My favorite performances this week (They seem to change week by week) were from Jacob Lusk, Naima Adedapo and James Durbin.
Having said that, there were no performances tonight that wowed me. Season 10 is turning into a strange season. One one hand, I’m enjoying the season, on the other, I feel strangely disconnected. We’re at Top 10 and I don’t even have a favorite yet. Very weird.
I’m going to be really upset if Naima goes home tomorrow and misses the tour. The kids have to be feeling the pressure. Making it through another week is the difference between a huge payday, additional exposure…or not.
Jennifer’s critiques continue to improve. Right now, she’s the most constructive judge. Steven is charming, but useless. He looks bored already, making me wonder if he’ll resign next season. Randy is slightly improved over past seasons, but he still slips into pointless hyperbole. When Jimmy Iovine begins to speak it’s like the adults on those Charlie Brown TV specials. Wha wha wha wha. Since he’s the label dude, and a regular, I was not expecting his advice to be as meaningless as a celebrity mentor.
The American Idol 10 Top 11 perform MOTOWN! Yay? No song spoilers this week, so we’ll all be surprised (or not) as the kids take the stage to sing.
Live blog and Videos after the JUMP…
First, the usual Motown video clip intercut with comments from the UMG team (Motown is a UMG label).
Jennifer Lopez: WHOA lipstick. And crazy blue eye shadow! Steven calls Motown “makeout music.” Liv Tyler is in the audience. Casey James is too.
Casey Abrams – “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye” – Kux Harrell – Producer – Kux advises him on how NOT to screech and growl. Casey is still grunting and growling a little too much. He looks like he’s going to eat the microphone. Girl he was singing to in the audience (turned out to be a friend) was going to lick him. Yeah, Casey went out into the audience. Not sure the audience trip enhanced the performance. Casey is a real character, but there was a little bit too much drunk dad going on there. The performance had it’s moments, though Steven: Perfect entertainer, perfect pitch, crazy ass out of control ego. Beautiful. Jennifer: You can really really carve out a niche for yourself. Randy You are definitely a true original. You can only do you, and that you is great. 1-866-436-5701 – Video – Performance
Brad Whitford from Aerosmith also in the audience.
Thia Megia – “Heatwave” by Martha and the Vandellas – Producers: Trickey and Kux – Jimmy was shocked she sang it well. Ringing endorsement! She’s singing this song like it’s a ballad. This tune needs URGENCY and passion to work. Thia performs it like a lounge song. The concept of “upbeat” does not compute with Thia. Jennifer: I feel like we’re scratching the surface great to see you let loose. You need to dig even deeper each week. Part of performing is acting. Connect to your lyrics. Randy: It’s about taking chances. You took a chance tonight. You can take more chances, but you can really sing. Steven: You’ve taken a step out. I’m great, I’m good with it. 1-866-436-5702 – VIDEO – Performance
Jacob “Lusky Stank” Lusk – “You’re All I Need to Get By” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell – Jimmy wants Jacob to use his power when it’s called for. Jacob explains that he couldn’t hear himself last week, got nervous and went sort of crazy. He must be hearing himself this week, because he’s holding back. In the 2nd verse he begins to let loose a bit, and it’s just right. He’s doing it. He’s restraining himself. Wow. A billion times better than last week. Steven RUNS ON STAGE TO HUG HIM “Baby Luther.” Jacob is good when he doesn’t over-sing. Randy: The great Barry Gordy is somewhere. Oh My God. You were like a true professional. Some crap about greatest ever all seasons. Oh Randy. Steven: You held it back. It was beautiful. Jennifer: You made us beg for those notes. You moved me. You moved us. Grandma jumps on stage to hug Jacob. Ryan invites the front row to come up and hug Jacob. That was random. 1-866-436-5703 – Video – Performance
Lauren Alaina – “You Keep Me Hanging On” by the Supremes – Producers: Rock Mafia – If Kellie Pickler sang the Supremes… this would be it. Solid performance from Lauren. She gave the tune a nice country twang and some attitude. Much better than the last couple of weeks. Steven: You ripped that song another beauty mark. Jennifer: You look amazing! So much attitude! You brought it to life. Randy: She’s got her swagger on high. She’s ready. 1-866-436-5704 – Video – Performance
Stefano Langone – “Hello” by Lionel Richie – Pimp chat with Ryan. His mom cooked for the gang on Sunday. Yum. He brings some for Ryan. I really hate this song. David Cook made it tolerable when he rearranged it, but Stefano’s version is straight up. Ugh. His vocals are great, but his reading is soooooo corny. Really bizarre phrasing. Big note at the end. Bleh. The judges are going to love this. Jennifer: I want you to sing like you’re telling a story. I want the intensity to come like your heart is breaking. Randy: The only thing your missing is that connection. Steven: You ramped up too soon. Pull back a little bit, and you’ll take off. Surprised the judges were so critical. They usually love Stefano. 1-866-436-5705 – Video – Performance
OMG Gordon Ramsey is dissing Stefano’s mom! Otis Williams in the house. “Everyone is singing from the heart. I love it.”
Haley Reinhart – “You Really Got a Hold on Me” – I picked this for Haley! Jimmy is giving Haley notes on how to perform the song in front of the judges. Hm. She’s walking down the stairs like the hunchback of Notre Dame in GIANT high heels. She’s also wearing short shorts. Yes, she’s buying into the Haley Scarnato playbook. She’s getting all sex kittenish on this song, and missing the point. Though she does have some nice growly runs. She can sing, but emotionally–she’s not there yet. She needs to get more down and dirty. Randy: It started a little rough. By the middle the Haley that we fell in love with came roaring back. I’m so happy. Steven: That was beautiful. You sang your heart out. You don’t look a day over fabulous. That’s the Haley I’ve been looking for since the day we heard you. Steven growls to demonstrate. Jennifer: You can do anything with your voice. You may have the most soulful voice on the girls side. 1-866-436-5706 – Video – Performance
Scotty McCreery – “For Once in My Life” by Stevie Wonder – Producer Jim Jonsin – Scotty hits a basket from the mansion balcony. He shoots. He scores. His dad was a huge Michael Jackson fan, but he’s settled on Stevie Wonder. Scotty begins sitting on the stairs. Stevie with a country TWANG. It still feels like he’s singing the same song over and over again. But, it picks up in the middle. The producers did a decent job of “countrifying” the song. Scotty is feeling it. Color me surprised. It’s the least sleepy I’ve ever seen him. He looks straight into the camera on the last note. Steven: Just like Glen Campbell, Harry Nilsson. You took a big chance. You really ripped it. Jennifer: This was a great version of this song. You made it your own. Wasn’t your strongest vocal performance. Randy: Not your strongest performance, but I was smiling the whole time. Maybe it needed to peak a little sooner. You’re a young lady killer! 1-866-436-5707 – Video – Performance
Pia Toscano – “All In Love Is Fair” by Stevie Wonder Producer: Harvey Mason Jr. – Might as well be another Celine song. Her vocals are perfect. She never misses a note. Beautiful. Why am I bored? There’s nothing really unique about her. We’ve seen the big voiced Diva on Idol and elsewhere. Zzzzz. Jennifer: You kill us with one of your killer ballads. I think Jennifer wants her to move around the stage more. Randy: You’re phenomenal. Give me a midtempo! Give me an uptempo. Bring something a little different. Stevie: You are the closest star in this American Idol universe. It’s just beautiful. 1-866-436-5708 – Video – Performance
Paul McDonald – “Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson – Producer: Jim Jonsin. Paul is going to play guitar. And…he’s still a little shaky vocally, and totally biffs the words at one point (Lulzy). He’s doing a Rod Stewart kinda deal on the tune, and it’s solid, if not spectacular. Randy: You’ve got a distinctive voice. I was worried when it started, you took it to a cool place. When you sing tender…oh my God dude. It’s so cool. Bring more of that out. Steven: Very different, like Dylan, like Willie Nelson. Just great. Jennifer: Most seasoned performer. You’re the complete package. All you need is a good producer, and there you go. 1-866-436-5709 – Video – Performance
Naima Adedapo – “Dancing In the Streets” by Martha and the Vandellas – Naima feels privileged to walk in the path of those came before her. She’s going to add some African flavah. This should be interesting. Just as I was thinking “Where the hell is the African dancing” two African drummer guys appear, and Naima busts out her moves. It was a little startling, a little kooky, but I kinda liked it. Her vocals were much better than last week too. I really want her to make the tour. I may have to vote tonight. Steven: I don’t know what to say. E to the Z and tweedlee dee. I heard you came up with the drums and the dance yourself. Beautiful. Jennifer: You are an exciting performer. It was my first little goosebumps of the night. You have that little extra something on the stage. Randy: I’ve been a little rough on you. Finally tonight, all of Naima showed up. You took your time to sing, everything was really smart tonight. It was like SYTYCD morphing into Idol says Ryan. 1-866-436-5710 – Video – Performance
James Durbin – “Living For the City” by Stevie Wonder – I thought of this for James. I really did. I’m glad he’s singing this instead of “Higher Ground”. This is good. Seriously good. James works the stage. He’s got freaking vocal cords of steel. He hits the right amount of high notes. I used to hate him so much, but he’s completely won me over. James thanks the band. Crowd goes WILD. Jennifer: You are serious business up there. An incredible thing to watch. Randy: When it started it was a little bit rough, When you finally hit your stride, it was unbelievable. Steven: I think it takes a little bit of being crazy to make a difference in this world. You nailed it. 1-866-436-5711 – Video – Performance