Wednesday, March 16, 2011
AI Season 10, Top 12 Performance, 03-16-11
We open with Steven Tyler, in a chiffony, multicolored, sparkly shirt, singing a capella. He then talks about fund raising for the earthquake/tsunami victims in Japan. He's joined by JLo (in a gold flecked, floaty, leopard-print dress, and Raquel Welch hair), and Randy (in a nubbly, raw silk jacket).
Is that Carly Smithson in the audience?
The kids all come out together, so it's hard to tell which order they're going to sing.Casey is to the far left. They wave to the audience, though Paul seems to be waving to the set behind them. Tonight, they're singing songs from the year they were born.
#1. Naima- 1984. She was an adorable kid, and her very colorful parents are extremely proud of her. Naima is wearing black leggings, a yellow tank with a red vest under another light silver vest, both over a belt made of dangling coin medallions. She's singing What's Love Got to Do With It. It's not a terrible arrangement, but Naimia's voice isn't up to the task. JLo correctly calls her on the pitchiness, which Randy echoes.
#2. Paul- 1984. Paul's Southern parents explain that he used to love his Cowboy Suit. Paul threatens to find another. Honestly, I don't understand him. I mean, I know that quiet voices gain oomph in the studio, and in general, I like raspy voices- but Paul's voice is nearly inaudible. And I can't make sense of the parts that I can hear of I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues. He's wearing extremely skinny jeans, and once again, he substitutes one-legged hopping (the kind with a leg extended straight in front, while jumping about on the other foot) for performance style. I repeat- I don't get it.
#3. Thia- 1995... sigh... and of course, she was an absolutely adorable kid. She goes to the Disney well with The Colors of the Wind, which is actually a good choice for her voice, though Vanessa Williams has some pretty big shoes to fill. Outside of a runaway vibrato, this is her best performance yet, though the judges rightly call her on the Pageant Princess Bit. Speaking of princesses, unless Thia specifically wants her legs to silhouette through her long, slinky gold dress, a la Princess Di, she should wear a slip next time.
#4. James- 1989. James's family took lots of home movies, including one of him with his dollie. He's wearing a black leather jacket, the usual tail, and boots with a weird studded, leather accessory (which I thought were chains at first). He's singing I'll Be There for You, by Bon Jovi. This is A Very James Performance, which is to say that it's good(outside of that weak final note), but not my style . Steven gets his first bleep in a long while. James managed to say that he thought he could win without sounding arrogant, which many a contestant has attempted (and failed).
#5. Hayley, 1990. Hayley looks like her mom. She's singing I'm Your Baby Tonight in black pants, a red shirt, very red lipstick, and stilettos. I don't love Hayley (I think she's entirely disposable) but she chose the least Whitney song possible, and did okay with it. However, she held her microphone too close to her mouth, smearing lipstick on it, which in turn, was transferred to her chin and cheek. Which she does not realize. While the judges give their critiques (Note to Randy: make up your damn mind. Do they stay in their box, or do they try new things every week?), Ryan sneaks over with his hankie, to spit clean Hayley's chin.
#6. Stefano, 1989. Stefano comes from a very musical family. He's singing If You Don't Know Me By Now, which is a majorly stupid song (listen Narrator: either go home on time, or let her know you're going to be late. You'll save all sorts of trouble that way). Stefano is wearing a black blazer over a pink shirt, and jeans. He sounds exactly like what he is: a competent boy bander, though I do wish he'd sing with his eyes open more often.
#7. Pia, 1988. Pia's parents took lots of videos of her singing along to Whitney. She pays a weepy tribute to her Grandpa. Omigod- what the hell is she wearing? Can that possibly be a white silk harem jumpsuit, with a wrap top, cut-out shoulders, and a shirred, high waist? I don't know because my retinas have been seared. She's singing Where Do Broken Hearts Go, though singing is not exactly the word I'd use to describe this performance. The arrangement is awful, and the singing is worse, though the judges do not agree with me.
#8. Scotty, 1993. Scotty has always loved Elvis, and maybe that's why he developed a permanent starboard list. He's singing Travis Tritt's Can I Trust You With My Heart, in an amber suede jacket, Oxford shirt, jeans and cowboy boots (natch). I don't think I ever find anything technical to critique in his performances, and this one is no different. The audience goes wild.
#9. Karen, 1989. Karen has a Stage Mama, who freely admits to living through her daughter. Karen is dressed like Jane Fonda in Barbarella, in a very short silver and black dress, black over-the-knee boots, huge hoop earrings, and an impossibly tall hair tumor. She's singing Love Will Lead You Back, flipping back and forth between Spanish and English, as usual. This is okay, though a couple of notes were wobbly.
#10. Casey, 1991. Casey's parents were 40 when he was born, and they're an absolute hoot. No wonder he's so cool. Wow- he's playing a bass and singing Smells Like Teen Spirit (which is actually the only Nirvana song that I know, but it's so well known, that even Old Broads like me recognize it). Okay- Casey just proved that he can do anything. Randy drops a half dozen names but says absolutely nothing.
#11. Lauren, 1994. Lauren's father looks like he's 25 and her mother looks like Tammy Faye Bakker. Young Lauren had an attitude- go figure. She's wearing a sparkly leather jacket over a contraption that consists of a leopard print cummerbund paired with a pleated top festooned with chains, over tight leggings and fringed boots. She's singing Melissa Ethridge's The Only One. The start was weak, although she warmed into it,. There was plenty of wobble, and many less than perfect notes. But outside of the singing, you know, it was fine.
#12. Jacob, 1987. Jacob's mom has a lot of gums, and not much singing talent. He has chosen to sing Heart's Alone, which is the song that cinched the competition for Carrie Underwood. No, no, no, no. Granted, this song is overwrought, but it's not Jacob's brand of overwrought. As always, I would like Jacob a lot more if he would just sing. Also if he would enunciate- he's so busy warbling every syllable, and drenching every note with emotion, that the words are unintelligible. But the judges love Jacob, as always.
Worst outfit of the night? Pia, hand's down, though Karen's 60's Sci-Fi duds come close.
Bottom 3? Paul, Naima, and Hayley. I hope Paul gets the boot.