Wednesday, May 4, 2011
AI Season 10, Top 5 Performance, 05/04/11
We must be short on time tonight, since the judges are already seated, and the kids are arranged on the stage before Ryan gets organized. I have just enough time to notice that the kids are all dressed in dark clothes, and James has really hairy armpits.
Steven Tyler is in red pants, and a matching red jacket over a black tee with big white letters (OV is all we can see- maybe it reads *LOVE*, or perhaps *BOVINE*, this is Steven Tyler we're talking about, after all). At first I think Randy is in an ordinary gray suit jacket until I notice saucer-size white polka-dots on his sleeves. JLo is in another of her 80's secretary outfits: a floaty white top with long sleeves, a high neck and bodice gathers. She has a big flower tucked into her messy updo. This is the sloppiest she's looked this season.
Anthony Hopkins is in the audience, and he actually looks happy to be there.
Sheryl Crow, whose talent I acknowledge, but whose voice generally sounds atonal to me, is mentoring tonight. The kids are singing two songs, one contemporary, one from back before (neither timeline is defined).I wonder which two Casey has chosen before I remember that he's gone.
#1. James is singing a song called Closer to the Edge, by a band called 30 Seconds to Mars. You already know that I am woefully uneducated on contemporary music, and it is very likely that I will not recognize a single song from this section of the evening, which means that my critiques will consist mostly of: huh? Anyway, James is wearing a sleeveless, studded leather vest, which showcases those aforementioned hairy armpits. His hair is asymmetrically spiked. There is fire and screaming and a happy audience.
#2. Jacob is back in the jacket he wore during last week's duet with James, over a white, v-neck tee. His head is freshly shaven, except for a circle of hair on the top of his head. He's singing No Air, by Jordin Sparks and that great humanitarian, Chris Brown. Jimmy Iovine expresses some doubt over Jacob's intent to sing both parts of the duet. Wow, this is terrible. While I don't enjoy Jacob's voice, in general, he's technically on-point, but I swear that at least half of this song is off-key. It's high, and screechy... and Jacob Lusk- you refused to sing Let's Get it On on moral grounds, and yet you stand on stage, in front of your mother and grandmother, and do a groin grab? I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we don't want to contemplate, much less witness, your hands anywhere near that part of your anatomy.
#3. Of course, Lauren is singing Carrie Underwood. Surely this is a mistake- Lauren has a nice voice, but she doesn't have Carrie's pipes. Or range. Or power. Or confidence. Suddenly, Lauren looks very tall in her thigh-high black boots. She's wearing some sort of black unitard with a silver waist fringe, and chains at the neck. Her hair looks great. Her voice? Not up to the demands of this song, though the judges liked it.
#4. I missed the title of Scotty's song, but that doesn't matter. I won't know it anyway. He's wearing a black denim jacket over a pinkish untucked shirt. He's a prancin' and a dancin' and a singin' in a higher register than usual. Suddenly, Scotty knows how to use the entire stage, and he seems to be standing fully upright. Ryan insists on calling him The Body, which makes me want to shake Ryan.
#5. Haley is back with the curly hair. She's wearing a black leather vest, and low-slung gray stretch pants decorated with glittery varicose veins. Haley will be singing an unreleased Lady Gaga song. Now, it's one thing to sing contemporary music that I don't recognize. It's something else entirely to perform a song that no one will recognize. This is a really risky move, one that Iovine suggested, which suggests to me that Iovine wants Haley outta here. She starts out sprawled on the staircase. The Hub, who listens to more radio than I do, says that Haley sounds Gaga-ish. JLo is not wowed, and Randy agrees. Steven makes no sense whatsoever.
Okay, now we start over with some songs that I might know. I hope so, because I just realized that watching five people that I don't particularly care about, sing five songs that I don't know, is supremely boring.
#6. James has chosen Harry Nilsson's Without You. He's so moved by the song in rehearsal, that he can't finish practicing. Onstage, he's wearing a long-sleeved tee and striped jeans, and he has combed his hair flat. This is quite pretty, but there are some wobbly notes in there. I don't know if his emotions are getting the better of him, or if he's just singing badly, but it all improves vastly when he kicks it up a notch. James ends in tears, and the judges applaud the raw emotion. Randy says that it's James's contest to lose.
#7. Jacob is singing Nazareth? He is wearing a silver gray suit with a purple shirt, and he says that he's going Rock on his choice, which is... are you ready for this?... Love Hurts. I think Jacob starts ahead of his harp accompaniment. Harp. On a rock song. Which is Love Hurts. I'm failing to hear how this song or performance is any different from anything else Jacob has ever done on this show- it's overwrought, oversung, and over embroidered. Anthony Hopkins eyes Jacob like he has a bottle of Chianti stashed under his seat.
#8. Lauren is singing Unchained Melody, which could be good. She's wearing a floor-length white halter dress which has blue inserts cascading from the bare midriff. Parts of this song are really pretty, but parts are terrible. About every 4th note sounds completely off. When she hits the big notes, she sounds fine, but the rest... I don't know. I think this is her worst performance so far, though the judges heap universal praise on Lauren.
#9. Scotty is singing You Were Always On My Mind, by Elvis. Is that right? Did Elvis sing this originally? Wikipedia says: Nope, though Elvis did have a big hit with it (I prefer Willie Nelson's take). This time around, Scotty is wearing a black suit jacket and a white shirt. He still has to fight the urge to double-hand the microphone, but otherwise, this is a lovely, understated performance.
#10. Ryan says that Haley is singing The Animals. Seriously? The Hub and I discuss this during the commercial, and he says that maybe she's singing something unreleased. Whoa- House of the Rising Sun, eh? Haley is now wearing a black satin halter top with feathers at the neck, and jeans with holes at the knees. She starts out a Capella, and then growls a lot in the smoke. However, it's much better than I expected. I don't think it's quite the showstopper that the judges declare it to be, but I give Haley props for being able to pull it off.
Tonight's Bottom 3: Jacob #1 and #2, and Lauren #2.
Top: James #2 and Scotty #2.
I miss Casey.