I had to do some travelling last week, so I didn’t get to recap the final Hollywood Week where ‘American Idol’ whittled the field down from 24 contestants to 13. Fortunately, nothing terribly unpredictable happened. This week, the remaining 13 contestants chose songs from artists who inspired them. It’s officially go-time now. We saw some stand-outs and some people who need to go home (including Jimmy and the other producers).
First up was Lauren Alaina, who sang “Any Man of Mine” by Shania Twain. It came off as karaoke. As we’ve seen before, many young performers have great natural talent and the ability mimic their idols, but often lack voices of their own. I’m afraid Lauren could fall into this trap (though Carrie Underwood pushed through it). The judges were lukewarm on her performance.
Casey was up next, and he went for Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help from My Friends.” He admitted that he first heard the song on ‘The Wonder Years’. He brought it with his performance. It was flawless, and the judges agreed. Randy’s stock phrase for his favorites this year is, “Exciting.” He was excited to see Casey. I’m excited to see Casey too. I just wish the stylists would leave him alone and stop trying to brush his hair. While we’re at it, I really hope that skinny jeans for men go out of style soon.
Ashton, who made it through as a wildcard, sang Diana Ross. She really did nothing for me. The judges should have just sent her home last week. However, they were mildly encouraging. She’s in my bottom three. I was also disappointed in Paul McDonald. He went with Ryan Adams and may be this year’s first big victim of poor song choice.
Next up was Pia Toscano who screamed out “All By Myself” by Celine Dion. Steven said a number of oddball things through the evening, the most offensive of which was his comment to her: ”You polished that apple. Happy International Woman’s Day. You made a lot of men happy.”
James Durbin sang “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney. I really was amazed. As my better half, Peter, commented: ”He’s always better than I remember him being. That was really nice.” James also toned down the screeching and showed off a really nice tone. And he didn’t wear the tail – hallelujah!
Haley Reinhart sang “Blue” by Leanne Rimes. The judges and I were in agreement that this was really beautiful and showed some of the diverse things Haley can do with her voice. However, Randy found it a bit boring and sleepy. Jacob Lusk gave us “I Believe I Can Fly.” I’m still amazed at his range, but he wasn’t at his best for this performance. Nonetheless, Randy still thought he was ”exciting.”
Thia Megia took on “Smile” as done by Michael Jackson. She didn’t know who Charlie Chaplin was, and the judges didn’t bother asking her about Mel Torme. Clearly, she hasn’t studied ‘Idol’ history or she’d know this was an unlucky song. She did have some nice moments, though. She may make it another week.
Stefano Langone went for Stevie Wonder. He also should have looked at ‘Idol’ history. Contestants rarely do Stevie justice. My advice is to go nowhere near Stevie Wonder. Stefano may be another victim of poor song choice.
We then had Karen Rodriguez, who again went for Selena. Jennifer led with the death knell statement: ”You look so beautiful tonight.” Her performance was so-so. Randy said that he ”wanted excitement.”
Scotty McCreery sang Garth Brooks and did a nice job. He should make it through another week. Finally, Naima Adedapo gave us “Umbrella” by Rihanna. She’s still a wildcard. I can’t decide if I like her or not, or how long I think she’ll be around.
We’ve definitely got some contestants who need to pack their bags. We’ll find out who doesn’t make the cut tonight when we get the results of the first round of audience voting. I personally would like to write in Jimmy and the rest of the producers, and send them packing. While I know they provide great help on the back-end, it’s not making for good entertainment. I’m getting no value from hearing Jimmy’s opinions on the contestants. Just give me Steven, Jennifer, and Randy. I’m continuing to enjoy their input and their interactions with the contestants. They even make Ryan more tolerable.