Last night the Top 8 on “American Idol” sang songs from the year in which they were born, which always is the week I feel very, very old. That was all confirmed when the “oldest” contestant this year, Danny Gokey, went first, and he was born in 1980. Nineteen Freaking Eighty. Not only do I remember that year clearly, I was in high school at that point. Yikes. Anyway, there is a lot to talk about, because I disagreed with the judges on a few occasions, and there were some stellar showings and some pretty horrible ones. Here we go….
Danny Gokey went first and sang some dude Mickey’s version of the classic “Stand By Me,” and it was pretty good but not at all Danny’s best. Still, what this guy possesses that no one else does is an ability to crank things up during his performance that make him seem otherworldly. He has a gift, and he’s on his way to the Top 5, easily. Randy said he didn’t love the arrangement but loved the performance, Kara said Danny “made the song his own” and I wonder if we can STOP SAYING THAT! Paula said “wow” and that Danny opened the show on a high, and continued to babble the stuff her writer wrote for her to say, to which Simon said, “What the hell are you talking about?” Kudos, Simon. Simon said that overall it was a great performance.
Anoop Desai, born in 1986, sang Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” going back to the balladeer Anoop that we loved a few weeks in a row recently. It was a good vocal and a nice version, but I don’t think Anoop convinced us last night that he is going to win. Randy said Anoop pulled things back and delivered a nice vocal, Kara said Anoop controlled the song and not the other way around, Paula said it was a good choice and “flawless,” and Simon said he liked the version and that Anoop is like a yo-yo from week to week.
Allison Iraheta was born in 1992. Nineteen Freaking Ninety-Two. I am quite sure I still have socks from that year. Anyway, Allison brought down the volume a bit with Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” and she showed another side to herself that was just awesome. I just have the feeling that Allison was put on this earth to sing and she doesn’t even know how good she is yet. Paula said it was “undeniably Allison,” Simon said it was very good but that Allison needs to sell herself more in the interviews (please, she is only 16!), Randy made reference once again to Kelly Clarkson (and he is correct) and he added that it was one of the best of the night, and Kara said Allison took a song with adult content and made it current and believable from a 16-year-old.
Adam Lambert, born in 1982, closed the night with Tears For Fears’ “Mad World” and though I am not an Adam fan, I found it pretty decent. Not blow-me-away decent, but very good. It was kind of like a few weeks ago when Adam sang Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks of My Tears,” a bit safe but with every note on key. I just don’t see the wow factor that everyone else does with this guy. Anyway, at this point in the show, since the judges had made their earlier comments and banter painfully long, it was almost 8:10 central time and only Simon had time for a comment. He said, “No words are necessary but I’m giving you a standing ovation.” Come on folks, stop crowning this kid the champ week after week when he is clearly not the singer Danny is.
Kris Allen was born in 1985 and sang an R&B version of the monotonous Don Henley song, “All She Wants To Do Is Dance.” I was rather perplexed with the choice, and it was really kind of boring. Anyway, Kara said it felt like “jazz/funk homework,” Paula said it was heartfelt and that Kris is very likeable, Simon said it was indulgent and forgettable and a “stupid choice,” and Randy agreed with Simon. I didn’t think it was that bad, but…
Lil Rounds, born in 1984, did an extremely copycat version of Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” complete with Tina’s dance moves. I thought this would be the week that Lil killed it, but she tried so hard to impersonate Tina that she lost Lil in the process. It wasn’t bad, but I’m feeling like there is no way Lil has what it takes to win this thing. Paula said Lil looked hot but that while she’s a good vocalist, she didn’t take her own liberties with the song, Simon said it was a second or third-rate Tina Turner, Randy agreed with Paula and Simon, and Kara said Lil is not making the leap from great singer to great artist, and at this point she should be. I completely agree with all of that.
Matt Giraud was born in 1985 and sang Stevie Wonder’s “Part-time Lover.” I had this written next to Matt—“eh.” It was just okay for me…I mean, Matt has a killer voice and is at home with R&B stuff like this, but he lost me along the way. But as time was running short (Matt went before Adam), the judges rushed their comments but were way too impressed as far as I’m concerned. Randy called it the best vocal of the night, Kara said it was incredible, Paula gave Matt a standing ovation, and Simon said it was well done and a “million times better than last week.” Were the judges smoking something or was being rushed clouding their judgment?
Scott McIntyre was also born in 1985, and strapped on a guitar to sing the sappy Survivor tune, “The Search is Over.” Using every other performance last night as a measuring stick, this one was pretty awful. Scott’s guitar was out of tune, it was awkward, and he went way off-key in the high parts, and I mean really off-key. Kara said she commended Scott for the difficulty of the song but that there were some “off moments,” Paula said the high notes were screechy, Simon said Scott needs to go back to the piano and that it was “horrible,” and Randy said it was all just okay and that he’s not seeing Scott as a star.
Folks, unless Lil’s Tina impression gets her booted off, there is absolutely no reason to believe Scott is going to be on this show after tonight. I think the bottom 3 will be Scott, Lil and either Kris or Matt. What do you all think? And can the producers of this show grab control of the time? I am not saying producing the highest rated TV show can be easy, but there is no good reason it should go over by almost 10 minutes, and Adam got cheated out of the judges’ comments. Oh wait, who needed to see Paula gush again and make some stupid “sheer genius” reference? Blech.
Okay, I’m getting on with my day…see you tomorrow with the results!