Much thanks to Jason for covering the show last night. I was able to watch it, but not to write about it, so this is from memory and will not be as in-depth as my usual posts.
The theme is songs from the year you were born. Danny Gokey cheats a bit and does Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” because apparently Mickey Gilley covered it in 1980. Has anyone ever heard that version?
While Gokey’s vocal is fine once he settles in after a weak start, the arrangement is a disaster. Some songs you just don’t screw with, and “Stand By Me” is one of them. Gokey gives us some kind of disco version. Disco “Stand By Me”? Are you serious? How on earth could anyone possibly think that’s a good idea?
Once again, Danny’s good singing is more than canceled out by his awful taste. For reasons that baffle me, the judges liked this.
Kris Allen was savaged by the judges for his rendition of Don Henley’s “All She Wants to Do is Dance,” which I thought was grossly unfair. He’s working in an energetic arrangement, and manages to inject quite a bit of melody into a song that doesn’t have all that much. The political subtext is completely stripped out, but, hey, this is American Idol, not American Protest Singer, so that didn’t bother me overly much.
I think it’s a bad idea to sing in the mosh pit or whatever the hell it is off to the side of the stage. Can the judges even see the singer? It’s been done twice now and both times the performance has been slammed. Matt Giraud deserved it last week, but Kris didn’t.
I have lost patience with Lil Rounds. She foolishly takes on Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” a song that can likely only be pulled off by a master singer. Lil is not a master singer. Making matters worse, she imitates Tina’s trademark saunter. Inviting comparisons to Tina is not a good idea.
Lil has put together a string of decent performances, but she hasn’t done anything special since the first week of the voting rounds. This performance wasn’t even decent. My goodwill towards her has completely evaporated.
Anoop Desai wisely returns to the ballad realm to sing Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.” I’ve been a lot kinder than most regarding Anoop’s uptempo performances, but there’s no question that it’s with ballads that he really shines. This is a problem, as as much as I enjoy these performances, it renders him one dimensional.
Oh, well. Just sit back and enjoy the show, I guess. It’s a very nice rendition, better than the original in some ways.
I can’t tell you how completely stoked I am that Scott MacIntyre did Survivor’s “The Search is Over.” Someone suggested that in the comments section of USA Today’s Idol Chatter blog and I knew that it had to happen. Why? Because the song is a masterpiece of cheese, and as such, is precisely the kind of goopy crap that Scott really likes. It would be impossible to better capture the essence of Scott than with “The Search is Over.”
I’m pretty sure the singing was bad, but I was laughing too hard to really pay attention.
Allison Iraheta‘s take on Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” is terrific. I’ve been giving Allison lots of love since the beginning, but I was beginning to wonder if all she could do was big power ballad stuff–that’s obviously her niche, but you can’t make a listenable album of twelve power ballads in a row.
Here, she demonstrates that she’s not just the second coming of Pat Benatar with a subtle, tender vocal.
The judges are right in praising the performance, but also right that she doesn’t seem to be connecting with the audience, which is why she keeps ending up in the bottom three. This is not right. She’s one of the best this year and deserves to stick around. I don’t think she’ll have any problem with that this week.
The judges go way overboard praising Matt Giraud‘s performance of Stevie Wonder’s “Part Time Lovers.” It’s a good performance, stripped of the over-emoting that ruin most of Matt’s performances for me. But it isn’t the greatest thing in the history of the universe like the judges are saying.
I’ll just ignore the judges and say, good (not great) job, Matt.
Adam Lambert once again demonstrates that he is, without question, the best singer this year by doing Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” (actually, it’s more like the cover version that was in Donnie Darko). His vocal gymnastics are superb, climbing to a falsetto and back down to his natural range flawlessly. He makes enough changes to keep it interesting without bastardizing it like Gokey this week. Just tremendous–one for the Idol ages.
And that’s this week! I’m unsure if I’m going to be able to cover the results show tonight, but I’m going to try.