Wednesday, April 20, 2011

AI Season 10, Top 7 Performance, 04-20-11

Remember when they were just faces in a crowd?

Yeah, actually, I do. But JLo is right- we do have a deep pool of talent this year, representing a variety of genres.

Randy is wearing a black cardigan that is possibly trimmed with lace. JLo is extremely tan, in a black glittery shorts set. Her hair is pulled back in barrettes, like a 5 year old. Steven is in a t-shirt and a purple leather jacket. He has a very distinct red lip-print on his cheek.

Oho- here's Ashthon, Naima, Thia, Pia and Karen, all dressed in black, all looking great, and all very distinctly thumbing their noses at the judges and the voters. Paul comes out, in black and roses, and sings along with the rest of the rejectees. Pia and her girls are front and center. Karen has ringlets and a belly button. Ashthon still reeks of overconfidence. Even Thia looks a bit naughty. Naima has totally lost her shit, high kicking all over the place. This is delightfully amusing, though not maybe for the reasons that the show thinks it is.

The songs tonight are from the 21st Century, which means that I will likely not know a single one of them, unless one of the kids picks Jar of Hearts, in which case I will throw up.

#1 Scotty. Tonight, they're letting the kids comment on each other. Everyone makes fun of the way Scotty holds his microphone and the fact that he sings out of the side of his mouth. Check and check. Scotty is singing Swingin', by LeeAnn Rimes, a throwaway song that I swear originally came out in the 60's from Jim Stafford or Ray Stevens or someone of that ilk. But nope, Google tells me that it dates to '83, which is still not 21st century. Scotty is still playing the microphone like a flute, and doing even more side-mouthing that usual, but the song is uptempo and fun. Whoa- JLo must have read a few of the reviews from last week. She's giving an actual critique- telling Scotty to stop slumming and expand his repertoire. Randy agrees.

#2. James has some chin scrub. The rest of the kids make fun of his scream and the tail scarf. For his prelim interview with Ryan, he's wearing a black shirt with raglan sleeves, but he comes out later in a military jacket with epaulets, and jodphurs. He looks like the Ringmaster in Hell's Circus. Jimmy Iovine has changed his tune a bit- telling James that he needs to stay true to himself as an artist, while still stretching (I guess he saw last week's performance). James is singing something from  Muse. He enters with a marching band drum corps, and it probably goes without saying that I don't know this song. But I kind of like it. It seems sort of Fleetwood Mac, circa Tusk. The judges love it.

#3. Haley. Of course the rest point out that she growls, and that she has a specific *arm thing* where she flings her right arm up in the air during every single performance. I wonder if it is significant that Casey isn't among the commenters. She's wearing a red polka dot dress, and is singing Adele. She begins sitting on a stool, and then she stands, and there's the signature *arm thing*. I think maybe Haley throws in the growl a bit too often. it's fine as an accent, but not as a constant element. That said, she did a fairly good job with the song. Those who say that AI isn't current will have to shush now, since this song is from the current #1 album. JLo gives Haley faint praise, Randy seemed to like it, and Steven offers no critique. Ever.

#4. Okay, okay. I'll talk about Jacob. He's wearing a suit made of silver gray polished cotton and a black shirt, and he's doing Luther Vandross, of course. The others say that Jacob is a Diva (duh), and they do pretty spot-on imitations of his singing style. Dammit, he's singing Dance With My Father, a shamelessly manipulative song that makes me cry every time I hear it. Unfortunately, they're not happy tears. They're tears of annoyed frustration- I feel the same way about that horrible Love You Forever book, which no one better ever read out loud to me. Ever. I mean it. Or Terms of Endearment-emotion generated for no other reason than to make the audience cry pisses me off. Anyway, I don't like Jacob personally, but this is his best, most restrained performance, of a song that I absolutely loathe. The judges don't like Restrained Jacob- they want him to annoy me even further.

#5. Casey. The others make fun of his melodica, and his beard. Casey's singing Maroon 5, with whom I have but a passing acquaintance. He's wearing a dark jacket made from reusable shopping bags, over a red plaid shirt. He's carrying a guitar, which he occasionally plays. I'm not hearing anything wrong in this performance, but since I don't  know the song, I have no idea if he's doing it justice. But given the audience reaction, and JLo's blush after the stolen cheek kiss, I'd say that he did okay. Randy gushes, and Steven bleep bleep bleep bleeps.

#6. Evidently, Stefano fancies himself a womanizer. And I think there is some bad blood between him and Haley. Certainly, he's obnoxious as hell. He's wearing a black tee with hanging red suspenders, and more high-top tennies. He's singing Ne-Yo, and he's trying way too hard, marching here and marching there, and wailing, and opening those eyes incredibly wide as he pleads with us to do whatever it is that the song wants us to do (I'm not listening to the lyrics, though I assume seduction on the agenda). There are some bum notes in there, and this is the worst performance of the night. Randy faintly praises, and Steven compliments the dancing. JLo is pleased. The Hub says that's probably because Stefano looks a bit like a live Marc Anthony.

#7. Lauren has looked decidedly unwashed during all of her comments so far. The others make fun of her accent, and the fact that she talks a lot. She's singing Sara Evans in a gathered, embroidered denim skirt and jacket over a white tank and a tan leather belt. She cleaned up nicely for tonight- she looks great, and her blue eyes are gorgeous. This performance is probably fine, but it was a little ho-hum for the pimp spot. JLo agrees. She and Randy push Lauren to let go a little more.

Tonight had some solid performances, despite my unfamiliarity with most of the music. I don't have a Bottom 3, just a Bottom 1: Stefano. I'd rank Scotty next lowest, but I doubt he'll ever hit the B3. Tomorrow night could be a big surprise for everyone. Will they pull The Huff? I can't wait to find out.

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