Wednesday, March 30, 2011

American Idol Top 11 try to do Sir Elton John proud

First the good news (for the remaining 11 American Idol contestants): All 11 of them are going on the summer tour -- and pocketing a big chunk of change as a result. Now the bad news: instead of one contestant going home tomorrow, two will be. Though depending on who those two are, it could be welcome news for me (and millions or thousands of other frustrated American Idol viewers).

And while there are many -- and I mean many -- great Elton John songs to choose from*, including lots of ballads for Pia, Thia, and Stefano to warble, and last week's Songs of Motown theme went down waaaay better than feared, I do not have high hopes for Elton John night. (Were most of these kids even born when Sir Elton had his biggest success or are we going to be hearing a lot from The Lion King? How much y'all wanna bet that Thia Megia -- who I am so tempted to call Thingy Majiggy -- sings "Can You Feel the Love Tonight"?)

Wonder if Casey Abrams will sing "I'm Still Standing"... (though I think "Honky Cat" is a better choice vocally)

ANYWAY, on with the show.

Scotty McCreery singing (big suprise! not!) "Country Comfort": Okay, I didn't realize Elton John actually released a country song. So this should be a no-brainer for Scotty. Though it would have been fun to see him wearing a pair of big glasses with sequins and a feather boa -- and high-heeled cowboy boots (for Steven Tyler). [Listening.] So... what can I say? ("It's Alfred E. Newman!" said the spouse.) Another solid if not awe-inspiring performance from Mr. Country Music. We give Scotty McCreery an A-.

Naima Adedapo singing "I'm Still Standing," as a reggae song: (She was my second choice for singing "I'm Still Standing," though it will be ironic if she goes home tomorrow. And the way Jimmy Iovine set that up it doesn't sound like he has a whole lot of confidence in Naima.) So... I like it. Who knew Elton John was like "this" with Bob Marley? (Though they probably knew each other.) Seriously, I would download this song. "It's the best thing she's done," said the spouse. Yup. Even J-THREE-O dug it. WHA?! What you talkin' 'bout Jennifer Lopez? Randy mon? You too? That was NOT corny. Guess J. Lo and the Dawg want Naima gone. Hm. Our grade for Naima Adedapo: A-

Paul McDonald singing "Rocket Man": Dude, lose the jacket -- and the pants. And... is Paul high? (Probably not but he sounds like he's on something.) Don't know about all of you, but this rocket misfired. Did it crash and burn? Eh, wasn't that bad but it totally didn't work for me. It was... listless. No spark. That jacket has way more flash than that performance had. Time to send Paul home. Our grade for Paul McDonald: B-

Pia Toscano singing "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me": Oh goody, another ballad from Pia! (Shoot me.) And I totally don't believe she's going to "get us moving" next week. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Pia can sing -- and fill out a dress nicely. But I am so BORED. All of her performances sound the same -- and to me lack real emotion. (But the spouse really liked it.) Clearly guys love her, people without penises, not as much. Our grade for Pia Toscano: A for singing (and styling), B for boring (from me and J-THREE-O). Hope she does shake things up next week. (Btw, you could level the same criticism at Scotty.)

Stefano "Hey, Doesn't He Kinda Look Like Tony Danza?" Langone singing "Tiny Dancer": OMG, is Stefano wearing a Rasta cap?! Also, is that a death sentence Jimmy Iovine has just pronounced on the Italian stallion? (Do I see a horse's head in Stefano's future -- or bed?) More importantly, when can I get off this cruise ship? I'm starting to get a little sea sick. You had a busy day today, Stefano. But will the Tiny Dancer live to see another week? Maybe. Our grade for Stefano "Long Gone" Langone: B [H/T to friend of the blog VB for the Tony Danza ID.]

Lauren Alaina singing "Candle in the Wind": I know this sounds (is) catty but could American Idol please flip for Louis Licari to fly out and properly color Lauren's hair? She's a very attractive girl, but she needs a professional to cover those brown roots properly. (She also could stand to lose 15-20 pounds.) That said, the girl can sing. It was a beautiful, "sensitive" performance. [And a great comedic performance by Steven Tyler.] And I'm really liking Lauren again. Our grade for Lauren Alaina: A

James Durbin singing "Saturday Night's Alright (for Fighting)": Faint praise (?) again from Jimmy Iovine. Doesn't bode well.... Hmm... why does this performance remind me of the Bay City Rollers, and not in a good way? (And yes, I know it's not the same Saturday song, people.) "His singing is just not that good," said the spouse. And, uh, what's the deal with the flaming piano? Is that to distract us from James's mediocre singing (and big ears)? Can't believe the judges loved it. It was off-key and derivative -- definitely not a great singing performance. Not big James fans. Our grade for James Durbin: C

Thia Megia singing "Daniel": SIGH. I've had it with this chick. She will no doubt be safe, but I want her gone. Again, she can sing, but enough with the plodding ballads. The girl is 16. Stop acting like you're 66. Heck, I know 66 year olds who act younger than Thia. To her credit, this is her best ballad to date -- no doubt because she can relate to the lyrics. But OMG could it be any slower?! I've heard faster funeral dirges. Actually, the way Thia's singing "Daniel," it sounds like a funeral dirge. And, oh God, are those TEARS?! No way is J. Lo going to be able to say anything negative now. Though bravo to Randy for keeping it real, dawgs. And Steven Tyler may have nailed it when he said she sang a great song well (as in not great). Our grade for Thia Megia: B (for Boring)

Casey Abrams (who is dating Haley Reinhart and didn't shave off his beard and mustache) singing not "Honky Cat" (boo) but "Your Song": BAD SONG CHOICE, especially after he was almost eliminated last week. Proof that lust makes men stupid. (Btw, that funny feeling inside? It's ulcerative colitis, which Casey suffers from.) Like Casey, didn't like that performance. But he's probably safe after the big save. Our grade for Casey Abrams: A-/B+ (I was underwhelmed but the spouse liked it. Put the kid to sleep though.)

Jacob Lusk singing "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word": It also seems to be the hardest word for the judges to utter, along with "that sucked." Well, so much for not over-dramatizing.... [The dry ice machines are working overtime.] It's sad. So sad. It's a sad sad situation when a contestant sounds like he's performing in a cruise ship lounge. What have you got to do to make me love you, Jacob? Cut the cheese and just sing the damn song. Not a good song choice (though great blog fodder). I don't care what Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez say: Hated it. Our grade for Jacob Lusk: B-

Haley Reinhart singing "Bennie and the Jets": Not liking this arrangement. At all. And this was one of my favorite Elton John-Bernie Taupin songs -- until tonight. Another bad song choice. SIGH. Too screechy. And I have NO idea what Jennifer Lopez or Randy Jackson are talking about. WHA?! Our grade for Haley Reinhart: B

Personally, I thought Motown night was waaaaay better.

Can't wait for Idol to go down to one hour.

Will add who got voted off tomorrow night. J-TWO-O out.

*Not that you asked or care but my favorite Elton John songs are (in no particular order) "Crocodile Rock," "Bennie and the Jets," "The Bitch Is Back," "Daniel" (one of the very few ballads I like -- of any artist -- though now I think I hate it), "Honky Cat," "I'm Still Standing," "Island Girl," and "Take Me to the Pilot."

UPDATE 1: VB informs me that she didn't mean Stefano Langone looks like Tony Danza (though he does) but that "Tiny Dancer" sounds like "Tony Danza," as in "Hold me closer, Tony Danza." Oooooh. Also, I meant to add that I still think the Top 3 will be Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery, and Pia Toscano.

UPDATE 2: Say goodbye to Thia and Naima. (Next to go: either Paul or Stefano.)


Ekai said...

I pretty much agree with most of the criticism. However, Lauren was amazing and I understand the whole "Hollywood Image", but the fact that she is a thick girl makes her even more appealing. Most of us are tired of the same stick singing the same crap with the same voice. She is a total refresher. LOVE HER!

Dave S. said...

"Tiny Dancer" is in fact one of those rare instances in which the misunderstood lyric is actually correct. The name of the song really is "Tony Danza" and was inspired by Elton John's visit to the set of Taxi.

EJ's repertoire is the most uneven among major singer/songwriters in terms of graceful aging. Some of his stuff is immortal ("Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding") whereas some should be secured by the CDC (sorry J, "Crocodile Rock" is exhibit A here). My personal favorite is "Empty Garden," a lovely tribute to the late John Lennon which EJ has had the good taste not to rework into a tribute to another dead person. Ahem.

Meanwhile, the reference to "thick girl" in Ekai's comment immediately stuck a Hall and Oates song in my head. You're welcome.

Dave S. said...

Sorry, one final point. Nobody does "Rocket Man" like Shatner. As I did not make it through the entire YouTube, I leve it up to the reader to hunt that one down.

J. said...

@Dave S., ask and ye shall receive... Here is William Shatner doing his recitation of Bernie Taupin's "Rocket Man."

@Ekai, I think Lauren is great too! And I'm glad she's got some flesh on her. But she needs to be in better shape for the marathon that is American Idol -- and a successful music career.

Madam Toussaint said...

I'm late! Here's my exhaustive list of comments lol.

Naima Adedapo- Yeah I think they wanted her gone too but she had this weird things about doing too much at once. She refused to stand there and sing. Notice they told Pia to switch it up but no such commentary for Naima? The fix was in, but to me she tried to put too many things together at once. Her vocals were better than they have been though…

Paul McDonald- LOL is he high? His rocket misfired! Aww lol. Yeah, he has to retire that outfit man. Listless is the word. Exactly.

Pia Toscano- She's sticking it to the judges! Good point about Scotty.

Stefano Langone- Why, why, why is he still here? Lol at Tony Danza

Lauren Alaina- Aww I don't mind her hair, or her weight. If she wins they'll make her do the Jordan what's her name thing and drop the weight. I did like this performance for her…Steven's too!

James Durbin- This was super boring to me.

This Megia- I think she just has a way of slowing everything down, doesn't matter what she sings. She's like a crooner, and drags the notes. Lol it was a bit funerary wasn't it?

Casey Abrams- I'm glad he simmered down for this and didn't completely change his appliance. The last thing he needs is to not feel like himself while competing. I heard about an Idol romance but didn't know it was him.

Jacob Lusk- Hated this!! Great blog fodder lol. Steven and JLo can't say negative things, they just can't. It helps no one. This season sucks.

Haley Reinhart- Damnit all if she doesn't sing everything with such a heavy hand. This was a good choice though and more fun to watch based on the song than the others.

Yeah Motown night was way better and yes it is still way too long. One hour is what this deserves.

Hold me closer Tony Danza? I love that!!