Unlike a certain curvaceous diva who is touted as a great songstress yet chose to lip-synch on Oscar night, at least last night’s contestants actually sang live.
You’d never have known it.
As the judges continue to stress, with only three people from each group moving forward, now is the time for these would-be’s to bring out the showstopping numbers. Apparently most of them didn’t get the memo.
The night got off to a bumpy start with the first three — and their incredibly wrong song choices:
Jasmine Murray: Started off with Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song.” While she valiantly tried to squeeze the tune into her R&B style, all we got was a repetitive hippie-chic tune with a slew of inappropriate vocal runs.
Matt Giraud: The dueling piano player, a strong contender during Hollywood Week, fared little better, trying to change Coldplay’s ubiquitous unofficial anthem of 2008, “Viva La Vida,” into something more soulful. If he chooses to keep singing this crap, he could at least divert us with one of these “duels” he keeps talking about. Is it a piano-to-the-death kind of thing?
Jeanine Vailes: Hmm. She’s apparently been around the whole time — but, uh, who knew? It seems that she watched the audition shows at home, too, and wasn’t very happy with her lack of camera time. This, she explains, is the reason why she oversang Maroon 5’s “This Love.” She acknowledged that perhaps she was overcompensating for flying “under the radar.” (Read: “I’m pissed that the producers have spent more time on showboaters like Norman Gentle than me.”) Personally, I prefer the roller-coaster craziness that was Tatiana to this blandness. (Come on, you know you miss her.)
Others falling to the curse of forgetability:
Kris Allen: OK, he’s a good looking guy with a lovely musical theater-quality voice, but there was nothing about him or his performance of “Man in the Mirror” that stood out.
Kai Kalama: The Sideshow Bob-haired Kalama has the voice and looks, but his choice of “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” was, as the judges noted, old fashioned.
Mishavonna Henson: She got cut during Hollywood Week last year, found yet another odd song choice in “Drops of Jupiter,” didn’t quite present her as the crazy, fun-loving 18-year-old she claims to be.
Matt Breitzke: Perhaps most surprising was the welder contestant, who sang a one-note version of “If You Could Only See.” But don’t count Breitzke out yet. America voted through oil roughneck Michael Sarver last week with his “just OK” performance of Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Want To Be.” The audience may want to see these two blue collar workers go head to head in a duel. With … pianos perhaps?
Yes, there were some vocal standouts:
Allison Iraheta: The magenta-haired 16-year-old, who was not featured much during the initial rounds, blew the judges away with her interpretation of Heart’s “Alone.” If you recall, this was the very same song that signified Carrie Underwood’s coming out party on “Idol” a few years back. Iraheta had the strongest female vocal of the night. Her only problem could be her lack of personality when being interviewed.
Megan Corkrey: A beautiful tattoo-sleeved mom with an old-school voice. She sang “Put Your Records On” to a mic stand as she twisted her body doing what Seacrest called “The Corkrey.”
Jesse Langseth: Another mom who stood out, with “Bette Davis Eyes.” She probably would have fared better in Group 1, where she wouldn’t have been overshadowed by Iraheta and Corkrey.
And then there was this year’s Sanjaya, though at least he’s entertaining:
Norman Gentle: Crazy Norman offered up what was one of the most entertaining performances in “Idol” history. Wearing his signature sparkly shirt, he whipped the crowd into a frenzy with his rendition of “And I Am Telling You” from “Dreamgirls.” Simon laughed the whole way through and, even more notably, Paula called it “memorable.” While Nick/Norman’s shtick may not be getting old, his song choice certainly is – it’s at least the third time we’ve seen him do it. If he does make it through by some miracle (or by the fact that I voted for him eight times), he clearly needs to come up with a new gay anthem to mock. Perhaps Streisand’s “Don’t Rain on My Parade?”
But it was the last offering of the night that will surely cause the most talk:
Adam Lambert: In what Simon called a “love it or hate it” performance, Adam Lambert gave us his best “Punk Elvis.” Yes, he was Fiyero in “Wicked.” We get it. He’s “theatrical.” In a performance that no doubt sent hundreds of pseudo-gothy-punk kids to the phones to vote (using their black-polished nails), Lambert sang “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones, starting low and slow at the beginning and working up into a manic episode towards the end. It felt oddly like a Broadway show about a rock singer who tries to be original like David Cook but just ends up looking silly. (Sorry, I just can’t get his ridiculous version of Cher’s “Believe” out of my head.) As if America wasn’t already divided on Lambert, Randy had to throw in that he’s got a Robert Pattinson thing going on. There. Like Simon said, you either love that or you hate it. (Hate!)
So who will America go for? Hard to tell. Nick Mitchell and Matt Breitzke didn’t have the strongest vocals of the night, they were entertaining and likeable. Adam Lambert will most likely be the male with the highest votes. As far as the girls go, it is down to Allison Iraheta and either Megan Corkrey or Jesse Langseth. Who knows, though? Last week’s results show was a bit of a shocker as far as Anoop Desai and Michael Sarver were concerned.
If “Idol” seasons past have taught us anything, it’s that you don’t have to be the most talented to make it to the Top 10 or even 5. (See: Sanjaya & Nikki McKibbin). At this point, it’s really anyone’s game.