Well, it’s Wednesday night, once again. Time for another episode of American Idol. I read earlier today that the 11 finalists are going to take on the Motown catalog tonight. That should be interesting. Or it could be disastrous. As I get ready for this, I am wondering which one of these contestants is truly worthy of the title “American Idol.” At this point, I’m not sure. And perhaps my comments tonight will reflect my pondering of that question.
I’m behind, because Christi was late getting home, and I didn’t want to start without her. So at least we will be fast forwarding through the commercials.
Heheh…I wonder which judge has the most fans in the audience! Aw…Liv is in the audience! That is very cool! And also…tonight, I will begin spelling “Steven” correctly. I believe I have been spelling it wrong. Steven called Motown the “rhythm of kissing.” Heh. Is somebody writing this for him?
So here are our top 11. Uhoh. They’re starting with Casey. Could be good…could be bad. He’s going to sing “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” by Marvin Gaye. Hair slicked back. Black jacket and slacks with red shirt. He starts out with a kind of a-rhythmic beginning and moves into the song. I love the growl in his voice as he sings. He’s interacting with the audience as he sings, too. He’s nailing the notes. I’m not hearing any pitchiness at all. He looks very sharp. He almost didn’t make the last note, but he did make it. A very fine performance, in my opinion. As I think back to my question…is Casey Abrams American Idol material. Tonight, most definitely yes! Steven says he is the perfect entertainer. “Perfect pitch and perfect mix of crazy-ass, out of control ego.” I’m just quoting, folks. Jennifer says that it’s incredible that everybody already knows who Casey Abrams is and what his sound is. There’s nobody else out there like that. Randy says “Yo.” Definitely a true original.
Thia will sing next. I’m expecting her to struggle with this. I hope she surprises me, though. (Oh, wow…Aerosmith’s guitar player, Brad, is in the audience.) Okay…Thia is going to sing “Heat Wave,” by Martha and the Vandellas. (It’s possible that I may know all the songs this week…) Looking very cute in her frilly pink and black dress and black high heels. And the singing! Whoa! She’s got the feeling! There a few pitchy spots, but mostly, she’s hitting the notes. She has good range, with power in the low and high range both. She’s moving around with the music, too. How about that? She did a very fine job. In same ways, it was still a little tame…I think she could have brought more heat, but she’s so darned cute that she might not have “heat.” Jennifer said it was great to see her let loose like that. Wants her to dig even deeper. Randy says “Yo.” Shut up, Jennifer, it’s Randy’s turn. Randy’s glad she took a chance. He also feels that she can dig deeper, but he is happy with her performance. Steven said he loves that she’s taken a step out. He’s “good with it.” And yes, she surprised me! But…is Thia “American Idol” material? Sadly, I don’t think so. I think she will go a bit further in the competition, but I don’t think she has the stuff to win it.
Jacob will sing next. If the producers can manage to reign him in a little bit tonight, he could do well. He’s going to sing “You’re All I Need to Get By,” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. What, is he singing a duet? I did see a guy do both parts of “Summer Nights” once, but that’s a whole different story. I confess…I don’t know this song. Darn. Oh, look. Jacob’s working with the Geiko caveman! Interesting…the song starts with the background vocals. He looks sharp in a white jacket, white shirt and tie. He’s singing well tonight. I like this. The high notes were done tastefully. The mix was not great…he’s almost drowned out by the background vocals. Okay…this is the Jacob Lusk that I loved during the Hollywood week!! Yeah! Awesome job, Jacob! Wow! Steven ran up and hugged him!! Called him “Baby Luther.” And yes, with that performance, Jacob Lusk could most definitely be an American Idol. Randy said “Yo! Yo! Yo!” Says it was his best performance so far. Steven was glad he held it back and he did it! Jennifer says he moved her and he’s amazing.
Lauren will sing next, with no commercial break. She’s going to sing “You Keep Me Hanging On,” by The Supremes. I’m not sure how Lauren is going to do with Motown. Starts out slow…She’s wearing a floor length zebra. Oh, wait. That’s a dress. Girl, you really need some help with your clothes!! But the singing is pretty good tonight. Her drawl is giving the song a slight country flair, which I really don’t mind that much. There are a few pitchy places, but overall, she’s nailing the notes. Not bad, Lauren. Not bad at all. It won’t be my favorite performance of the night, but it was good. Steven says she “ripped that song another beauty mark.” Says she’s growing and coming out a little bit each week. Jennifer thinks she looks amazing tonight. Says it’s the most beautiful she’s seen her on the show. Jennifer must love zebras. She liked the attitude of the performance. Randy said “Yo.” Says she has her swagger on high. Is Lauren “American Idol” material. I don’t think so. I think she needs a lot of maturing. She just seems very immature to me.
After the commercial break, Jacob is jumping up and down. Then there are more commercials.
Stefano is up next. HEY!!! That was Chef Gordan Ramsay!!! Whee!! Stefano won last week, in my opinion. He surprised me like crazy last week. So let’s see what he’s going to bring this week. He’s going to sing “Hello,” by Lionel Richie. Sporting a white jacket and shiny blue shirt. Looks very sharp! Good start, a little subdued. He’s getting the notes. He’s pronouncing a few words a little strangely, though. He goes into a nice falsetto at the end. I don’t know…I think it could have been more something, but I’m not sure what that something is. I mean…the performance was very good. I didn’t hear much in the way of pitchiness, and I liked the melodic departures from the original. It just didn’t “wow” me like last week’s performance did. It was good, though. (Christi didn’t like it.) Jennifer says, “Let’s talk a little bit.” Uhoh. She wants him to connect more to the people. He closes his eyes too much. I think she couldn’t feel it…maybe that’s what I was missing. Randy says that he’s missing that connection (and Randy did NOT say “Yo.” that’s not good). He said it sounded good, but there was no connection, no emotion. Steven agrees. Is Stefano an American Idol? I’m not sure. I started to say no, but then I took a closer look at him. He has that dreamy look about him. He could be a “sleeper.” I didn’t think Kris Allen was. Well, actually, I still don’t.
Haley will sing next. Can she do Motown? Hmm??? (Holy cow! Otis Williams, a founding member of The Temptations, is there!!) She’s singing “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. I love me some Smokey Robinson!! White jacket and a dark miniskirt, with black high heels. Really high heels. I think she started the song with too much intensity…where can you go from there? But she’s singing pretty well. She’s got that growl in her voice down really well. The song seems a little disjunct. But I have to say she is doing some amazing things vocally. This girl has got some serious range. Sometimes her face looks like she is in pain, though. Nice ending. Very nice ending. The song wasn’t smooth. Christi says there were “moments of grandeur,” but then there were moments of “Hm.” Overall, it was pretty good, but it won’t be close to my favorite tonight. I really hope she doesn’t wind up in the bottom three again. She doesn’t deserve that. She has one of the most incredible voices in the competition. Let’s see what the judges thought. Randy said “Yo. Yo, yoyoyoyo.” Wow. Is that really good or really bad? Started rough, but by the middle of the song, it came roaring back. Randy liked it. Yo. Steven said it was beautiful. Touched his heart. Said “you don’t look a day over fabulous.” Hee. Steven Tyler is actually making me love American Idol! Jennifer says she has effortless control in her voice. I agree with that. She says that Haley has the most soulfull voice in the competition. And I agree with that, too. Is Haley American Idol material? Definitely! I really think so. But…she’s got to get the right songs and arrangements.
Scotty is up next. He will be seriously out of his comfort zone. He may be in trouble. He’s going to sing “For Once In My Life,” by Stevie Wonder. Ah…he’s going to try to give it a country flair. Hmmm… He’s dressed in all black. Black shirt, black pants. Sigh. I guess he’s doing okay. He’s getting the notes. He looks like he always does, with his head tilted almost sideways. His movements look a little awkward. But dang it…he’s singing really well. I just don’t care for the style. I can’t say it was bad… Steven said it was beautiful. Glad that he took a big chance with it. “When you go down to those low notes, man, you tweak everybody.” Jennifer thought it was a great version of the song. Not his strongest performance, but loved the low notes. Randy didn’t say “yo” until the middle of his commentary. He thought it needed to peak a little sooner. He’s the young ladykiller. Okay… so the question of the night. Is Scotty American Idol material? Man…I don’t know. I won’t say either way right now. I’ll give another week or so, because I’m sure he’ll still be here.
Pia will sing next. (Looks like Naima is slated last tonight.) (And can anyone tell me who that is sitting next to Gordon Ramsay? She looks familiar.) She is going to sing “All In Love Is Fair,” by Stevie Wonder. Not sure I know this one. Dressed in all black, a flowing dress. She looks very pretty tonight. Vocally, she sounds pretty good, beginning with a low, throaty voice. She moves higher in her range and gets more intense as the song grows. She nails the high notes, and then drops back down into the low range. She’s got amazing versatility! Very good performance, tonight. My first goosebumps of the night! Yeah! Great job, Pia!! Jennifer says “again you kill us.” Amazing vocals. She even had the feeling. But Jennifer needs her to move around some. She needs to use the stage. Randy says “Yo.” Says she is phenomenal. Liked the sensitivity. But…too many ballads. He wants to hear something up tempo. Steven says she is the closest star in this American Idol universe. (I just realized that I haven’t heard any “boos” tonight!) Ok, so…is Pia American Idol material? Maybe so…but as the judges have so well stated…we need to hear something different from her. As Randy said, “You can’t live on ballads alone.”
Paul is up next. So that means James is last, then. I forgot about Paul. He’s going to sing “Tracks of My Tears,” by Smokey! Ooh!!! One of my favorites! So…will he do it justice? Looks like he’s going to play the guitar with it. That could be good…it could keep him from doing that dorky dance he does. Another all dressed in black. Black shirt and black pants. Christi says his daddy must be Rod Stewart. He’s getting the notes. I like his arrangement. It’s definitely different. It’s kind of quirky, but that’s Paul McDonald for you. Not my favorite of the night, but it was okay. I kind of liked it. It was better than the last two weeks. Randy says he definitely has a distinctive kind of voice. He said he took it to a cool, kind of Paul, kind of “Rod Stewarty” place. He liked the tenderness. Steven says he is like Dylan or Willie Nelson. Jennifer says he is the most seasoned performer they have. He’s the complete package. So…is Paul American Idol material? He could be one of those sleepers. He’s different enough, which certainly gets him some points.
Naima is next. She’s going to sing “Dancing In the Street,” by Martha and the Vandellas. She gets the full brass treatment tonight. She’s wearing gray bell bottoms and a matching halter top. She’s very strong, vocally. She has a powerful voice. And, by golly, she’s in tune. There were just a couple of pitchy places. It was a pretty solid performance, actually. One of her better ones. It was a very good song choice for her. Steven says he doesn’t know what to say. “It was e to the z to the tweedleedee.” Great. Nice. Jennifer says she is an exciting performer. Says it was her first goosebumps of the night. Randy says (not “yo”) finally, tonight, all of Naima showed up. Everything worked out. Brilliant arrangement. Very smart tonight. Is Naima American Idol material? I really don’t think so. (Hey…there’s Nigel Lithgoe!!) She’s had one really good performance, and that was tonight. The rest have been very mediocre.
Last up tonight is James. Being the rocker that he is, I’m not sure how he’s going to do with Motown. He’s going to sing “Living For the City,” by Stevie Wonder. and he’s working with the caveman. That could be a very good song for him. He’s wearing black, too. With some chains on it. Lots of dangly stuff. He starts out strong, singing very high. He’s nailing the notes. He has an incredible voice. And he is performing with everything he’s got, too…not just singing…he’s moving around, interacting with people, using all of the stage. Wow, the high note was amazing (the one leading up to it was a little off, though). Wow. Great performance. The last note was just a tad off, but it was still a phenomenal performance! Steven sits there and shakes his head. Jennifer says “Oh, my God” about five times. The audience won’t stop cheering. Jennifer says he is serious business. Incredible to watch. Leaves her speechless. Randy says it started rough (first and only boo of the night!), but later it was unbelievable. Steven says he is great, his voice is incredible, the song is perfect for his voice, and he nailed it. Is James Durbin American Idol material? Do I even need to answer that? I can easily see a finale with Casey and James. Heh. “Casey James.”
The fact that no one seems to be having pitch problems tonight tells me one important thing. SOMEONE FINALLY GOT THE IDOL PRODUCERS TO FIX THE ON STAGE MIX!!! It’s about freakin’ time!!
So who are my favorites tonight? Lessee…as they recap the singers…
Great job everyone!