Last night, the “American Idol” Top 13 sang songs by their musical heroes. Predictably, songs from the mid-’90s ruled, since this was when most of the contestants were firs aware of music beyond “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” It was quite a night. Naima showed us she can dance and Jacob Lusk morphed into James Durbin. Here’s how it all panned out:
Lauren Alaina was underwhelming on Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine” and so she pouted her way all through the judges’ comments. Teen eye-rolling supreme!
Casey Abrams showed he was better able to take direction, looking directly at the judges, as advised by coach, Jimmy Iovine, as he began Joe Cocker’s version of the Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends.” J-Lo was blown away, grabbing Randy as it struck her, “I am watching somebody important!” Nice, Casey. Very nice!
Then we came right back down to earth with Ashthon Jones’ terrible “When You Tell Me That You Love Me”. Last week, Randy told her she sounded like Diana Ross so this week she decided that she’d become her. Only she didn’t, in my view. The judges, though, were a little lost for words, only telling her she “grew as a singer”. Well, I aged in that performance too1
Paul McDonald looked lost without his guitar and barely whispered Ryan Adams’ “Come Pick Me Up.” At least, we think that’s what it was – minus a few consonants and some careful TV edits on “F_ me up” and / “They’re all full of s__”. Up to now, I’ve loved Paul, but this was more drunk Dad at a wedding.
Pia Toscano did better with Celine Dion’s 1996 version of Eric Carmen’s 1975 power ballad “All By Myself.” It left Randy raving about her “natural gift”.
James Durbin gave an impressive performance of Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” and his soft ending on “Maybe I’m afraid of the way I love you,” with one hand outstretched towards the audience was a nice touch.
Haley Reinhart’s reinvention of LeAnn Rimes’ “Blue” split the judges and almost split Randy’s sides. He couldn’t stop laughing at the other judges’ praise of her stillness and her strong voice.
Jacob Lusk should have done an amazing job on R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” and J. Lo and Steve both refused to judge him, Jennifer because she said he made her feel too much and Steve because he was too good to be judged. I’m kind of with Randy, who pointed out how Jacob “kind of lost it” in parts.
Thia Megia sang a jazzed-up “Smile” (Jackson’s 1995 version) but struggled with the temp. The judges agreed she should have stuck with Jimmy Iovine’s suggestion to start off softer and more intimate. Even Thia agreed, and cried.
Stefano Langone brought disco fever to Stevie Wonder’s “Lately” but that just added to the ridiculous feel of the whole performance, for me.
Next, J-Lo let Karen Rodriguez down gently by telling her she looked “beautiful” as she sang “I Could Fall In Love by Selena. She may have been “shining like a star” but there the star quality ended. Randy felt she was “kind of fighting the song” but if dhe was, she lost the battle. “I could tell you were a bit uncomfortable with the lower notes, and some of the higher notes” said J-Lo. So, pretty much all of it then?
Scotty McCreery gave us the solid performance of Garth Brooks’ “The River” that we expected. But he looked a little uncomfortable without his guitar to keep his hands busy. Scotty could be the dark horse of “American Idol”, if we don’t all tire of him doing his thing, because he does it so well.
Last up was Naima Adedapo with her version of Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” Pitch issues aside, Naima livened up the night with her self-penned reggae rap interlude which made her stand out.
So, there you have our view of last night’s “American Idol”. What did you think? Who should be eliminated?