Motown night proved how great these songs are, no matter how overplayed. And several folks rose to the occasion (Adam, Allison, Matt, Kris) while others stumbled (Michael, Lil Rounds, Megan).
It’s easy to pin the bottom three tonight (before I check dialidol.com)
Biggest surprise: Adam Lambert
Biggest disappointment: Lil Rounds
Who will be in the bottom three: Michael Sarver, Megan Joy Corkrey, Scott MacIntyre
Who will go home: MIchael Sarver
My ranking: 1- Danny Gokey 2- Allison Iraheta 3- Matt G. 4 – Adam 5 – Anoop 6- Kris 7- Megan 8- Lil Rounds 9 – Scott 10- Michael
Tonight, they didn’t introduce the contestants in order so we don’t know the “pimp spot” person up front. I guessed halfway through that Allison (who was unfairly placed in the bottom three last week) would get it cos she hadn’t had the shot yet. And I was right.
First up: Matt Giraud (”Let’s Get It On” Marvin Gaye). He has Justin Timberlaked it. He pours on the sugar a bit heavy. I’m not sure his suit and tie/vest get-up works with this song. He ends strong. Randy: “You worked it out baby.” Kara: “You’re coming out of your shell.” Paula: “You showed a sexy cool vibe.” She thinks his riffs are respectful and not over the top. (I don’t necessarily agree.) Simon: “It was a brilliant choice of song… it was a cool performance. Your voice suits that type of song.”
Second: Kris Allen (”How Sweet It Is” Marvin Gaye) – He brings out his best John Mayer vibe. He’s alawys going to a boring personality but he is a fine vocalist and emotes well. Strange shirt choice. Overall, it was pretty darn good. Kara: “You didn’t do james Taylor. You didn’t do Marvin Gaye. You did Kris. You had different phrasings and rhythms. You did everything right.” Paula: “It’s nice to see you come on your own.” Simon: “You have to start believing in yourself. You don’t have that swagger and confidence. Right now, you could be at a bus-stop.” Randy: “It’s all good, baby!”
Third up: Scott Macintyre (”You Can’t Hurry Love” Supremes). What’s up with the, um, pink pants? Smokey Robinson says he makes the song sound up to date. Huh? It sounds again like 70s AM radio, a bit like a piano player you’d hear at a bar. It’s good but not exceptional. Paula: “When you feel it, the audience feels it.” Simon: “It wasn’t a great version of the song… it was the honky tonk piano. The backup singers were a mess. I thought it was completely the wrong song for you. It was a bit cheap to me.” Randy: “It was a very hotel type of performance.” Kara: “You brought some tempo. But you did take liberties with the melody… you have to nail it. You had some good ideas but the execution was not perfect.”
Fourth up: Megan Joy Corkrey (”For Once In My Life” – Stevie Wonder) It was a bit cheesy but her jazzy vibe worked fairly well. Her vocals were a bit all over the place. Randy: “It was so bizarre… you needed to slow it back. It was so rushed and hectic.” Kara suggested “My Guy” as a better song. “This was all over the place. You hit bad notes… you weren’t dominating the song. The song dominated you.” Paula: “The camera loves you…this was not the right song for you.” Simon: “Bad news is it was horrible.”
Fifth: Anoop Desai (”Ooh Baby Baby” Smokey Robinson) – Anoop is going for the ladies’ heartstrings by going all ballad-y and expunging that MJ “Beat It” performance 15 days ago. Kara: “That was very hard to do and you did a pretty good job. You have a skill set.” She wants him to change up the melodies a bit more. Paula: “Your phrasing, your delivery and your falsetto is mostly spot on.” Simon: “It was a great vocal. But you looked half asleep. It was a little bit someone singing within a musical.” Randy: “Next week-get the party on!”
Sixth: Michael Sarver (”Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” Temptations) He will always strike me as a solid bar singer but a star? I just don’t see it. Tonight, he pulls out all the vocal stops and isn’t half bad but doesn’t really add anything to the song that’s going to make me remember the performance in 10 minutes. Paula: “It felt Las Vegas lounge-y.” (She sounds pained being critical.) Simon: “No idea what you just said… I couldn’t wait for it to end. Here’s the problem: you are taking part in this competition. You have no chance of winning it based on that type of vocal. It’s a reality.” Randy: “The song is a little too big for you.” Kara: “Who are you as an artist? That’s what I didn’t feel this week.”
Seventh: Lil Rounds. (”Heatwave” Martha & the Vandellas) Vonzell Solomon and Jennifer Hudson have sung this before. She starts a bit rough. She’s hitting some strange notes, even in the chorus. It does feel a bit rushed. Make that very rushed. It’s like she can barely keep up with the arrangement. It was not her best performance by any stretch. Randy: “The front of the song was a little tortured for me. It wasn’t the right kind of song for me for you.” Kara: “You got this voice with melodies that breathe more. We need more from you. It was screaming at certain points.” Paula: “You owned that song.” Simon: “It was too fast. If you had chosen something like ‘I Heart It Through the Grapevine,’ you could have had a moment.”
Eighth: Adam Lambert (”Tracks of My Tears” Smokey Robinson) – He evokes Elvis (or is that k.d. lang?) in looks and dials back his usual theatrics. He’s virtually unrecognizable. Smart move on his part. I think his vocals are good but his voice isn’t as distinctive on a quieter scale than when he rocks it out. Nice final note. Kara gives him a standing O. She says: “I have six words for you: one of the best performances of the night.” Oh, that’s eight. “You showed artistry on that stage.” Paula: “You have that gut instinct of the element of surprise. I love the clean look.” Simon: “It was the best performance of the night.” He credits him for his originality.
Ninth: Danny Gokey (”Get Ready” The Temptaions) – He looks sharp tonight in black. A great song pick. Upbeat, fun, showcases his growly voice. He again proves why he may just win this competition. Paula: “A first-class performance.” Simon: “A bit amateurish.” Randy: “You remind me of the great Levi Stubbs. I love the energy of it.” Kara: “I loved your personality. It was good, not great.”
Pimp spot: Allison Iraheta (”Papa Was a Rolling Stone” The Temptations) – Amazing. She has looked like she sings like a 35 year old. She sings like a 35 year old, too. And that’s a compliment. She shows amazing mastery of a difficult song. I also appreciate her genuineness and her stage presence. Randy: “That was blazin’ hot.” Kara: “You were in the bottom three last week. Are you kidding?” Paula: “You kept your rocker edge. I just want to say, you are awesome!” (As she covers up her crayon mustache). Simon: “You are a survivor… that was one of your best performances.”