In the absence of “Mr. Nasty” Simon Cowell, or maybe just due to overly impressionable natures of J.Lo and “Grandma Tyler”, American Idol‘s Season 10 has turned into a lovefest I find hardly bearable to watch.
Judges just looooove everybody and heavily overpraise every single performance. I have not heard a word of criticism since Top 13. OK, the remaining contestants are talented, but they aren’t stars yet: they still need guidance, advice, and, yes, constructive criticism. Grandma Tyler has proven absolutely useless as a judge as he invariably renders each and every performance “beautiful. amazing”. J.Lo occasionally comes up with bizarre comments about “stage presence”, and Randy’s harshest criticism is, “I wasn’t jumping up and down”. Yawn. Do they even need the viewers on that little lovefest formerly known as American Idol, the biggest singing competition?..
So after the entire Casey shocker two weeks ago (Casey in the bottom three! Judges save him! He looks like he’s not feeling well!), last week’s Elton John performance show started the tradition of massacring all girls due to massive dominance of teenage girls in the voting audience, sending Naima Adedapo and Thia Megia home. Tonight was Rock-n-Roll week. I’m rating the Top 9 performances.
Jacob Lusk did Michael Jackson’s Man In The Mirror, which, while good, was not anything outstanding; I would say the “Jacob power” was lacking. However, the judges had their usual response: “That was beautiful” (Grandma Tyler), “Perfect on every level” (J.Lo), “I’m so proud of you” (Randy).
Haley Reinhart caved in to the judges’ pressure and did Janis Joplin’s Piece Of My Heart. OK, I’ve got to give it to the judges this time: Janis and the bluesy thing altogether is what Haley should be doing, and she did do a great job (although if I were a judge, I’d point out that she could have had a little bit more energy and maybe hit that super-high note on that “yeaaaa-yeaaah”, like in the original). Still, Haley (along with Casey) is by far my favorite.
Casey Abrams did Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Have You Ever Seen The Rain playing standup base. While I never lack energy from Casey (which is great), this performance, in a little bit of a retrospect, was a bit “forgettable”, as Simon Cowell would say. An illustration? I just forgot to write about it for this post and only noticed it when I counted the paragraphs and realized I had missed one contestant.
Aretha Franklin’s Natural Woman finally gave something vocally challenging for Lauren Alaina to sing. While she did do a good job, I’ve been missing some passion and energy from her several weeks now.
James Durbin decided to “slow down” (that is, to take a break from compulsively running around the stage with fireworks on the background) and do The Beatles’ While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Since I’ve waited for such a break ever since James could not seem to stop running around the stage, his song choice was more than welcome, and I did think he brought a lot of emotion, and, importantly, great vocals. James now returns to my personal top three.
So I take it it is now Scotty McCreery‘s turn to run around the stage (this time to Elvis Presley), looking full of himself, to the judges’ over-excitement. These kinds of parties just don’t transfer to my living room. Insert snoring sound here.
Apparently Pia Toscano has some kind of rule about wearing a weird baggy jumpsuit every time she does an uptempo song, like Tina Turner’s Mountain High. Pia definitely has the pipes, but I’ve been lacking some soul and personality from her. And how about that bizarre comment from J.Lo: “The only thing you need to do is research your movements”? First, Pia needs to work on her arrangements so that they don’t make her performances sound noisy and circus-like. And yes, ditch the jumpsuits.
Unlike girls, guys don’t get criticized for doing one epic ballad after another week after week. After week. With their eyes shut. Yes, I’m talking about Stefano Langone and his rendition of When A Man Loves A Woman. One of my roommates has a theory that when Stefano opens his mouth, his eyes automatically close due to the “structure of his face”. Sounds plausible, huh? J.Lo said it was “amazing, unbelievable”, and shushed Randy when he tried to give some critique. That’s American Idol Season 10 in a nutshell.
Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues was the first live performance by Paul McDonald that didn’t make me want to puke. Unfortunately, it’s too little too late. And I liked Everlast’s version much more than Paul’s balalaika madness.
So, as much as I’d want to see Paul leave, the person in greatest danger will probably be Stefano; Lauren might receive a bottom-three wake-up call; hopefully, Haley can survive a bit longer in that gender-unequal environment.