Down to nine, but my favorites are still in the hunt. Adam seems to have a decent-sized fanbase, but I still suspect that Allison does not. Can either of them withstand the power of the Gokey machine long enough to make a real run at it? He’s consistently ranked high by Dial Idol but I don’t feel like he’s earned that yet. Maybe he will tonight. Or maybe the hype will fade. It certainly has for other contestants in the past.
Live blogging and spoilers below the fold once the show starts at 7:00 Central.
Here we go!
Why do the judges hold hands now? Does Mrs. Jackson approve?
Ryan asks Kara to define “artistry.” It pretty much means taking a chestnut and doing a good job putting your own spin on it. Like most of the critiques, that one isn’t applied very consistently.
This week, the contestants can pick any song they like, so long as it’s popular on iTunes. No definition of “popular” given.
Oh, dear. I love you, Allison, but it looks like you’re in costume as the poster for the Alan Alda movie, Sweet Liberty. A bell with legs. And what have you done to your poor hair?
But it’s singing that matters here, dammit. Let’s get going with Anoop Desai doing “Caught Up” by Usher. It’s a risk for him to move back to uptempo material as he hasn’t delivered it terribly well in the past, but he does a solid, if not amazing, job with this number. He apparently took Simon’s advice to try to demonstrate more stage presence, as he’s bringing the “swagger” as Randy would say. I liked the performance myself, but I have no idea what the judges are going to say about it.
And “swagger” is about the first word that comes out of Randy’s mouth. Randy likes the singing but doesn’t care for the song choice. Kara thought he played it too safe with the vocal. Paula thinks he still didn’t have enough stage presence and then drifts into incoherency. Simon thinks it was “a complete and utter mess” and thought he came across as a wannabe. Ouch.
The studio audience seemed to like it, and I side with them–it was competent, if not spectacular. I hope the judges and death slot don’t lose us Anoop this week, because I don’t think he deserves to go home after that.
Megan “Lesbian Seagull” Joy is singing “Turn the Light Down Low” by Bob Marley as interpreted by Lauryn Hill.
It’s a typical Megan performance, meaning very bad. Her voice is irritating and she’s doing the goat thing. The song exists in about a five note range, so whatever singing she’s capable of isn’t being demonstrated, which is probably a good thing. She has no chemistry with the band, like she’s singing to a tape of background music instead of real musicians.
Kara slams her good, and said she was irritating “for the first time.” For the first time? Paula gives her some meaningless advice that is best ignored. Simon says the song was boring, indulgent, and monotonous. Randy slams her some more.
Megan needs to go home now. Of course, I’ve been saying that for weeks and no one seems to listen.
Rascal Flatts’ “What Hurts the Most” is Danny Gokey‘s choice. He delivers a straightforward vocal without too much embellishment until the very end. Not a bad note in the thing. An excellent performance, harmed only a little bit by unnecessary and overbearing background singers on the chorus.
The audience loves it, and so does Paula. Simon thinks it was his best performance yet, and he may be right about that (although I was fond of “P.Y.T.”). Randy says “swagger” again. I guess we need to start drinking on that. Kara says she got goosebumps.
My girl Allison Iraheta is going to play guitar for us this week as she sings No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak,” which should turn out to be a great pick for her.
She does more riffing than she usually does, but not enough to be distracting, and her singing is first-class as always. She doesn’t quite get as much muscle into the chorus as I would have liked, but she gets plenty in.
Randy makes fun of her outfit, which he should. Kara says it was not her best, but good. Paula is the most positive. Simon thinks she shouted too much, but Randy disagrees.
Oh, hell. Scott MacIntyre is going to do “Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel. Way to stretch, there, Scott!
He’s singing better than he usually does, and it’s a fine performance of a song I don’t much care for. But, man, it’s the same thing over and over again with this guy.
Paula correctly points out that it was smart of him to go with a simple piano instead of orchestration. The judges on the whole love it, and if I’m being fair, it probably was his best performance yet. But I just can’t get excited about what Scott does. Not my cup of tea at all.
Matt Giraud shockingly doesn’t get the money slot after wrongly being dumped in the bottom three last week. He’s doing a song called “You Found Me” by the Fray, a band I’ve never heard of.
The vocal opens really weak, and although he recovers, he’s overdoing it again. “You found maaaay!” Cheese Central Station.
Paula thought it was soundalike. Simon didn’t like the gravel voice (thank you). Randy doesn’t think he’s a rock singer. Kara doesn’t like his lack of identity in switching between R&B and rock, but pimps for him to try to keep him alive this week. All of them are right.
I do feel a bit bad for Matt, as he clearly doesn’t want to fit into the box the judges have picked out for him. But the judges are right, too–his voice is better suited to R&B than rock.
Lil Rounds is going to do “I Surrender” by Celine Dion. Way to stretch there, Lil! It’s a horribly corny song, and once again, I think she’s pretty good but it’s the same old thing.
Randy and Kara both compliment the performance, although only Kara sounds somewhat enthusiastic. Paula was uninspired. Simon thinks all of her personality was sucked out. I’m becoming more and more convinced that she just doesn’t have much personality, which is too bad as I really liked her at first.
Oh, my gosh. Adam Lambert is going to do “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry. Well, this should be interesting!
He’s going for a down-and-dirty sex-groove. He’s monkeyed around quite a bit with the chorus.
Simon looks like he’s in pain, although Paula seems to be having a good time.
He ends the whole thing with Darkness-type shrieking, something he’s very good at. I have no idea what to make of that performance, but I think I might have liked it. God help me.
Paula adored it. Simon, surprisingly, was positive. Randy positively gushes.
I think I need to rewind that and watch it again before I actually know what I think. Wow.
Update: I watched it again. I definitely do like it.
Kris Allen will be taking us out with “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers. This is much more to my taste than his usual fare, and it works like crazy. His vocal is superb–big in the right places, soft in the right places. He plays piano, accented with some string players in a very well-done arrangement. Terrific.
Everyone raves. Simon also loves the arrangement. Two of them say it was his best performance, and they’re right. Really nicely done.
I’m going to have to put some thought into trying to guess who the bottom three will be this week. Other than Megan, I have no idea at this point. Power rankings and predictions coming soon!