Here we are with the Lucky 13 American Idol contestants, now vying for the Top 12 slots! Judges and Ryan take their places, and we jump in with both feet.
Lauren Alaina is their first offering tonight. She is singing Shania Twain's "Any Man of Mine", dressed in black jeans, a belted seafoam green ruffly top with large stones, huge white hoop earrings, and cutie-patootie ballet flats. She is decidedly country again this week (a surprise, no??), and it fits her youth and personality. Again, we are used to thinking of her as a sultry, rockish sort of sound, so it's strange to see her peg herself as a country girl, but if this is the way she ends up going, I think she could live in the KellyClarksonMeetsRebaMcIntyre world. The judges are confused, and want the old Lauren back.
Casey Abrams is up next with Joe Cocker's version of "A Little Help From My Friends". He is wearing a black leather jacket, black pants, and a white graphic tee. He has a silver chain hanging from a button on his jacket to a button on his hip pocket. He is wonderful, attacking the song as usual. He has my vote, and no way is he going anywhere after this performance. Steven says he is a Rainbow of Talent and a Plethora of Passion. Love it.
Ashthon Jones sings "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" by Diana Ross. She is wearing a silver one-shoulder hugging floor length dress, with huge silver hoop earrings. Hair is good and big. Her song is nice, but a little rocky at the start; too big for her, IMO. It doesn't help that I'm not familiar with the song. If the rest of America doesn't connect with it either, this could hurt her. Jennifer says she has confidence in her, Randy is worried for her, and Steven calls her a real professional & amazing.
We call Paul McDonald up next, who is singing "Come Pick Me Up" by Ryan Adams. I've heard of the guy, but don't know the song. Again. I hope they don't pull out unfamiliar stuff all through the season. I'm a snob...I like to sing along. Paul is wearing a black military suit with thick red piping, a red shirt and black tie. His style remains the same as we've seen him before. At least we can say he knows what kind of artist he is going to be. His Elaine Benes moves around the stage are hard for me to watch. I think this is a guy that I will only like with certain songs. Jennifer says she likes to watch the audience while he's performing because they "get it". Randy says it wasn't the most exciting song.
Next, we'll hear from Pia Toscano, who sings Celine Dion's version of "All By Myself". She wears a gorgeous gold, one-shoulder short dress with a long peach satin train. Her long wavy hair is down. What a powerful, full voice! Wow! Jennifer shakes her head and tells Pia she has left her speechless. Randy reminds us that no one should tackle Whitney, Celine or Mariah (the big 3), but that Pia has that quality. Says her notes are dead on.
James Durbin is up with "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney. Oh, you have my attention. This is one of my favorites! If you have never heard the Bryan Duncan version of this song, look it up. Mmmm-hmmm. Oh yeah...James. He is wearing black jeans, white tee, burgundy/black vest, wallet chain, cross earring, and black scarf. Missing is the tail. I'll admit, it was a bit shaky at first, but he got in the sweet spot, and was right on. His upper register is to die for. The ending subdued. Yep. Randy says "First Judas Priest, now you slay Paul McCartney." Calls him "dangerous". Steven says "If there was a ever a review to say about you, you just sang it!" Yep.
Haley Reinhart is taking on "Blue" by Leanne Rimes, wearing a deep "V" navy ruffly long dress with huge tassle earrings. She has vocal acrobatics this week that really work. I like her ability to change genres, but sing with the same feeling. Jennifer likes that America is getting to know her now. She's unique and special. Randy says there were good parts, but it was boring and sleepy. Neh.
As soon as Jacob tells us he will be singing R. Kelly, we know we're in for the Space Jam wonder, "I Believe I Can Fly". Not a fan. Jacob is wearing a grey suit, red pocket hanky, stud earrings and a red & white checked tie. He starts out in a different key than the band is playing. Interesting choice. A choir in blue robes joins him, and he finds the band's key. Whew. My ears were bleeding. His last high note was the only redeeming quality in my mind. The judges disagreed with me completely. Randy called it "pitchy in the middle" but everything else was great! Uh hun. We heard different performances, for sure.
Thia Megia comes up with Michael Jackson's "Smile" next. Unfortunately, she calls the songs originator Charlie Chapman. Close. :) She is wearing a cool graduated white and grey dress, belted with a black bow ribbon, and black heels. She starts in strong controlled voice, and adds a beat to it after the first verse. It's pretty good and different. The judges liked the beginning a lot more than the middle to end. Jennifer tells her that her strength is in her angelic voice.
In between singers, Steven Tyler shows us his "Biggest Fan". It's a big fan. Hehehe. :)
Ryan calls Stefano Langone to the stage. Stefano will sing "Lately" by Stevie Wonder. He is in a black leather jacket with grey sleeves, a light blue button down, loose plaid tie, black pants and hightop sneakers. He has the teeniest-tiniest little soul patch under his bottom lip. He has one of my favorite performances of the night. He is great voice. Randy says that he slayed it. Steven loves the arrangement. Go Stef.
Karen Rodriguez is up with Selena's "I Could Fall in Love". Her earrings are monsters; very cool silver 8s with stones hanging from them. Her hair is in a severe ponytail, she has a large cuff bracelet, and a black sequined jumpsuit a la Selena that she designed! Jennifer starts her critique with the kiss of death: you look beautiful. Uh oh. Yeah, the judging went down from there. I worry for her.
Scotty McCreery will bring us Garth Brooks' "The River". I am not a big country fan, and don't know much by GB at all, but I gather that this is a biggy in the C & W world. Scotty is wearing jeans, a chambray button down with fleur de lis pattern, and his cross necklace. His signature country sound is undeniable. I maintain that he is not long unemployed. Randy agrees with me, saying he could put that on a record now. Scotty says "What's a record??" JK.....He's young, remember?? Steven says he is riding high and did Garth proud.
Last is Naima Adedapo and her ghetto-fabulous outfit. Words really fail to describe the mess she was wearing. She sings Rhianna's "Umbrella", which I am a fan of. We are not big fans of Naima's "Umbrella", though. She hip-hop dances around the stage pretty well, but it leaves her too out of breath to do any of the singing afterward. This is probably why most of our singers stand still. I know it's why I stand still. :) Randy gives out the most "Yo's" I have recorded so far, but I don't remember if there were any other words in there. Jen says she's got fire, girl. She also tells her she needs to work on her control. I agree. I think she can do better than this, but expect she'll be around to get another chance.
Top marks to --- Casey, Lauren, Pia, James, Stefano, Scotty
Meh --- Haley, Thia, Karen, Naima
Could do without (at least tonight) --- Ashthon, Paul, Jacob
That's All I Know!