Thursday, March 26, 2009

Idol thoughts - top 10

Motown night! They should turn this into a mini-Idol Gives Back...after all, Motown is located in a third world country.

Kara IMMEDIATELY ticks me off by saying Alexis fell victim to bad song choices for "the last few times." First of all, there have only been two performances by her since she wowed everybody with "Never Loved a Man," and two weeks ago was when she did Dirty Diana, which seems to be right up Kara's "dirty it up, Alexis" alley. So, I start the show in a bad mood already. I really just need to start fast forwarding through this part every week.

On with the show!

1) Matt Giraud - "Let's Get it On": OK, song choice...I wouldn't have picked it. But I think that's because I would have a really hard time singing this song with a straight face. Maybe I'm just repressed, but I can't see myself going on stage in front of 30 million people (well, 25...forgot the ratings are in the tank this year) and singing "let's have sex" over and over again, and shaking hands with a bunch of teenagers in the front row while I was doing it. Only Marvin Gaye can get away with this in a non-ironic way...if you're not Marvin Gaye, you almost have to go the Jack Black place with it (for those who haven't seen High that movie. A vastly under-rated classic, in my opinion).

So, outside of my own insecurities...this was a very nice performance. The song fit his voice very well, even if I still think he gets a bit riff-happy at times.

Simon said it was "corny" at times, and I say's almost impossible to pull this song off WITHOUT being corny at some point, isn't it?

2) Kris Allen - "How Sweet it Is": Kris shows up ready to FIGHT! in his vintage army shirt and Daniel Faraday tie.

One thing that confuses me about Kris is his choices as to when to use his guitar. I would not have used the guitar on "Remember the Time," but he did. I thought last week (To Make You Feel My Love) was a great opportunity to use the guitar, but he didn't. This week, he used the guitar again, and once again it is completely overpowered by the rest of the band, so why bother?

As for his performance, it was another very good outing in a very consistent string for him. With this song, it is very easy to fall into an imitation of either Marvin Gaye or (more likely) James Taylor, but Kara was right (finally)...this rendition was very much Kris, and that is a good thing.

Plus, his wife is still hot. At the rate that the females are dropping off this show (more to come on that later), somebody needs to stick around to provide the eye candy.

3) Scott MacIntyre - "You Can't Hurry Love": Copy and paste:
As a singer, he's not that talented...average at best. Great pianist. Picks the most corny, boring, white-bread song available on a weekly basis. Seems like a great guy.

That's the one good thing about Scott sticking's one fewer contestant that I have to come up with something to say about.

4) Megan Joy - "For Once in My Life": Ugh. This one hurt. I have to now officially remove myself from the Megan Joy for American Idol 2009 Campaign. I can not in good conscience support her after THAT. Good grief...bad song choice, bad outfit, and "pitchy" does not even do it justice. Randybot got one right...that was a trainwreck. That was so bad the crowd doesn't even bother to boo Randybot or Simon when they were ripping her to shreds.


5) Anoop Desai - "Ooh Baby Baby": LOVE this of the prettiest melodies ever. Other than his falsetto being a little weak at times, Anoop does a very nice job vocally with this one, building on his performance from last week. I made the note while he was singing that he needs to watch the "dead eyes," and then Simon pointed out that he looked like he was half asleep at times...that's the only real problem I had with the performance. Now that he's proven over the last two weeks that he definitely has the pipes to warrant him being here, I hope to see him branch out next week into the more "fun" Anoop that we saw earlier in the season.

I love Ryan Seacrest, but that was a really stupid question...does he think he can win? How is he supposed to answer that? Anoop gave the best answer you can give...if I didn't think I could win, why would I be here?

6) Michael Sarver - "Ain't Too Proud to Beg": Ohhhhh....never mind my answer to Ryan's question. Apparently, THIS is what it looks like when you are still hanging around, even though you know that you really don't have a shot at winning. Nice of Simon to point that out....and then call it "constructive" criticism. Hey Simon...I do not think that word means what you think it means. What exactly is constructive about "you are merely cannon fodder and have NO shot at winning this"?

Anyway, the performance was typical Michael Sarver...a very good karaoke version of a very good karaoke song. The ending, however, was PAINFULLY bad...tried to reach for something there that is out of his range.

Kara again nailed it (she redeemed herself nicely after the opening segment): Michael is a good singer, but they are looking for an artist, and that's not what he is. And he still doesn't get it...his response to the criticism seems to be that he needs to sing better. Michael...your voice is not the problem. YOU are the problem. You seem to be a genuinely nice guy, and I hope for nothing but the best in your future endeavors...but you are not a Pop Music Superstar.

Part of his problem (and I know I'm spending way too much time on him, but I think this may be the last opportunity to talk about him) is that he thinks he's a "Soul" singer. He's really, really not. It's uncomfortable to watch him try to sing soul, because he's as white as white can be. He is a country singer, if anything, and admitting that to himself may be something that will help him if he wants to continue in the industry.

7) Lil Rounds - "Heat Wave": I admit to getting a little misty in the pre-song video for this really hasn't been that long ago that Smokey was "living that," you know?

Anyway...I think this was a make or break week for Lil. I've been saying for weeks now that she is a GOOD singer, not a great one, and this was another example of that. She REALLY oversang this in several parts which caused her to go way, way sharp to the point of being actually off the pitch entirely. For her style of singing, this should have been a week for her to knock it out of the park, and instead I think she lined a sharp single to left. Good enough to stick around, but not good enough to propel her to the top, which I think she might have done if she could have pulled off a "blow you away" type performance. It's becoming more and more clear every week that she just doesn't have one of those performances in her.

8) Adam Lambert - "Tracks of My Tears": Dude...Smokey Robinson can WRITE some SONGS, can't he? This is another great song, and a great song CHOICE. Adam needed to come back to Earth a little after the little trip to Venus he took last week (there was a much cheaper joke there that I managed to avoid), and this whole performance was just a series of perfect choices. My first thought was that he looked like Elvis (fitting, since my mom said 4 weeks ago that he IS Elvis, in her opinion), but upon further review I think it's more like Kurt Russell PLAYING Elvis that he looks like. Great suit. Very scaled back, tender performance, virtually perfect vocally (except for one MINOR little pitch wobble during the ending).

I've talked before (as Simon often does as well) about contestants having The Moment when you're no longer watching a karaoke performance, you are watching a star. David Cook (Hello), Bo Bice (Whipping Post), Carrie Underwood (Alone), Chris Daughtry (Walk the Line)...the list goes on and on. I think Adam has already had a moment or two like that, but if he goes on to win I think this will be the night we point back to and say that this is when it became a foregone conclusion.

9) Danny Gokey - "Get Ready": The other thing Adam did was make Danny look amateurish by comparison. This was good, and if he went on at any other time in the show I would probably be a lot kinder...but coming after Adam, this seemed very Taylor Hicks to me. Seriously, watch it there really THAT much difference between this performance and something Taylor would do? Danny is a good vocalist, people obviously like him...he's going to be around until the end, I believe, and he probably deserves that. But he's no Adam Lambert.

10) Alison Iraheta - "Papa Was a Rolling Stone": Hey, did you guys know she's only sixteen? Sixteen years old. Yep. Won't be seventeen until next year. Last year, she was only fifteen. Amazing, huh, how that works? That it's been only sixteen years since she was born, and now she's just SIXTEEN? SIXTEEN!!!

Sorry...every season when there is a sixteen year old (and there always seems to be one), the judges feel the need to point it out about SIXTEEN times during their commentary. We get it.

And she is AWESOME. Fantastic voice, great stage presence, and she continues to pick great songs. Love the arrangement, too...this was just superb, and the second best of the night by a lot. She and Adam were leagues above everyone else tonight, in my opinion.

I saw where she was going to end up when she started that last line, and I didn't think she was going to make it to that last note, but she NAILED it.

Final thoughts:
There is really beginning to be some separation here, in my opinion. Adam, Alison, and Danny are clearly the frontrunners. Next you have a group of Lil, Matt, Anoop, and Kris that are good enough to provide some entertainment for the next several weeks but have no real shot at winning. Then you have Michael, Scott, and Megan (::sob::) who should be cleaned out in rapid-fire succession over the next three weeks.

I think that I may start a weekly ranking system of just MY favorites, not necessarily a prediction of how it will turn out. I will post on the day after the elimination shows.

Who SHOULD be in the bottom 3: Michael, Megan, Scott
Who WILL be in the bottom 3: I think America gets it right tonight: Michael, Megan, Scott

Who SHOULD go home: Megan...I'm hoping it's her, because my heart can't take another week of watching her self-destruct.
Who WILL go home: Michael


Shan said...

Good recap. It's sad watching your Megan love slowly die. Also sad, that with her destined to be gone any second now and Alexis vanquished last week, the eye candy (at least for me) will be no more.

Kurt Russell as Elvis? yeah, I can see that. (though sadly, we got no shooting of the TV). I thought it was the love child of KD Lang and Don Draper. Either way, nice image revamp and an AMAZING performance.

According to DialIdol this AM, Miz Allison is doing MUCH better, thank zeus.

I think you're right about the front running pack.

Rick said...

I am enjoying your take. One issue, I think Adam's "moment" is pretty much every week. I knew he was one of the top guys all along but after his performance of "Satisfaction" a couple of weeks ago, he was my winner hands down. I am fascinated by what this guy can do vocally and I don't think there is anybody that can touch him creatively. Allison is my 2nd pick (I lean toward the rockers) and I don't think anybody else comes close. Lil is by far the weakest black female they have ever had in the finals and I'm so sick of the blind guy I can't stand it.

I agree that Meghan was all over the place pitch wise, but I still enjoyed her performance. She's weird, but she's fun. There are a lot of artist out there who sing worse, sell millions of albums and make me want to puke(Amy Winehouse)

I don't believe anyone can touch Adam though. If you had a final 8 of all the past winners and Adam, he blows them all away.

Scott said...

I still love Megan, with all her weirdness, and I do really enjoy the unique sound of her voice. She's just not ready for this. She has said herself that she doesn't have a lot of experience (didn't she say that her Top 36 performance was her first in front of a real audience?), and you can tell that she doesn't really know how to "sing"...she loses her breath pretty easily, she doesn't know how to "push" and still keep tonal control, stuff like that. She probably did this about 2-3 years too early, assuming she actually would have gone out and worked on her craft for those 2-3 years. Maybe being on the tour will help her.