Our top twelve finalists on American Idol took the stage again last night to sing tunes from their birth year, which meant an overwhelmingly large representation from 1989, which makes these kids a full decade+ younger than me. In some cases, I’m actually more than twice their ages. Not cool, Father Time. Not cool.
Anyway, I like this group as a whole, but last night was not their strongest night. Some performances were better than others, but none blew me away. A quick rundown after the jump…I’m a little rushed today; so I’m going to keep this brief. Or as brief as I can be.
Naima Adedapo — What’s Love Got To Do With It?
I respected Naima’s Rihanna-esque arrangement of the song, but her voice was way too pitchy. Making it hard for me to root for you, dawg.
Paul McDonald — I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues
Charming backstory, cute parents, but that’s about it. The song choice, while apt, was boring. I give him a pass for having a hoarse voice, but not for being uninspiring.
Thia Megia — Colors of the Wind
I love Thia’s voice, but what a dumb song choice. Old-fashioned, super boring, matronly… Randy was right when he likened it to a pageant performance. I don’t want Thia to go home, but she best start getting contemporary STAT.
James Durbin — I’ll Be There For You
I love the song choice, and James did a great job moving around the stage and working the crowd. The arrangement was not great though. Bon Jovi’s original song builds from haunting to powerful. This version started full-tilt, thus neutering it of all its intensity. That’s probably why Steven Tyler warned James to avoid being too poppy. Reluctantly, I’m liking James. Still hate his wannabe style.
Haley Reinhart — I’m Your Baby Tonight
Taking on Whitney? Ballsy. Doing it while smudging your lipstick all over your face? Even more ballsy. Haley wasn’t as awful as I thought she’d be but also not nearly as good as she thought she would be. Getting sick of her growls too. If I wanted to hear that, I’d watch Burlesque.
Stefano Langone — If You Don’t Know Me By Now
Great intensity, great vocals — no wonder Stefano earned Randy’s “Hottest Vocals of the Night” award. Too bad the song itself is overdone. Once again, Stefano showed technical prowess but lacked an ability to engage. I was bored.
Pia Toscano — Where Do Broken Hearts Go?
Another Whitney attempt, this time by the season’s frontrunner. I dig Pia, but I hated this arrangement. Sure, it was good to see her do something uptempo, as J-Lo said, but this felt like a strange carnival sideshow. Plus, Pia didn’t sound great through much of the song. Not her finest moment. Sidenote: who knew she had such a big booty?
Scotty McCreery — Can I Trust You With My Heart
Scotty sounds great. Too bad I hate his genre. He’s good enough for now though.
Karen Rodriguez — Love Will Lead You Back
I’m always happy to see a Taylor Dayne revival, and the good news for Karen was that this was the best she’d sounded so far. The bad news is that she still sucks pretty bad. Bonus points for having a lovely mother. Demerits for cribbing Jennifer Lopez’s style yet again.
Casey Abrams — Smells Like Teen Spirit
Big news: Casey sang the first ever Nirvana song on Idol, and guess what? He stunk. I’m not being a music snob or some Cobain fanatic, but Casey proved why some acts are legendary (Nirvana) and some work at film camps (Casey). Casey earned major points from the judges for being risky, but that was all bullshit. He sounded pitchy and bad the first half of the song and growly and screechy for the second half. This was not the debut Nirvana deserved. Even if Nirvana weren’t considered a hallowed band, it still would have been a terrible performance. On the plus side, Casey’s parents are awesome. Way to introduce “pedantic” to the Idol audience.
Lauren Alaina — I’m The Only One
Lauren suffers from being forgettable; so what did she do? She sang a generic Melissa Etheridge song. I guess she sang it aiight. I dunno. I zoned out halfway through. Nevertheless, a decent effort given she has the flu, and who knew that her parents were just three years older than her?
Jacob Lusk — Alone
Alone is one of my favorite songs. We’ve heard it honored (Carrie Underwood) and butchered (pretty much everyone else) on the Idol stage. Ms. Jacob sadly fell in the latter category. I wanted him to kill it up there, not murder it. The gospel dude forced the song out of his pipes as if he were giving birth. He’s all power, and people are being won over by that, perhaps overlooking how pitchy he can be when he’s singing normally. Where’s Simon when you need him? Funny mom though.
What did you think about the singers?