Monday, March 28, 2011

Top 11 Part Deux: The Idols to Take on Elton!

Article first published as American Idol This Week on Technorati.

Wow!  That's all I can say about Idol's dramatic results show last week.  Here's how it went down according to the official site:

On the heels of that dramatic spectacle, we've learned that this week, the Idols will take on the always dramatic Elton John and his catalog of music spanning almost 4 decades of work.  That may pose problems for a few of our frequently-challenged contestants.  Not only because many of this year's idol wannabe's were born long after Elton's golden period and may only be familiar with his relatively bad 80's pop ditties, but also, thanks to last week's use of the "Honorary Jennifer Hudson Save" of Casey Abrams, two idols will be voted off this week, leaving us with the final 9.  How do you think it will all go down?  I believe that Naima, Haley, Thia, and Casey will be in trouble (I say confidently without knowing anything about their song choices).

Haley has been in the bottom of the pack for awhile now with the voting public and Elton's catalog may prove troublesome for her.  She really needs a Carol King week, or maybe a Christina Aguilera week to regain some footing.  Or, she needs to continue wearing hot pants and hope that the men in the television audience are motivated to pick up the phones.  Good luck with that. In the meantime, we can only hope she chooses the right song.  I'd recommend "Honky Cat", but what do I know?

I'm personally not a Naima fan and even though she was not in last week's bottom three, she's no stranger to that realm.  I'm struggling trying to think of an Elton song that would work for her, but remain curious.  She's always entertaining; I'm just not always sure it is in the way she intends it.  My advice is please, for the love of God, do not pick "Circle of Life".

I think that Thia gets a lot of votes from younger fans who can relate to her, and they vote in droves (unlike those of us firmly ensconced in our middle age trappings and too high on wine to accurately text or dial by the time the show ends).  However, those young voters also tend to listen to the judges who continue to be lukewarm on Thia.  I think she'll be tempted to take on another ho hum ballad this week and that will not help her along.  God forbid she chooses "Crocodile Rock" and receives a rant from Randy playing the part of Simon, this year's "mean judge", harkening back to John Stephen's sad take on that song in the 3rd season.

I am a totally unabashed Casey fan, even though I was not in love with his last 2 weeks' performances.  That said, I was totally shocked when he was voted off last week, and then promptly saved by the judges.  He is really going to need to connect with voters this week, because Ms. Lopez et al cannot save him again.  Hopefully, I can stay awake (and sober!) long enough to log in some votes for him this week.  I believe he appeals to older Idol fans who just don't vote as much.  Thinking about what he'll sing is fun and I really hopes he chooses "Take Me To The Pilot" or "Levon".  Fingers crossed Casey.

As for Scotty, Pia, Jacob, and James, I think they'll all do well this week.  Scotty apparently has an enormous fan base, based on what I see on Twitter, other blogs and online polls, and should be in his element as many of these songs lend themselves to a stripped down country vibe (maybe "Your Song" or "I Guess That's What They Call It the Blues").  Pia has an amazing voice and should waltz through any one of a number of Elton tunes, but she does need to beware of becoming predictable and choosing yet another ballad.  Simon would definitely not let her get way with that, reminding me once again why I miss him.   I'd really like to see her try "Nikita", but I fear we're in for a "Candle in the Wind" moment.  James will do a rocker take on one of Elton's 70's tunes - hopefully "Benny and the Jets" or "Saturday Niht's Alright for Fightin'".  It's not totally in his wheelhouse but unless he really hoses it up, he should do fine as he also seems to have a lot of loyal fans (if you believe what you read elsewhere online).  Jacob will undoubtably take on a big emotional production and as usual, show no restraint at all. I envision "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"with lots of vocal gymnastics, but we'll see.

That leaves us with Lauren, Stefano, and Paul.  Paul is quirky and is actively courting the cougar vote, as indicated by his fancy cougar pin last week - thank you Ryan for pointing that one out.  He should do well on early-era EJ tunes, but what he really needs is a Rod Stewart week to shine. I really liked him when this all started off, but I'm growing tired of his constant jigging around the stage and his barely there voice.  I wonder if he's losing his luster with other viewers as well? I think Lauren is an incredibly likable candidate for this year's Idol.  Lean on talent perhaps, but rife with moxie, stage presence and pop idol cuteness.  You can't count her out at this stage and as long as she stays away from the dreaded "Crocodile Rock" or "Philadelphia Freedom" or, worse yet, "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart", she should be completely fine.  Maybe she should try "I'm Still Standing".  Stefano is not my favorite contestant and he's been up and down in the competition so far, but he's cute enough to keep getting votes from tweenager's across America, and vocally, I can see him doing any number of Elton tunes well.  I'd love to hear "Someone Saved My Life Tonight", but now that I think about it, maybe that's a more appropriate choice for Casey given his fate last week.  Barring any major vocal catastrophe, Stefano should be safe for another week.

I can't wait to tune in and see what they deliver for us this week. Last week's not-exactly-an-elimination show was a great twist and made the season a lot more interesting. Tune into FOX on Wednesday to see what happens.

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