Wednesday, April 6, 2011

American Idol: Cleveland Rocks!

On the banks of luscious Lake Erie
sits the jewel of Northeast Ohio, the
Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.
I was born and raised in Cleveland, and there aren't many occasions where my hometown gets a lot of love. However, we do have the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame going for us. Tonight our Fine Nine had to choose songs from Hall of Fame inductees. The great think about the Hall is that there are all kinds of inductees from Elvis to Johnny Cash to Run DMC. Everyone should be able to find a song that fits firmly in their wheelhouse (even Scotty). This would be an interesting evening.

Jacob Lusk didn't disappoint. He kicked off the night with Michael Jackson's Man in the Mirror. He's been listening! Less facial contortions and a more restrained performance. The only issue I had was at the end of his introductory package he said something about if he was in the bottom three it wasn't because he didn't sing well but because America wasn't ready to look in the mirror. That arrogance will cost him some votes.

After being compared to her all season, Haley Reinhart decided to tackle the Janis Joplin classic, Piece of My Heart. The judges loved it but I didn't think she did Janis justice. If anything, she showed how much she isn't like Janis to me.

Keeping up the classic rock vibe was Casey James. With his upright bass in tow, he took on Credence Clearwater Revival's Have You Ever Seen the Rain? This was actually a good choice for him as he actually sounded a little like CCR's lead singer, John Fogerty.

Lauren Alaina put a country spin on Aretha Franklin's Natural Woman. The irony is that Gwen Stefani, who helped style the Idols this week, made sure she didn't look like a natural woman! LOL! She had her faux-hawk, and heavy make-up with bright red lipstick. Her version was sung well but it was a bit lethargic. I wanted more energy.

Energy is something we usually get from James Durbin in spades. This week he toned it down and tackled The Beatles While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Since Rock-n-Roll night was firmly in his wheelhouse, I didn't know what to expect from James, but I didn't expect this. It was a bold choice and he sang the song well and saved the scream for the end. Restraint paid off again.

Channeling his inner Elvis, Scotty shunned his country shenanigans and went straight rock. He seemed to have a good time with That's Alright. He got the crowd involved and even had an Elvis like gaggle of girls run up on stage at the end.

Pia Toscano promised she'd go more uptempo if she made it through last week. She kept her word. She went with Tina Turner's River Deep, Mountain High. She's a solid singer so she nailed it vocally. However, I've seen trees on a day with no wind that aren't as stiff as that girl. She needs to get some moves!

Finally! Stefano Langone actually connected with the lyrics. He sang Percy Sledge's When a Man Loves a Woman. For I think the first time this season, he seemed to have an emotional connection with the words.

Closing the show was Paul McDonald. He made a curious song choice, Johnny Cash's Folsom County Prison. Okay.... Paul's unique voice didn't quite seem suited for Johnny Cash. Yet he took the stage with his guitar and a few other musicians and made it feel like a concert. He actually made it work

Predictions for the Bottom Three:
Hayley Reinhart
Jacob Lusk
Stefano Langone

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