American Idol: Changes, but not really

Last night the Top 7 performed on “American Idol” and while some changes were made, nothing really changed in the end. Last week, you’ll remember that Adam Lambert was in the pimp spot, but didn’t perform until after 9pm ET, with the show running almost 10 minutes late. So those who set their DVRs missed his performance, though with Adam being a favorite, the votes were not affected at all. Still, something needed to give and they decided that this week, the judges would have to scale back their comments….meaning, after each performance only two judges would comment instead of all four. Considering that there would be one less performance this week anyway, that should help shorten the program, right? Well, not really. Not when the judges see it as a chance to banter on incessantly, and not while Ryan Seacrest can’t keep things moving along properly, and not when they book more commercial spots than necessary. Actually read that last part back, because I am quite sure that’s your real culprit in all this.

But anyway, superstar director Quentin Tarantino was the mentor this week, a guy who makes movies but has a passion for music and a knack for marrying songs with his films. And the theme was songs from movies. Easy enough, right? Well yeah, but Bryan Adams’ two sappiest songs reared their collective ugly head.

Here is how it went down:

THE GOOD

Allison Iraheta went first and sang Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing.” It wasn’t her best, but when she kicked into the second half of the song, holy crap. Paula and Simon both draped her with praise. Paula said that while she knows she champions Adam every week (that’s an understatement), Allison is remarkably talented as well, and Simon said that Allison is the girls’ only hope left, and that she is getting stronger every week and believing in herself.

Anoop Desai sang the first of the Bryan Adams’ sap-fest with “Everything I Do (I Do For You)” and he did a really nice job with it. Honestly, I loathe that song the way Newman from “Seinfeld” loathes Keith Hernandez, but Anoop played with the melody a bit and made it soulful and interesting. Randy said Anoop has found his zone, and that it was in tune and had some nice emotion, and Kara said Anoop added some nice soul to a pop song and that it was one of his best performances so far. No argument here.

Adam Lambert threw everyone a curveball by singing the Steppenwolf classic, “Born To Be Wild” and for me it was one of Adam’s best showings. I think when he sings all-out he shows what amazing range he has, and he never hits a bad note. But for the love of G-d, can he stop with those ’80’s hair metal screams? Paula was hooting and hollering and practically humping Adam’s leg, and then spit out her two previously written lines–something like, “You dare to dance in the pocket of greatness” and my personal favorite, “Fortune rewards the brave.” Simon was less impressed, saying that vocally it was incredible, but that some folks, including him, are going to despise the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” aspect of the performance. Good comment, but I disagree with Simon this week, and I”m not a huge fan of this guy.

Danny Gokey sang “Endless Love” and again channeled his own grief over the loss of his wife recently. No one blames Danny for this, and truth be told, he can probably deliver any song with the same emotion anyway. This wasn’t Danny’s best, as there were a few boring moments, but as always, the second half was just stellar. Paula said as much, that the second half was “magical” and “beautiful,” and Simon said he was bored by the arrangement but that he loves the way Danny channels his emotions.

THE IN BETWEEN

I’m a big fan of Kris Allen, but his performance of “Falling Slowly” was probably just mediocre enough to land him in the bottom 3 tonight. It is a song with non-traditional melodies and probably hard as hell to sing, but Kris felt a connection to the song and displayed it well. Randy said it was pitchy in spots and that it didn’t catch on for him, but Kara disagreed completely, saying it was a difficult song and one of Kris’ best moments so far. I think I’m somewhere in the middle on this one.

Lil Rounds had the pimp spot this week and took on Bette Midler’s “The Rose.” She did a good job with it, but as she lifted the song with some gospel/R&B arrangement halfway through, it had some weird moments. Paula said it’s a beautiful song and that Lil’s road on this show has been “special.” Hmmm…I think that was Paula’s underhanded way of dissing Lil. Simon, meanwhile, held nothing back, saying it was the completely wrong song choice and that it was too soft and middle of the road. Yikes…I didn’t think Lil deserved that, and the judges may be sending her mixed signals. Lil didn’t appreciate it, and fired back at Simon that they are confusing her with said mixed signals. Regardless, the bottom line is that Lil is going to be in the bottom 3, with or without Simon’s comments.

THE BAD

Matt Giraud sang the other sappy Bryan Adams song, and for my money one of the worst songs in pop music history, “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” But the problem was that Matt could not hide behind Megan or Scott this week, and he was exposed as the worst remaining vocalist. In fact, parts of it were downright painful pitch-wise. Randy said it started off cool, but that Matt hit several rough patches and “fell down in spots.” Kara said Matt keeps going back and forth between rock and soul and that it’s hurting his chances. I’ll say. In fact, I’ll say that Matt will not only be in the bottom 3 tonight, but that he is headed back to Michigan tomorrow.

So this week should be the most clear-cut bottom 3…Kris, Lil and Matt….with Allison a possibility and even Anoop. Really, Adam and Danny are going to keep sailing through every week because everyone loves them…and it’s really their competition to lose. Tonight we are going to be graced with performances by Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Hudson. I have to say this, because I have the stage and the microphone right now…..does anyone else think Miley Cyrus is incredibly ugly and talks like a man? I have to look away from the screen when I see her. And Jennifer Hudson is a contant reminder of how the judging on “American Idol” is subjective, and that she, Chris Daughtry and Clay Aiken didn’t have to win to make it big.

Oh, and last night’s show still ended at 9:04 ET, so many of you missed part of Lil’s performance or her snappy retort to Simon. Someone on the production staff of this show should lose their job, that’s how bad it is. Anyway, see you all tomorrow with the results!

  

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