We begin with a new judge intro that is so over the top that all of the judges are pretty much cracking up over it...Ryan and Simon, especially. Ryan shows off all of the shiny new stage toys, informs us that it's Michael Jackson week (it was probably for the best that they waited to do this until AFTER David Archuletta was gone), and we're off!!
1) Lil Rounds - "The Way You Make Me Feel": I do NOT like her outfit, first of all...is she wearing white jeans? With a loofah on her shoulder? Anyway...she seems nervous early on, but gets into it as the song goes on, and it turns out to be a typical fun Lil performance. Vocally, she's really good-not-great, but she sells it well and the audience (both live and at home) always have a good time when she's performing.
Randy says it's a "great way to kick off Season 8." Is he aware that we are now exactly halfway through this season?
OK, time for this week's random thought: I have a theory about Randy...I think what we are seeing is not actually Randy Jackson, but a robot version of him. A RandyBot. They break out a new one every week, which is why he always thinks we are "kicking off" a new season. He has been programmed with the following words and phrases:
- Dawg Pound
- Da BOMB
- Goin' ON
- HOT ONE!!!
- not good
- only SIXTEEN!!
- Mariah Carey
After each performance, the director presses a button, the words mix together with various articles, prepositions, conjunctions, etc. into a little word salad and you end up with kind of a Randy Jackson Mad Lib.
The REAL Randy Jackson is actually on a desert island with Tupac...SOMEBODY needs to produce the new albums Tupac keeps putting out every year.
Back to the show....
Paula says that when Lil goes into her falsetto, it sounds like angels singing. Which is actually the exact OPPOSITE of true (she sounds MUCH better in her natural voice, falsetto was pretty weak)....I only throw that in here to let you know that Paula was completely OFF HER ROCKER tonight, so this may be the last of her comments I refer to.
2) Scott MacIntyre: "Keep the Faith" - I'm not going to get into this every week. I'm just going to copy and paste the following for as long as he's around:
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.
3) Danny Gokey: "P.Y.T." - I've been very tough on this guy, as well...but I actually gained a lot of respect for him reading some of the interviews he did over the last couple of weeks. He pretty much said that he was a little embarrassed by the attention given to the death of his wife, and that he certainly is not trying to get the producers to focus on it. Basically, his attitude was this: I'm only talking about her because you people keep asking about her. Yes, she was my wife, I loved her, she died way too early, and I think about her every day, all the time. So can we just accept that as a given and move on?
Which...yes. That's awesome and heartbreaking at the same time, and I feel kind of like a jerk.
So, the only other real complaint I've had about him is that he always goes to the Archuletta place when picking his songs...the inspirational, warm-and-fuzzy, "we can all make our dreams come true" place. Not this week...this week, Danny is singing about Tenderoni and basically just having fun with a great little funky MJ song that I have always loved.
And he did a GREAT job with it. That does it. I'm officially on the Danny Gokey Train. Is there still room?
4) Michael Sarver: "You Are Not Alone" - This is EXACTLY what I said he should be doing during his first Top 36 performance. So why am I not as impressed as I feel like I should be? Great voice, nice guy, nice song. It just came off as a little...cheesy, I guess?. Maybe it was facial expressions? I don't know...this was good, I just feel like I'm going to have a hard time remembering it.
5) Jasmine Murray: "I'll Be There" - I've been trying to figure out how to describe my thoughts on Jasmine's performances, and then she helps me out in her intro. She's been in a lot of pageants. Of course she has.
So, this was a very pageant-y performance: She looks gorgeous (loved her dress), stands in the middle of the stage and gives a pretty good performance of a lovely little ballad. Nice voice: not great, but probably good enough to win the Talent portion of Miss Teen Lower Central Mississippi, or whatever. The judges are actually right on this one...she needs to do something younger, more fun...enough with the pageanty ballads.
6) Kris Allen: "Remember the Time" - Let me say this first...those two are going to produce some gorgeous children.
I'm not sure why he played his guitar on this one...we couldn't even hear it, and I don't think a guitar really fits on this song. It's like he really wanted to do this song, and he REALLY wanted to play his guitar, so he just stuck them together.
Couple of pitch problems on the bridge part, but overall a nice performance... one of those where he's probably not going to lose any of the people who voted for him before, but he probably didn't really make any new fans, either. I think he's going to stick around for a couple of weeks, but he has a definite "ceiling"...probably around top 10 or so.
Oh, and I think the RandyBot malfunctioned, based on his critique to Kris: "Very well job done, Baby." May need some re-wiring...I think a couple of the words got crossed up.
7) Alison Iraheta: "Give In to Me" - This was just a great, great performance. LOVE this girl's voice...I just hope it holds up for her. She really had a great command of the stage, just rocked it out. LOVED it.
8) Anoop Desai: "Beat It" - Oh, Anoop...Anoop, Anoop, Anoop. This was the definition of "poor song choice." The ONLY way you can get away with singing this song is if you re-arrange it, or do an already re-arranged version (like David did with Billie Jean last season). If you just do it straight, it's never going to sound like ANYTHING except a karaoke version of the song, which is what this was. This probably went over really well for him at a Frat party or something, so he thought it would be a big hit for him here, but...no. Vocally, it was about a C+, and the performance was probably a C-.
Hopefully, his fan base is big enough that he gets another chance to prove himself...I think he will.
9) Jorge Nunez: "Never Can Say Goodbye" - This was a tough one...his voice is fantastic, as usual. But for some reason, this just really didn't work for me. The vintage 1987 Don Johnson jacket with the sleeves pushed up, the cheesy sounding back up singers, the even cheesier looks into the camera...I felt like I was watching a variety show or something. It was, to use one of Simon's favorite expressions, "very old fashioned." Which, I know...the song came out in 1971, so what did I expect? Ummm....better than that, I guess?
10) Megan Joy Corkrey: "Rockin' Robin" - Long story short...if you love Megan (as I do), then you loved this, because this was Megan from start to finish. Quirky, playful, ironic, fun. If you DON'T love Megan, you probably thought it was weird, screechy, and a little bit stupid.
Whatever. I love her, so I loved it, and she looked BEAUTIFUL.
11) Adam Lambert: "Black or White" - Dude. That was INTENSE. I'm always completely exhausted after an Adam Lambert performance. It's just moving at like 290 MPH, with no seatbelt. His dial is ALWAYS turned to 11.
After the performance, you can tell that the energy level in the auditorium is just CRACKLING. Like, EVERYBODY is on the verge of tears, trembling, eyes all wide and sparkly, like he just dumped a vat of crystal meth on everybody. It's really amazing to watch.
I don't even know how to analyze this...dude is a Bloody Rock God. Period.
12) Matt Giraud: "Human Nature" - AND we switch gears so fast I'm surprised the transmission didn't fall out. Not that this was bad...I really enjoyed it, actually. It's just that this is a really tough spot for Matt to come out and do a slow, easy song like this...between Adam before him and Alexis after him, is anybody going to remember that Matt was even on the show?
This was a very good performance...I really like his voice, even if he throws in a few too many vocal riffs for my tastes, and he's a very talented piano player. I really hope he sticks around.
13) Alexis Grace: "Dirty Diana" - My second favorite MJ song, behind Smooth Criminal (hey...why didn't Anoop do THAT one?). This was probably about a half-step out of her range, (she probably couldn't risk lowering it because of how low the verses are), but it was still a very good vocal, with a fun and energetic performance, with the lighting folks just going CRAZY for her with the effects. Plus, we got to see her crying about her kid in the intro, so that will help. (maybe that will help Megan too, now that I think about it)
Overall, I thought this was a VERY impressive show. Really, no BAD performances...some really great ones, some very good ones, and then others that were just O.K.
My top 3: Adam, Alison, Danny. And...Alexis. So, top 4.
Who SHOULD be in the bottom 3: Scott, Jasmine, and Jorge
Who WILL be in the bottom 3: Jasmine, Kris, and.....Megan. Dang it.
Who SHOULD go home: Jasmine and Scott
Who WILL go home: Jasmine and Kris (really Megan, but I just couldn't bring myself to type it)
One more thing...I have no idea what the "big change" is that they talked about at the end of last night, but I sincerely hope it's not giving the judges more say-so in who stays and who goes at this point. I know that So You Think You Can Dance (produced by the same folks) has it set up where the audience picks the bottom 2, and then the judges decide who goes home. I think that works for that show, because most of America has no clue when it comes to the technical aspects of dance. For this show, however, I think the power should stay with the people.
I'm withholding judgement until we get details...with fingers crossed that they don't screw this thing up.