Idol Worshippers! Welcome to our FIRST “live” performance episode. And I use quotes because, don’t let Mr. Seacrest fool you, we weren’t really LIVE tonight. This show was actually taped on Friday night, the day after Idol revealed to America who would comprise the Top 24. And what another whirlwind of an episode it was. By the time it started, we were through. A few things we learned tonight, other than being able to vote for the finalists online, were that Scotty McCreery can sing something other than Josh Turner, Casey Abrams ate something on stage, and apparently James Durbin was tasty. Maybe Casey had a piece of James after his performance. Ya, I have no clue where this is going. I’m not sure about that last one. Talk to Steven.
We did learn two more things, as well. I know all of America has been DYING to design their own Coca-Cola cup to be used on the show. Well, have no fear, Idol is working for you. In all their generosity, they will be letting you design your own red cup to be used on the show. Breath a sign of relief. Your dreams are about to come true. Don’t forget, while you’re voting for contestants on AmericanIdol.com, to watch the 2 endings for the new JLo video and vote. Ya, I thought it was exciting at first too, but then realized she’ll probably use the one she likes most anyways. Can you blame her? Well, let’s just get down and dirty right away and critique these buggers. Why did I just say buggers? Crap.
Clint Jun Gamboa: Starting off the night, Clint settled on a Stevie Wonder song, “Superstitious”. I would put this in the risk category, since every time in the past that I have seen someone do a Stevie song, it has been called a “karaoke” performance. It wasn’t half bad though! Now I’m not sure if it was just my TV, but it seemed the music over shadowed him a bit. Maybe it was too loud, his mic too low… Regardless, he did a pretty good job. His vocals were good enough to most definitely not be called karaoke by the judges this go around, and all of them really enjoyed his performance.
Jovany Barretto: Our first ballad of the night, Jovany chose to go with Edwin McCain singing “I’ll Be”, which in my opinion was more like ‘I’ll Sleep.” Yeah, yawn. I didn’t really get this performance at all. This was most definitely karaoke, I half expected to see the words up on screen with a little bouncing ball. Tyler and Lopez thought it was a great performance, so I thought for a moment I was just insane, until Randy came to my aid. Thank goodness for Randy giving a little perspective here. He called it what it was, like I said, karaoke. Nothing new was brought to the song, and his runs in it were just strange.
Jordan Dorsey: Now why would you pick a song, your ONLY chance to make the top 10, that you feel uncomfortable with? Well, ask Jordan, who admitted to the judges at the end that the song wasn’t for him, and that it isn’t the kind of artist he wants to be. Jordan came out trying to act like the star he isn’t yet, singing Usher’s “OMG”, and doing a really bad rendition of it to boot. He danced around the stage, missing notes, throwing off his jacket. It was just a mess, and the judges agreed. When asked, he told them that he was uncomfortable with the song, and that it was a dance tune, which he isn’t comfortable dancing around and singing yet either. Again, why would you do that when you only have one chance to make it through? The only explanation I can come up with is he doesn’t want to make it through? My guess is this was the last performance we will be seeing from Jordan, unless he is somehow saved by judges choice.
Tim Halperin: Taking a page out of Rob Thomas’s songbook and singing “Streetcorner Symphony”, Tim decided to be risky and not perform his first song from the safety and comfort of his keyboard. After our initial auditions, I really thought this song would fit Tim’s voice and tonality, but he looked like a deer in headlights (much like Tim Urban, must be in the name). I’m going with the judges on this one (pulling a page out of Randy’s book just “echoing” his cohorts), this song didn’t do Tim justice. I was waiting for something more, something bigger. He didn’t get eat anything up there like Casey did. Ya, I’m still trying to figure JLo out on that one. More on that later. If Tim sticks around, he’ll need his piano next time.
Brett Loewenstern, “Light My Fire” by The Doors: Am I really the only one who wasn’t comfortable watching this young teen act like he was strip teasing on national TV. It’s as if Sheen’s “Queen of Anal” gave Brett a pep talk before the show and showed him how to wave his hair, use the microphone stand as a pole and give awkward glances to the camera and audience. Tyler said he’s on fire and Jlo says he needs a fan. Basically, they want to spread his teenage dream like a wildfire…one that probably should be maintained to the Idol stage. I don’t think this song fit Brett, nor do I think it really showcased his voice like the auditions. We’re so lucky to have Randy on this panel. Without him, I wouldn’t know how many flips Brett made. For those who lost count – 14. Glad Randy was able to keep track of his singing.
James Durbin, “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” by Judas Priest: Idol’s first Judas Priest song and it was well welcomed! Man oh man, I have to give this guy props for not sounding like Adam Lambert off the bat. It was becoming an eerily familiar sound that I’m almost certain would have hurt him in the long run. I think he was able to use this song to his advantage and propel himself into his own landscape, keeping the comparisons away … at least for this once. Of course Tyler’s bleep would come with the rocker. Can we be any more generic? Also, what’s up with Randy wanting Ryan to get a tail like Durbin’s. I’m not even sure where to begin explaining that one…And if that wasn’t odd enough, Randy thought Durbin was “tasty.” Someone must have confused the old Coke cup with one of the new prototypes they’re asking America to make because Randy’s drink had to have been spiked here.
Robbie Rosen, “Angel” by Sarah Maclachlan: OK, another one where I disagree with the judges. Crapola times 10, that was not a good arrangement. Every time Robbie annunciated a vowel, it sounded like he was taking the syllable on a roller coaster ride with more twists and turns than James Franco’s stomach the day after the Oscars. And from what I hear, syllables don’t really like the stomach drop feel. I think Jennifer said it best, his notes “weren’t perfectly perfect.” Ok, so even though her critique was confusingly confusing, we still got her point, right?
Scotty McCreery, “Letters From Home” by John Michael Montgomery: Good start to the competition. No Josh Turner comparison made off the bat. I wonder how many times he suggested singing a Turner song and was dissuaded by Papa Nigel and company to pick something else. I’m still having trouble forming an opinion on this one here. We know his voice is deep, that’s the appeal, but this can get old fast. Very fast. In act, I’m afraid it already has and before you know it, he’ll start sounding the same week after week and get cut early. Scotty’s gotta change it up and change it up fast if he wants to keep himself in the running.
Stefano Langone, “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars: Ok, I must have been watching a different competition tonight than the judges. I was cringing throughout this whole performance, with squeaky notes, shaky eyes, and a god-awful arrangement that slowed down this “ballad” about 3 fold. Apparently seeing the vein in one’s forehead protrude while singing is a good sign. I musta missed that note during Singing 101 (which I, of course, never took. And they thought I was qualified to write this column) JLo’s thinking there was no awkward moment, she must have had her eyes and ears closed during this performance. Maybe she was over watching Kirstie Alley rehearse for her new DWTS gig. Oh wait, that would still be awkward.
Paul McDonald, “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart: One of the few consistent vocals tonight. His tone and raspy sound almost made up for his awkward dance moves. He’s lucky this isn’t So You Think You Can Dance. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be given a ticket on the Hot Tamale Train. Did he have to use the bathroom or something during this performance. The McDonald two-step more than likely did a disservice to his plea to move on, but his voice more than backed him up. Randy called him quirky and different and in this case, that’s not a problem! That’s what my mom told me growing up and look at me now…
Jacob Lusk, “A House is Not a Home” by Luther Vandross: By far tonight’s strongest and most jaw-dropping performance (other than the surprise when Brett decided to pretend he was some sort of erotic dancer). Steven said divine intervention brought him here and that he was honored to be in his presence. More importantly, Steven’s going to bathe in it. I’m not sure what “it” is but there will be bathing. So much for for this being a family show. Jacob BY FAR showed how he can be a true artist without filling in countless runs to add a little flair to the tune. He added just enough by just singing it with heart. He gave the runs to Robbie and I’m not so sure it helped.
Casey Abrams, “I Put a Spell On You”: Well Ha-lay-freakin-lu-yer. I’m so glad miracle doctors got his insides back to normal function after a scare last week that he wouldn’t be able to tape tonight’s show. After this, a spell was placed on me and pretty much all of America, and it wasn’t a curse. His melodic sensibility (thanks Steven) made him one of the front runners tonight, along with Mr. Lusk up there. I guess they did save the best for last. Although I’m pretty sure he wasn’t eating anything on stage, according to Ms. Lopez, he “ate it up there.” I’m still convinced this was along when she was over at the DWTS stage during Stefano’s apparently not so awkward performance. If anyone was eating, it mighta been Kirsti. Ok, I don’t know what I have against her. I should stop. Nah, this is too much fun.
Tonight, we gots the girls. We’ll see if any of the XX individuals can outshine the guys. Who would you like to see move on into our final batch? Once we hit the meat of the competition, I’ll start giving my bottom 3 performances. This is the ONLY “middle” round before we hit the live stage next week. Brace yourselves, Idol’s almost back to the big time. Let us know what you thought about the guys below!