniable bastion of talent in a windy bay where the other talent comes in waves.

By the end of the show, I was nonplussed by most of the performances as compared to those from the other shows so far this year.

My votes went to Naima, James and Pia and my wife voted for the same plus Scotty.

Bottom 4:

Stefano, Thia, Naima and Jacob.

Going home:

My preference would be to see Stefano and Jacob go, but I suspect it will be Stefano and Naima, but can’t rule out any two of those four. Paul or Haley could also be in danger though the chances are slim.


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