This week's "theme" was songs from the year the contestant was born, meaning, once again, the genre was pretty much anything. In spite of the judges' comments, for us the show didn't start until the fourth performance. That means we once again weren't a fan of Danny Gokey this week. We hated the arrangement he used for Mickey Gilley's 1980 version of "Stand by Me," which Gilley did much better than Danny. Danny hit a lot of flat notes, especially at the top of the number. Overall, we weren't impressed, though the judges were. That must be why Gokey ranked No. 2 on Dialidol.com, though he deserves to be no higher than fourth, tied with Anoop, who inexplicably is hanging near the bottom and is in serious danger of being cut. Randy Jackson says Danny is an amazing singer and made Jackson love the performance even though he did not love the arrangement. Kara also isn't crazy about the arrangement but says at the end Danny just killed it, turning it on its head and making it his own. Paula says Danny opened the show setting the bar so high that everyone who follows him is going to have to run as fast as they can to catch up. Not. She then goes on to say he is unique and talks about his chord substitutions. Simon starts laughing, and says to her when she's done: "Why do you talk to him like that?" Paula: "Because that's what it is." Simon: "I can't stand you." Paula shrugs. Simon tells Danny, the beginning was good, the middle was lazy, and the end was terrific, so, overall, great.
Watch video of Danny Gokey singing "Stand by Me," by Mickey Gilley
We suppose the best thing that can be said of Kris Allen's version of Don Henley's "All She Wants to Do Is Dance" is that it was different -- unfortunately not in a good way, at least for "Idol." The musical arrangement was far more interesting than the bland vocal that Kris delivered from the mosh pit while playing guitar (which he still looks like he strums out of beat with the music). Kris doesn't have a unique voice, so it's important that he nuance his performance to make it memorable. His vocals failed miserably at that this week. And though Henley's 1985 original still makes us want to dance, this rendition reminded us of something you would hear sitting at a table in a smoky jazz club. Kara says she was very excited that Kris picked an up-tempo song, but that his performance sounded more like jazz-funk homework and that it lost a lot of its youth. Paula says Kris took one of the most melodically one-note songs and did change it up and make it uniquely his own, adding he has to be one of the most likable contestants they've ever had. That's not going to be enough to keep him out of the Bottom 3 this week. Simon calls it indulgent, boring and forgettable, saying Kris came over as a geetarist (that's the way he pronounced it, folks) who wanted to sing, rather than a singer, adding "and it was a stupid, stupid song choice." Randy agrees that it was self-indulgent and says he lost Kris, because he was so busy listening to the arrangement. "You're the singer, you're in the competition, not the song," probably the most thoughtful thing Jackson will say all evening.
Watch video of Kris Allen singing "All She Wants to Do Is Dance," by Don Henley
Sadly, things didn't improve much when Lil Rounds took the stage. On the first few notes of Tina Turner's 1984 hit "What's Love Got to Do With It," we thought this was going to be good, but the song just didn't suit Lil's voice and the performance never gelled, only pointing out how great Tina is and how karaoke Lil is. Lil did, however, rock her outfit, looking sensational (and a bit Jennifer Hudson-ish). And, according to DialIdol, even if the judges didn't love her, the public is still behind her, placing her solidly in the middle of the pack when the performance deserved Bottom 3 status. Paula tells her she looks very, very hot and that she's a brilliant vocalist, but that gets you only so far and that she didn't create her own niche in a song that is so classic. Simon says they are not looking for a second- or third-rate Tina Turner and that's what Lil's performance was, "one of those ghastly copycat performances." He emphasizes she has to start becoming original. Randy says it's like Lil isn't listening to the judges' advice and although she can do a lot of stuff, "Tina is not you." Kara, using that word she loves, says it's about making that leap from a singer to an artist, adding that Lil's lower range really suffers and she needs to find her power down there. And as Lil stands there looking like she might start crying any second, Simon, nastily end the comments with, "So overall, it's quite good news." :b
Watch video of Lil Rounds singing "What's Love Got to Do With It," by Tina Turner
Anoop Desai earned a Coke interview spot before his performance, where he first gave a shoutout to the North Carolina Tarheels and then, according to Ryan, had some 'splaining to do about his alleged dis to Kara's critique last week (a slight so slight we didn't even notice it). That done, we didn't know what to expect after last week's Usher disaster, but Anoop surprised us when he delivered a very pleasing version of Cyndi's Lauper 1985 classic "True Colors," adding his own sweet R&B vibe to it. In spite of the music he might prefer to listen to and the type of artist he formerly aspired to be, Anoop, like Matt Giraud, needs to focus on where his talent and appeal lies. For Anoop, it is in this mellow area, though his DialIdol results seems to belie it. Maybe the rest of the country are not Tarheel fans ;) Randy calls it a very nice, very controlled vocal and gives Anoop props. Kara says, "Tonight, you controlled the song, you did not let it control you. And that's what it's all about. You showed you could take a pop song and interpret it with soul." Paula says his choice of song is flawless, his phrasing beautiful and where it sat in his voice was truly magical, showing his true colors -- just like a rainbow. All together now: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Simon chimes in: "Or like a waterfall." Heh. We agree when Simon tells Anoop he's "like a singing yo-yo: one minute you're down, and then you're up. Last week was abysmal, this week it was very good." Simon then says Anoop doesn't have to apologize for reacting to what the judges say. "It is kind of two-way, this. We can be horrible to you, and you can be horrible back."
Watch video of Anoop Desai singing "True Colors," by Cyndi Lauper
The evening's train-wreck award goes to Scott MacIntyre, who decides to accompany himself on electric geetar (heh) for Survivor's "The Search Is Over" (1985). The screechy vocals are all over the place, sometimes on key, ofttimes off. And the twanging of the guitar over the ballad is annoying, distracting and enough to give one a headache. Ugh! Indeed, the search is over: We have found the week's worst contestant. Let's eliminate him. Kara's not sure it is the right song for Scott, telling him he had some good moments, but also off moments, with parts she likes and parts that were over-ambitious. Paula says she was surprised Scott picked electric guitar instead of acoustic. He answers: "It's my punk side coming out." Er, yeah, right. Paula works really hard to not say anything too negative, giving Scott kudos for leaving the comfort zone of the piano, telling him he's got a charming, infectious sense of humor (innoculate us against that infection) and very gently chiding him about some of the notes being screechy. Overall, she says, "bravo." Uh-huh. Simon says the song was horrible (Scott: "It wasn't that bad." Oh yes it was, snap), adding "I'm not criticizing you (oh yes you are), the song was atrocious and the geetar playing wasn't much better. The two, actually, didn't go together." Randy says the problem was that it was just all OK. It didn't show Scott as a star or one of the best undiscovered talents in America."Dude, I want you to leap off the stage vocally." Scott: "At least I'm versatile, though." Dude, you're not listening: OH, NO YOU'RE NOT. Snap, snap, snap! Tonight it's your true colors that are
Watch video of Scott MacIntrye singing "The Search Is Over," by Survivor
Allison Iraheta may not have the fan base but she certainly has the musical chops to make it to the Top 3. She never fails to disappoint. She does a bravura rendition of Bonnie Raitt's 1992 hit, "I Can't Make You Love Me." Oh yes you can, snap! It shows a gentler, emotional side to her normally rocked-out voice and we likee. Her control was amazing. The judges, who fortunately resist from commenting on her outfit this week, seem to agree. Paula says, "You just hear one note, and it's undeniably Allison. That's a gift that you can't put a price tag on." Abdul also loves that Allison added some tenderness to the gut-wrenching song. Simon thinks it was very good, but that she's got to be a bit more likable, saying that her personality isn't coming over. Unfortunately, he's right. Randy compares her to Kelly Clarkson, saying, "She could sing her face off, and so can you!" Yea! Kara says, "Let's go make a record man." We'll be first on line to buy it.
Watch video of Allison Iraheta singing "I Can't Make You Love Me," by Bonnie Raitt
Taking on Stevie Wonder is always a risk. Fortunately, Matt Giraud was up to it with his version of 1985's "Part Time Lover." Once again looking the part of the jazzman in his cool hat, Matt caressed the song with his fantastic falsetto adding some riffs and changing the arrangement a little here and there. The vocals weren't perfect, but overall it was a very good performance. Randy calls it vocally one of the best of the night (yep, he said it to others as well, heh). Kara says with expansive arm motions, "Incredible on every level. Unbelievable." Paula says (getting up), "Two words: Standing O," as Kara shrieks. Simon finishes with, "A million times better than last week. Well done." Why the quick, abrupt comments? At this point, the show had reached the end of its allotted 1 hour, 1 minute time slot. That's all those of you who were recording at home saw. Talk about sucking!
Watch video of Matt Giraud singing "Part Time Lover," by Stevie Wonder
Fortunately, for those who didn't see it, we have the video of Adam Lambert's latest amazing performance. It was one of his more subtle ones -- if you loved "Tracks of My Tears," you should love this as well. Lambert chose Tears for Fears' "Mad World" (1982,), but smartly chose the amazing arrangement done by Gary Jules. Drenched in blue light, the performance was poignant and haunting. The final falsetto note began a bit off, but Adam rescued it by the end. Amazing. How can anyone else conceivably win this competition? As the show was already 6 minutes over its slot, Simon was the only one to speak: "Adam, the bad news is we're running (running?) out of time, the good news is, I'm the only one who's going to be talking. And I think that words are unnecessary, but I want to (standing) give you a standing ovation." As the camera pulls back, the other judges are giving him a well-deserved standing O, as well.
Watch video of Adam Lambert singing "Mad World," by Tears for Fears
Our Top 3:
Our Bottom 3:
Should be eliminated: Scott MacIntyre
Will be eliminated: Anoop Desai (who will be saved by the judges)
Final note: Who the hell was the bald-headed guy the camera kept going to at the top of the show? Does anybody know?
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