After last week’s strong Motown week, Elton John night inevitably became a bit of a let down. It wasn’t bad, mind you. There were no disastrous performances. Some contestants changed things up but most stuck to their knitting, with mixed results. The first hour especially was a bit soporific.
The judges also over-praised some performances that were merely okay.
We are at the stage in the competition where some contestants are starting to bore us by not bringing anything new to the game each week. Yet others keep up the faith even when they do sing similar songs, which means they have something special about them, that they can add nuances we haven’t felt or seen before. And a few can change it up and still rock it. That, too, is a good thing.
Based on the polling tonight, we had some vast differences of opinion about certain performances (e.g. Scotty and Jacob).
My favorites: Casey Abrams redeemed himself by showing his more vulnerable side, Lauren Alaina provided multiple emotional levels and Thia Megia revealed actual genuine emotion.
My rankings: 1. Casey 2. Lauren 3. Thia 4. James 5. Stefano 6. Naima 7. Scotty 8. Jacob 9. Haley 10. Pia 11. Paul
Who will go home: Stefano Langone, Paul McDonald and Naima Adedapo will likely land in the bottom three. With no save, we know for sure a guy is going home tonight. I think it will be Paul. Naima is an acquired taste and I don’t think she has a big enough fan base to go much further. Plus, she was second up tonight and that is not a good thing.
Quick recaps of the top 11 in order of appearance
1. Scotty McCreery (”Country Comfort”) – Scotty saw a song named “Country Comfort” from his “Tumblewood Connection” album. I’m not familiar with the original. Overall, this was a relatively safe, solid performance. It will not be terribly memorable in the Scotty “Idol” canon but he has no chance of going home.
2. Naima Adedapo (”I’m Still Standing”) – She went all reggae, even going with da Jamaican accent. Overall, I thought she stayed in tune, showed who she was and changed things up well. It was a good performance, but perhaps not so good to generate votes. And after getting the “pimp” spot last week, she got one of the worst spots tonight.
3. Paul McDonald (”Rocket Man”) – His breathy voice is memorable but almost mockworthy. He has a decent voice somewhere there but this was not the best song for him to highlight it. I was not impressed, spending more time studying his rose-inflected suit than his singing.
4. Pia Toscano (”Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”) – We want something upbeat, anything that would get her moving. I’d like to see a different side of her. But she won’t take direct advice. She opted for yet another ballad. This song is amazing but has been sung at least a half -dozen times on “Idol.” She sang it pitch perfect but it was rote, mundane and lacking any originality. I’m bored, Pia.
5. Stefano Langone (”Tiny Dancer”) – He finally opened his eyes! I really felt like he made an effort to connect with the audience, as J. Lo said. It worked on the most part. I enjoyed him and he was enjoying himself without over-reaching.
6. Lauren Alaina (”Candle in the Wind”) – She imprinted her own pretty, distinctive country flavor to a classic tune and I enjoyed it. She provides an underlying nuance and inflection that makes her a better singer than, say, Haley.
7. James Durbin (”Saturday’s Night Alright For Fighting”) – I wasn’t liking his voice during the verse though he was better during the chorus. I enjoyed watching him move around. That made it interesting. But as a vocal performance, I wasn’t overly impressed. He didn’t add much to the song from that standpoint.
8. Thia Megia (”Daniel”) – She has an incredibly pretty voice but has been accused of feeling robotic. For the first time in a long time, we saw her actually emote, thinking about her own brother. The judges weren’t thrilled but I bought it.
9. Casey Abrams (”Your Song”) – He needed redemption after nearly getting ousted last week. And he pulled it off. He showed that yes, he has more than a growl in him. He can sing softly and well. He started nervously but gained confidence quickly. Near the end, he momentarily turned on his “evil” face but it came and went in a blinnk. The warmer Casey is why we liked him early on. Keep him around! And goodbye, scraggly beard!
10. Jacob Lusk (”Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word”) – If you close your eyes, he’s not a bad vocalist. But watching him can be a bit of an aggravation. He makes all these funny faces that distract me from the song itself. He was fairly predictable tonight but did hold back enough to not make it too annoying.
11. Haley Reinhart (”Bennie and the Jets’) – She is technically a great singer. She isn’t bad looking. Yet again, she is missing that quality that would make her a true artist. She just feels like a lounge singer and tonight, with the piano, she was an exceptional lounge singer. “American Idol”? Not so much.
“You have seasoned so fast on this show. I felt like I was at your concert.” Randy to Scotty
“I love your reggae swag but I’m not sure this song was suited for that. Some songs aren’t meant to be flipped 360, 180. It was better an idea than payoff for me.” – J. Lo to Naima, before Randy called it “corny.”
“I wonder if you’re holding back.” – J. Lo to Paul
“The notes take us to another worldly place. I feel you trying to break through that barrier.” J. Lo to Pia
“There’s a sweet thing to your voice. You nailed it!” – Tyler to Stefano. (Tyler’s go-to phrase: “You nailed it!”
“You keep singing like that and you’ll be able to afford the rest of that dress.” Tyler to Lauren
“You have a really good rock voice. Just don’t wear out your welcome. Don’ t be up there too long. You’ll wind up like me!” – Tyler to James
“It was very safe. Don’t know how that’s going to help you with votes.” Randy, being tough on Thia
“One decision I didn’t lose sleep over was saving you.” – J. Lo, patting herself on the back to Casey
“Shout out to Tricky Stewart [from Atlanta] for that arrangement. He tailored it to you. That last note. You don’t see that every day.” – J. Lo to Jacob
“You sing sexy.” – Tyler to Haley
COVER IT LIVE POLLS
singer, % who would vote, % who liked it okay but won’t vote, % who didn’t like it
Casey: 73, 27, 0 (pity vote? I don’t think so!)
James 57, 29, 14
Lauren 56, 36, 8
Jacob, 40, 30, 30 (that’s a split vote!)
Scotty 35, 43, 22 (another split vote!)
Thia 32, 55, 14
Haley 26, 17, 57 (Not nearly as enthused as the judges!)
Pia 18, 59, 24
Stefano 16, 40, 44
Paul 15, 19, 65
Naima 3, 37, 60
Randy’s judging so far
Steven Tyler’s judging so far:
Fun and useful: 25%
Fun but useless: 64%
Just plain useless: 11%
Casey Abrams’ beard
Geographic study of the live bloggers
From metro Atlanta: 48%
In Georgia, outside Atlanta: 19%
In Southeast, outside Georgia: 5%
Anywhere else: 29%
Wife wanted to know: do you like me with my hat?