“American Idol” Makes Its Great Escape From The ’70s
Ah, the old American Idol nugget of “song choice.” It torpedoed most of the ladies who sang last night–some picked songs that were too big for them, others picked songs that were too small, and only one selected a song that was just right. But are the producers helping put the singers in a pickle? Some Idol insiders are claiming that while the judges, especially Simon, are dinging the singers for selecting songs that don’t fit them on camera, the producers actually have more of a say as far as what the singers bring to the stage–and that those picks are resulting in the favorite sons and daughters being given a slightly less obstacle-filled route to the Top 12. (A conspiracy theory that kind of makes sense, given that stage kid/probably favorite David Archuleta’s been working “Imagine” on the televised-singing-competition circuit for years.) Keep that in mind when you read my rundown of last night’s show, which ranged from passable to abysmal to me reaching for the mute button.
1. Carly Smithson. She started off the show with an example of her Guinness-pulling skills and a pretty fiery version of “Crazy On You,” and no one touched her; her voice worked well on the big notes and she’d obviously recovered from the flu that felled her last week. (She didn’t have to keep telling the judges how much she luvvvvvd the song, though. It was pretty obvious!)
(Big gap here.)
2. Alexandrea Lushington. Covered Chicago–a risky choice, but I liked her version of the sleepy “If You Leave Me Now,” especially the song-ending key change. The judges were not as impressed, but then again they were unimpressed with the whole evening. There’s something about Alex’s energy that I really dig, and I actually was moved to send a few text-message votes her way because I don’t want her to be sent packing instead of, say, Kristy Lee Cook. (I also sent one in for Carly. Really.)
3. Brooke White. Somewhat predictably, she went the Carly Simon route (although you’d think she’d have kept her hair sorta-frizzy in keeping with the singer she was honoring). Her performance of “You’re So Vain” was competent, but I couldn’t help but think that the lyric “you had me several years ago, when I was still quite naive” was a little far-fetched coming out of the mouth of a woman who’s proud to say that she’s never seen an R-rated movie.
4. Asia’h Epperson. Closed the show with “All By Myself”; she botched the first big note but recovered quickly, although I don’t know if emulating the Celine Dion cover was the best route for her. The song’s in the top 10 on Google Trends right now, which could be a good sign for her–or it could just be people wanting to search for the Celine version to which Randy gave the requisite props.
5. Syesha Mercado. Completely forgettable except for her flipping the gender of “Me and Mrs. Jones.” But not out-and-out bad, which will help her this week.
6. Ramiele Mulabay. A hint for future Idol contestants: Do some research on how often your song is played at weddings, since the band this year is more weddingy than ever. “Don’t Leave Me This Way” is a wedding/’70s night on your local Lite-FM affiliate staple, and as such, it should be relegated to the dustbin.
7. Alaina Whitaker. Her pageant-ready performance of “Hopelessly Devoted To You” was fine, although I remembered her prommy blue dress and cute shoes more than anything about her actual singing.
8. Kristy Lee Cook. Should never, ever sing songs that were performed by soul singers ever (even if they were introduced to the Billboard Hot 100 by Linda Ronstadt)–especially if those songs are titled “You’re No Good,” because the jokes just come too easily. I bet she’s really hoping for “Amazing Grace” week to come soon!
9. Amanda Overmyer. Her frightwig, scary pants, and frightening performance of Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son” probably freaked out more of American Idol‘s 60something audience members than they did inspire people to call in to support her. And the prevalence of rockers on the guys’ side means that the producers probably don’t feel like they need her around for much longer. But I don’t think she’ll be going home this week! (See why, below.)
10. Kady Malloy. She almost took a tumble down the stairs while singing the opening lyric of Heart’s “Magic Man,” and part of me is wondering if she wishes she had, since it would have given her a pretty easy excuse for her off-key, completely swallowed-up performance. Just terrible all around, and I have to think that she’s going home unless her home state of Texas mobilized in her honor last night.
WHO’S GOING HOME: I was going to say Amanda and one of the non-Brooke blondes (with Kady as the front-runner), but it turns out that Amanda’s zebra-striped hair has made her the Vote For The Worst favorite. Here’s hoping this doesn’t doom Alex’s chances, as I think she was torpedoed by (sigh) song choice.
PAULA ABDUL OUT-OF-IT SCALE: 2/10; she was actually on her best behavior last night, leading me to believe that her straitjacket-looking shirt actually had some sort of effect on her overall mood.