Thursday, March 10, 2011

American Idol: Who's Your Idol?

Maybe if I send enough positive
vibes I can avoid being the first
one voted off this season!
Last night the real American Idol competition began. After massive auditions and the drawn-out drama that was Hollywood week, one of last night’s 13 performers will be crowned the 10th American Idol.

The contestants were asked to sing a song from one of their idols. The pre-performance packages focused on who they chose and why. Plus, a new feature in Season 10, each one worked with a noted producer on their selection.

Lauren Alaina, “Any Man of Mine” (Shania Twain)
This early frontrunner gave a solid performance; but, I agree with Steven Tyler who said that she’s going to have to step it up a notch if she plans on staying ahead of the pack. I'm interested to see what she'll bring next week, and she will be back next week.

Casey Abrams, “A Little Help from My Friends” (Joe Cocker)
Maybe it’s because his lumberjack look do absolutely nothing for me. Maybe it’s because I hate that damn song. Whatever it is, I don’t get the adulation (and all three judges gushed over him) for Abrams. Some are even predicting him for the win. Don’t get it but I’m sure he’s safe.

Ashthon Jones, “When You Tell Me You Love Me” (Diana Ross)
Ashthon is a diva. I like that about her. She’s got incredible stage presence and personality which, in addition to vocals, are an important part of making a successful American Idol (for anyone who doesn’t agree I have two words for you … Lee DeWyze). I like her. However, I didn’t like what she did last night. I wish she would have picked another song, a song more people were familiar with. I really think she’s going home.

Paul McDonald, “Come Pick Me Up” (Ryan Adams)
Don’t know anything about Ryan Adams (except I’m glad that he’s not Bryan Adams) or this song. Paul’s got a really unique voice and I hope he stays around (and I think he will) but not knowing (or liking the song) and watching him stagger (or is it dancing?) around on stage didn’t do much for me either.

Pia Toscano, “All By Myself” (Celine Dion)
It’s not a funny song, but it’s just so over-the-top dramatic that I have to laugh. Having said that, Pia gave a memorable performance last week of The Pretenders “I’ll Stand by You.” She matched that with this performance. The girl can belt out a tune!

James Durbin, “Maybe I’m Amazed” (Paul McCartney)
I love this song. When I heard James D. was singing it, I cringed. I knew there was a part at the end where he could do his patented scream and really go to town. I didn’t want to hear that. Surprisingly, he sang the song and sang it well - even throwing in a little falsetto. He did do a little of the scream thing at the end (I really don’t think he could help it), but it wasn’t the screamfest I’d been expecting (thankfully). He's a safe bet.

Hayley Reinhart, “Blue” (Leann Rhimes)
Yodeling is usually an automatic turn-off for me (it also makes me crave a cup of Swiss Miss cocoa) but she pulled it off. She looked stunning and sang well. It was a little too country for me but I’m sure a lot of people loved it. We'll see her next week.

Jacob Lusk, “I Believe I Can Fly” (R. Kelly)
Once again, Jacob Lusk took us to church complete with a gospel chorus (Casey Abrams had some back-up help too). I believe he’s safe but I also want to see him showcase his voice in a few other genres.

Thia Megia, “Smile” (Michael Jackson)
The arrangement was kind of off but it was well-sung. She’ll be safe. However, when Steven Tyler says “You’re so new and young … and you really gave it up,” it’s just creepy.

Stefano Langone, “Lately” (Stevie Wonder)
He took a classic ballad and gave it a club remix. J Lo loved it. I was horrified. I wonder though, if people who are voting are familiar enough with the song to even know what the ballad sounds like. We’ll see tonight. If the voters agreed with me, Stefano might be in the bottom three.

Karen Rodriguez, “I Can Fall In Love” Selena
Looking very Selena-esque, Karen nailed the signature song of the slain singer (portrayed by J Lo in the movie). J Lo didn’t seem that impressed and while her performance was good, it wasn’t memorable (I almost forgot to put her in this recap!)

Scotty McCreery, “The River” Garth Brooks
Like Paul McDonald, Scotty’s voice is very distinctive. As he moves through the next few weeks (and I think he will), I will be curious to see what his range really is. I want to see him get a little out of his comfort zone. He’s got a lot of fans and did Mr. Brooks justice. See you next week, Scotty!

Naima Adedapo, “Umbrella,” Rihanna
Nothing against Ri-Ri, but she’s a performer more than a singer and her songs don’t lend themselves easily to a vocal competition. I’m sure Naima wanted to show folks she could do more than jazz and she did with this number, but it didn’t showcase her singing. In fact, it was more a showcase for her dancing and ability to do reggae dancehall (which she threw in halfway through the song). Could be a bottom three.

Bottom 3: Ashthon Jones, Naima Adedapo, Stefano Langone

Going Home: Ashthon

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