Thursday, April 7, 2011

Top 9 Perform: The Idols Take On Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame Classics

Article first published as American Idol: Top 9 Perform on Technorati.

So, the Idols are rockers tonight.  It should be a good week for James and Casey especially.  We’re treated to Steven telling us all about the Hall of Fame and its mission, patting himself on the back as an inductee.  The honor is well deserved on his part, just it feels a little cheesy that someone else didn’t give him the accolades. 

The show raises may questions for me.  Why is Randy wearing pleather?  Why is a Rock ‘n Roll mentor?  Where is Gwen Stafani? Why are the Idols all dressed like it’s 80’s week? Hopefully, most of these deep mysteries will be solved.

They bring out the Idols, who are doing their best to build their street cred as actual rockers, by wearing mall fashions.  First up is Jacob, who tells us he’s doing “Let’s Get It On.”  Jimmy is ecstatic and he sounds pretty good in his quick riff, but wait.  There’s a twist; he changes his mind and goes with Michael Jackson’s “Man In the Mirror” instead, much to Jimmy’s dismay, and mine as well.  I really dig Marvin Gaye and thought he could have rocked that.  “Man in the Mirror” wasn’t bad, but it was not memorable to me. The judges and the audience love him though, so maybe I’m just not keen on Jacob.

Second up is Haley who’s doing Janis Joplin.  I think that could be a strong choice for her.  She does “Piece of My Heart” and proves that it’s really in her wheelhouse.  I think it’s one of her strongest performances yet, even if she does go a bit overboard with the gravelly voice thing.   The panel thinks she is awesome. 

Next, we’re treated to the vocal stylings of Casey, who opts for CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain.”  And, he’s bringing back the “Big Base.”  I should love it – it’s got a mandolin and everything (or is that a ukulele?)  But to be honest, I think it’s just so-so.  Randy, pointing out of course that he’s a fellow base player, digs it.  Steven and Jennifer call him a true musician. Am I just grumpy tonight?  Another mystery I can only hope will be solved by the end of the 90 minutes.    

Then Lauren does “Natural Woman,” one of my all time favorite songs.  Tonight, she’s dressed less like one of Bravo’s Real Housewives, and more like Janet Jackson, circa 1983.  She sounds good but somehow forgettable.  I like her; I just think she could have done more with this tune.   Steve says she’s not a little girl anymore, and I’m getting a little creeped out, Jennifer calls her amazing, and Randy tells her it was a difficult song and she did a good job.

Ryan promises us a very different James.  He says he’s going to slow it down with “Why My Guitar Gently Weeps”.  That’s a ballad, right?  Didn’t we get enough of those last week?  Still, we haven’t really seen the softer side of James yet, and it’s a great song choice for him.  He even throws in a vintage Durbin scream at the end for good measure.  The experts agree that it was a calculated risk that paid off.

Scotty is on deck now and taking on Elvis, specifically “That’s Alright Mama.”  Scotty promises to try to tap into his inner bad boy and not the “Country Scotty.”  It still sounds pretty country to me, but his voice is really well suited for the range of the song, and he tries to limit the corny Elvis faces for the camera, at least a little.  Ryan allows a bunch of girls to rush the stage….interesting.  All the judges give him props.

Pia promises to really bring the attitude and power tonight on Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High.”  If I close my eyes, she sounded amazing.  She just didn’t really bring much energy to the actual performance.  She was also sporting sort of a Snookie poof, and a weird 80’ jumpsuit thing, so even though she’s a beautiful girl, closing my eyes was a good call.  Jennifer and Randy both gently call her out on the performance issue, but Tyler loves her.

Our penultimate performer is Stefano, doing “When a Man Loves a Woman.”  It starts off pretty weak, but then he decides standing up might help, and it brings a lot more power to the tune. Jennifer thought he really brought it, but Randy was kind of lukewarm.  Steven agrees with Jennifer, while I’m firmly in Randy’s camp. 

Finally, Paul is going to bring it home for us with “Fulsom Prison Blues.”  He’s going to try hard to channel some of that Johnny Cash craziness.  I’m glad to see that he’s left the rose-embroidered suit at home this week, although he does bring back his stage jig.  It’s good though – this is absolutely his bailiwick.  All the judges thought it was a great way to end the show.  

Predictions are going to be TOUGH this week as everyone was actually on top of their game.  I really think Stefano, Jacob, and Casey (sorry guy!) should be in the bottom 3 and Stefano should go home this week. But, that probably won’t happen.

If I break it down, I’m pretty confident that Jacob, Scotty, Lauren, James and Pia will be totally safe. Paul has been in the bottom in the bottom before, and Casey, Stefano and Haley are no strangers to the dreaded perches either.  My guess is that Paul, Casey and Haley will actually be the bottom 3, and Haley will go home.  I’m not as confident as I’d like to be on this, but there you have it.  I think that voters just don’t like her attitude even though her voice is good and she did a great performance last night.  I’m still holding out hope that Stefano will go home, but I think teenage girls voters eat that guy up.  What do you think?  Watch the results on Fox tonight and check out more recap details here:

Photo: Fox.

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