As usual, last night’s “American Idol” kicked off with a recap on the previous elimination. In case you’ve forgotten, Pia Toscano, a favorite with the judges but was clearly not with the voters. Don’t be too sad for Pia, though. Interscope reportedly wants to sign her so she’ll do OK.
Then there was some sucking up to Jennifer for being the cover girl for “People” magazine’s “Most Beautiful” supplement. We already know she’s gorgeous, so enough said. On to the real business of the night: Music from the Movies. Mostly, it was an entertaining night, although the song choices were a little shady at times.
Paul MacDonald kicked off the night in a new flowered suit. He sang “Old Time Rock and Roll” by Bob Seger from “Risky Business”. Oh no! The Drunk Dad at a Wedding dancing was back! Someone give him a guitar. The tambourine he found from somewhere added to the madness and this performance was nowhere near as good as last week. Jennifer said “it’s like watching a diamond in the rough and all of a sudden it’s like, every week a little bit more polished.” Jennifer said. Randy added “I love that you are not just a typical singer, you’re definitely an artist.” I’ve championed Paul a bit with his “crazy, wild abandon” that Steve loved in this show. But sometimes I wish he’d just sing, ya know? He really can sing!
Next up, Lauren Alaina sang “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus, from “Hannah Montana”. It wasn’t Lauren’s greatest performance, but as Jimmy Iovine hilariously pointed out, it was better than Miley Cyrus’. Jennifer gave her a good piece of advice. “I always feel like I want you to go further because I know you can go further. “ But she said she “sang it so beautifully.” Steven was typically complimentary but confusing: “I love what you bring to a song, but I love more what a song brings to you, in your spirit, and your voice more importantly. Every time you sing I hear it in the first verse.” He was moved “beyond tears”, apparently. Randy also thought her performance was amazing.
Stefano Langone chose “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men from “Boomerang”. I wonder if that title is prophetic and it will be the end of the road for him this week? The judges seemed to love the performance but I thought it was super-shaky to start. Randy called it his best vocal and to my mind, that isn’t saying a lot. He thought Stefano was “in it to win it” but that’s possibly a bit of a long shot. Jennifer was impressed too, causing the TV bosses to break out the bleeper when she said, “You now know the key, you now understand that… that was the s__!”
Next up, Scotty McCreery decided against singing Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talking at Me.” He chose “I Cross My Heart” by George Strait from “Pure Country.” I wish I hadn’t known he changed his mind because I would have loved to have heard him sing his first choice. He did a decent job crooning his way through this but I just kept running the other song through my head. Jennifer championed Scotty though, as I have. I squealed with excitement at her saying “All I really want to say is ‘wow.’” And I agreed totally with Randy when he said, “My motto in life: if it ain’t broke don’t even consider fixing it… I’m a huge, ginormous fan.”
Let’s hope Casey Abrams’ striving for individuality didn’t land him in trouble again this week as there are no more saves. He ditched Jimmy Iovine’s song choice of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”, which I think Casey would have smashed. Instead, he gave a great rendition of “Nature Boy” by Nat King Cole. His jazzed up performance earned him a standing ovation from the judges! Randy called Casey a true artist and said it was “brilliant… absolutely genius.” Casey was obviously emotional as Steven praised him. “brilliant man, I thought it was absolutely genius… as an artist, it makes me proud to sit here and judge artists as well as pop stars,” Randy said. “You believed what was in your heart and you did it… that’s the truest sense of the word artist,” said Steven.
Haley Reinhart selected “Call Me” by Blondie from “American Gigolo”. I’m clearly not hearing what the judges are hearing, because although I thought she gave a sexy performance I was a bit bored by it. The judges, however, criticized Haley more than they have in weeks –Randy called it “kind of karaoke”. Steven liked the chorus. Jennifer pretty much agreed, but said she was scared to lose another girl. I’m not. The guys are way better than the girls this season, I think.
I had to laugh at Jimmy Iovine’s groans over Jacob Lusk’s song choices. He wanted “The Impossible Dream” or “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Sickfest or what?!! But the vocal coaches talked him out of it, after teasing him about his comments last week about America not being able to look at themselves in the mirror. I’m so glad someone brought that up to him on camera! But on with the performance. Jacob was persuaded to sing an only slightly less saccharine “Bridge Over Troubled Water” from “The Pursuit of Happyness.” Jacob did what Jacob does – taking it right to the church for his final flourish. “Those last three notes… it’s incredible,” said Steven.
James Durbin was another contestant to challenge Jimmy Iovine’s song choice. James stuck to his guns and went with “Heavy Metal,” by Sammy Hagar, complete with the legendary rock guitarist Zakk Wylde. Hey, isn’t that cheating? Anyway, James was entertaining as ever, although he screamed this song rather than sang it. The judges loved it, though. “That felt really, really real! I really loved that,” said Jennifer. “Tonight you did you… hopefully America will bring metal back. Durbin rocks!” said Randy.
So, only eight contestants remain in “American Idol”. Who is surplus to requirements in your opinion? I’d be surprised to see Stefano live to sing another week, but then I’ve been surprised before…