American Idol, 2009 – Episode 23 (3/25/09)

Idol LogoWelcome to Motown week!

The girls are dropping like flies, and I don’t think any of them can win this thing, although I’m praying that people start to recognize how good Allison is–other blogs I’ve checked out all seem to rave about her, but she has yet to connect with regular viewers. I find her shyness and quirkiness when not singing endearing, but maybe it’s not coming across that way to the rest of the country. Maybe people expect confidence at all times. I’m not sure what it is.

Both Scott MacIntyre and Michael Sarver need good weeks. People are starting to notice that Scott does the same thing over and over again, plus doesn’t sing all that well, and Michael had a bad week last week and a voting base that does not appear to be as strong as I would have predicted before the top thirteen started. We’ll see if either of them improve.

And I’m dying to see what Adam Lambert does next. Someone in the comments at another blog (don’t recall where) suggested Adam do “Sexual Healing,” which I thought was a hilarious idea.

Live blog and spoilers below the fold once the show begins at 7:00 Central.

Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy are in the audience, which is cool.

Paula wants surprises. On Motown night? Fat chance. We’re likely to hear the same songs we hear every year, which is too bad.

It’s pretty cool that they all went to the Hitsville U.S.A. studio in Detroit.

Matt Giraud is going to open with Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On,” a pick I don’t like at all.

After opening sitting and playing piano, he stands up and sings to the audience, a nice bit of staging.

I was wrong. It’s a very good performance–for once, he doesn’t do it to death, and he’s fully in control of the song. A great way to open the show and the judges are going to love it.

And they do.

Next up is Kris Allen with another Marvin Gaye song, “How Sweet it is.” The performance is light-hearted and enjoyable, with Kris strumming his guitar and delivering a solid, error-free vocal. Not really my thing, but I’m sure his fans loved it.

And the judges are again very positive, although Simon says he thinks Kris needs to project a little more confidence.

Good show so far, and we haven’t even gotten to the folks I really like.

Will Scott MacIntyre do the same thing again? He’s playing piano again, which is fine by me. He’s going to do “You Can’t Hurry Love” by the Supremes. This is one of my very favorite Motown songs, so I’m not going to like this if he stuffs into the same little box he’s been stuffing all his songs in.

He brings the corn by starting the song slowly, but thankfully ups the tempo immediately. He’s still not a great singer, but this is a fun performance. He looks like he’s having a great time up there, and it’s infectious. (The background singers pour on a little much, though.)

Paula agrees with me that it was enjoyable. Simon hates the performance, including the background singers. It’s a tougher critique than I expected. Randy calls it “hotel,” so take a drink. Kara likes the tempo as I did, but thought he took too many liberties with the melody and didn’t quite nail the vocal.

Hmmm. I’m a bit surprised at how tough they were on Scott. I’m usually first to bash him, but that was one of his better performances even if it wasn’t mind-blowing.

Paula gives Simon crayons and a coloring book because he acts like a six-year old. A rare moment of cleverness from Paula.

Oh, jeez. Megan “Lesbian Seagull” Joy is going to sing Stevie Wonder’s “For Once in My Life,” right after Paula gets done telling America about what she’s got under her skirt, embarrassing everybody including Paula herself once she realizes what she said.

Megan’s going the jazz route again. It’s better than last week’s Patsy Cline, but it sounds more like the theme to a seventies TV show than a legitimate attempt at soul. At the end she gets shouty, and the whole thing is over the top. An improvement, but still not very good. Megan is a novelty act, not a pop star.

Randy and Kara slam her pretty good. Paula does too, and Simon really lays it on, saying she may in be in trouble. He may be right.

Anoop “Noop Dogg” Desai is going to do “Ooh Baby, Baby.” Well, why not? The slow song worked for him last week.

His falsetto isn’t amazing, but it’s serviceable, and the other aspects of the performance are quite strong. The arrangement is excellent and his singing is good on the whole. Anoop is clearly growing as a singer.

Kara and Paula are both positive, with minor critiques. Simon loves the vocal but not Anoop’s lack of showmanship. Randy wants Anoop to do a fast song again, which likely would be Anoopicide.

Michael Sarver is going to do “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by the Tempations, which strikes me as a good pick for him.

I was wrong. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, but there’s nothing exciting about it. He just isn’t putting it across, and he’s mugging again. He does end it fairly well, but it needed a lot more than that. He’s going to be bottom three again, and very likely is dead meat.

Paula thinks it sounded Las Vegas lounge-y and she’s right. Simon didn’t like the shouting and says Michael doesn’t have a prayer if he doesn’t improve, and Simon is right. I don’t think Michael’s going to have that opportunity.

“Heat Wave” by Martha and the Vandellas is Lil Rounds choice.

This is an excellent choice–perfectly suited to her style. It’s an energetic performance and she’s clearly having a great time singing it. She has her usual problem with a couple of flat spots, but no big deal.

I’m surprised that the judges are being so hard on her, although Kara’s right that it wasn’t really any different from the original. Paula loved it, though.

Lil’s very likable. She handles the critiques well and is gracious.

Adam Lambert is going to do “Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey, which is quite the surprise.

You have to wonder if the opening line, “People say I’m the life of the party” wasn’t what hooked him.

It’s a dead serious performance, and excellent. He’s got complete control of his voice and he swoops effortlessly between the higher and lower notes. Terrific.

A standing ovation  from Smokey Robinson! You’ll never forget that as long as you live, kid.

Kara says she’s got six words: “One of the best performances of the night.” Uh, can you count, Kara? And it was the best, not one of the best, as Simon points out.

Adam is a major talent–right now, he’s at a level so much higher than the competition it isn’t even close.

Danny Gokey is taking on “Get Ready” by the Temptations.

After telling Smokey Robinson that he’ll sing the “It’s all right/it’s out of sight” instead of relying on the background singers to do it, he doesn’t! Dude, you lied to Smokey Robinson!

It’s a spirited performance, not overdone like last week’s, but relying on the background singers left gaps that were a little weird–Smokey was absolutely right. On the whole, though, this is quite good–more “P.Y.T.” than “Jesus Take the Wheel.”

All the judges like it except for Simon, who strangely slams it hard. I think he was probably more annoyed at the disrespect shown to Smokey Robinson than the performance itself. That’s fine as it is, but it is a singing competition, Simon. Right?

My girl Allison Iraheta isn’t doing “My Girl,” she’s doing “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by the Temptations. Nice to see they gave her the money slot this week.

Once again, she’s completely comfortable on stage. She struts her stuff and delivers a sultry Dusty Springfield-style performance that feels, not like she’s holding back, but like she’s coiled to strike.

And strike she does! She goes for a big-time, bluesy glory note that works perfectly with the song. Outstanding.

The judges go insane, Kara especially. She’s urging America to vote for Allison–please listen, everybody! It would be ridiculous if she was in the bottom three, much less voted off.

So who was best tonight–Adam or Allison? I’ll go with Adam for a more original take on the material, but they were both terrific. A good show on the whole, too–better than I was expecting, that’s for sure.

Back soon with power rankings and back tomorrow with results!

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One Response to American Idol, 2009 – Episode 23 (3/25/09)

  1. […] American Idol, 2009 – Episode 23 (3/25/09) Welcome to Motown week! The girls are dropping like flies, and I don’t think any of them can win this thing, […] […]

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