Wednesday, March 9, 2011

'American Idol 10' - Top 13 performance recap

The Top 13 celebrate after last Thursday's results show
We're finally down to the live (or sort of live) performance shows, and tonight, the Top 13 will perform songs by their favorite artists. This theme is broad enough so that no one should have a misstep and all the songs should work, right? Well, maybe. Song choice is always an iffy proposition, especially this early in the game. And, even though they've made the Top 13, there's still that Top 10 and lucrative tour carrot dangling in front of these contestants. Of course, after last summer's rather dismal tour ticket sales, who knows how that's going to work out this year. But that's another story for another day. First, we've got to navigate through 13 performances.

Although you won't be told this during the broadcast, tonight's show was actually taped Tuesday night. So, of course, there are song spoilers out there, which of course, I looked at. All I can say is some of these people may be in over their heads. But again, I've gotten ahead of myself.

Scary Voiceover man intros the judges and Ryan who descends the Adam Lambert Memorial Stairway. The crowd is seriously pumped. Jennifer's single is No. 1 on iTunes. Ryan then calls out the Top 13 who meander out on the stage. James appears to be wearing some sort of military costume.  Each of the contestants work with a producer and record the songs for a compilation album that will be released this week.

Lauren Alaina – "Any Man of Mine" (Shania Twain)
From the pimp spot last week to the death spot this week. The Idol powers that be must be pretty confident that little Lauren is safe and sound.Lauren sounds a bit breathy on this one. She prances about and makes all kinds of cutesy faces. She's wearing a floppy looking blue belted top with black tights. Lots of personality, but the vocals tonight are a tad off.

Steven says he wishes the song was a bit more kick ass. JLo says Lauren doesn't have to try, but wants to see her kick it into high gear. JLo's red lipstick is pretty glaring. Randy name-checks Shania. He wants her to pick songs that will make her "shine beyond belief." She says she had a good time and apologizes to Steven. No worries. Lauren's in this for the long haul.

Casey Abrams – "With A Little Help From My Friends" (Joe Cocker)
Why am I not surprised? Casey first heard the song on The Wonder Years when he was five. Producer Jimmy Iovine tells Casey the song is physical. We see a clip of Cocker singing the song on last year's finale. Casey descends the staircase. I'm not sure what to says about this. His vocals are okay, but it's like he's trying too hard. The presences of a semi-choir helps. I think Casey would have been a better fit on America's Got Talent. Didn't really love this, although, it seems, the audience did.

JLo says Casey blew her away and that she was watching someone important. Randy says he's always excited to see what Casey's going to do. He says making listening to him fun and he loved it.
Steven says "You are a rainbow of talent... a plethora of passion... you came to do what you wanted to do and you did it." I love the word plethora.  Casey says he felt like Joe Cocker embodied him for a minute.

Ashthon Jones – "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" (Diana Ross)
A big song to further Ashthon's Diva run. She's working with Rodney Jerkims (who wrote Medina's "What are Words"). Her vocals are weak and pitchy, and she seems to be wandering aimlessly about. Too many "yeahs" tossed in as well. Not a good performance Ashthon. Not good at all.

Randy says he liked it. Barry Gordy is in the house. He says he was worried about the song choice. He says it sounded like a safe song and that she might have done herself some good. Steven says there's a lot more in there than she's showing us. JLo says Ashthon is elegant and professional. Now she wants to see her sing some songs that everyone can sing along too.

Paul McDonald – "Come Pick Me Up" (Ryan Adams)
I'm not really familiar with this song. Paul starts out asking the audience if they're OK. I don't know if they will be after suffering through this. I don't get this guy at all. His voice is horrible amd his herky jerky movements are distracting. He might be the worst singer I've ever heard on this show.Count me among those who do not get it.

Steven says he loves the character and rasp in Paul's voice. JLo says she loves that the audience was into his performance. "You're so unique... I hope America gets it." She doesn't know this song either. Randy says he loves who Paul is and loves Ryan Adams. I really don't understand what Randy is saying other than he's a huge fan. Are these people watching the same show I am?

Pia Toscano – "All By Myself" (Celine Dion)
Hey, a big ballad worked last week. How can she go wrong with this one? Pia has a very clear voice and sounds as though she's had vocal lessons. Her phrasing is very nice and she emotes well. She's very controlled, maybe too much so. She misses a few notes, but hits the ones that matter. The song is rather boring and dreary, but she sang it well. I don't think she was as good as she was last week, though.

Someone shouts out "We love you Pia" JLo is overcome by emotion and says Pia topped last week. Randy once again reminds us all that he's been on the show ten years and tosses in another "Yo."  He talks about how they always warn girls not to sing the "big three" (Mariah, Whitney, and Celine). But he thinks she nailed it. Steven says Pia "polished that apple" and wishes her a happy International Woman's Day. He loved it 

James Durbin – "Maybe I’m Amazed" (Paul McCartney)
James gets the snowfall background. I'm seriously starting to like this guy. I like the way they changed it up and his delivery. It was nice that he didn't scream all the way through the song and it was clear he really connected to the song. His voice is actually halfway decent.

Randy says before he joined Journey, he loved the kind of voices that can sing anything. "This dude can do anything... James Durbin is dangerous... this man can sing." Steven says, "If ever there was a review to sing about you, you just sang it." JLo says James needs to get used to the applause. She says he has a melodic quality to his voice. The audience loves it. James salutes the band.

Haley Reinhart – "Blue" (LeAnn Rimes)
Haley starts out sort of yodeling. She's kind of a Taylor Swift-lite. At least she hits all the notes and puts some oomph into it. Girl knows how to sell herself. Nice job.

Steven says the rest of country music fans in America are roaring. "So, so fine." JLo says America is getting to know her. She says Haley does special things with her voice. "Really good job." Randy likes that Haley can do anything, but thinks it was a little boring.

Jacob Lusk – "I Believe I Can Fly" (R. Kelly)
I love you Jacob! They've changed up the arrangement and Jacob gets a gospel choir. He's a little rough in the middle, but lassos it by the end. Jacob tends to oversing but he does make you feel it because he feels it. I liked it, didn't love it.

Steven says he can't even judge Jacob because he is so good. JLo says it's very hard to judge him because he makes them feel so much when he sings. "It's anybody's game... you're at the top of the list." Randy says they did a good job choosing the talent. He says when Jacob starts he has a signature sound. He's excited every time Jacob hits the stage.

Thia Megia – "Smile" (Michael Jackson version)
After Randy compared Thia's vocals to Michael Jackson, how can she go wrong? Thia has no idea who Charlie Chaplin is. She started out beautifully - gorgeous notes and delivery. Then the song changes up and is ruined. Simon would have called it "cruise ship."

Randy says he loved the intro and thinks she sounds a bit like Adele (really?), but when she jazzed it up he didn't like it so much. He wishes the whole song was like that. Steven agrees. He thanks her earnestly. JLo says the beginning reminded her of last week. She's like to see Thia move more. "You sing like an angel." Thia says she felt "a lot more better" in the beginning of the song. Ah the wonders of youth.

Stefano Langone – "Lately" (Stevie Wonder)
No more Stevie on this show. Please. In my impressions piece, I predicted Stefano will be the first to go. Ugh. His pronunciation is strange. The arrangement is awful. He's sort of singing/talking it. Randy seems to like it though. Nope, you are in serious jeopardy, son.

Steven says Stefano pulled it off. "You pulled it off." JLo says she was dancing a little. She says it was really Stefano. "You sounded great." Randy says it started out rocky, but by the middle of the song, he was soaring. "Stevie would be proud."

Karen Rodriguez – "I Could Fall In Love" (Selena)
The bi-lingual performance last week got her into the Top 13, so why not another. Unfortunately, she seems to be having some vocal problems. The song is boring. And she doesn't sing any of it in Spanish. She should have.

JLo says Karen looks beautiful. She says she could tell Karen was a little uncomfortable with the lower notes. "You're one of our strongest girls. I hope you make it to next week." Randy says it seemed like she was fighting the song. He says it was boring. Steven feels the same way and wants to see more energy from her. Karen designed her dress.

Scott McCreery – "The River" (Garth Brooks)
This guy has an awesome country voice. I really don't think there's ever been a country singer on this show as good. He could have won Nashville Star every season. Can he win Idol? I don't know, but if he can maneuver around the various themes, he might very well have a shot.

Randy says, "If it ain't broke, don't even consider fixing it." He says this is exactly where Scotty belongs and he could put out a record right now. Steven says some nonsense. JLo says she loved seeing Scotty open up as a performer.

Naima Adedapo – "Umbrella" (Rihanna)
Naima's working with the producer who produced the song for Rihanna. Naima busts out with some dance moves. But her singing is off, way off. In fact it doesn't sound like she's singing at all. More talking. Then she busts into some reggae. A bit schitzy. She ties to do too much, but at least it was entertaining.

Steven says she was "crazy good," but pitchy. "You brought another little something and I adore you for that." JLo says, "You're doing it like a real recording artist," but that Naima needs to work on the control. Randy says you gotta have the breaths for the cutoffs. He loved the reggae thing and wished she's stayed in that.

Best and worst

Oh, man... well... do I have to? I think Scotty was the best of the night followed by Pia and James. Middle of the pack - Haley, Jacob, Casey, Lauren, Naima, and Karen. Bottom three, Ashthon, Stefano, and Paul. Who am I forgetting here? Doesn't matter. It'll be either Stefano or Ashthon.

No comments:

Post a Comment