S10E26: Well, folks, last night wasn’t exactly the best crop of performances on Idol. It was movie week, which is just begging to be a slew of cheesy ballads that put most of us to sleep, and for a few contestants, that’s exactly what happened. Of course, because this year we’ve got some really interesting folks up on stage, there were a few unique, wonderful performances, but I literally wanted to push the mute button in the middle of a couple of the others.
Once again, I think the problem is the folks they have surrounding them. The judges are completely useless. Jennifer even pointed out that people want them to be meaner, but said she couldn’t say anything bad. Randy didn’t even add any criticism. Well, I sure can. The other problem is the combination of Jimmy Iovine and Wil.I.Am (who I thought was a special guest; I’m not sure why he’s still here). Between Jimmy’s creatively stifling ideas, to Wil.I.Am. telling the contestants to ignore him, I can’t imagine any of these kids know what they’re doing or how they should be doing it. It’s like a family where the parents blow smoke up your ass and your two older brothers give you outlandish ideas to see how fast you’ll crack and go crying to mom and dad like a little crazy person.
It’s annoying, because at this point everyone up there has their own version of talent, but we see them use it in an unfitting way because many of them have no idea what they’re doing. They are voices without direction. But there are a few folks up there who have their own artistic sensibilities and bring their own ideas to the stage and that is a great deal of what determined my rankings today.
“Nature Boy” by Nat King Cole (Moulin Rouge)
Casey is back in a big way. I love that not only did he really bring his own style to this song, but he basically told Jimmy Iovine to suck it and it worked. The guy’s got balls. And he’s fantastic. I love that we never know what he’s going to do when he gets up there. American Idol has become such an irrelevant gauge for determining the next big star in recent years, so I love that he’s using this stage to let his creativity take all different forms. He’s a true artist and while that’s new for Idol, I love it.
“The Climb” by Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana The Movie)
This is weird for me. Not only am I the last person to be okay with a song from Hannah Montana The Movie, but I’m certainly not going to be into a Miley Cyrus ballad. Yet here I am, putting it at number two and all the credit goes to Lauren. While I was also incensed by Iovine’s idea that she should steal Pia’s voters (the girl is 16, she’s not going to think that way), I see why he said that. She’s got the crazy pipes and incredible clarity. What she accomplished that Pia hadn’t managed to do, was to make the song sound like it was her own. We all know it’s a Miley song, but in last night’s performance, you’d swear it was written for Lauren.
“Old Time Rock and Roll” by Bob Segar (Risky Business)
So he didn’t do the whole Tom Cruise sliding around in his underwear thing, but the performance was a good time nonetheless. Every week, Paul gets more and more brazen about being himself onstage. Yes, he’s quirky, he has an affinity for suits with giant red flowers, and he does that spastic dancing like he just can’t contain the music, and yes, I love all of that. This was a perfect song choice, it was fun to watch, and it had Paul written all over it.
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel (Elvis: That’s the Way It Is)
Once again, Jacob showed us what a skilled singer he is. He knocked it out of the park with a song that I probably would never have chosen. Time and again, this song is the butt of every joke. How many times have you seen drunken Elvis impersonators do it on TV or in a movie? Jacob took a song that lent itself to that sort of stigma and made it something interesting to watch. I hope voters put more faith in him this week; he doesn’t belong in the bottom three.
“Call Me” by Blondie (American Gigolo)
For once, Haley did not impress me. It’s like she took all that momentum she’s been building and threw it away. Part of it was the song choice – it’s really not for her. It doesn’t really allow for her to use her specific talents in any way. Sure she sounded fine and she looked great, but the song was just wrong and she didn’t take it and turn it on its head which is what you’d have to do in order to really make it work.
“End of the Road” by Boyz II Men (Boomerang)
Technically, I have no complaints about how Stefano sang. I simply have the same general problem I have every week: he doesn’t perform as if he owns the song. So many other folks on this show would let us think that the songs they’re covering are their own. The meld their own styles with the songs, but Stefano – though talented – always makes it feel like he’s that annoying guy at the karaoke bar who knows he can singer better than the other drunk people. He’s just so vanilla.
“Call It Heavy Metal” by Sammy Hagar (Heavy Metal)
Not only have I said time and again that I’m over James’ showy nonsense, but he the he goes and claims he wants to bring metal to American Idol. Not only is that practically impossible, but his performance was the least metal thing I’ve ever seen. The rock gods would not be pleased. It was an insult to metal and to my ears. Seriously, this kid is all show and no substance and it’s about time people figured it out.
“I Cross My Heart” by George Strait (Pure Country)
I’m putting Scotty last the same way my mom used to put me in time-out. I’m disappointed in him. None of the judges seemed to notice, but not only was this song the sleepiest, most lackluster song he could choose, but he didn’t perform it like we know he can. He was pitchy, he was all over the place, he was boring, and he was not bringing his usual Southern boy charm. He can do better and we need to see that.
Who’s going home? I’d put my money on Stefano, but after last week’s elimination, I won’t be surprised if I’m completely wrong.