Something I learned last night: Some of Season 10’s contestants have quite the vocal range. Something else I learned last night: Just ‘cause you have it, doesn’t mean you should use it. Welcome to another session of my Idol rants!
Time for a Charlie Sheen break: “I’m not fair game. I’m not a soft target. It’s over. There’s a new sheriff in town. And he has an army of assassins.”
Lauren Alaina – Repeat after me – OVERRATED. “Any Man of Mine” is not a vocal challenge and does nothing to show me her supposedly outstanding voice. Oh Idol producers, you can pimp her as much as you want. Until she turns in a stop-me-in-my-tracks, take-away-the-breath, magical moment, I’m not getting sucked in.
An example of a past amazing Idol performance would be Clay Aiken’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” Season 2, top two finals round performance. It was so good that I got up, walked in front of the TV and found myself still clapping into commercials. Or see Tamyra Gray Season 1 with “A House is Not a Home.” Chills. I’m still not over her getting voted out in fourth place. Or Season 5 Chris Daughtry’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” during the semifinals. Elliott Yamin, also Season 5, with “Moody’s Mood for Love.” La Toya London during the Season 3 semis with “All By Myself.” Hello. Adam Lambert’s “Mad World” during Season 8. Beyond chills. Lauren? Eh, not so much.
Casey Abrams – Is he unique? Yes a bit. Do I want to hear the growly-singing purr thing anymore? Nope.
Ashthon Jones – Ugh. She’s an R&B diva wannabe missing the required pipes, and I’m not wanting to see or hear any more of this. Are reruns of Season 3 out somewhere? If you want to see some fantastic R&B divadom, this season is a must for the trifecta that was La Toya London, Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson. Ashthon’s wild card save should have gone to someone else.
Paul McDonald – Wait, was he really run-hopping back and forth on the stage like that? I don’t get it. So he gets picked by the judges to make it into the semis over Jacee and then gets voted into the finals and Jovany doesn’t? Oye.
Pia Toscano – When she said she would sing “All By Myself,” I had one of those “oh, don’t do it” screams go off in my head. There are certain songs on Idol that are like that—where a previous contestant has had a moment with it and to make the attempt will draw inevitable comparisons. The before mentioned La Toya London shut that song down and put it to bed for me when she sang it.
Does Pia have a great voice? Yes. Was her performance entertaining? Yes. Did it wow me? No. This is a shut ‘em down diva song from Celine Dion. You have to commit and go all in on the build and transition to that high note and change. Just so happens I saw a David Foster special on PBS over the weekend where Charice (now of Glee fame) sang this song. Not a fan of hers (a bit of an over singer), but she also killed it.
Pia struggled once hitting the high note…breaking and having to take a breath during the transition…and missed the beauty of the build. Will she be around for a bit? Yes and deserves to be. I just hope she doesn’t lose the beauty in the understated parts of her voice from trying to outdo herself each week.
James Durbin – Okay. I admit I’ve been hating a bit on James for his “similarities” in style to Adam Lambert. Though much of Adam’s high wails rattled my brain, I gave him respect for the talent and control he had to do them. He has a beautiful voice. On the other hand, James’ screeches over the past weeks have felt uncontrolled and sounded wacky. Until last night. I enjoyed this performance. He was quiet when he needed to be and turned up the feeling at the right moments in the song. Good for him.
Haley Reinhart – Who is she trying to be? Last week we get the bent over histrionics of her tackling an Alicia Keys ditty while trapped in a sausage dress. This week it is channel the child prodigy turned diva tart of LeAnn Rimes and go country. Hate the voice. Confused by the image. Not a fan.
Jacob Lusk – R. Kelly. I will not go on the rampage of why I despise almost all things R. Kelly (exception: I do like Michael Jackson’s “Cry,” which Kelly wrote). I will also not babble about my hatred of “I Believe I Can Fly,” which is probably one of the only safe songs in R. Kelly’s catalog to sing on a family TV show. Heh. So Jacob, with an obvious background of church-style singing, has the choir come out midway to join him on stage (Idol does love their choirs).
Um, sorry dude, but the choir could not save this hot mess. Now Jacob can SING. I am a fan of his amazing gift. But last night, what can go wrong with a range like that was on display. He went into notes of wonder during the bridge that were quite far off from the music. He then did this flutter run thing with some high notes on the word “fly” and I thought I heard some neighborhood cats start returning the call. Bad performance. I hope he makes it through.
Thia Megia – She sang “Smile,” which she thought was by Michael Jackson. Um, no. Weird performance as well with it starting like a slow dirge then twisting into an R&B beat. Didn’t work. Bored as I expected to be. Next.
Stefano Langone – He sounds like he’s going to be just singing out for his life each week. He was obviously committed and feeling the power of Stevie Wonder’s “Lately.” Whoever did the arrangement, however, was playing a cruel cruel joke on Stefano. Techno? Really? Hated the arrangement and it hurt the performance, but Stefano sang great above it. He deserves to have made the finals via wild card pick.
Karen Rodriguez – ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Sorry, dozed off. The color of her fake ponytail did not match her hair. Distracted me. She sounded timid and ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.
Scotty McCreery – I’m not a fan, but he put in a performance better than many of the others. I’ll give him that.
Naima Adedapo – Our last saved by wild card contestant chose to perform Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” That song was a hit for its driving beat, base line, Jay-Z’s intro rap and the quirky element of Rihanna’s one-note voice lilting through it. The song is more of a production hit then vocal hit. It isn’t a singer’s song if you will. So, our last saved by wild card contestant chose to perform it.
EPIC FAIL. This one goes into my list of absolutely wrong song choice performances over the history of Idol. To make it worse, she even broke into a reggae section during the middle then stopped mid-song for a weird dance move that was accompanied by a thunderbolt lighting up the stage. Yes folks, that really happened. Beyond a WTF moment for me. Na, na, na na. Na, na, na na. Hey, hey, hey. Goodbye.
Based on last night, I’d be cool with Naima, Karen, Haley, Paul or Ashthon going home. I’ll give Jacob a second chance off the strength of his talent, but he must not deliver a mess like that again if he wants to last longer. Naima demonstrated her talent while singing for her life, but the dancy-staged thing she is determined to do in the regular performances isn’t helping her.Flickr image by PUNKassPHOTOS