UPDATE: C’mon Idols! Use a little imagination in your song picks! The only performances I’m excited about are Paul McDonald’s Ryan Adam’s cover and Naima Adedapo’s take on “Umbrella”. Stevie Wonder? Celine? R. FREAKING KELLY ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!!111! Ugh. I’m also interested to see if James Durbin can dial back the crazy vocals enough to do “Maybe I’m Amazed” justice.
@AmericanIdol: mic packs mean only one thing #SHOWTIME.
The American Idol Top 13 are getting ready to take the stage. The show taping begins at 8 pm. Just like last week, I’ll post the song spoilers here as soon as they become available.
All the contestants were paired with producers. (Don Was was paired with the country singers. Paul McDonald tweeted earlier about working with him.)
@john_socal was at the taping. Read his feed for a few deets.
UPDATED: Added Another VERY DETAILED recap at the bottom of the page.
Also @TeamThiaMegia. Reportedly, Thia did not get good judges comments.
Rickey has spoilers
1. Lauren Alaina – Any Man of Mine by Shania Twain
2. Casey Abrams – With A Little Help From My Friends by the Beatles
3. Ashthon Jones – When You Tell Me That You Love Me by Diana Ross
4. Paul McDonald – Come Pick Me Up by Ryan Adams
5. Pia Toscano – All By Myself by Celine Dion
6. James Durbin – Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney
7. Haley Reinhart – Blue by LeAnn Rimes
8. Jacob Lusk – I Believe I Can Fly by R. Kelly
9. Thia Megia – Smile by Michael Jackson (his version)
10. Stefano Langone – Lately by Stevie Wonder
11. Karen Rodriguez – I Could Fall In Love by Selena
12. Scott McCreery – The River by Garth Brooks
13. Naima Adedapo – Umbrella by Rihanna
Recap from @john_socal Also, read a recap posted in comments from Scott who says the producers announced that Idol will be LIVE next week.
Wow. So I really wasn’t that excited about the season but this show turned me around.
First we ended up sitting behind and above the stage directly behind the American idol sign. You should be able to see us when ryan comes down the staircase at the start haha.
They had the audience do several waves shots for the opening. I have to admit it was kind of fun.
Before the show started they brought the top 13 out to say hi. Then they did a bunch of camera shots of them on stage with serious and smiley faces. They were totally ignoring Debbie the stage manager who wanted them in a circle facing out. She had to “mom” them into position.
Then the judges came out. JLo looked amazing as usual although I can’t remember what she was wearing #fail. Tyler looked much better dressed than that pink think he was wearing. Dawg was wearing like a sports jersey – unimpressed. They talked to the audience for a while when they had a technical problem getting the first contestant story going. Tyler found a hot girl in the audience to hug and kiss – blech. JLo was thanking everyone for buying her single. Nigel and Simon Fuller were out in view the whole show.
First one up was Lauren Alaina. She sang Shinia Any Man of Mine. Her voice was quite amazing and pitch perfect. The song wasn’t my favorite but I don’t know Shinia. Judges thought it didn’t show off her voice the best but said she could sing anything.
Next up was Casey Abrams sing Joe Cocker Little Help from my Friends. He came down the center staircase and sang on the stairs then to the stage. It was an amazing performance. Judges loved it. He was excited about the comments. They do a shot of each contestant as they go off stage with their opinion of how they did. I think he was wearing leather.
Next Ashton Jones doing Diana Ross When u tell me u love me. barry gordy was in the audience cuz producers said he had to see it. It was so flat. Of all the Diana ross songs, she picks one that no one knows. Judges say as much. It was really not good in my opinion. She could be in danger. Dressed full diva.
Next Paul McDonald singing Ryan Adams Come Pick Me Up. Nobody knew the song. He was doing these crazy dance moves. He sounded like Macy Gray (copyright Scott). Ryan makes fun of the dance moves. JLo said she never heard the song. Judges mediocre comments but they love him. It was karaoke to the max in my opinion. I just don’t get him. Again wearing weird Elvis clothes. I think he’d be my pick for votefortheworst.
Next Up was Pia singing Celine Dion When you Tell me U Love me. She started out low and a bit weird but really brought it midway and at the end. Judges loved it.
James Durbin sang Paul McCartney Maybe I’m Amazed. I became mildly interested in him last week with the Judas Priest. I had put him in the Adam Lambert screamfest category from the start. They totally cleaned him up. new hair cut, no facial hair. Best dressed – total cool rocker look. His voice was just amazing live. You will play this over and over. I predict he will sell the most on itunes this week by major numbers. I was so impressed. Humble too. Judges were speechless. Total love. He could win it all. In my opinion, sang better than Paul McCartney (when he could still sing)
Haley did Leann Rimes Blue with this weird yodel. She sang it really good although I’m not familiar with the song. Her and James were up in our section for a shot before they sang. She’s quite stunning. I’m sure she will be safe. I think Randy said it made him sleepy lol
Next Jacob Lusk RJ Kelly I can Fly – ugh, I’m not a fan of this kind of singing but he was really hitting some amazing notes. The guy can definitely sing. They pimped him out with 6 gospel singers. Judges loved it.
Thia sang Michael Jackson Smile . the first part was a nice solo but then she went into this jazzy remix that just didn’t work. judges were nice but Simon would have said pack your bags.
Stefano sang Stevie Wonder Lately. His voice is amazing. No one was very familiar with the song. He probably could have picked a better song but his voice is just amazing. His brother was in the audience that looked like his double. R they twins? Him and James are very obviously very good friends and rooting for each other. In fact the whole cast seems very happy and supportive of each other. He was looking smoking hot in leather and a tie I believe.
Karen sang Selena If I Fall in Love. I dunno. I didn’t like it all. I think she could be in danger. Simon would say forgettable.
Scotty sang Garth Brooks The River. The crowd obviously loves him. He sang spot on with these really cheesy Beverly Hillbilly backgrounds. He’s a frontrunner for sure as we’ve seen on dialidol. Just wearing a blue cowboy shirt. Nigel had the audience swaying, ie he was pimping him
Naima closed it with Rhianna umbrella. She had the most energy. Good dancer. She rapped. She reggaed but in the end she didn’t sing very well tonight. The judges blamed it on her doing too much and not able to focus on breath control. I’m sure she’s safe.
At the end the 13 came on stage as they showed the numbers. Stefano and James were jumping and high fiving each other as they showed their numbers. I just love the comradery.
Another Recap from Somebody Who Was There (Thanks Troy)
Overall, the show was great. They clearly still have technical difficulties to work out, so it’s probably better that the show was pre-taped. They had to interrupt and take breaks from the schedule several times, so what should have been a 2 hour show, took about 2 hrs 45 min. They would have been screwed on a live show!
The judges are still too nice overall and give pleasant comments to the contestants, even when it’s mediocre. You can tell when they really love something, but they are still supportive even for the poor performances. They rotated which judges spoke first.
Each contestant gets a video package to start with, that highlights their idol and song choice, shows them working with music producers, and then closes with Jimmy Iovine giving his take on the contestant. Nobody got to play any instruments, although you got the impression that a couple of them wanted to.
1. Lauren Alaina – Shania Twain – Any Man of Mine
worked with producer Don Was
wearing blue shirt with sparkly patterns
mainly stood in the middle and sang
good rendition, good voice, but not that exciting
judges’ comments (paraphrased):
Steven Tyler: Incredible song, you did good, but I wanted you to kick ass.
Jennifer Lopez: I was hoping for you to take it to another level.
Randy Jackson: It was good, but I wanted you to kick it up a notch.
clip of Lauren’s reaction after performing – it’s up to America now
2. Casey Abrams – Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends
producer Jimmy Iovine
wearing black jacket and black pants
started off on the stairs and walked down (during his video package, he came out laying down and goofing off on the stairs, which the audience loved, but which probably won’t be shown on tv)
during the performance, a 10-person ensemble of backing vocal singers came out to surround him
JL: I loved it. During your performance, I was thinking ‘What am I watching?!’ You blew me away.
RJ: So unbelievable, so exciting.
ST: You are a rainbow of talent, you never cease to amaze me.
3. Ashthon Jones – Diana Ross – When You Tell Me That You Love Me
producer Rodney Jerkins
wearing a long silver dress with one shoulder bare
mainly stood in the middle and sang
pitchy, sometimes sharp, sometimes flat, off on one big note
RJ: Thought you did yourself some good with that, I liked it.
ST: You’ve got more inside of you.
JL: At times the song was getting away from you, but you kept your composure. You need to do songs we can sing with you.
clip of Casey’s reaction after performing
4. Paul McDonald – Ryan Adams – Come Pick Me Up
producer Don Was
wearing black pants, red shirt, black jacket with gold buttons
moves all around the stage, dances a little
good tone, so-so performance
ST: It was a little pitchy, but I love your voice.
JL: When you sang, I was watching the audience smile. I love your voice. I don’t know that song though.
RJ: I know that song. It wasn’t exciting, I hope America gets it, but I love who you are.
Ryan goofs off with Paul, trying to imitate his skip/hop/dancing
clip of Paul’s reaction after performing
interview with Pia and Ryan sitting on silver stools
5. Pia Toscano – Celine Dion – All By Myself
producer Ron Fair
wearing short shiny silver sequin dress with a tail/train
mainly stood in middle and sang
JL: We love you [overcome with emotion] – was thinking, what are you going to do to top last week? Well, here it is!
RJ: We always say, don’t tackle Mariah, Whitney, Celine, but you can do it, you slayed it.
ST: You polished that apple. And happy International Women’s Day.
during commercial break, Ryan tapes an audio pick up of him saying “charley horse, charley horse!” (to be edited into the previous clip of him goofing off/dancing with Paul?)
clip of Pia’s reaction after performing – Daddy, that was for you
6. James Durbin – Paul McCartney – Maybe I’m Amazed
producer Jim Johnson
good vocals, shows his tone
RJ: You’re one of my favorites in this whole thing, you showed your sensitive side, you slayed it.
ST: You did such a good job.
JL: You have what the greatest rock singers have, a melodic quality.
7. Haley Reinhart – LeAnn Rimes – Blue
producer Rock Mafia duo
wearing a long black dress and long dangly earrings
stays standing in the middle to sing
ST: Beautiful, you can hear America roaring with you, such a good job.
JL: You do really special things, even the yodeling, it’s so unique.
RJ: For me, it was a little boring. [loud audience boos]
clip of James’ reaction after performing
interview with Jacob and Ryan sitting on silver stools
8. Jacob Lusk – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly
wearing gray suit with black shirt and pink tie
10-person gospel choir of backing vocal singers join him
big voice, good, but occasionally screechy
ST: Your voice, your range just soar, that’s how good you are.
JL: You make us feel so much when you sing.
RJ: The talent this year is unbelievable. When you start, you have such a signature sound. When you went to the B verse, you fell off, you were sharp.
clip of Jacob’s reaction after performing
9. Thia Megia – Michael Jackson – Smile
Smile was originally by Charlie Chaplin, This doesn’t know/stumbles over his name
producer Jimmy Iovine
wearing a long black/white layered dress
stays standing in the middle to sing, moves a little in the middle
soft song, nice tone, occasionally off
RJ: I loved the intro, it was pitchy in spots, all in all good, but I liked the beginning more than the end.
ST: I agree, it was a little pitchy, but I loved it
JL: It reminded me of last week. The intro is your strength, I want to see you move more, but you sing like an angel.
clip of Thia’s reaction after performing – crying, hopes to do better next time
10. Stefano Langone – Stevie Wonder – Lately
wearing black pants, black jacket, blue shirt with white/black tie
fun version, good performance
ST: Beautiful, you pulled it off, that arrangement was crazy.
JL: You had me dancing there for a moment, you sounded great. Love the dance remix.
RJ: Stevie would be proud, you slayed it.
11. Karen Rodriguez – Selena – I Could Fall In Love
producer Jim Johnson
wearing sparkly black pantsuit type outfit with x-vest, huge jewelry, sparkly silver bracelet, long shiny silver earrings
pitchy at times
JL: I could tell you were uncomfortable with the notes.
RJ: It felt like you were fighting the song. It was really sleepy for me, just wasn’t exciting.
ST: The energy was lacking. I know yuo can sing much better.
clip of Stefano’s reaction after performing
interview with Scotty and Ryan sitting on silver stools
12. Scott McCreery – Garth Brooks – The River
producer Don Was
good performance, audience loved it
RJ: It it ain’t broke, don’t even think about fixing it. This is exactly where you belong, you could put that out as a record right now.
ST: You did Garth justice. Like Roy Rogers, you’re riding high.
JL: I saw you open up as a performer. We love listening to your voice.
clip of Scotty’s reaction after performing
13. Naima Adedapo – Rihanna – Umbrella
producer Tricky Stewart, who produced the actual song Umbrella
wearing rockish outfit with black bandeau, gray pants
so-so singing, does reggae/rap in the middle
crazy dancing, audience liked it
ST: A little pitchy, but you brought flavor tonight, and I adore you for that.
JL: I don’t care about the pitchy, you got fire.
RJ: When you dance like that, you gotta save enough breath. I didn’t care for the cutoffs, but I liked the reggae.
recap of all the numbers (using the -36 line, instead of “unlucky 13”)
During the closing recap of the video packages, the guys were goofing off and dancing onstage. Stefano was beating up the beat, Jersey Shore-style, and high fiving James. The guys were all relaxed and friendly with each other, the girls just stood there.
Nigel was extremely hands on in directing things throughout the show. He would constantly come over to the judges’ table during the breaks, as well as giving Debbie directions. During some of the performances, he even walked around the studio, leading/telling the crowd to clap their hands over their heads. Someone had a “Simon Who?” poster that Nigel loved, and he made sure that the cameras picked it up.
Cory, the warm up guy, was really bland and didn’t do anything interesting. Randy was jabbing at him, telling him to “tell his best joke, ” but he didn’t have any, and just resorted to pulling out kids from the audience and asking them boring questions. The only excitement he could muster was when he was giving out free t-shirts to the crowd. Apparently AI had pre-made t-shirts for some of the contestants that they gave out. The slogans were things like “I [heart] Karen, ” “Scotty is my darkhorse, ” and “Fear the beard.” There were a number of birthdays in the crowd, and if you’re a kid with a sign, you have a good chance at going onstage during the commercial breaks. Overall, a fun time.