Idol started off last night with the judges announcing that they’ll be donating iTunes download proceeds to the American Red Cross for the Japan crisis (oddly dressed in fashions from their own birth years s a nod to the night’s theme). Sometimes I’m proud to watch this show, but then last night’s episode actually started and I changed my mind. It was pretty much a hot mess right? Bad song choices, bad arrangements and bad Seacreast antics (cleaning Haley’s face, for real?)
Naima (1984) kicked it off with “What’s Love Got to Do With It”. Wow – Taking on Tina – many have tried, and most have died. She starts off rough and by the end, it sounds a bit like we’re at a Jamaican All-inclusive resort taking in the free dinner show. It’s not my cup of Jah, but Tyler loves it! JLo and RJa don’t let her of the hook on the pitchiness (I guess it IS back this year!).
Paul (1984) follows up with Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”. He sounds EXACTLY like Macy Gray singing Elton John and still can’t seem to resist the urge to do his weird chicken dance. He’s definitely hoarse and I give him a break, as Jennifer does. Randy does not, and calls him out for being pitchy, but oddly, compares him to Ray LaMontagne. Steven still digs him. No worries for Paul; he’ll use his magic smile get lots of cougar votes.
Thia (1995) opts for Vanessa Williams’ “Colors of the Wind”. Of course she does – she’s an ideal Disney star. She looks and sings just like Pocohantas, but doesn’t bring anything new to the song. Randy tries to keep it real and calls it pageant-y and boring, but the crowd won’t hear it. They love her. Unfortunately, Steven and Ms. Lopez both agree.
James Durbin (1989) is next. It’s not really going to help his bad boy rocker image that they’re showing a montage of incredibly cute baby pix featuring him cuddling his dolls. His mom says he used to sing to them “in perfect pitch”…Too bad that trait is not still with him as he take on Bon Jovi’s “I’ll Be There for You”. First off, I’m done with the scarf tail – please lose it. Secondly, while he’s not horrible, there is nothing new about his version and Simon would surely be hauling out his theme park or karaoke references at this point. Even Tyler calls him out on the dolls issue and warns him not to get too pop. Jenny from the Block loved it. Randy says “tastefully done” but is obsessed with James’ boots, so that must be distracting him. He’s safe because lots of others were way worse.
Haley (1990) does Whitney Houston – uh oh. Has she never watched this show before? They annihilate anyone who tries Whitney. She is predictably horrific and the lyrics are flat out incomprehensible. Just as I notice her lipstick is smeared all over her chin, Ryan comes over to wipe her face and clean it off. It’s a first on Idol – Ryan really does have more jobs than anyone else in America. Randy is concerned that she doesn’t know who she is and Steven tells her to go more Blues-y next time….if she’s around.
Next up is Stefano (1989) who goes with Simply Red’s “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”. Go Stefano! I’m not normally a fan but he rocked it. The judges fawn over one another trying to out-compliment each other.
Pia (1988) goes with another Whitney tune, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”. Why is she dressed like Hans Solo? Her singing is flawless and she looks beautiful (albeit in an 80’s time capsule kind of way). I’m sure she’ll be safe, but I’d never download that song. Would you? She’ll need to break out of that mold if she wants to go the distance. For now, she’s the favorite.
Scotty (1993) chooses “Can I Trust You With My Heart” by Travis Tritt. “Stay Country, Stay Me” is his motto. Let me say once again that I don’t get the whole country thing, but he’s in tune, doesn’t jam up the melody, and doesn’t distract us with absurd dance moves. So, he’s safe in this crowd. He’s not goin’ anywhere, y’all…. Jennifer gives him props, Randy does too, while OF COURSE reminding us that he worked with Travis, and Tyler gives him a lukewarm thumbs up as well.
Karen (1989) looks like JLo if she did an Austin Power movie, but sings “Love Will Lead You Back”….badly. She’s in trouble and reverts to singing in Spanish, which worked for her in week 1, but not now. The judges inexplicably go easy on her.
Casey (1991) and his bass take on Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. He is quirky and unique and a little scary. I can only imagine Kurt Cobain seizing in his grave that his song is on AI, but I digress… I notice he’s wearing an ascot – bold choice Case. Tyler says he has the “goop” and is crazy and talented at the same time, JLo once again calls him sexy, and Randy, whilst reminding us yet again of all the great artists he’s worked with, manages to give him a side-handed compliment too. I dig Casey, but not tonight – sorry.
Lauren (1994) informs us she has the flu and she must be medicated because she’s acting like she just shared a bong of Salvia with Miley Cyrus. She sings Melissa Etheridge’s “I’m the Only One” which definitely suffers from her illness, but its still good enough to keep her safe on this sad night. The panel loves her.
Jacob (1989), our final victim, is in the clutch spot. He disses his mom’s singing, which probably won’t help his popularity, but my guess is that he has fans to spare right now. He’s takes on Heart’s “Alone”, which he certainly Jacob-izes extensively. Randy gives him at least 3 yo’s and Steven and JLo echo the love vibe. Maybe he’s a singers’ singer because I thought he was way over the top, bordering on annoying.
Predictions tonight are tough because honestly, there was more bad than good. I’m guessing that Naima, Haley and Karen will be Bottom 3, and Naima will go home. What do you think?