Thursday, March 10, 2011

American Idol: Top 13 Address Their Icons

Well, I wasn't planning to watch Idol this year. The last few seasons had been so plodding. I wouldn't have kept watching them if I hadn't been wagering on it (and last year I won the pool!). And without Simon, I really felt the show would fail. But I have to admit, I've kind of enjoyed the judges so far, even if they don't really have very distinctive viewpoints or specific critiques. They have good chemistry. And the crop of talent this year is actually pretty impressive. Here's my thoughts on last night's show.

Lauren Alaina - "Any Man of Mine"

Young Lauren idolizes Shania Twain. She's got a booming voice, and she's likable. This song didn't really let her stretch but the performance was solid.

Casey Abrams - "With a Little Help From My Friends"

Casey let Joe Cocker possess him, and the results were very entertaining. This kid definitely doesn't look like an Idol, but I think he's the Taylor Hicks oddball of the season and he could go the distance. He's goofy and soulful, but he's also a damn good singer. Plus he brought the stand-up bass onto Idol - that was a first.

Ashthon Jones - "When You Tell Me That You Love Me"

Ashthon's very pretty and capable. She's got awesome hair, like her idol Diana Ross. I can't say she really stands out for me at this point. Barry Gordy came to see her. I wonder what he thought. The spelling of her name is hard for me to get over. It reminds me of when people named Thomas shorten their name and spell it "Thom".

Paul McDonald - "Come Pick Me Up"

This cat is part folky, part cheesy. He's hilarious to watch with his epileptic dance moves (again, I felt the presence of Taylor Hicks). His voice is unique. I can't say I love it, but it's something different. He's like Bob Dylan meets Barry Manilow. He sang a Ryan Adams song and J Lo admitted she didn't know who Ryan Adams was. His oddball qualities and alternative song choice may hurt him.

Pia Toscano - "All By Myself"

Pia went for the high degree of difficulty by tackling Celine, and she pulled it off really well. Her dress would have looked better without the strange drape in the back - seemed like a tail, like an unfinished Project Runway outfit. The girl really can belt it out. She'll be around for a while.

James Durbin - "Maybe I'm Amazed"

Yay for James! Last week he brought Judas Priest to Idol, which I thought was awesome. And now he tackled my favorite Paul McCartney song. James does evoke Adam Lambert but he's got his own style too - more rock, less theatrics. I love to see a little glam rock make a comeback. James has the touching story too - with his Asberger's and Tourette's issues, and young son. I'm rooting for him.

Haley Reinhart - "Blue"

I thought Haley's performance of the Leann Rimes song was too old-fashioned and kinda boring. Technically, it was fine, but her performances have left me cold so far.

Jacob Lusk - "I Believe I Can Fly"

I think Idol wants this kid to win, letting him come out with a full-on gospel choir. He's definitely talented, but I feel he oversings every time and tends to pick the cheesiest anthems like "God Bless the Child" and now this R. Kelly tune. And if you're wondering what spa Jacob is concierge at, it's Burke Williams since he mentioned the Hunter's Retreat in his spa spiel. What does a spa concierge do anyway? Get you theater tickets while you're being wrapped up in leaves and exfoliated?

Thia McGia - "Smile"

Even if Thia doesn't know who Charlie Chaplin is, she managed to pull of a good performance of this song (the Michael Jackson version). She's cute and young but not radiating a ton of personality yet. Still, she could be this year's Jasmine Trias and make it pretty far.

Stefano Langone - "Lately"

Stefano's took on a tough Stevie Wonder song and did OK with it. I thought the performance was somewhat cruise ship-ish, but the judges slobbered all over him. J Lo particularly seems to have a crush.

Karen Rodriguez - "I Could Fall in Love"

Karen brought a Selena tune to Idol, but she didn't sing with much verve. Her performance was so muted that I wondered if she might be ill (the producer made a comment about her needing to rest her voice before the show). She didnt seem to try for the big notes as she has in the past. I was disappointed, as I've been a fan so far, but I think she could be in danger.

Scotty McCreery - "The River"

Scotty is a bit of a one-trick pony, but it's hard not to like him when you hear that big Randy Travis voice coming out of the little kid. Here he tried a challenging Garth Brooks song and performed it really well. He's going to be around for a while.

Naima Adedapo - "Umbrella"

Naima is very pretty and unique. She definitely brings something new to Idol, and I was glad she got chosen to be a wild card. She didn't seem totally comfortable with this song, but her dance moves were fun and her reggae twist made it her own. I like her attitude.


Bottom 3 - Karen, Paul, Haley
Going home - Haley

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