Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Top 6 Perform the Carole King Catalog

Article first published as American Idol: The Top 6 Perform on Technorati.

Wednesday night, the Idols took the stage and took on Carole King, a living legend. I was psyched about the song choices of what I believe is one of the best songwriters of the 20th century.  My only concern was whether the Idols would stick to her oft-overplayed standards, or delve deeper into the portfolio and make some risky and less known choices.  It was a fun evening for sure with some interesting twists.  Here’s how it all went down…

Seacrest kicked things off by sharing, somewhat inexplicably, that Babyface is the mentor this week.  Hmm…didn’t see that coming. was just starting to grow on me.  “” I guess….disappointing.

Also, we were told that each Idol would sing a solo as well as a duet with another Idol. They’re really pulling out all the stops in Season 10!  The performances started off with Jacob, doing “Oh No, Not My Baby,” in typical understated Jacob style….ok, so maybe not so understated!  He was dressed a little like Carlton from the Fresh Prince, circa 1990, and now that I think of it, he danced a bit like Carlton too!  The Pep Squad (aka Judges), naturally dug him.  Especially Randy, who was dressed a bit like a Carlton sidekick.

Next we got Lauren’s solo effort of the night – “Where You Lead.”  During her rehearsal, Iovine surprised her by bringing in her idol, Miley Cyrus.  My ears are still ringing from my 6-year-old’s screaming over that stunt.  Laruen’s performance was certainly fine, but I just thought she lacked any truly unique or interesting.  Maybe she’s suffering from a lack or real star quality.  The Pep Squad didn’t seem to watch the same performance as me however, because they all loved it.  Randy tried to criticize her a bit, but then backed out of it midstream and just cheered her on.  laurn had trid to up the ante on her performance by flirting with a smitten boy in teh audience.  Ryan brought him up on stage to meet Lauren, but then one of the producers must have screamed into his earpiece and reminded him that Lauren is underage so Ryan backs off the plan.  Whew – Idol decency crisis averted.

Our first duet of the evening was Casey and Haley doing, “I Feel the Earth Move. ”  It was very cruise ship-esque and I found myself wishing Master Cowell had been there to say so….Certainly the rest of the judges said nothing of the sort. 

Scotty was next with a very slowed down and understated version of  “You’ve Got a Friend.”  I’m sort of done with his schtick, but it was one of his best performances and sounded great, in a 1970’s Andy Williams TV special sort of way. He seemed less like a caricature of himself this week and I pretty much dug it.  Of course, the three judges did too. 

We were then promised a softer, gentler side of James Durbin.  Ever the skeptic, I thought it may be sarcasm in Ryan’s reference, but no.  He did dial it down a bit and went with “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” with “no marching band and no flaming piano,” in his words.  He still rocked it out quite a bit – it was hardly a lullaby.  James is consistent and this performance was a winner.  The judges seemed focused on trying to outdo one another complimenting him.  Randy even went so far as to predict James the winner, AND came up on stage and hugged him.  What I wouldn’t give to watch just one episode of this show with Simon in my living room….Oh well.

Since no soloist would ever voluntarily follow that lovefest, we were back to a duet of Scotty and Lauren.  Ryan tired desperately to drum up some Idol scandal by suggesting that those two had something going on, but they weren’t having any of it.  Why is Ryan obsessed with Lauren having a crush?  He should leave the poor girl alone.  Their performance of “Up On the Roof” did not send me over the moon, but maybe I’m just grumpy?  It seemed sweet but lame.

Casey was up next with “Hi-De-Ho”, seemingly a perfect song choice for him.  Even his angry growling sounded in context within the song.  It was one of his best performances in my opinion.  At the very least, he had a blast and it gave the idol producers a chance to bring back out the blond bombshell sax player. Aside from JLo telling him to “get loose”, the judges offered only praise.               

Haley chose “Beautiful” and sang it well, but I’m not sure I’ll remember it in 2 days or rush to download it.   There was just nothing magic about it, and this late in the game, she needed to bring magic every time. Steven Tyler said he “saw God” and JLo called it “beautiful and amazing.”  Randy dared to almost offer some criticism, but was quickly shut down. 

The closer of the night was James and Jacob doing a duet of “I’m Into Something Good.”  What a Felix and Oscar moment that was.  It was corny and – amazingly – Steven Tyler did not dig it.  They didn’t even bother to get the other judges’ opinions. 

With the judges apparently trying to keep everyone and all of the Idols being pretty consistent, predictions are going to be tough again this week.  I’d say that Scotty and James are 100% safe, and that everyone else is vulnerable.  I’d like to see Jacob, Lauren and Haley in the Bottom 3, with Jacob going home, but I’m not sure that Casey is totally safe, and we may even get Lauren in the Bottom 3 tonight.  It will definitely be a suspenseful recap show tonight on Fox.  Check here for local listings and scheduled performances:


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