American Idol: is it wrong to say that judges are on crack?

We know that Steven Tyler has an infamous history of drug use and living the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. But it was Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez that I thought were on crack last night on “American Idol.” More on that in a moment.

First, the Final Four of James, Scotty, Lauren and Haley had the task of picking two songs each–one that personally inspires them, and another from the great Leiber and Stoller catalog. For the latter, they would be mentored by Lady GaGa. Anyway, here is how it went down and how I saw it:

JAMES DURBIN
Song 1:
“Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey. UGH. If I never hear this song again as long as I live, I still will have heard it a million times too many. “The Sopranos'” biggest whack was whacking this song into the ground, and it’s still being whacked into the ground. But James decided to beat a dead freaking horse some more, and I’m sorry, the dude is not Steve Perry. Few are in that league, if any. But of course the judges were brainwashed by the sellout factor of the song. Steven said “nice going,” which may have been an underhanded slam; J-Lo said it was a great job; and Randy said it was a song with a high degree of difficulty, and that James set the bar with it by going first with that song. Are you kidding me? I hope they watched it back.

Song 2: “Love Potion Number 9” was originally performed by The Clovers, but James likely did a number on it last night, giving it a metal flair that Mike Stoller, sitting in the front row, must have loved (I’m being mildly sarcastic). But hey, it was really good, even though he barely moved his hips the way Lady GaGa suggested. J-Lo said James can sing anything; Randy said James started peaking at the right time, making a weird sports analogy; and Steven said James has come a long way.

OVERALL GRADE: B+

HALEY REINHART
Song 1: “Earth Song” by Michael Jackson. It was awesome. I turned to Mrs. Mike and said so, and she agreed. Anyway, you know how when Lauren doesn’t reach for a note and sometimes just backs off it? Haley never does that, and last night she just attacked this song and her passion for the sentiment came through as well. You’d think that would please the judges, right? Well, not really. J-Lo loved the inspiration but said she should have chosen a sellout song like James did. What???? Sellout was my word, but still. Randy AGREED with J-Lo, and said Haley wasn’t in it to win it with that choice and that she was screaming too much at the end. Then Steven set the record straight by saying that J-Lo and Randy were both wrong, and that she showed everyone what she was capable of with that performance. Thank you, Mr. Tyler. You are indeed the sober one now.

Song 2:“I Who Have Nothing,” originally released by Ben E. King in 1963, and most recently for you Idol fans, was done by Jordin Sparks. Well, this time Haley left no doubt, even though, to be honest, this song is less well-known than the “Earth Song.” Right, J-Lo? Well, no. J-Lo said, “Look what you’re capable of!” Please! She was capable on both songs. Randy said that was Haley’s “moment” and that now she’s in it to win it. Um, no, Randy. She was in it to win it before, too. Steven said it was a classic moment and “classic Haley.” There ya go. But I think the judges did irreparable damage to Haley’s chances already.

OVERALL GRADE: A

SCOTTY McCREERY
Song 1: “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning” by Alan Jackson. Folks, close your eyes and ears for a moment. The lyrics to this song are just cringe-worthy, they are so bad and naive, especially that line about not knowing the difference between Iraq and Iran. Of course, our 3 year old son put things in perspective when he started singing “Old McDonald” during Scotty’s performance. Son, you have no idea how prophetic that was. Anyway, it really wasn’t a bad performance, just very sleepy. Of course, the judges were drooling. Randy said it was a great song choice and that Scotty was ready for superstardom; Steven said it was beautiful; and J-Lo professed her love for Scotty. Really?

Song 2: “Young Blood,” originally done in the musical revue, “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.” It was okay, but nothing to get too excited about. I mean, for my money, Scotty was not in the same league as the other three, and I’m a fan. Lady GaGa gave Scotty some hilarious advice too, when she said she wanted him to make love to the microphone, and told him to pretend his girlfriend said “Stick your tongue down my throat or we’re through.” Ha! Scotty, the good ol’ country boy, kissed the cross around his neck. Classic. Anyway, Randy said it was a good time and felt like a Scotty concert; Steven said he loved the humor Scotty portrayed on stage; and J-Lo said Scotty is hitting his stride but that he’s capable of even more. In other words, it wasn’t great, right J-Lo?

OVERALL GRADE: B-

LAUREN ALAINA
Song 1:“Anyway” by Martina McBride. It was one of Lauren’s best performances yet, and proved that with the right song choices, she is capable of winning it all. Steven said Lauren did it again, and delivered a “blue plate special'” J-Lo said she was so proud of Lauren and that it was a great vocal; and Randy said that Lauren was “back, and that was hot!”

Song 2:“Trouble” by Elvis Presley. Once Lady GaGa convinced Lauren that singing about being “evil” was humorous and not a bad thing, Lauren went with it and took things to a new level. Anyway, it was good but not as good as her first performance. Steven said it was well done, and that he just loves Lauren; J-Lo said it was mature and that Lauren just attacked the song; and I didn’t write down Randy’s comments but I’m pretty sure he liked it too.

OVERALL GRADE: A-

But even though I gave Haley the highest marks of the night, the judges (well, J-Lo and Randy) did not. So I have to believe Haley is going home unless Lauren stole enough southern votes from Scotty to give Scotty the fewest votes. We’ll see. In my mind, Scotty should be going home, but I feel like it will probably be Haley. See you tomorrow with the results!

  

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