Famous last words – I thought last week was a snoozefest. The performances this week are a random blend of nothingness. I think this is in part due to the lack of natural spark in Carole King’s songs (our theme this week). Many of her pieces, in melody and lyrics, are thinker songs versus having an immediate hook or steady beat to move them along. The beauty in their crafting comes when being paired with singers that understand and tap into those nuances.
The batch we have left for finalists have proven themselves (save one) to have issues with understanding the emotional level of material and still fighting nerves, while one refuses to deviate from their one-track pony ride (hi Scotty).
Here are my thoughts as the episode plodded along:
- The theme night is Carole King and Babyface is the mentor. Nothing about those two facts makes me all smiley. The contestants will butcher her classic pieces. As for Babyface, back in the day I wasn’t a fan and thought all his music (songs he performed as well as those given to others) sounded the same, and that signature sound bored me.
- Jacob starts the show looking like a checkered banana. I’ll give him that he showed energy and spark (“character” as the judges like to say). However I’m not standing up and clapping. Nor am I inclined to reach for the phone. The outfit, beaming and spark felt overdone for me—as if his nerves are shot and he’s grabbing for a lifeline of love and trying to please the voters. For him, “Oh No, Not My Baby” is going to turn into “oh no, not the bottom three again.”
- Lauren sings her song choice, “Where You Lead,” with a country vibe. Predictable. The judges babble about her growth and conquering her fears. Growth here people would be not twisting everything into your genre of music. Can you imagine a dance music wannabe adding a techno beat to their song choice each week?
- Even the producers have lost their creative spark. We get Haley and Casey paired up AGAIN for a duet. They ramble through “I Feel the Earth Move.” Yes, innuendo and giggly jokes about their rumored relationship are in their set-up video and spouted by Ryan and Steven post song. Give it a rest people. As for their singing, it doesn’t work for me. They are each hunching over and putting their regular runs and growls on the notes and it comes off more as soloists singing parts versus a blended, warm duet.
- Scotty does what he does with “You’ve Got a Friend.” I’m not going to repeat my predictable rant here. I will say that Scotty is showing growth in terms of where he is pushing his voice to go. He isn’t only using that low base anymore. Voters already love him and growing in the competition will make many feel he is even more worthy. Look out remaining finalists.
- James sings “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and nails it. Best performance of the night for me. Like Adam Lambert before him, I appreciate his voice so much more when not strained to reach the farthest corner of the ceiling. The a capella he starts with shows off the control and rich tone he is capable of, and the clean sock-hop feel brought in by the instruments makes it a delight for the ears.
- Lauren and Scotty doing “Up on the Roof” is just another way for Idol to feed country to me. How do we get nine seasons of Idol demanding for the contestants to be able to sing anything (read – any genre) well. The idea is, if you are a good singer and performer, you can change it up, bring some creativity and succeed. This year, we get the reverse and constant praise for stagnation. I don’t think it is okay to give Scotty a pass each week (the comments last week weren’t as negative as they should have been) and hearing the two teens muttering through this made me want to go up on the roof, in the wind storm, and jump.
- Why did I instinctively brace myself when Ryan announced James and Jacob had a duet coming up?
- Casey does a jazzy solo number, but I’m not paying attention.
- J-Lo says that Haley has one of the best voices in the competition. No she did not just say that. What the? Maybe she gets a bonus for providing the most bizarre level of pimping tonight.
- The Jacob/James duet is as painful and awkward as I imagined. Steven told it straight “that wasn’t the most award winning performance.” Not at all. It is another instance of soloists doing their thing and not blending. If this was their idea of “taking it to church,” then it needs an exorcism.
- Watching the replay clips back at the end, let’s just give the contract and Ford car to James and call it done.
- Crystal Bowersox will be performing on the results show tomorrow. The revolving door of past Idol has-beens is becoming sad. New single after new single is shared, though nothing is catchy enough to stick.
- Shout out to me for noting Jacob could be a wildcard in the bottom last week. This week, my bottom three guess is Jacob, Haley and Casey with Jacob waving goodbye. I think James and the two country crooners either performed well (James) or received enough pimping to pair with their voting blocks (Lauren and Scotty) to survive.
Flickr image by futureatlas