Wednesday, April 27, 2011
AI Season 10, Top 6 Performance, 04-27-11
Ryan speaks softly as the kids are silhouetted in spotlights. He intros them one at a time because this. is. American. Idol.
Randy is wearing a letter sweater (R, if you're curious). Steven Tyler is in a silver lame shirt, a silver-gray leather jacket, and pale gray pants. He also has his usual feathered hair accouterments. JLo is in a dress that looks like it's decorated with silver and black butterfly scales.
It's Carole King week (squee!). She has written hundreds of songs, starting out with Jerry Goffin in the Brill Building. Oh, and there's James Taylor (Squee x 1000!!!)- not in person, however. I don't suppose we'll be lucky enough to see him this week. With or without JT, this week has the potential to be amazing. It has an equal potential for trainwreckery. Which will it be?
Gah! Constantine! My eyes!
Babyface is working with Jimmy Iovine, mentoring the kids this week. It's not as random as it sounds- Babyface has worked with Carole King in the past (as well as most of the Musical A List). The kids are singing solo songs, and also duets tonight. Gotta use those 90 minutes somehow, I guess. Though it's fairly novel for this singing show to fill up time with actual singing.
#1. Jacob- solo Oh No, Not My Baby, which is so not the song I thought he'd choose. Oh wow, his prelim clips are terrible- Jacob is not getting it at all. Iovine thinks it's a mess too. Onstage, Jacob is wearing a purple plaid jacket over a blue cardigan over a yellow shirt, with a purple bow tie. And he has yellow shoes. And, as always, his pants look like they're a size too small. But even that outfit can't distract me from how awful this is. Jacob starts out too high, and the whole performance goes downhill from there. It's a mess from start to finish. He gets a Standing O, but it looks and feels forced. JLo offers mild criticism, and Randy points out some bloopers. It's pretty faint praise. Even Steven mostly comments on the dancing rather than the singing.
#2. Lauren- solo Where You Lead. Babyface points out to Lauren what most of us figured out long ago- that Lauren is her own worst enemy, second guessing herself and handicapping her own performances. You know, I often complain about Lauren dressing like a 35 year old barfly, but I don't think the solution is wearing a stodgy, one-shouldered dress. She looks like someone's gramma. A gramma with really great hair. And cowboy boots.
Commercial: Applebees, with entrees for the grownups, and margaritas for the kids.
Oh my, and there's Miley Cyrus, who sounds like a 100 year old chain smoker. Anyway, Lauren sounds good onstage. I think she actually listened to Iovine and Babyface- there seems to be a little more depth and maturity to her voice. You can tell exactly when in the performance that she stops thinking about singing, and just sings. For some reason, she calls a random kid up out of the audience. He sits on the steps with her. I hope she knows him, because he's pretty touchy-feely. The judges all notice the difference in Lauren's performance.
Afterward, Ryan brings the kid up again, and establishes that he's 19, which means that he should have known better than to be so grabby with the 16 year old.
#3. Casey and Haley- duet, I Feel the Earth Move. If these two aren't an item, they're doing a very good job of faking it. They're totally adorable together, and Casey blushed throughout the whole pre-performance clip. Haley has excellent hair tonight, and she's wearing a cute, strapless, jewel encrusted short dress. Casey is in an ill-fitting, weirdly buttoned, black suit. They sound very good together. I'm warming to Haley, and you all know how I feel about Casey. This is good.
#4. Scotty- solo. Scotty is singing You've Got a Friend, which is dangerous, given that it's so totally identified with both Carole King and James Taylor. Iovine says it could be boring, which is absolutely true. Scotty is wearing a slate blue leather leisure jacket, and he's sitting on the stool of seriousness. He starts out in his higher register. The song begins gently and quietly, and wow... I really like this. Someone told Scotty not to use both hands on the mike, and he actually listened. He's also corrected the head tilt. Scotty is putting a country spin on this song, which is no surprise. But he's really pulling it off, which is. It's excellent, and his Standing O looks much more genuine than Jacob's. Good job, kiddo!
#5. James- solo. James is singing Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. Note to Ryan: this song is absolutely not a love song. In fact, it's the polar opposite. James has fairly tame hair tonight. He's wearing a raspberry tee, with a gray vest and black jeans. He starts out a Capella, which sounds truly lovely. He then plays the guitar and rocks it out just exactly the right amount. This is an absolutely great performance! Bravo!
There's Penny Marshall in the audience. Wearing sunglasses. Sigh.
Steven turns his commentary back on himself, as is his wont. JLo gushes, and Randy trots out all of his cliches. It was that good.
#6. Lauren and Scotty duet. Up on the Roof (and yes, Carole King wrote every song in the world, or at least all the songs that Bob Dylan and Paul Simon did not write). Lauren has changed to a pale tan, strapless dress with a wide leather belt, and a flowered border print. Oh, and boots that are 96% fringe. Scotty is in a tan leather jacket. Both of them are sitting on the stairs, and there they stay for the whole song. Scotty is still singing in his higher register, and he's mostly backup for Lauren. This is nice, though not wonderful. Scotty is still single-handing the microphone, but the head tilt is back.
#7. Casey-solo. Ryan says Casey is singing a Blood, Sweat, and Tears song, so The Hub and I spend the whole commercial trying to figure out which one it is. Hi-De-Ho... hmmmmm. We come back to see a very small girl sitting on Steven Tyler's lap, which is totally skeevy. Iovine says that Casey has a tendency to skate the edge, which can work, or it can be a disaster, but that he respects Casey's artistry. Casey is wearing a nice dark suit, with a lime green tie. Unfortunately, he's also wearing a too-small, black Rat Pack hat. I hate Rat Pack hats, even on Casey. He starts out tinkling the piano, and then wanders among multiple musicians. Along the way, he loses the hat. This is right in Casey's wheelhouse- it's bluesy, jazzy and growly. It's totally entertaining. Will it keep him in the competition for another week? I have absolutely no idea. As much as I love him, I think Casey is more suited to work with a band, than as a solo artist. The judges love it, and Randy says that New Orleans is his home state.
#8. Haley- solo. Haley's singing Beautiful. During her pre-performance clips, she is wearing a totally inexplicable headband that is festooned with little pom-poms, and maybe faces, and possibly food. It's hard to tell. Onstage, she's wearing a really awful, shapeless beige dress with split sleeves, spangles, and an asymmetrical hem. There's a small live-show delay because her earpiece isn't working properly. Haley says it is fixed, but given how terrible she sounds, I'm not so sure. I really hate this arrangement- it's the definition of cabaret. And Haley is off-tune almost the whole time. It's too bad- I was just starting to like her (or at least tolerate her a whole lot more happily). However, Randy is the only one who points out flaws.
#9. Jacob and James duet. They're singing the Herman's Hermits hit, I'm Into Something Good (further proof that Carole King wrote every song in the world). In the pre-performance clips, the boys josh with each other comfortably, which surprises me because I thought they hated each other. Onstage, they're dressed in school-boy uniforms with white pants and charcoal jackets. This is totally weird- the choreography is strange, the harmonies are okay (better than I expected), but I dislike Jacob so much that I can't tell if the song is really as bad as I think it is. It was so odd that Steven Tyler, the King of No Criticism, says he didn't like it.
Overall, this night went very well. I have Jacob and Haley as the Bottom 2 (I'll give Haley the benefit of the doubt and assume it wasn't her fault), with James and Scotty at the top. I place Casey a very respectable 3rd. But I'm not taking any bets on who is going home. The only elimination that would surprise me would be Scotty's.