Last night on American Idol, the contestants were allowed to choose songs from the year the contestants were born. (And I use the word "choose" loosely. There have been hints that the contestants sing what the producers want them to sing.) We were treated to seeing baby pictures of all the contestants and interviews with their emotional/crazy parents. Yes, they were adorable, and most of them apparently started singing before they could talk.
First up was Naima Adedapo, who was born in 1984. She sang Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It?" Ouch. She scaled way back on the choreography this week, but that didn't help her vocals much. And the arrangement was too choppy.
Then there was Paul McDonald. Who had a cold. He was also born in 1984 and chose "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" by Elton John. He sounded like Elton John with a head cold on helium. Everybody seems to love this guy's voice and singing style, but I just don't get it. If he was on the radio, I would change the station.
Thia Megia sang the 1995 theme song from the movie Pocahontas, "Colors of the Wind." She did a good job with it. The judges were bored, but what do they want? Last week she jazzed it up a little and they didn't like that, so she went back to ballads. She really does have a beautiful voice, so I think she's safe for a while.
James Durbin was born in 1986 and chose "I'll Be There For You" by Bon Jovi. I like James. He's fun to watch. I like the way he pointed out that he wasn't going to be doing any kissing at the mansion where all the contestants are staying because he is married. I also like his versatile voice. (Go to YouTube and watch him singing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and you'll be a fan, too.)
There were two Whitney Houston songs last night. Haley Reinhart, who was born in 1990, sang "I'm Your Baby Tonight." Oh, Honey, don't go there. Haley really does have a good voice, and she sang well, but compared to the original, not good enough.
Then came Stefano Langone, born in 1989, singing Simply Red's hit, "If You Don't Know Me By Now." Once again, he showed that he really did deserve to be saved as one of the wild card picks.
Pia Toscana had the other Whitney Houston song of the night, singing "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" from 1988. Now Pia has the kind of diva voice that can get away with this, but whose stupid idea was it to turn it into an up-tempo dance number. It was okay, I guess.
Does it surprise anyone that Scotty McCreery idolized Elvis and dressed up as Elvis for Halloween? But there were no Elvis hits from 1993, so Scotty chose "Can I Trust You With My Heart" by Travis Tritt. He's still safe deep in country territory, but slightly more modern country, and he showed off his higher register a little more, which is still most people's lower register. This kid could sign with a record label right now.
Karen Rodriguez was wearing ear plugs, which really helped her stay in tune this week. She was born in 1989 and chose Taylor Dane's "Love Will Lead You Back." She did a good job, not spectacular, but good. But girlfriend, what was that thing on top of your head? And if the hoop earrings hit your shoulders and tilt at an angle, they're just a smidge too big.
Casey Abrams was born in 1991 and picked Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." AND he played electric base. AND there was an awsome light display behind him. He's got the wild man thing down. I could actually understand some of the words to the song, which is more than I could say for Cobain and company's original. Although I really prefer Weird Al's version.
Poor Lauren Alaina had the flu. But she still had energy to spare and if anything it gave just a hint of huskiness to her voice, which was perfect for singing "I'm the Only One" by Melissa Ethridge (1994). She redeemed herself this week.
Jacob Lusk picked, of all things, Heart's 1987 hit "Alone." While I think it's a smart move for the contestants to choose a song from another genre and opposite gender just for contrast, this time it didn't work out so well. He sounded a little too much like Ann and Nancy Wilson, and I don't mean that in a good way. I really don't think he'll be around as long as everybody predicts he will be.
Unfortunately, I think Naima might be the one to go this time. I would like to see Paul voted off, but that won't happen for a while since he's the current darling of Vote For The Worst.
As for the judges. . .
Randy is trying really hard to be the mean judge this year.
Jennifer looked beautiful (that's in her job description) with big, wild hair, smokey eyes, and some sort of animal print outfit.
Steven came up with several more Tylerisms, such as:
"I've got leftover sandwiches under my bed older than you."
"That man right there has a rich vein of inner crazy."
"Cool dude with a loose mood."
Post results show update:
I was wrong this time. My pick to go home, Naima, was in the bottom three, along with Haley and Karen, but it was Karen who had the least votes. Naima has another week to resolve her pitch problems on the big stage. Haley has another week to find the style that suits her best.