Wednesday, April 6, 2011

American Idol Top 9 Rock On

Everybody's talkin' 'bout the new sound
Funny, but it's still rock 'n' roll to me.

--Billy Joel

Once again, the producers of American Idol are forcing contestants to reach back to a time before they were born (or at least before they came of age musically) by choosing a song sung by a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So, in other words, you can expect Lauren Alaina and James Durbin to rock it out. Scotty McCreery to find a country tune. Pia Toscano to sing another ballad. And do we really care about the rest? (Yes, yes, they all can sing, but does anyone really think Jacob Lusk, Paul McDonald, Casey Abrams, Stefano Langone, or Haley Reinhart is the next American Idol? And friends and family members don't count.)

Personally, I'm hoping Steven Tyler sings "Walk This Way" with Lauren Alaina (much as he did with Carrie Underwood at the CMAs this Sunday).

Will tonight be a revelation (à la Motown night) or just a bad regurgitation of rock 'n' roll oldies (à la Elton John night)? (Two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer guitarist Jeff Beck already bowed out of tonight's American Idol, which cannot be a good sign, though it was supposedly due to scheduling. Uh-huh.) We are about to find out.

First up...

Jacob Lusk singing "Man in the Mirror": Dang, I was psyched to hear him sing "Let's Get It On." "Main in the Mirror"? Not so much. Yawn. [Listening -- and trying not to focus on the blindingly white outfit Jacob's wearing.] So far... pitchy. Very karaoke or Up with People -- the Love Boat Edition. ("Cheese," says the husband.) Well, this is one case where I wish he hadn't made a change for once in his life. Not to repeat myself but... to repeat myself, that was just alright for me, dawgs. It was predictable, safe, and boring. Yeah, the dude can sing, but that performance did NOTHING for me. At best it was lukewarm, Randy, not hot. Our grade for Jacob Lusk: a B, for Boring.

Haley Reinhart singing Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart": A good song choice for Haley, but I'm just not feeling the love -- or the connection. I think I'd like it better if I was just listening to her not watching her. But that said one of Haley's better performances -- and no way could I perform in those stilettos. Our grade for Haley Reinhart: B+

Casey Abrams singing "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?": Personally, I have seen enough rain. But I'm willing to give Casey and his bass a space under my umbrella. (Seriously, what instrument hasn't Casey played? When's he breaking out the kazoo and the ukulele?) Not my favorite Casey performance, but I liked it -- and DING! DING! DING! it took only six seconds for Randy to mention he also played bass. Our grade for the man with the stand-up bass (aka Casey Abrams): A-

Lauren Alaina singing "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman": Anyone else think Lauren totally looks like Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Gos tonight? Anyone? Anyone skeeved out by Steven Tyler's creepy "natural woman" comment? Anyone? And anyone going "Aretha Franklin?! '(You make me feel like) A Natural Woman' is a Carole King song!" What else can I say? It was a good, albeit predictable, performance from Lauren -- and she will totally be safe no matter what I write. Our grade for Lauren Alaina: B+

James Durbin singing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps": The question is, Will I be weeping? [Listening -- while spouse and daughter hug it out next to me.] Where's my lighter? [Swaying with arms over head.] I like that James changed it up; the scream? Not so much. Did we really need that, James? Really? SIGH. Still, a good performance, though the spouse (the guitar player and erstwhile rocker) just stated "bad song choice." Our grade for James Durbin: B- from J-THREE-O and the spouse; I give it a B/B+

Scotty McCreery singing "That's All Right Mama": Finally, some Elvis ! Kind of a cheesy performance but OMG the VOICE! [Swoon] Seriously, listen back to Scotty's performance tomorrow without looking at him hamming it up and tell me he does not fit right into the Million Dollar Quartet. Scotty McCreery for the win! (I am starting to feel like the female Steven Tyler, though I have no designs on the young Mr. McCreery.) Our grade for Scotty McCreery: A

Pia Toscano singing "River Deep, Mountain High": Never pictured Pia as Tina Turner but am willing to suspend my disbelief -- for three minutes. [Is it just me or does Pia kinda look like a brunette Gwen Stefani?] Pia can sing, but I'm just feeling that Tina Turner energy that this song requires. It's almost like she's just going through the motions, but as the spouse just said "She's got some pipes." [What Jennifer Lopez meant was "We know you can sing, Pia, but you really need to connect more with what you are singing and play to the audience more."] Our grade for Pia Toscano: A/A-

Stefano Langone singing "When a Man Loves a Woman": No. Just no. N-O, Tony Danza. Time for this lounge act to end. Waiter! Check please. Sorry, Stefano fans. Again, the guy can sing, but there are a million guys out there -- performing at bar mitvahs, weddings, and on cruise ships -- who sing just as well. And J-THREE-O is really bored (and played solitaire the whole song). Yeah, it may have been his best performance to date, but like Randy, I was not jumping up and down (or moving at all). Our grade for Stefano Langone: B/B-

And finally...

Paul McDonald singing "Folsom Prison Blues": Bad. Song. Choice. Nobody messes with Johnny Cash. Nobody. The only plus: We got rid of that red-and-white floral jacket (and the matching pants). "I can't believe he's lasted this long," just commented the spouse. Neither can I, honey, and I liked Paul's voice. Though this is one of his better performances. What? Rod Stewart's not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Paul? (For the record, he was inducted in 1994.) "Should have done Maggie May." Yup. Our grade for Paul McDonald: C/C+

That's it for me, rock 'n' rollers. As per usual will update the post tomorrow. J-TWO-O out.

UPDATE: I am officially DONE with American Idol. Pia Toscano is going home and the likes of Stefano, Paul, and Jacob are SAFE?! I blame this entirely on the judges. That's what happens when you tell everyone he's a star. Bet they're sorry they used the save on Casey Abrams. Well, no more American Idol blogging for me -- and not so sure I'm going to be watching. Hope the producers are happy now.


Anonymous said...

Stephano is going home

First note-croak
Ill fitting vest
Is that soul patch or a left over cookie under his bottom lip?
Last note-croak

The others had ups and downs but nothing this bad.

Dave S. said...

Agreed that nobody touches Johnny Cash, with the sole exception of Social Distortion's scorchin' cover of "Ring of Fire."

Madam Toussaint said...

Jacob Lusk- I thought his challenge to America was so uncalled for. "If I lose it's your fault cause you can't handle this song" <--paraphrase lol

Haley Reinhart- I'm not digging the constant gravely voice thing. Seems like she's just doing whatever the judges want now.

Casey Abrams- LOL you have seen the rain! It was a cool performance. They gave him a great set for it too.

Lauren Alaina- What a totally UNNATURAL appearance Gwen Stefani gave Lauren to sing "Natural Woman" in! That and her age worked against her but she sold it.

James Durbin singing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"- I liked this one. He conveyed emotion. I loved that he said he was working on it for years and this was how he was feeling now.

Scotty McCreery- Yeah, he is getting cheesy but I loved this one!

Pia Toscano- Maybe too far out her comfort zone?

Stefano Langone - I. Want. Him. Gone. lol

Paul McDonald- I actually really liked this performance. hard to hear him at times but good energy. "Maggie May" would've been better though, yeah.

Pia going home was a bit of a shocker though. Bet Casey feels bad...