Wednesday, March 23, 2011

American Idol Top 11: Motown = Mo of the same? (UPDATED)

What happened to American Idol taking a fresh new approach in Season 10, shaking things up a bit? Cause except for a couple of new judges (Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez), I'm seeing and hearing same old, same old. And now we get yet another tired American Idol theme night, the songs of Motown.

I've got nothing against the songs and sounds of Motown, but been there done that -- multiple times. Guess American Idol sponsor Ford thought it would be good for business.

Anyway, on with the show....

[Judges aside: What is with J. Lo's ballerina outfit and the light-blue eye shadow and over-rouging? I love J. Lo and think she's fierce, but... she's not 19 anymore.]

Casey Abrams singing "I Heard It through the Grapevine": Good song choice for Casey. The boy's got soul. I heard it through the grapevine that Casey's making it into the Top 10. My grade for the pinstripe-suit-wearing Mr. Abrams: A. (I agree with Steven Tyler: Casey Abrams is a [great] entertainer. But then again so was Taylor Hicks. The big question: What kind of album would Casey make, and would it sell? That said, he's got my vote.)

Thia Megia singing "Heat Wave": Finally, something up tempo (in theory). So listen, I know the girl can sing -- and this is definitely a better choice for Thia, but... she still doesn't sound like a 16-year-old, and she kinda turned it into a ballad. I have a feeling the judges will love it, but it was just all right for me, dawg. ("Let loose"?! Really? Yikes. Though J. Lo was dead on with the acting/connecting to the lyrics comment. Good call. And I agree with Randy Jackson that she kicked it up a notch tonight, though still has more to do.) My grade for Thia Megia: B+

Jacob Lusk singing "You're All I Need to Get By": Another good song choice (in theory). But... toooo sloooow. Don't know bout y'all but I like me some fireworks. Again, Jacob has a beautiful voice and has good stage presence but it seems like he's holding back (and that jacket is doing him no favors. Get me wardrobe -- stat!). Jacob will definitely make it into the Top 10, but it was not an OMG performance. Sorry Randy. My grade for Jacob Lusk: A-

Lauren Alaina singing "You Keep Me Hanging On": So is Lauren a little diva? Is American Idol creating a monster? Hmm... But getting back to Lauren's performance, she sounds as though she's still not feeling 100 percent. Again, the girl's got mad vocals, and a big personality, but she seems a bit subdued tonight (though props to her stylist and makeup artist). Our grade for Lauren Alaina (cause the spouse is in the house): A-/B+. She can do better, though she'll totally make it into the Top 10.

Stefano Langone singing "Hello": Goodbye. I HATE "Hello." Actually hate is not a strong enough word. Hearing "Hello" makes me want to cut myself or curl up in a ball. So the fact I am actually listening to this is a supreme act of selflessness. No, Stefano, it is not you I am looking for. And I don't really think you love me. But I know of a couple of cruise ships that are hiring. You want to win my heart? Promise me you will never ever sing a Lionel Richie song again. EVER. Sigh. Made it. Based on the song choice alone, I would give Stefano an F, but based on vocals, and the spouse, we give Stefano Langone's performance a B-. (Jennifer Lopez may be right, though not in the way she meant: after tonight's performance Stefano may be flying off the stage... home.)

Haley Reinhart singing "You Really Got a Hold on Me": Okay, she's got a hold on me. And got some good advice and direction from Jimmy Iovine. Good performance. Really like her voice, and she's definitely connecting better, but she's just not exciting the spouse (a former musician), which doesn't bode well. The problem for Haley is still: Who is she? What kind of artist does she want to be? She sang the song very well, but that's not enough to win it. She should be safe this week. My grade for Haley Reinhart: B+/A-

Scotty McCreery singing "For Once in My Life": Beware the lounge singer (aka the Curse of Simon Cowell)! Love Scotty, but I suddenly feel like I'm watching an episode of Hee Haw or an old episode of Live from the Grand Ole Opry. YES, Steven Tyler, that totally sounded like Glen Campbell, but not in a good way. I agree, it wasn't Scotty's best performance, but he should be safe (fingers crossed). Our grade Scotty McCreery: B ("It was cheesy," said the spouse.)

Pia Toscano singing "All in Love Is Fair": Don't know it, but that may not mean anything. Sounds like Jimmy Iovine has already decided she's a winner (if not the winner). And that outfit is definitely going to win Pia some votes. But... I'm bored. Yawn. Yeah, yeah, yeah, she too has mad vocals (to quote Randy Jackson, "the girl can sing!"), but that performance left me flat. Please, Pia, could you sing something up tempo? Please? Enough with the ballads. Like J. Lo, I need more. Our grade for Pia Toscano: B/B+. Again, she's safe, but she needs to switch it up.

Paul McDonald singing "Tracks of My Tears": Heck, everything makes Paul jump around the stage. And it sounds like Jimmy Iovine is a big Paul fan. Interesting. Like Paul's voice, and glad he's feeling better this week, but he's just not wowing me with this performance. I think it was the wrong song choice. And his pawing at the stage like a horse is disconcerting. (Hate to break it to you, Paul, but you're not the life of this party, at least not tonight.) Our grade for Paul McDonald: B

Naima Adedapo singing "Dancing in the Street": Finally, another up tempo song. Yay! ("Not expecting good things from her," says the spouse, the killjoy.) And I'm lovin' her outfit and look. You go, girl. A little too slow, but at least it's not pitchy! I will say this for Naima, she definitely owns the stage and always looks likes she's having fun. Just wish she'd focus a bit more on her singing. Still, not bad, dawg, not bad. We give Naima Adedapo a B (a compromise between my B+ and the spouse's B-, who keeps saying "she's just not that good" and "this is why you need Simon Cowell").

James Durbin singing "Living for the City": Sorry, can't get past James Durbin as Adam Lambert Lite. Yes, he can sing, but whenever I see and hear him I am instantly reminded of Adam, who I thought was way more original. Good performance, but I just don't see a "wow" factor, though I'm not a 16-year-old girl (or Jennifer Lopez). To once again quote (the old) Randy Jackson, it was just all right for me, dawg. But James is totally in the Top 10. Our grade for James Durbin: B+

All right, Idol fans, that's it for me tonight. Will be back tomorrow to add who got voted off.

J-TWO-O out.

UPDATED 3/24/11: Wow. Wow. Wow. I cannot believe Casey Abrams was in the bottom three -- and that America chose Stefano Langone over him. WTF America?! Hurray for the judges' save. Note to self: Vote for Casey next week. Just when you think American Idol cannot surprise...


Anonymous said...

i think that James tones it down enough to actually make it. Adam is a bit too camp.and.not enough rocker.

Madam Toussaint said...

You're right about Thia Megia. I don't think she knows what type of record she would make, that's where she seems young to me.

That jacket was holding Jacob Lusk back hahaha.

Totally agree about Lauren Alaina.

Stefano Langone- I hated "Hello" too. Too slow…

Haley Reinhart- Idk what kind of artist she would be either. A bit too much over singing for me though.

Scotty McCreery- I didn't think it was THAT cheesy haha. I liked that he kept it country but he runs the risk sounding too old timey…and cruise shippy lol

Pia Toscano- another good safe choice and the judges advice as super predictable!

Paul McDonald- "Pawing at the stage like a horse" That's the comparison I was looking for for Paul. I like him a lot and man are his teeth super white but he hasn't been having good enough performances.

Naima Adedapo- The look was great but I was so worried for her. Sometimes she does way too much.

James Durbin- Yeah, Adam was way more original. He had more references to call on like Broadway. He really brought the drama that Adam.

I was surprised by the Casey save! He handled it so well AND he's on tour. That guy already has people voting for him next week right now. The show would've been boring otherwise and I don't know why Stefano keeps getting the pass! Did you hear what Chef Gordon Ramsey said about Stefano's Mom's pasta? Foul!

J. said...

@Madam Toussaint, I missed the part about the Top 11 going on the Tour. Wow. Big night for Idol. Wonder how they're going to top it.

@Anonymous, Adam's doing pretty well for himself (or so it seems), and James will probably do OK too, though I don't see him becoming a superstar.