If last week’s ouster heard round the world packed a Crying Game-like surprise (rent it immediately if this reference escapes you), then this week’s Idol installment channeled all the sweetness of Fräulein Maria. It seemed Randy, Jennifer and Steven were so scarred by Pia’s premature departure that (nearly) every contestant got a Hall Pass. If you couldn’t tell by these mildly desperate cinema references, the final eight brought us an eclectic array of movie themes tonight. Also, if you couldn’t tell from yet another Sound of Music reference, your regular correspondent is once again MIA. Save your tears for Pia, however, as this only gives us the freedom to be far more judgmental than is usually permitted! In keeping with the movie theme, why not rank tonight’s performances using the films of Idol’s own Most Beautiful Woman in the World?
It doesn’t get worse than Gigli and, sorry, judges, but it didn’t get worse than Casey tonight. What WAS that, other than creepy? “Nature Boy” from “Moulin Rouge” was a courageous choice, given that his alternative was Phil Collins. That’s where my praise ends, which is probably fine with Casey, since the judges gave him an inexplicable standing ovation. The odd grunts, the throat clearing, the serial killer glances, the inability to actually sing the song rather than speak it…I just didn’t get it.
Nor do I get the continuing praise for Lauren Alaina, who clearly doesn’t hail from Jersey, but, work with it. Even if the emotion conveyed was desire (to murder someone and hide their remains in a trunk in the attic) Casey at least made some connection to his song. Lauren, meanwhile, used her lovely voice to bring us the most generic version of “The Climb” this side of a Little Miss Anywhere pageant. To borrow from “30 Rock,” that’s some white people nonsense. Jimmy Iovine may have been right when he said Lauren has a better voice than Miley Cyrus, but Lauren just doesn’t have the heart as a performer to make up for what Miley’s unique, imperfect tone brings to what’s a fairly routine ballad.
The Back Up Plan
Haley better have one, given that she’s the only girl left in the competition who isn’t Lauren Alaina. I’m not really sure why, given the over-praising of serial killers and pageant queens, the judges chose to criticize Haley Reinhart this week rather than last, when her delivery was far less cheetah-like. Sure, “Call Me” is a definite karaoke song and one nearly impossible for anyone but Debbie Harry to really pull off. Still, it was an ambitious selection and Haley made the best of it. I give her a few extra points for enduring the leers of Steven Tyler, who’d have probably had the same appreciative reaction if girlfriend had howled something from the Yoko Ono song book, so long as she was wearing something short and shiny.
I don’t know what’s going on with James and since I didn’t know what was going on in The Cell, I figured it was a good match. Dude’s got a killer voice and it was nice that he had the balls to ignore the advice of Jimmy and will.i.am (Why is he still there?) but it would be nice to see him try something other than a hard rock/heavy metal song that can be half-screamed. This year’s Adam Lambert should look back to the original and note that Adam broke from the pack when he stepped out of rock mode and into “Tracks of My Tears” and “Mad World.” PS was that a…side-tail hanging from his pants?
Shall We Dance
What can we really say about Stefano? He’s pretty. He has a lovely voice. He’s pretty. His version of “End of the Road” was, naturally, pretty. Singing a song by a quartet known for intricate harmony as a solo artist is always a dicey endeavor and there were certainly moments when Stefano reached for notes weren’t there. Overall, he did a nice job. We’ll sign your dance card, Stefano, even if Pia Nation has it out for you.
In Living Color
I know it’s not a film, but there’s something undeniably Fly Girl about Jacob Lusk. While he’s generally way over the top, it takes a lot to get up in front of 20 million Americans each week being loud and proud about exactly who you are. Not even Adam Lambert let the pride flag fly until the Idol crown had passed to a more conventional contestant. Kudos to Jacob for bringing it, whatever “it” is, every week. Additional kudos for toning down the sass and delivering a controlled, moving rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” not a particularly easy song to breathe new life into.
Out of Sight
Jacob’s partner in being yourselfdom, Paul, let his own sequined flower-embroidered flag fly with an out of sight (har, har) performance of “Old Time Rock and Roll.” I’m disappointed he skipped the opportunity to perform for America in his tightie-whities, if only because how many opportunities does one have in life to do such a thing? Still, the performance brought its own quirks, with Paul’s nu-Rod Stewart delivery and flail-y movements.
Bravo Scotty, for tearing into George Strait’s “Cross My Heart” like you wrote it yourself. There’s just something about his delivery and enthusiasm that makes you forget you’re listening to someone with a limited, albeit thoroughly pleasing vocal range, sing in the same style week after week. Lauren is, technically, a better singer than Scotty, in the way Out of Sight is technically a better movie than Selena. But, Selena is a heck of a lot more fun, and so is Scotty.
So Idol Worshippers, what’d you think of last night’s movie song choices? Who’s your take for the bottom 3 and who will be leaving tonight? Let us know below and in our FORUMS!