American Idol Top 8 Performance

It’s Movie Night (excuse me, “Songs From the Cinema” Night) on American Idol. And it’s now official – will.i.am is never going to leave.

We begin with a reminder that ANYONE CAN BE VOTED OUT by showing us what happened to Pia.

And then Ryan tells us that Jennifer Lopez has been named People‘s World’s Most Beautiful Woman, and then plays “The Most Beautiful Girl in World” while showing Marc Anthony looking proud.

First up is Paul, in another nudie suit. This one is black. And he’s singing “Old Time Rock and Roll”, but he’s not sliding out in his underwear, thank you. I am warming up to this guy. He still has no power, but he’s picking songs that suit his voice (and Paul, I think, has at least some say in the songs he picks) and he’s dorky-funny on stage. Also, I’m a sucker for voice/instrument duets, and he has one with a saxophone that makes me smile. Even his tambourine, cheesy though it is, is fun for me. The judges, being useless, love him to death.

Next is Lauren, and she is also singing the right song – Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.” Jimmy and Will tell her she sings it better than Miley does. This is true, but not exactly news. Lauren is a terrific singer, and Miley isn’t. I’m also excited because it’s an age-appropriate song right in Lauren’s wheelhouse and she should kill it. And she does – and looks very pretty in an equally appropriate dress and cowboy boots. Judges? Useless.

Stefano – oh, dear. He’s singing”End of the Road” by Boys II Men and NEVER sing songs that reference leaving. Just, don’t. Especially when you really haven’t progressed beyond the wedding singer/lounge act you were meant to be.

Scotty changes his song. He was going to sing “Everybody’s Talkin'” but his mentoring session with Jimmy and Will makes changes his mind, and he’s singing George Strait’s “Cross My Heart.” And he’s Scotty, so he sings like a forty-year-old man, and he does beautifully and holds his mic oddly, and it’s just like all his other performances. Scotty will never change because he doesn’t have to change. This may or may not be a problem down the line.

Casey and his upright bass are going to sing “Nature Boy.” Oh, but Jimmy and Will want him to sing Phil Collin’s “In the Air Tonight” because they think he really IS 35 or something. Casey sticks to his guns,though, and gives us a jazzy, different performance. Couple of flat notes here and there, but it’s a pleasure to hear something DIFFERENT, and the boy can play that bass. I enjoyed it for what it was. He did give angry face a couple of times, which makes me think he can’t help it.

Haley has decided to be Blondie this week, singing “Call Me!” while dressed like a hooker in a minidress and thigh high boots. Steven, by the way, appreciates that. Yeah, the judges are still there but I’m ignoring them because they’re useless. Like Jimmy and Will, actually. I’m still a fan and the vocals do work for me, but that growl is getting old.

Jacob is singing one of my favorite songs, “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” That’s a song that can be given a gospel reading – Simon and Garfunkel did bring some of that into it, but it also has very powerful lyrics that can get lost with oversinging, and that’s what Jacob does, again. Also lost is the delicate piano arrangement. I do think vocals should take front and center, but it’s bad to drown out the accompaniment. When Jacob shows real restraint, he shows his actual lovely voice plus his acrobatics shine more.

Speaking of vocal acrobatics, James has the pimp spot, and he has to fight to sing heavy metal because that’s NEVER been done on Idol before. Except when he sang Judas Priest. (And I mean literally heavy metal -“Heavy Metal” by Sammy Haggar.) He stands by his song choice despite Jimmy and Will. And not only is this not really a problem, Idol brings in Zakk Wylde to play guitar for him. And here we see the intrinsic problem with metal. James has the voice for it, and clearly loves it BUT metal is not vocal driven. The singer is part of the whole experience, not the main thing. The guitars – those are the main thing. And thus there is a guitar solo – an AMAZING guitar solo – eating up part of the time James is supposed to be singing his a$$ off. Jacob overwhelmed his instrumentation, James was overwhelmed by his, and Paul had a nice balance.

The narrative this week was interesting – three of the men had to fight for the song they wanted to sing. They’re showing the Idols making their own choices, but having to fight for it means something is off.

So. Bottom three – and I can’t be embarrassed I got things wrong last week because the entire universe did. Except for someone on my Twitter feed who needs to be very proud of herself right now.

Anyway, Haley, Stefano and Jacob or Paul are bottom 3 and Stefano is 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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