‘Idol’ Worship: Anybody’s Game

By now, you know that Ashton Jones went home last week, which wasn’t a surprise to anyone. At this point in the ‘American Idol’ competition, the contestants are busy doing press junkets, red carpets, and hanging out in the mansion. They need to remember to stay focused, because as wonderful and exciting as all that stuff is, it can all be over with one bad performance.

This week, the contestants performed songs from the year they were born. We got lots of montages of baby pictures and interviews with parents about what natural talents their kids were. We also continued to have more air time with Jimmy as he gave the contestants help and advice while they sat and nodded uncomfortably.

First up was Naima Adedapo, who sang “What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner. I thought this was going to be a good song choice for her, but it didn’t go well. Jennifer said she was, “Consistently pitchy.” Very true, not good. Paul McDonald sang “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” by Elton John. He was clearly having issues with hoarseness, but beyond that it was not good. He just did not connect with the lyrics for me and tossed it off. Yeah, that’s what I said.

Next up was Thia Megia, who sang “Colors of the Wind” by Vanessa Williams. Randy told her it was boring and sounded “pageant.” Way to be obvious, Randy. Remember where Vanessa Williams got her start? I thought it was a bit plain myself, but she does have a very nice quality to her voice.

We got Bon Jovi’s “I’ll Be There for You” from James Durbin. He’s got a great rock voice and it came through. Even so, I didn’t think it was his best performance. Haley Reinhart sang “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston. While I still say she can sing, this was not on point tonight. As Jennifer commented, she was tense in her body and looked uncomfortable. It may have been the skintight leggings and high heels. There was also an incident with smeared red lipstick and Ryan licking his finger and wiping it off. Ick.

Stefano Langone gave us “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” by Simply Red. Randy called it the best performance of the night and I agreed. But at that point in the show, it wasn’t saying all that much. Pia Toscano showed up in a white pantsuit with another Whitney Houston song, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go.” It was a cheesy arrangement to match the pantsuit, but she sang it well and the judges loved it.

I’m not a big country fan, but I am a Scotty McCreery fan. He sang “Can I Trust You with My Heart” by Travis Tritt and it sounded really good. Karen Rodriguez sang “Love Will Lead You Back” by Taylor Dayne. While her voice was okay, the package was awful: Awful hair, awful earrings, awful dress, awful boots.

‘Idol’ darling Casey Abrams brought Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” As much as I love Casey, I’m not sure how I feel about Nirvana on ‘Idol’. It started a bit shaky, but I think he showed he can sing it. Jennifer said, “It was a little screechy,” and she wished it was more “pleasant.” Jen, stick with your auto-tuned dance crap. Nirvana is not meant to be pleasant.

Flu-infected Lauren Alaina sang “I’m the Only One” by Melissa Etheridge and did a good job of it. The judges were pleased. Jacob Lusk closed out the show with “Alone” by Heart. The judges went nuts for him, but I thought he oversang it.

As much as I like the vocal talent this year, I’m finding that the originality and artistic vision are sorely lacking. Casey’s clearly got it in spades, and Paul’s got a bit, but that’s about all I’ve seen so far. My predictions for the bottom three this week are Naima, Haley and Karen, though I wouldn’t be totally surprised if Paul was down there either.

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