American Idol Top 12 Performance Night

And it’s Wednesday again. Time for Idols to sing live. And Ryan actually does say “Live” several times this episode, and Ryan would NEVER lie to us.

I believe.

Tonight, the profits from iTunes goes to the American Red Cross to help Japan. It’s a good cause. You could also donate directly to them or to the relief agency of your own choice, but I know people don’t always have that option. If what you have is your iTunes gift card, then this is the way to go. Tomorrow, they’ll give another number for more giving. This is a good thing.

Tonight’s theme is songs from the years they were born. My twitter feed is feeling old tonight because there are Idols much younger than they are. I feel amused because they’ve always been younger than I am.

Anyway, this should be a wide open theme, since presumably they could pick from any genre, but you know they can only use songs from a cleared list or which were clearable. So it could be hundreds but it’s probably twenty.

Naima starts us off by singing Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It”, and she was off-key, and I found the performance dragging. She’s not diva enough, I think. Randy and Jennifer agree that it was off-key but Steven, who is basically a marshmallow, thinks she’s amazing.

Paul, who was advised to sing with the full voice he doesn’t have, and who is also suffering from a cold, sings Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues.” His whispery voice was never right for Elton, but it’s worse now. Not a pleasant experience. Jennifer thought that he had star quality because he sang with a cold. Um, what else was he going to do? Forfeit? If (God forbid) Casey is hospitalized again and misses a performance show, he’s going home. Randy says Paul was “pitchy”, and Steven calls him a cool dude in a loose mood. I love Steven. I do.

Thia, who should be a Disney princess, sings “Colors of the Wind” via Vanessa Williams. Since she’s also a pageant girl, it all fits perfectly. And she’s very pretty with a lovely voice, but it just doesn’t work for me. Randy thought her vocals were okay but she’s very pageanty and he’s bored with the ballads. Steven asks if the song was who she thinks she is? She’s fifteen. She has no idea yet. She thinks it suited with the current world events. Oh, Thia Jennifer thinks her vibrato needs work and she needs to get out of her box.

James. I so wish I could be objective about James, but I can’t really trust myself. He has his scarf back. He’s singing Bon Jovi’s “I’ll Be There For You”, and it’s a shame for a Jersey girl to admit this, but I don’t know that song well. He’s very strained, though, and flat. He goes for his high notes and they don’t work. James was GOOD last week and the week before, much as it pained me to admit it, but not this week. The judges all think he was amazing and great and wonderful.

Haley I can be objective about. Singing “I’m Your Baby Tonight”, by Whitney Huston. And Haley is no diva, although I like the jazzy note in her voice. This performance? Thoroughly meh, so far as I’m concerned. There was a cute moment as Ryan fixes her make-up, but Randy tries to make it look gay. I do not miss the gay banter. At all. Jennifer said she was beautiful. Uh-oh. Randy said she needs to know who she is. Steven wanted to hear her be more Janis Joplin. I think she’s bottom 2.

I want Stefano to bring it. He sings “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”, by Howard Melvin and the Blue Notes. And he does a creditable job. The last high note hurt a little, but that’s about it. Randy said it was the best of the night, Steven praised his phrasing and Jennifer said it was crazy and over the top, but he should keep his eyes open.

Pia needs to be good. And she is. She’s singing “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” – another Whitney song. She can handle it, I think. At least, it’s not painful. Steven says “This is why it’s called American Idol.” Okaaaaay. Jennifer is happy she sang up-tempo, while Randy thinks her vocals are amazing, and that she wants to win this.

Scotty and his big, deep voice is singing Travis Tritt’s “Can I Trust You With My Heart?” I don’t know country, but he sings pretty. He is still doing the smirk and lean, though. Jennifer thinks he’s growing (yes, he’s 17. He’ll be taller before the show ends.) Randy name drops and then says it’s good he’s staying in his lane. Steven thinks he’s going places. Steven is right.

Karen is channeling Judy Jetson, and she says she’s not going to just be the girl who sings Spanish. She’s going to do “Love Will Lead You Back” by Taylor Dayne. I barely recognized it when she sang it, and then – she lied to us! She sang a verse in Spanish! Randy said it was better than last week, Steven loved her “ethnic what itisness” and Jennifer advised her to not sing notes she can’t sing. I don’t understand anything anymore.

Casey is singing Nirvana, and he’s doing it with an electric bass. No one else used instruments. And how did they get permission for “Smells Like Teen Spirit”? Well, he sang it growly and angry and I kinda liked it. Steven says, and I quote, “you’re crazy and talented – the goop that great stuff is made from.” Jennifer says it was a risk and he got screamy/screechy and it wasn’t pleasant. Neither is the original, Ms. Lopez. Randy loved the risk and that he was fearless, even if it wasn’t his best. He also compared him to groups like Radiohead and Muse. Note – Matt Bellamy was in the audience.

Lauren has the flu. She’s singing Melissa Etheridge’s “You Think That I’m the Only One.” I wonder if she knows it’s to a woman. She sold it, I thought, with decent energy. Lauren annoys me, but can’t fault her singing. Jennifer liked that she gave the song a country flavor to make it her own, Randy said it was very nice and she should be sick every week. Steven agreed with Randy. Nice, boys.

Jacob has the pimp spot and I pray he doesn’t oversing. He’s doing Heart’s “Alone” and I applaud his bravery, but he DOES oversing it. Badly. I want to hear his lovely voice under control. I really do. This wasn’t the night for it. Randy notes that it’s not his normal box and also that he went back and forth with his control. He liked it best when he went tender. Steven said Jacob’s (tone-deaf) mama gave him moxie, and Jennifer liked that he gives his all for every performance.

Once again, Randy is surprising me. And either Karen or Haley are going home.

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About mamadeb

I'm a devoted fan of Adam Lambert, but also of cooking, knitting, science fiction and pretty anything pop culture. I'm @_mamadeb on Twitter.
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