Thursday, March 24, 2011

AI10 Top 11: It's The Same Old Song

Despite earlier claims that the American Idol contestants would not have to sing songs outside their genre, the show brought back an old Idol staple - Motown night! To be honest, I was looking forward to possibly seeing the Idols having to step outside their comfort zones. I feel like that's an Idol rite of passage, and the great contestants are able to do songs in any genre and make it their own.

The only contestants to really do it, though, were Scotty McCreery, who turned "For Once In My Life" into a country song; Paul McDonald, who sang a Rod Stewart-esque "Tracks Of My Tears"; and Naima Adedapo, who put African dance at the end of "Dancing In The Street". Everyone else picked the same old Motown songs that get sung all the time on Idol - including songs that have historically put almost every singer in the bottom 3 ("You Keep Me Hanging On" - auto elimination for a female singer. "Heat Wave" - auto bottom 3.) and songs that previous contestants have had "moments" with - "Hello" and "Tracks Of My Tears". Honestly, I don't know why these people don't learn their Idol history before picking songs.

Casey Abrams - "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye
Here we go again - another Casey axe murderer performance. Grunting, growling, menacing walk, intense stares into the camera ... check, check, check, check. Rinse, lather, repeat.
Score: 5.5

Thia Megia - "Heat Wave" by Martha & the Vandellas
We didn't quite get the recycled Burger King flames that Kimberley Locke and Jennifer Hudson got when they sang this song, but I bet we do get the recycled bottom 3 slot that people who sing this song usually get! Bonus points to Thia for going up-tempo, but she also performed it like she was at a junior high talent show. And I think she kept repeating the same lines. I don't think the blood pressure line comes up more than once in the original.
Score: 5.5

Jacob Lusk - "You're All I Need To Get By" by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
It started off sooooo slow with the lousy backup singers, I was starting to get bored, but then eventually it became my favorite Jacob performance of the season. Although it's much better heard than seen because his dancing and facial expressions were so lulzy. I'm glad he toned down the vocal antics but he should also work a bit on toning down the hammy movements.
Score: 8.0

Lauren Alaina - "You Keep Me Hanging On" by The Supremes
This song eliminated Vanessa Olivarez and Leah LaBelle in Seasons 2 and 3, respectively, then Blake Lewis broke the curse in Season 6. I don't think poor persecuted Lauren has anything to worry about, and she did a pretty good job on this song, although I cringed at the "And there ain't nothing I can do about it" spoken line.
Score: 7.5

Stefano Langone - "Hello" by Lionel Richie
Well this just dropped Stefano from first last week to one of the worst this week. He sounded like a lounge singer and totally forgot the lyrics and had to sing in circles. And then Chef Gordon Ramsey cracked on his mom's cooking. Ouch. On a more positive note, the last falsetto note was nice, and he kept his eyes more open (although I think it was better closed. Open, he looked constipated.). And I cannot believe that he has never heard this song before. Which makes me wonder just who is picking these songs ...
Score: 5.0

Haley Reinhart - "You Really Got A Hold On Me" by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
Oh yikes. Schlumping down the staircase and around the stage, moving around like she got into Paul's stash, growly sex kitten voice, Haley Scarnato hot pants ..... Bye, Haley!
Score: 4.5

Scotty McCreery - "For Once In My Life" by Stevie Wonder
Finally! Someone this season making a song completely his/her own! Scotty stuck to his guns and did a completely country version of this song. Props to him for that. Having said that, I have no desire to listen to a countrified version of "For Once In My Life" ever again.
Score: 6.5

Pia Toscano - "All In Love Is Fair" by Stevie Wonder
Well, hello Katharine McPhee v2.0, minus the screech. Pia is killing me with her song choices. She picked the snooziest Motown song she could have possibly picked, and although she KILLED it vocally, I was bored. I'm so glad Jennifer and Randy told her to liven it up. If she doesn't do it next week after getting that advice, she won't last much longer.
Score: 6.75 (docked for song choice)

Paul McDonald - "Tracks Of My Tears" by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
Paul broke out the guitar for this one and put a bit of a Rod Stewart-esque spin to this song. While I find his voice to be quite grating at times, I actually kind of liked how he did the song. He still smiles way too much on songs that aren't appropriate to smile on, but he seemed to tone it down a little bit this week. Still not a fan of his "what's going on, yo?!" greeting when he comes on stage. It's just a little too casual.
Score: 6.25

Naima Adedapo - "Dancing In The Street" by Martha & the Vandellas
Naima's voice is back! I almost forgot she could sing in tune! Also back? The Boom Fiyah dance break! This time, Naima busted out the African dance. It was a bit wild and conjured up flashbacks of the dance scene in Can't Buy Me Love, but it was entertaining, that's for sure!
Score: 8.0

James Durbin - "Living In The City" by Stevie Wonder
I thought he was pitchy in this song. Give me Taylor Hicks' version any day. And I'm not even a Taylor fan.
Score: 6.75

This week's bottom 3 is going to be verrrry interesting. Someone new is going to hit the bottom, and I honestly don't know who it's going to be. Probably Thia, but possibly Stefano too. I can't see Haley surviving another Bottom 3 trip.


SarahBeth said...

Overall, I thought everyone was pretty good last night. I missed most of Jacob's performance as well as Lauren's (But she grates on my nerves as it is so I was ok with this). I loved Naima and I was SO PISSED when Stefano butchered Hello. You don't DO A SONG that gave someone ELSE a moment on this show. The end.

That being said, I completely agree with this -- who is picking the songs for these kids? I get the very strong feeling that by the time they do get to meet with the producers, there is a very short list of songs picked for them that they have to pick from (and by short, I mean 3 or 4) - I'm sure they never see the whole list. And its unfortunate. This season has become all about the studio and itunes tracks and not all about the live performances.

I give Scotty MAD props for turning "For Once in My Life" country. He actually made it his own. Paul too, and Paul usually grates on my last nerve with his voice, but he was good last night. I'll be bummed if Naima goes because she was really good last night - Pia bores me to tears - Thia does too - and so does Lauren.

I also think a lot of the problem is that they aren't connecting emotionally with the songs - and therefore making me not care.

I think Haley goes tonight, Naima and some combination of Thia/Stefano/and maybe Paul join her in the bottom.

Lisa Darlene! said...

I am shocked Casey got the lowest votes...ok maybe not because of the scary way he sings and the looks...but there are worse out there (GO HOME HAYLEY!!) was quite dramatic tonight and I loved the show...but there goes that save when it could have really been useful down the road..but with Idol, who knows-maybe they have 10 more saves up their sleeve that we don't know about!!