IDOL TOP 9
April 6, 2011
Help me here. The theme is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the “coach” is will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas? Please.
JACOB LUSK picks Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”-- wow, that says rock and roll to me-- and kicks things off with the stupidest thing any contestant has ever said. “If I get into the Bottom 3, it won’t be because I sang the song wrong or badly, it’ll be because America is not ready to look at itself in the mirror.”
I’m going to ask your forgiveness here, because I simply have to call that what it is-- the most narcissistic bullshit ever thrown down in “Idol” history. He probably did okay, but I don’t care. I am done with this drama queen, judges’ ridiculous fawning praise to the contrary.
HALEY REINHART tackles Janis Joplin with “Piece of My Heart” after hearing some references to her as Janis-like. Well, it worked. It worked very well. There’s still something a little annoying about her, and it was a little growly, but I liked it a lot. The edgy rock vocal may be a better flavor for her than the syrupy stuff the girls usually pick.
CASEY ABRAMS continues his survival campaign with Creedence, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” in a subdued treatment with that upright bass. The wide grin and grunt are getting old, but he is a flat-out interesting singer, giving things an unpredictable treatment that keeps him interesting, and that may be the key to staying alive.
LAUREN ALAINA needed to look a little scared this week, and succeeded with “Natural Woman,” which also proved she has versatility beyond basic country. Not her best performance, but good enough to stay out of the Bottom 3. Very weird Belinda Carlisle-meets- Denny’s waitress hairdo, though.
There is growing buzz that JAMES DURBIN has the chops to win this thing. With Rock and Roll Hall of Fame week, this looked like his chance to bust out. So what does he do? He takes the Beatles “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and backs it down even below its normal medium tempo. Very, very nice change of pace from his usual frenetic clip. Not his best vocal, but he adds a dimension that should help him nonetheless.
I found myself wondering if rock week would be a challenge for country crooner SCOTTY MCCREERY. Not if he takes the first Elvis hit, “That’s Alright Mama,” which drips with country roots. Add a truly engaging stage presence and another great vocal, and this amounts to one of his best weeks. Country boy ain’t going home anytime soon.
It is so past time for PIA TOSCANA to deliver something up-tempo, and she sure did with Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High.” Let’s just say the performance was so good that that the ridiculous outfit didn’t even matter. She is probably the best pure voice in the competition. Her next level is to become more interesting onstage, which could be a challenge.
STEFANO LANGONE’S “When a Man Loves A Woman” was a chance for him to showcase his impressive vocal range. But I just can’t get past his cheesiness. The squint, the Vegas lounge persona, it’s just too much. But man, can he sing. But well enough for America to spare him the Stools of Shame?
PAUL MCDONALD sought to rasp new life into Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” And guess what? The guy I was about ready to get rid of delivers one of his best performances. Go figure.
BOTTOM THREE: JACOB, tainted by the Going First Curse, STEFANO, tainted by mediocrity, and HALEY, undeservedly, because she’s been there before and I doubt Janis resonated with the voting audience.