“American Idol” Gets Blown Out At Studio 57

noah | April 1, 2009 9:30 am

Last night’s American Idol was organized around the very loose idea of “Popular Downloads,” a night that resulted in some contestants seeming way older than they were, others annoying the judges for not fitting into the boxes constructed around them during the auditions lo those many months ago, and others having really, really big hair. Like really big. A ranking-free recap—honestly, last night was maybe the first this season in which there was no real No. 1 sticking out of the morass of hopefuls—and tales of out-of-control hairdryers, all after the jump.

Anoop Desai. I have to give Anoop credit for doing his own thing with his version of Usher’s “Caught Up,” and for bucking the judges, who gave him a lot more guff than the performance deserved. It was a bit awkward in points, but you know what? He wants to sing R & B, and it’s certainly more current than the Steamy AC performances some of the other contestants put out there this evening.

Megan Joy. I guess “Turn Your Lights Down Low” was an OK fit for her voice, but her awkward stage presence (the stoner-ish squinting, the slightly pained smile, the flailing) sort of robbed the performance of any sexiness. But again, what is up with the judges? They are so into putting the hopefuls into boxes—in Megan’s case, it’s shaped like Adele—and basically having tantrums when the contestants decide they don’t want to be in them.

Danny Gokey. Wow, the Gokester and a schmaltzed-up version of a Rascal Flatts song? All it needs is Nicole Scherzinger on backing vocals and you’d have Maura Johnston Kryptonite. Of course the producers let the ovation go on way too long, because it’s a saaadddd song and he has a sad backstory and hey did you know his grandfather died last week. And of course the judges loved it. What is going on this year, for real.

Allison Iraheta. The opening of “Don’t Speak” was a bit awkward in terms of Allison’s rapport with the backing singers, although I thought she sounded OK during that bit; it took a while for her to find her groove once the song kicked in, but she can really kill those power notes. Plus I loved most of her proto-kinderwhore look (well, the white shoes were a bit much), which for some reason Randy hated. Randy Jackson, fashion arbiter! Let’s just recall that this is a man who once looked like this:

Salt shaker for one, please.

Scott MacIntyre. A sweet version of “Just The Way You Are” that was just him on the piano. Not to be all Kara, but c’mon, when is dude going to get behind that piano and bust out some George Michael? His hair screamed “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” although I suspect if he actually sang that song it would result in him being gone-gone.

Matt Giraud. Oh, Matt. You are so sweet and you have so much potential, but picking a song by the freaking Fray is like suicide in this competition. You can’t handle the low notes and your attempts to recreate Isaac Slade’s catatonic snarl are just embarrassing. Putting you and your keyboard in the middle of the mosh pit at least distracted from the dreariness of the song a bit, but… well, let’s just say that Paula using the word “aborted” in her critique (which also called back to the disastrous “Viva La Vida” performance, ouch!) was not all that out of line.

Lil Rounds. Ooh, singing Celine Dion? A risky choice from the performer who’s probably the most overrated singer of the Top 12. It sounded OK, but her slapped-on wig, aging-actress-at-the-Globes gown, and eyes being closed for most of the performance aged her—as did the fact that she sang a freaking Celine Dion song that wasn’t originally written by Platinum Weird. (Cough cough.) She’s so not going home, though, thanks to her kids being trotted out post-performance.

Adam Lambert. Switched up “Play That Funky Music” a bit on the verses, which is good because when I saw he was singing that song I had visions of disaster in my head. It kind of worked, but for some reason I was not really feeling this performance. (I will, however, give him props for actually knowing how to work with the band to make what could have been a very disastrous song choice something —and for thanking them during the critique. Classy.) Also, can we just talk about his hair. His hair! It was higher than Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” ‘do! Have tough times forced Aqua Net to be a presenting sponsor of Idol?

Kris Allen. “Ain’t No Sunshine” was probably the best performance of the night, a stripped-down arrangement in which he surrounded himself with fetching instrumentalists. There was some weird breathing into the microphone at the end, though. Could be the new favorite, what with his squeaky-clean cuteness and Mraztastic appeal.

REVEALING DIOGUARDISM OF THE NIGHT: “All right, you get up and do it then,” to the hecklers who booed her (kinda hacky) critique of Megan.

REVEALING DIOGUARDISM OF THE NIGHT TWO: “It was like Studio 57 up in here,” she said to Adam after “Play That Funky Music.” Oh, Kara, you and numbers just don’t get along well, do you.

WHO I WOULD HAVE VOTED FOR: No one. I was really not feeling this episode, although I did like Kris and Scott more than the others.


WHO WILL GO HOME: I am kind of worried that tonight will be Anoop’s night. If it is, I hope Ne-Yo swoops in and gets him in a room for some serious songwriting and shows the dumb Idol judges what’s what.

American Idol [Official site]

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