Idol Worshippers, before we even begin with anything Idol, I’d like to give a shout out to this great website as this little here recap becomes the 1,000th published post for Yak Nicholson and company. I know I speak for the staff here at YakkityYaks when I say it’s been a pleasure thus far and we hope to continue to bring you the entertainment coverage you want and deserve as we continue to grow!
Ok, enough mushy gushy talk. I’m starting to sound like the AI judges. Yup, you guessed it. Before we get into the performances tonight, I need to take a second here (more like a few minutes) and gripe away about the Dawg, Clueless Rock Legend and our Latina Spice. Up until tonight, I’ve been having a real rocky love/hate relationship with the 3 persons sitting front and center “judging” our contestants week after week. Tonight, it pretty much took a turn for the worse. Dare I say, we’re now in a hate/hate relationship. Well, I guess it’s just one ‘hate’ since they have no idea I exist. Why am I a hater now, you might ask? Well, I’m sure the majority of you are feeling what I’m feeling … These judges need to stop. being. nice. Plain and simple. Throw some constructive criticism their way. Not everyone does “beautifully” or gives you “goose bumps” or “is in it to win it, yo!” Someone up there is messing up. Someone up there is dull. Someone up there looks bored. Someone up there is laughing and smiling when the lyrics are conveying a completely opposite message. Someone up there is being more than just “pitchy.” And those are just a few of the performances tonight!
For once, and I hope it’s the last time this season, I was wondering if Simon Cowell would pop out from under will.i.am’s tent, which is likely under the stage since he’s always in the studio, to give some decent criticism. Ms. Lopez has been doing a pretty good job this season by throwing constructive criticism their way, but she’s now drinking the same happy juju from Paula’s old dressing room, which obviously now belongs to Tyler. Unfortunately, we’re finally seeing the repercussions of new judges (and the same old confused dawg) behind the table. The adrenaline from the live show, the excitement of what’s going on in the studio is clouding their judgment. As seasoned artists, though, they’re doing a pretty crappy job of blocking that out and successfully doing their job! I’ll leave it there, ya?
So tonight we celebrated the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While most of the songs didn’t necessarily scream “rock” or “roll” tonight, we were still treated to a show we could enjoy, right? One thing I was hoping they’d throw in tonight was the little temporary marriage between my girl Carrie Underwood and Mr. Tyler himself from this Sunday’s ACM Awards. Infusing rock and country … that was just a genius performance, something our contestants need to take note of and fast! Speaking of those guys (and I say guys because do you realize we’re already down to 3 girls!?), we should get to the juice of the recap, shouldn’t we? In honor of our theme, let’s divide the performances into two categories – conveniently, “rock” and “roll” (as in possibly time to roll off the stage). Remember, if you want a reminder of tonight’s full set list, head on over HERE.
Scotty McCreery: Only 4 of the 9 contestants made the top tier tonight. I’m not sure if that bodes well for the show or not. Scotty, in my opinion, blew the roof off the studio tonight. Talk about spot on song choice. While Scotty would have excelled in the obvious choice of country legend Johnny Cash, he decided to take a different route tonight merge rock and country with one mega superstar, the King himself. My only gripe – Was Scotty playing the flute or singing into the microphone? I’m not entirely sure if Marc Anthony gave him that hint when he came to teach them about ear pieces or if Mr. Lopez needs to make a comeback and share his expertise on how to hold a microphone. Oh, and my other gripe? Whichever producer decided it was a grand idea to gather up a band of girls to run on stage and attack Scotty with “impromptu” hugs after the performance … bad idea, man. That right there took away from the excitement and “flava,” according to JLo of the performance itself
James Durbin: Bringing a stripped down performance on rock and roll night from the show’s signature rock star was quite the unexpected twist. Can we please see that again? One thing the judges said that made sense tonight, making a calculated risk like that will pay dividends! James knew what he was doing. He knew he’d be using the week he could have blown out of the park with his rocky edge to try a song that’s emotionally won him (and now America) over. There was something that I can’t place my finger on that didn’t quite fit, though. I don’t know if Durbin pulled a Naima and picked up an accent for the performance or if it was just a few flat notes that rubbed me the wrong way. But there was something that needed some adjusting. Maybe it was my volume. Who knows? For 5 years of his work on that stringy rendition of the hit to move James the way it did … how can you not say that this risk paid off?
Pia Toscano: Now who said that Italian beauty can’t sing up-tempo? Whoever you are, wherever you are, TAKE. THAT. (Anyone else get Shakira’s song stuck in their head just now?) It was no secret that Pia was very nervous early on into the performance. Her pitch suffered because of it. However, with the clear tone and strong pitch control this girl has, the minor adjustments due to nerves are easily excused. That was muuuurder (shout out to Chuck!) Pia definitely killed it on stage, taking charge and showing that she can just about sing anything. At this point, JLo took a moment to be the only judge to shine … just once … throughout the whole night. Her advice for Pia to take a look back at some of the greats and infuse their personality into her own was exemplary. (Wow, I sounded smart saying that, right?) Pia’s gotta start to show a little more of that personality that was hinted at in the wrestling themed results show. But I think she knows, she might have America in her back pockets for now. She be too busy killin’ it week after week.
Paul McDonald: Brother made the bottom 3 last week and did what all bottom 3 dwellers should do … be scared back into submission to the Idol gods and come out guns blazing the next week. Edging in a little bit of dueling guitars in his performance, Paul took on a Cash anthem and left nothing behind. He didn’t hold back, he wasn’t about to just give 70%. Paul was ready to not just whisper sweet nothings into the television sets of women across America. Paul was ready to bring the genius behind Johnny Cash, walk the line (like what I did there?) and make America pick up their phone (or hit the webs). And I think he accomplished that. He brought all he had to the stage and I he should be proud. His vocals weren’t flawless, but he was comfortable up there and loved every minute of it (i.e. Scotty). For that, he’ll be smiling tonight.
Jacob Lusk: Should I start with my disagreement with the judge’s comments? Do I begin with Jacob’s nasty dig at America? Or do I start with the performance? How about all at once … not cool. For someone who didn’t want to sing “Let’s Get It On” because that’s not the kind of person he is, Jacob was real busy thrusting those hips on stage for the mysterious man in the mirror. If the bland performance won’t throw Jacob into America’s poor grace, it’ll be his comment at the end of the video package. Makes one wonder why Nigel and company even edited it in … do they have something against Mr. Lusk? For Jacob, someone who’s made it clear that humility is something he prides himself in, to turn around and blame a possible placement into the Bottom 3 on America’s hesitancy to look in their own mirror and not the vocals was quite the gutsy move. For that? Look for Jacob to actually make the Bottom 3. I’m not too sure America will be too fond.
Haley Reinhart I think someone forgot to tell Haley that the microphone is meant to amplify one’s voice. Haley took on Janis Joplin in a complete opposite manner from Mama Bowersox. She showed no restraint, looked like she was trying too hard and ended up singing too harsh. I know the internet world blew up after her performance of “Bennie and the Jets” last week, but I just didn’t get it and I still don’t. Underdog, I think not. Someone also needs to remind these Idolites to examine the meaning behind the song before they go on stage and laugh (or cry) when the other emotion is meant to be expressed. Last time I checked, taking pieces of hearts and breaking them isn’t meant to produce joy.
Stefano Langone The end of the road could be quickly drawing near for JLo’s Wildcard pick and goose pimple giver. Again, not sure where the judges were coming from tonight or what they were listening to, but Stefano’s performance was actually quite forgettable. Not that I was one to be picky about this in the past, but his eyes reverted to being shut during most of the performance and the lack of connection to the audience was once again evident. Stefano never leaves one questioning if he’s got great vocals and is emotionally connecting to the music, but I’m afraid it takes more than just those two characteristics to win American Idol. I’m guessing Stefano will end up joining Jacob in the Bottom 3.
Lauren Alaina Sorry Nigel, but I think you’re Chosen One could actually be in danger tonight. Ironic, though, that Kelly Clarkson’s apparent reincarnation on the Idol stage (as touted multiple times by producers and judges alike) took to singing the very song the original (and highly talented) American Idol slayed on stage. Don’t remember? Check out our featurette on Ms. Clarkson HERE. I’m just surprised comparisons weren’t made tonight. Actually, I’m not. Randy hinted at it and I’ll provide a translation of his statement below. The Dawg made mention that countless contestants have battled that song on the very same stage and killed it (see above) and that Lauren took a very difficult song and did a “good job.” Translation: it wasn’t good. Comparisons can’t be made because a “good job” just isn’t good enough, especially when you look so bored on stage with it going unnoticed by the judges. Well, America tends to notice these things. That said, Lauren has seemed to mature on stage vocally and in her personality, but she just didn’t seem excited to be up there tonight. For her sake, hopefully America still is. I’m looking for Lauren in tonight’s bottom 3, but she’ll be the first sent to safety because America isn’t going to be that harsh on her. Plus, Papa Nigel isn’t ready for her to leave yet.
Casey Abrams While I don’t think Casey completely deserves to be in the “roll” category, I’m throwing him in here for two reasons. 1) I don’t want him separated from his rumored lovebird behind the scenes. And 2) the remaining contestants in the “rock” category rocked it out just that much more. Plain and simple. Casey brought it back tonight with his upright bass, tackling some CCR. While the vocal wasn’t 100% on, Casey definitely excels with his instrument, making his appearance on stage seem less of a gimmick. That said, his falsetto was a little off, the strumming at the end was quite tacky and I’m afraid performing early on in the show may have actually made it forgettable. People aren’t watching for the upright bass, they’re listening for the vocals. If the vocals are just supporting the bass, we gots a problem. Plus, wouldn’t it be fun to see him take on Steven Tylers suggestion of adding wheels to that thing and just rolling off stage … Maybe that was a little much.
Who’s getting eliminated tonight? My money’s on Jacob.
So Idolites, what’d you think about tonight? Do you agree with my gripes and praises or are you singing a completely different tune? Who’s in your bottom 3? Who’ll be leaving us tonight and missing out on the Top 8? Let us know what you think! Don’t be shy, yo!