Our theme this week is “music of the American Idols.” The requirement is to sing songs winners performed on the show or from their post-Idol albums. A wide open field of choices yet what we got was ballads from the depths of the underworld.
Wednesday night was ripe with puzzling and bad song choices, contestants phoning in performances and boring (sounding scripted) judges’ comments to keep the train rolling along. I scanned back at some of my Season 11 rants and saw a similar boring night occurred during Top 7 week. I’d asked, “Does anyone even care to win this thing? It was like watching peeps ‘rock out’ in slow motion…Where is the passion, people?” Ditto for this week.
To help us through future boring nights, I say we start a new drinking game called “Idol Shots.” The rules are simple. You get to bottoms up some tequila—pick your brand, I’m going with Patron—each time a judge utters one of the following phrases (or something similar). You can swig if any of them say it, but I’m giving hints on the phrases each love.
- The competition started right now. (This if a fave of our longstanding “dawg” Randy Jackson.)
- (Contestant name) is in it to win it. (Randy again.)
- I love how you made that your own. (Yep, Mr. Dawg.)
- My ladybug. (Wig rocking Nicki Minaj.)
- Keep doing what you do. (The diva voice of sanity Mariah Carey.)
- You know what I love about… (Calming influence Keith Urban.)
- You know I love you, right? (Uttered by any when they are about to then blast a song choice or performance quality.)
- This is American Idol. (Bonus gimme phrase since Ryan Seacrest says it every show.)
You in? Cool. We start playing next week. Some nights we might get toasted, but hey, if you are safe and secure in your favorite recliner chair, no harm done. Disclaimer: I must state I am not responsible for anyone’s illness or other negative effects. Since these are popular phrases, things will get dicey fast. Watch Idol and play at your own risk. Heh.
- Squee! Jimmy Iovine is back to help coach the gang. Shoot straight and let ‘em have it, Jimmy.
- Nicki is missing from the judges’ table. MIA. Ryan, sitting in her seat, chirps about her being stuck in traffic. Really? Like we have a scheduled performance show and she’s late to work? Is this a joke?
Last Friday, I had a presentation for some directors at my day gig. I started coming down with a wicked head cold the day before and was feeling crapola and sounded like a plugged drain, but I pulled myself together and dragged into the office. Once the presentation was done, I was headed back home by lunch. When you have a job, the basics are that you make it there for deadlines. Idol starting at its scheduled time each week is a deadline.
- Still no Nicki, we are violated by what Curtis Finch, Jr. does with “I Believe.” By coincidence, boring Top 7 week last year also gave us someone singing this song—Joshua Ledet. So church singer Curtis bites what church singer Joshua did last year in singing church singer Fantasia’s winning song. Bwahaha. It. Was. Horrible.
He’d told Jimmy that he wanted to be the modern-day Luther Vandross. Not. Idol history tells us that ill placed church-styled histrionics fail. Add in the lack of humbleness and here’s your door prize.
- Nicki shows up in time to hear Janelle Arthur. She watches the performance with a black hoodie up and sunglasses. Rude. Janelle told Jimmy that she wants to be more traditional country than the recent stars who have been melding more into pop-country. After singing “Gone” by Montgomery Gentry (Scotty McCreery performed it on Idol), Janelle can saddle up and come get her door prize. I was screaming “gone” again and again too.
- My Devin Velez (yes, he’s my adopted contestant this year) sings Carrie Underwood’s “Temporary Home.” Wrong song choice. I get that he wants to challenge himself, show that he can do something different and not include Spanish every week (great choice). This comes off as another ballad, albeit an ill-fitting one. Meh. Going third and not being well-known, I fear a bottom three appearance for him. Like Hollie Cavanagh last year, he is a sleeper with a fierce voice, but needs to dig deep for the confidence to unleash it.
- Championed early “It” girl, Angela Miller, sings Celine Dion’s “I Surrender.” Kelly Clarkson performed a solid version of this during Season One. Angie tells us “I think I can sing it as well as Kelly did.” Um, yeah, that didn’t come off sounding as sweet as you may have intended. “I loved what Kelly did when she sang the song and that inspired me to want to bring my own interpretation to it” has a better feel. I’m willing to go coach the contestants on the game theory of Idol of pre- and post-performance babble talk. If she’s not careful, the tide of love will turn to viewer voter hate. Especially when performances start to stall. Meh.
- Paul Jolley is a little too jolly. He’s gotten the dreaded “theatric” tag for the season, which is hard to shake. He sings Lonestar’s “Amazed,” originally done on the show by Scotty, and it is like a robber stole his special spark. I can see his brain processing orders to “hold still” and “don’t embellish.” It is middle of the road meh. If he doesn’t determine and commit to the artist he wants to be, he’s short for this road.
- Remember the breakout performance Jordin Sparks had when she sang Shirley Bassey’s “I (Who Have Nothing)? Well, BAM, Candice Glover brought the same fire. About halfway through the song, my mouth is hanging open and I’m looking around since she’s raising the roof so far above those who sang before her. She hits a note towards the end that is so unrestrained and good and long, then slides back to end with quiet passion.
I would not be mad if she drops the mic once done and walks off the stage because it is perfection with no point for a critique. She knows when to rise and fall with the melody and adds in the right amount of emotion that you think the song was written for her. It is like when Adam Lambert sang “Mad World” or Clay Aiken on “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Just tell me where I can download a copy. I’d listen again.
- At this point, I’m trying to remember who is left to sing. What Candice just did should have ended the show.
- Oh yes, Lazaro Arbos is here. He’s going to sing Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway,” which is so personal to her that those covering it look foolish. He’s off-pitch again, but let’s see how sweet the judges can be to ignore it.
Well that is fascinating. Keith asks him a question and he struggles with stutters happening on almost every word, but when he then gives some answers to Nicki (a response in Spanish) and Mariah, he flows the sentences with no delay. Tweets are flying again about this difference and some wonder if Keith was staged to ask him a question to remind us of the stutter or if Lazaro turned it up to garner sympathy votes. I do not want to keep shining a light on his speech impediment because it has nothing to do with his singing performance, but cannot ignore the whiffs of funky conspiracy smoke starting to seep. Here’s your door prize.
- Our second best performance of the night comes from Kree Harrison echoing Carrie’s take of Roy Orbison’s “Crying.” It is beautiful and the professional, effortless quality of her vocals rings out. Nicki, maybe feeling anxious because she lacks such vocal abilities, goes off on a rant about how she likes to kick back and enjoy waffles on her days off then loops in that Kree’s song is like her enjoyment of the waffles. Nicki, here’s your door prize. Kree, I’d listen again.
- I sure hope Burnell Taylor sings Ruben Studdard’s “Flying Without Wings” tonight said no one ever. This is not a good song in melody or lyrics. For someone with a unique vocal delivery and who brings natural emotion into performances, this is the equivalent of morphine. And Burnell starts his wiggly fingers thing before even saying one word. I don’t want to hand him a door prize so I’m going to give a meh as a strong warning. Zzzzzzz.
- Amber Holcomb rounds out the night with Kelly Clarkson’s crowning song “A Moment Like This.” I don’t get it. They overload her with praises last round for an okay performance of a Whitney song and now anoint her as a goddess and best of the best for prancing through another song where she doesn’t reach its true heights. Yes, she can technically hit big notes, but it isn’t with the same power or smoothness of tone. In fact, she sounds a bit more nasally and a smidge off-pitch. She also does this weird look the camera smirk thing that throws me off. I’ll attribute it to nerves. Meh.
- My bottom three would be Curtis, Janelle and Lazaro for their bumbling messes and Curtis going home. Others chose boring, safe options. The stars were Candice and Kree.
- Send Curtis or Janelle home. Hey, I’m putting out my wishes into the universe at the top of the hour. Remember how I did a blend of the Running Man and Hammertime dances last season when Colton Dixon got the boot? Send home one of these two and I’m rocking the Harlem Shake with a little ‘70’s robot action added to the mix.
- Ryan tell us that they will name who makes the top and bottom three. First into the top three is Candice. Yeppers. Then Kree. Those are my top 2. I wonder if Angie will round it out. She does. Ryan says they won’t share exactly how this group ranked.
- Bon Jovi! You can’t watch them and not feel happy. Such a cheerful spirit.
- Singoff time. The eleventh place runner-up guy and runner-up girl sing to grab a spot on the tour. We’ll find out next Wednesday who wins.
- You’ll never guess who the guy is–Charlie Askew. He plays the piano and sings an original song, “Sky Blue Diamond.” It is eons better than the meltdown night.
- Next up is Aubrey Cleland singing “Out Here on My Own.” Aubrey turns in a beautiful toned and emotionally connected rendition. I’m impressed and wishing she could be swapped for Janelle and about half the guys in the finals. She should have brought that performance and song choice during the Top 20 round.
- Philip Phillips is back to sing his newest single “Gone Gone Gone.” It is pleasant sounding.
- For some reason, they feel like telling us the voting pecking order. Lazaro is fourth, Amber fifth, Janelle is sixth, Burnell is seventh and Paul is eighth.
- No, no, no! Devin is in the bottom two with Curtis. This was my fear. Please, please don’t send him home so soon. Woot! A bad showing while singing first (plus a dose of karma) gives Curtis the lowest votes and we know the judges won’t use the save this soon. Time for some shaking and quaking!
Who was the biggest performance disappointment for you this week? What are you wishing will be a theme week? What is your take on the Lazaro conspiracy rumors?