Continuing with their overdone themes week after week, American Idol took its contestants to the movies tonight, asking them to perform “Songs of the Cinema.” Yet again, this allows every contestant to stay within their wheelhouse and sing songs that are very comfortable to them (see also: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Week and über-generic Billboard Number Ones Week).
However, this week, I thought that the caliber of performances all took a bit of a nosedive (with one, maybe two clear exceptions). This is an incredibly talented season of Idol, but because ye ol’ Overly-Positive Judging Panel, the contestants are not being given any constructive feedback to assist them in their proverbial “Idol journey.” In fact, the contestants don’t seem to be getting constructive criticism from any direction: not Jimmy Iovine (telling Casey not to perform his showstopping cover of Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy?” Shame!), not the stylists (who OK’ed Stefano’s bizarre striped T-shirt over a seeming polo shirt combo, and who allowed Paul to wear ANOTHER rose suit to prance about the stage?), and certainly not the judges (they mysteriously chose to criticize only Haley, out of all eight contestants, which will pretty much guarantee her a spot in the bottom three tomorrow night).
Anyway, on to the reviews. I’m returning to Twitter-style this week (only 140 characters per contestant), because last week’s performance review was nearly 2000 words…yikes. I’m covering the contestants in the order they performed tonight, and as per usual, the links in the song title will take you to video of the performance if you missed it, or just want to watch again.
Paul McDonald, singing “Old Time Rock and Roll,” originally by Bob Seger and used inRisky Business: Just an offnight for PMcD. His vocals were spotty, his awkward dancing was over the top, and his suit was hideous. Liked the tambo, though.
Lauren Alaina, singing the heinously overplayed “The Climb,” originally by Miley Cyrus and featured in The Hannah Montana Movie: Solid vocal from Lauren (as usual). This is the type of music she should be putting on her album. Maybe she can teach Miley how to sing?
Stefano Langone, performing “End of the Road,” originally by Boyz II Men from the Boomerang soundtrack: Despite this being one of the thinner/weaker/meh performances tonight, the judges’ glowing review will keep him safe for another week. Sigh.
Scotty McCreery, singing “I Cross My Heart,” originally by George Strait from the movie Pure Country: Scotty may as well be given a free pass to the Top 3. His voice is solid and the teenage girls are voting their hearts out for that face.
Casey Abrams, singing “Nature Boy,” originally by Eden Abhez and made famous by Nat King Cole, used first in the film The Boy With Green Hair: Potentially Casey’s best yet. Nuanced, jazzy and featuring stellar bass and piano work. And a little scatting! Eminently musical and smart.
Haley Reinhart, singing Blondie’s “Call Me,” from American Gigolo: Though I am now in Haley’s camp (listen to those growls/riffs!), her awkward strutting/squatting is distracting. Loved her dress, though.
Jacob Lusk, singing Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” from The Pursuit of Happyness: Jacob may have made up for last week’s preachy misstep. A pleasantly gospel-fied cover of a sweeping ballad, though it had its pitch issues.
James Durbin, singing Sammy Hagar’s “Heavy Metal,” from the movie of the same name: While the vocals were good, I find myself disliking James Durbin. I’m not a metal fan, and I’m a bit tired of the screams a la Adam Lambert.
So, who will sit on the Silver Stools tomorrow night? This absolutely pains me to say, but I think that Paul, Haley and Casey will fill those seats, with Haley ultimately going home. While I LOVED Casey’s performance, I just think that it will not be flashy enough to grab a ton of votes from the voting public (read: teenage girls. Teenage girls want Scotty, not soft and nuanced jazz from Casey.), and I think that Paul had the unfortunate task of kicking the show off, meaning that he is farthest from the voters’ immediate memory when the time comes to vote. I chose Haley to get the boot because she was the only contestant who received a negative critique from the judges tonight, and I think that, combined with her two previous bottom three weeks will send her home tomorrow. I definitely think that Jacob and Scotty and probably Lauren are guaranteed safe tomorrow night, while Stefano and James are on the bubble.
That does not mean that I think those three should be in the bottom three. Stefano, Scotty and Paul would fill my deserved bottom three spots (yes, Paul. It pains me, but his performance wasn’t stellar tonight.), with Stefano ultimately packing his bags.
What do you think, faithful readers? Will Haley (no, please!) pack her bags tomorrow, or will Pia’s rightful justice be served, sending Stefano back into the Idol miasma? Tell me what you think!
One final note: Jimmy Iovine and will.i.am (that is ACTUALLY how that Auto-tuned crackpot spells his name) can leave the show now, please and thank you. I’d rather take the lack of advice from the judges than the horrible wrong-direction advice from those two pompous individuals.