American Idol: 12 Finalists Perform

The first thing we get tonight is a spot telling us that we can purchase downloads for all the songs after the program to benefit the disaster victims in Japan. Good form, Idol. Very good. This may eventually go down as one of the worst disasters in history. Time will tell.

Tonight we get 12 contestants performing. Once again, I will be blogging while they perform. And I breathe a huge sigh of relief as I see Casey on the stage. He was in the hospital for last week’s results show.

Tonight’s theme is songs from the year the contestants were born. So it’s songs from the 90s, right? Hahahaha…sigh. Boy do I feel old.

Naima will be first. She was born in 1984. She’s going to sing “What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner. Hey, it’s a song I know! She comes down the stairs, sporting a bright yellow tank top with some scarves, one dangling from her mic hand. Her intonation is consistently sharp all through the song. It has no energy at all, especially for a Tina Turner. Rhythmically, the song is boring, with the drums pounding out the exact same rhythm over and over. I wouldn’t give it a good rating. She seems to have played it very “safe.” Stephen loved it. ? He said, “You’ve got a sorcerer’s grasp for melody, girl.” J-Lo loved her specific flavor. She said that she gave Naima a “pass” last week on the pitchiness. She sees that Naima is consistently pitchy. Randy says it’s good that J-Lo brought that up. He agrees. He said she was under pitch, though…Hm…I could swear it was sharp. Oh, well.

Next up is Paul. Also born in 1984. He’s going to sing “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues,” by Elton John. He’s got the backup singers. He’s wearing a light jacket, jeans and a light print shirt. He’s doing that weird moving thing he does. He’s having pitch troubles, too. I wonder again: Can these people hear themselves?? His hoarseness doesn’t suit this song. Not a great arrangement. I liked this guy during Hollywood week, but I don’t care for him now. J-Lo thought it sounded good and that he has soul and star quality and he overcame the hoarseness. I disagree. Randy differs with J-Lo. Some notes were very pitchy. He compares Paul to Ray LaMontagne, though. He likes his originality. Stephen says he “defined cool dude and a loose mood.” He likes the quirky swagger. Again…I wouldn’t give him a great week. He has been sick all week, so I might cut him a little slack for that.

Thia is up next. She was born in 1995. She’s going to sing “Colors of the Wind,” by Vanessa Williams. Can’t say I know this one. She’s wearing a beautiful flowing formal dress. Oh. Yeah. I know this song. It’s from…what?…Lion King? She has a beautiful voice, and she is adorable. She’s not having quite the pitch problems the others had. There are a couple, but not consistent. The modulation was a little tough. And, as usual, all she does is stand there and sing. It is, of course, a singing competition. But it’s also an entertainment competition. Her style is simple, almost lounge singer style. I could have used a little more power at some places, but still, she has the best performance by far, so far. It’s hard to believe she is only 15. Randy said the vocals were okay…but the problem he’s having that she’s been singing nothing but ballads, and he found it a little boring. He felt like he was at a pageant or something. I get that totally. Stephen said it was beautiful, but “Is that song who you think you are?” J-Lo believes she has an “Adel” like quality. She said she’s being too safe. Thinks the vibrato needs a little work.

James Durbin is up next. He was born in 1989, same year as Rachel. ❤ He's going to sing "I'll Be There For You," by Bon Jovi. He has a really pitchy start. Looks like a leather jacket, jeans and tails on the jacket. I think. Oh. The tails are coming out of his pocket. He also has studded leather bandannas on his boots and his cuffs. He's just doing okay. It's disappointing to me. It was very pitchy, much more than he usually is. He had good energy, and one of the screams sounded pretty good, but he didn't quite make it to the note that he tried to hit after it. He really didn't nail this, but nobody else seems to notice. Do they hear something different there?? Stephen says "Don't get too poppy on me." The sound just went away for a few seconds…did Stephen say something bad there, or was it just the feed? Who knows. J-Lo love it. Every time he gets up there, she just loves it. Randy noticed the pitchy spots, but likes how he made it his own. Said it was tastefully done. Later, Stephen said "That man right there has a rich vein of inner crazy." I wonder if they are going to produce a book of Stephen's quotes from this season. "Tyler-isms," they could call it, right? I love me some Stephen Tyler!!

Haley will be up next, and Ryan teased us by saying she’s doing a Whitney Houston song. That’s pretty bold. Can she pull it off? That rarely goes well. (Incidentally, right when they cut back from the commercial, James was seen coming off the stage, ripping a dynamite scream. It was way better than anything he did while on the stage. Weird.) Haley was born in 1990. Her parents are musicians and are in a band together. Not bad, from the brief clip of “Black Velvet” that they played. Okay. She’s singing “I’m Your Baby Tonight,” by Whitney. She sports a bright red blouse and tight black pants, along with spike heals and very red lipstick. The singing is a bit on the nasal side. Intonation-wise, she’s mostly on pitch, though. She gets it moving in the middle part. I can’t say that I’m crazy about the song, but, for what it’s worth, I believe she’s doing a pretty good job of it. She moves around a lot, and really seems to get into the song. J-Lo thinks she looks beautiful tonight. She hears an amazing voice, but feels like she’s still a little tense and unsure of her movements. Thinks it felt a little forced. Randy is interrupted as Ryan attempts to wipe lipstick off of Haley’s chin. That was a little weird. Randy is a little confused by her diversity. He’s not sure that Haley is sure who she is. The vocals were okay. Wait…he’s talking about releases??? Here?? Tonight?? That makes me think he just doesn’t like her. Stephen says that was “sweet and tough.” Thinks she has a Janice Joplin quality. Wants to hear more blues.

At this point, I think Haley and Thia have it tonight. James is in third, so far.

Stefano is next. Another 1989 kid. He looks a lot younger than James. His dad looks like Howie Mandel. Heh. No, really! I’m serious! He’s going to sing “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” by Simply Red. (This is another remake…originally recorded by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. I wonder Stefano even knows that version exists.) He starts on the stairs. It looks like he stole Paul’s clothes. No print on the shirt, though. Hey, he seems to be doing quite a good job! This may be his best performance to date. He certainly has the feeling. He’s all over the place, range-wise, and he seems to be nailing the pitches. I just got goose-bumps, baby!! Oh, man, he nailed the last note, then faltered ever so slightly at the end, either from emotion or because he ran out of breath. But, man!! That will probably be the best performance of the night, right there! He just jumped to the top! Randy mentions Harold Melvin, and Stefano knows about them. Good. The best performance of the night so far! Randy says he “slayed it.” Stephen said it was beautiful phrasing and when he stepped out, it was “over the top.” J-Lo said it was the “perfect perfect song” for him. Says if he stays “right there” he could win this thing. Ryan tells him to go hug his mom. Aw…

Pia will sing next. She was born in 1988. She’s going to sing “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” by Whitney Houston. Sigh. Another one? We’ll see. If anyone can do it, Pia can. She’s wearing a shiny white pantsuit. Looks like pajamas. Vocally, she seems to be doing a pretty good job. I’m not crazy about the arrangement or the song, either. She nails the modulation and the high notes. Man, this sounds “poppy.” Again, I have to say, that she is performing very well, vocally. I just don’t like the song. Stephen says, “You are why this show is called ‘American Idol.'” Um…no? Sorry Stephen, you got that one wrong. He says she nailed it, which I can’t disagree with. J-Lo was glad to hear her do something up tempo. It was perfect for her. Randy (Yo, listen.) “Pia is in the competition to win it.” Meh. Whatever. She’s probably in the top for tonight, but that song didn’t make me like her. And…I just realized she looks like “Rhoda.” Hahahaha…

Scotty is up next. He’s going to sing a Travis Tritt song. He was born in 1993. He loved Elvis. Did a fair job of the beginning of “Blue Suede Shoes” during his bio clip. He’s singing “Can I Trust You With My Heart.” He’s sporting a suede jacket over a light blue shirt, with blue jeans (of course), and boots. He’s doing a little better of showing some emotion this week. It’s a little pitchy in the middle part. I suppose he’s doing a pretty good job. Vocally, it was pretty good. But, again, just like Pia…the song really didn’t do much for me. J-Lo says he pushed it out there. It made her go “what?” Randy said “yo, listen, man.” Says he did Travis proud. Stephen says if he just keeps knowing who he is, he’ll go places.

Karen is up next. Yet another 1989 kid! She’s going to sing “Love Will Lead You Back,” by Taylor Dayne. Can’t say I know that. She comes out of a “tunnel,” wearing a striped shiny mini-dress and knee boots. I think she’s being way too dramatic for the song. Vocally, it’s okay. The modulation was little rough, and she didn’t quite make the sustained note. I don’t think her over-dramatization made up for the lack of intensity in the actual singing. Again, this was a song that just leaves me flat. I have to admit I’ve never really liked this girl, anyway. I think she’s trying too hard to be Selena (who was her “idol”). I don’t think she has near the talent to make it much further. Tonight, though, she probably falls somewhere in the middle. Randy says “Yo.” Started a little rough, but she kind of found the pitch. Better than last week, but not jumping up and down. Stephen loves it when she breaks into her “ethnic what-it-iz-ness.” How do you even spell something like that? What I like about Stephen is that he manages to not comment about their singing at all when he wasn’t crazy about it. He’s the kind of guy that can find something nice to say about anybody. Who knew? J-Lo thought she was little scared at the beginning, but attacked it. Says she sings beautifully, but needs to just “perform that song.” Huh?

Casey is up next. According to Ryan’s teaser, he’s going give us some Nirvana. Hey! Ryan’s sitting next to Mary Murphy from “So You Think You can Dance!” Whee!! Casey was born in 1991. His parents are so cool!! He’s going to sing “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” WHAT??? Pardon me while I pick myself up off the floor. This has the potential of being Legen—-wait for it—DARY!!! Let’s see what happens! No one’s ever done Nirvana on Idol before. He’s going to play the electric bass. He starts out okay, kind of breathy. His eyes look freaky scary during the chorus. His growling is almost over the top, though. I’m not sure how I feel about this. It was definitely entertaining, I’ll say that much for it. I think I liked it. It wasn’t the best singing he has ever done, but it was fun! Stephen says Casey is crazy and talented and that’s “the goop the great stuff is made from.” Okay. Is somebody writing these lines for Stephen?? Wow. J-Lo says there were parts that were a little “screamy-screechy.” But she still loves him. Randy says what he loves the most about him is that he loves taking risks. He says he puts art first and then thinks about commerce. It wasn’t his best performance or his best vocal, BUT he liked it. “You’re fearless!” That is definitely true. And Jennifer Lopez thinks he’s sexy. What else does a boy need, right?

Lauren is up next. She’s sick, too. Says she has the flu. She was born in 1994. She’s going to sing “I’m the Only One,” by Melissa Etheridge. This could be interesting. Not a bad song. Looks like a light brown patent leather jacket. It’s shiny. Blue jeans tucked into brown boots. She’s a little pitchy again. Seems to be a common problem. She’s made a country song out of Etheridge’s bluesy tune. She’s really not nailing this. She sounds like she’s trying too hard. The high notes are just not making it. Of course, I realize she has the flu, as well, so that’s not helping her at all. J-Lo says it’s very nice. She stayed true to the melody, but still made it her own. Randy says it was very nice, so have a cold every week. Stephen says she’s beautiful and she did it again.

Jacob will sing last tonight. I really liked him in Hollywood, but he has disappointed me every week since. Jacob was born in 1987. He’s going to sing “Alone,” by Heart. What?? Wow. That’s different. Good rock song, but guys don’t usually choose girl songs. Could be interesting. It looks like he’s wearing a leisure suit. Those are from the 70s not the 80s, buddy. He’s screaming again. After the modulation, it is so badly out of tune, I almost can’t stand to listen to it. Also, he needs to really stop that silly prancing while he’s singing. Randy said it was a very nice performance. He said he found his way back after a couple of bars after the modulation. Not true. Randy shows once again that he really can’t hear. I don’t understand how these people can be music producers and not hear any better than this! That performance was horrible!!! Period! Stephen says Jacob’s mother gave him the moxie that makes him who he is right now. J-Lo likes that he gives himself completely to every performance. I’m pretty sure the producers have instructed them to not say anything negative about Jacob. That’s the only explanation I can think of.

Okay. Who are my favorites for tonight? Few and far between, that’s for sure. Over all, I think tonight was very disappointing. For the amount of talent they are claiming we have this year (but don’t they do that every year??), we have a pretty boring night over all. So here they are.

Yeah. Really. Only three. Thia, Stefano, and Casey. But…as Christi said, Casey could probably get up there and read the phone book and we’d like it. However, in my opinion, Stefano won the night. First time for me, but that’s the way I see it. James wasn’t in my favorites tonight, but I would put him and Haley in the middle bracket along with Scotty and Lauren. That leaves me with Pia, Karen, Jacob, Naima and Paul bringing up the rear. For the worst performance of the night, I give that honor to…Jacob. However, I don’t think he will go home. Who do I think will go home? Um…either Karen or Paul.

But we’ll see if America agrees with me tomorrow night.

TTFN, y’all


One thought on “American Idol: 12 Finalists Perform

  1. Disappointing night overall, wasn’t it? I was glad to read your recap. Sometimes, when the night feels bad, I’m afraid it’s just me. Not sure if I put it in my post, but I sure was thinking a lot, “What are those judges listening to?”

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