It finally happened. I found myself missing Simon Cowell tonight.
When the panel praised the 1st two mediocre and very karaoke-like performances from Clint Jamboa and Jovany Barreto, I was thinking we could REALLY use a few comparisons to cruise ship singers right about then.
New judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler could have been tougher on a few of these contestants. I found myself agreeing most of the night with–horrors–Randy Jackson! “That was beautiful” is going to become the new “dawg”. Steven, you’ve got fill your critiques with comments that are a little more…substantial? I’ll give the newbies a few more weeks.
The talent tonight was entertaining! What was really weird? Contestants like Jacob Lusk and James Durbin who I’ve ragged on consistently impressed me, while others that I praised–Casey Abrams, for instance–lost a bit of their luster.
Looking forward to the girls tomorrow. I want a girl to win this year!
The American Idol 10 semi-finals begin. It’s going to be a short one–lasting only 1 week. The guys perform tonight, the girls tomorrow night and then Thursday, the Top 12/13 will be revealed! (10 picked by viewer vote, 2/3 via judges’ wildcards).
This week’s shows have already been filmed. After the jump, the song selections are in performance order. I’ll fill in my thoughts as the show progresses. And of course, post your thoughts in comments!
Also, here’s a Live Feed for you international/west coast fans HERE.
Live blog, Photos and Videos after the JUMP…
700 screaming fans surround the spiffy new stage. Still not revealing the number of wildcards.
Ryan introduces the judges. We’re finally going to see what they are made of. Well, sorta. Since it’s taped, there still could be some editing involved. Ryan just said fuck! It’s a little exercise in bleeping.
The guys are introduced.
Clint Jun Gamboa – Superstition by Stevie Wonder – This is a really LAME song choice. Sung so many times on Idol, I can barely listen to another version. He’s just OK. He’s moving around quite a bit, and it’s affecting his vocals. He hit a couple of nice high notes. But, I’m afraid his performance position is not going to help him here. “Beautiful..you started out strong, you ended strong. Brilliant,” says Steven “You got it out…you had a little bit of the jitters, but it didn’t affect the performance. Next time…I expect a lot,” says Jennifer. “I loved it too. There’s no karaoke singer in the world that has that kind of vocal talent,” says Randy. Oh, Randy, still with the idiotic hyperbole. Only Jennifer had anything approximating a constructive critique. C’mon guys, that performance was mediocre. – 1-866-436 5701 – VIDEO
Jovany Barreto – I’ll Be by Edwin McCain – Another boring-as-sh*t song. Jovany is handsome, pleasant, but nothing special. Would Simon call him a wedding singer? Ohh…watch out for the BIG CHEESY KEY CHANGE. Jennifer looks like she’s getting orgasmic. “You brought it again. Beautiful. I loved it.” “I’m happy right now. People got to see you for the first time. You did it.” “I hate to be the one to break up the apple cart. It felt very karaoke to me.” THANK YOU RANDY. “I disagree!” insists Jennifer. No Jennifer, Randy is RIGHT. That was very ordinary. – 1-866-436 5702 – VIDEO
Jordan Dorsey – OMG by Usher – Whoa. This is not a singer’s song. Steven looks really bored. Very monotone delivery, when Jordan’s not singing off-pitch. But there’s not much else to do with this song. Whoever suggested this song to Jordan was trying to bus him (Jordan told the judges the song was suggested to him, but that part was cut out). Buh Bye Jordan. “You had the moves, but it wasn’t my favorite performance of yours,” says Steven. “You know I love you. To me, I’m not sure that’s who you are as an artist,” says Jennifer. Jordan agrees. “If you’re going to sing anybody else’s song, you’ve got to bring something different to it. It was pitchy,” says Randy. “I’m not a jumpy kind of person” says Jordan. Oh boy. – 1-866-436 5703 – VIDEO
Tim Halperin – Streetcorner Symphony (Come On Over) (Rob Thomas) – Tim Halperin gets a sit down! “All those guys over there are like my brothers,” says Tim. Surrre. heh. Hm. His vocals should be mixed up a little louder. You can tell he’s performing in a way he’s not used to–working the stage and moving around. But his performance is solid. He’s got a nice tone. Not his best performance, though. He’s better behind the piano. “I’m not sure that song did you any justice. It really let you down,” says Steven. “I don’t think that’s your strength. It didn’t show America who you really are. You have one of the most beautiful voices,” says Jennifer. “I think you’ve been much better before, You didn’t bring anything different,” says Randy. C’mon, it wasn’t that bad. He was better than Clint and Jovany. – 1-866-436 5704 – VIDEO
Brett Loewenstern – Light My Fire – Doors – Pretty hair! I’m not sure I like this…Odd song choice. A big gamble. He gains some steam as the song progresses. Dude’s NOT a rock star. Not sure this song does his style justice, but he’s intriguing. He’s a funny little bird, that Brett. “You did it again. You brought it home,” says Steven. “There was more hair tossing than me and Beyonce in the last 10 years! I liked your performance,” says Jennifer. “There were 14 hair shakes. The vocals had some pitch problems in the beginning…you’re definitely fun and bold,” says Randy. – 1-866-436 5705 – VIDEO
James Durbin – You Got Another Thing Comin’ by Judas Priest – Hm. 80’s hair metal for the win? Well, this is something different for Idol, that’s for sure. He’s actually perfect in this style. I’m appreciating him for the very first time. James gets a standing ovation. “That was fucking crazy good! That’s the first Judas Preist song ever on this show. I love it that you’re over the top,” says Steven “James, I love the way you perform. It’s organic, it’s real. It comes from something inside. You do it so naturally. Crazy,” says Jennifer. “This is how you do it right there. This is how you do it!” says Randy. OMG he’s wearing…a tail? “You didn’t over do the high thing, you were nice and tasty with it,” Randy says. – 1-866-436 5706 – VIDEO
Robbie Rosen – Arms of an Angel by Sarah McLachlan – Robbie has some nice phrasing, a very pretty falsetto. But the vocal tricks can’t mask a general malaise…the performance is not very interesting. He needs to amp up the energy. “You can sing a ballad like nobody’s business. That was a beautiful thing,” says Steven. “Ive said this to you before. You tell a story. You feel every single word. You make choices that I loved better [than Sara’s],” says Jennifer. “I kind of differ. The notes were pitchy, you were never quite comfortable in this performance…it didn’t quite all connect,” says Randy. Wow. How is it that I’m agreeing mostly with Randy tonight? – 1-866-436 5707 – VIDEO
Scott McCreery – Letters From Home – John Michael Montgomery – Close my eyes and I’d swear I’m listening to a 40 year old. It’s a little creepy. Scotty seems comfortable up there, he inhabits the song well, not as if he has no idea what he’s singing. I’m just not sure he’s going to be very versatile down the line. In the end, it may not matter. “Scotty you’re going to be getting a lot of letters from home soon. That was so beautiful.” “You are born to sing country music.” “Loved that you switched it up. You’re a throw back country guy. You love country. I love the lowness in your voice. – 1-866-436 5708 – VIDEO
Stefano Langone – Just The Way You Are – (Bruno Mars) – Good song pick for Stefano. Fits his style well. He’s not changing it up much, so the comparisons to the original are going to be inevitable. Hm. Those last few notes sounded a little sharp to me. Props for trying to change up the end, though. “I like the way your voice cut through the air in the room. You are so good,” says Steven. “You’re so consistent. There’s nothing awkward about you up there. You’re a beast up there,” says Jennifer. “That’s how you do it,” says Randy. Stefano knows he went sharp! And, “This kid could be on the radio right now.” He does have a unique tone. “That song was for all the ladies out there.” says Stefano. – 1-866-436 5709 – VIDEO
Paul McDonald – Maggie Mae by Rod Stewart – Dude is REALLY comfortable up there, even without his guitar. Really awesome, unique tone. This is an old song, but it really reveals all the good things about his soulful gravelly voice. “There it is. It’s all about the jacket! You got a real character about your voice. I love that chacter in you.” “You have real character in the way you move to. You smile lights up the whole place. You bring joy to the world.” “One of the things I love about you…you were so unique and differnt. I’m glad that Idol can embrace this kind of singer…quirky and different.” – 1-866-436 5710 – VIDEO
Jacob Lusk – House is Not a Home – I’ve ragged on Jacob for his his oversinging, but tonight he impressed me. He imbued the song with emotion, and added the big notes right where they’d be effective. Really really beautiful, powerful rendition of this song. His vocals aren’t buttery smooth like some R&B singers, but there’s something raw about this guy that’s very compelling. I may be changing my tune on Jacob – The judges adored him. Both Steven and Jennifer said he brought them to tears. Jennifer compared him to Luther Vandross. “Luther would be so proud of you,” said Randy, “I don’t think there’s anything you can’t do.” 1-866-436 5711 - VIDEO
Casey Abrams – I Put a Spell On You – Hm. There are going to be a lot of comparisons here to Taylor Hicks, I think. The dude is unique, he has his own style, but he’s not the best singer of the bunch. His prior performances, particularly when he’s plucking his upright bass impressed me more. Casey is walking a fine line between being unique and contrived. If Simon were judging, he would have pulled out the drunk uncle critique. But there’s something about him that makes me want more. “Casey, Casey, you are in your mind good and out of your mind good…girls, what do you think about this man?” says Steven. SCREAMS. “As good as it gets,” says Steven. “You’re sexy casey,” says Jennifer, “You’re going to redefine this whole thing. Casey wants it bad. I loved. it.” Randy says, “I loved how you transformed yourself into the spirit of that song. More More More.” – 1-866-436 5712 – VIDEO