I’ve been dreading Elton John theme night. I flashback to Season Three and what Camile Velasco did with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Her off-pitch “ahhs” still haunt me. On the plus side, George Huff boogied on Take Me to the Pilot and won hearts. Still, with Sir Elton’s classics and how his unique voice and spin made them hits, there is too much opportunity for contestant crash-and-burn moments of misled karaoke.
Scotty – We start the night off with “I’m determined to do it all country all the time” Scotty. He breaks out his guitar to further win some fans I’m sure. Super producer Jimmy Iovine mentions the one-trick pony nature of Scotty. Yep. That is what he is and what we will see each week. Will that lack of a growth pattern eventually hurt him?
Naima – Somebody stop her. I’m Still Standing reggae-style. She is in good voice, yet this feels awkward and almost like a caricature. I’m feeling a bit of a one-trick vibe from her as well. Where is the woman who just stood on the stage and delivered a clean performance when forced to sing for her life and a wildcard spot? Bring her back or become toast very soon. “Boom, fire” this was not.
Paul –His fans need an intervention. I just don’t get it. To me, this guy is not good. His wispy voice irritates me and grates when the notes go off-pitch. Seriously, will anyone buy an album with 45 plus minutes of him?
Pia – Another ballad. I think Pia is one of the best technical singers of the bunch. No question. Reflecting upon the comparisons of her to Celine Dion, what bothers me is what I don’t like about Celine. There is a continuous loop of perfect singing—of ballads for them both—yet the perfection brings with it a cold wall. Other diva singers have found ways to emotionally connect—Whitney Houston immediately comes to mind. Maybe this is just a matter of Pia tapping into some acting skill if unable (or unwilling) to dig down into a vulnerable space. Pia promises to bring something to get the audience moving next week. Yeah, and if she doesn’t, she’ll be a boring ballad singer and a liar.
Stefano – He’s so cute. This performance is much better than last week. Steven says he hears a little Broadway in Stefano’s voice and I can see that. I hope he’s redeemed himself enough to miss being in the bottom two this week.
Lauren – She is a case of a contestant whose personality just doesn’t do it for me. Does she have a good voice? Yes. Do I believe anything she says or does? Nope. She feels pageant fake. I don’t believe for a second that it only takes her 10 minutes to get ready. She spews that crap in her video about the glam photo shoot in an apparent attempt to appear down-to-earth.
She sings Candle in the Wind and it feels calculated. She even has to smother, several times, the cheese grin that threatens to surface. That grin tells me she’s singing and acting the way she thinks the song is supposed to go versus connecting with what she’s doing. An example of a connected contestant is when Adam Lambert sang Mad World. That performance was so haunting that it felt as if my breath stopped and it was just Adam and me in the moment on the journey.
James – Whew. He’s done. I feel abused. Must he do that high wail each time? Steven is right in telling him not to stay up there too long. Ha! James, nice way to piss off the sponsors—Coke—by giving a shout-out to Pepsi when referencing the Michael Jackson hair on fire incident. At least if his hair had lit up, maybe he would have stopped singing and saved my ears.
Thia – Robot Thia sang Daniel. She needed a few more years to bake before being ready for Idol. Pretty voice. No connection. To prove this, backstage the robot catches a glitch and repeats some babble about her brother for the third time.
Casey – I will give credit where due and Casey is an emotionally connected and believable singer. This performance is far better than the romp through the audience last week. It feels like he has listened to the judge and producer feedback and tapped back into who he is versus some pseudo-cool-rough image he’d attempted to try on. Being true to yourself will get you there every time.
Jacob – Jimmy is dead-on that when Jacob goes off into an emotional binge, it is overdramatic and fails. Divaman heads a bit for the rails toward the end, but is able to keep the notes on pitch instead of having a screeching repeat of what happened on I Believe I Can Fly. Oh, and his hold of that last note was impressive. Though I like Jacob, I am beginning to wonder if I could take a full album filled with him, especially if amped up with histrionics.
Haley –BENNIE! BENNIE! Each time she screams the chorus, it feels like I’m being stabbed with the point of a mechanical pencil. Hard. No Randy, that was NOT the best performance of the night. Please. Did she sound better than in previous weeks? A bit, but the air flailing bent over dance thing is not sexy. And her forced voice growl/belt/purr voice is not my thing.
Making a guess at the bottom three is again hard. Based on performances, I think it should be Paul, Thia and a toss between Naima and Haley. Based on fan base considerations, I think it will be Thia, Naima and a toss between Stefano and Haley. I put Haley in there both times because regardless of her being in the nights pimp spot, I didn’t think the performance or her voice was great up against most of the others. I also don’t think she’s built up that much of a fan base due to her previous bottom three appearances. Also, can we vote off the background singers? Or the tech person that keeps turning up their mics?
Okay readers, who are your faves? Am I being too harsh on Lauren? Am I missing something on Thia? Is Paul really a musically genius and I can’t see it?
Flickr image by Tobyottter