Wednesday, March 23, 2011
American Idol - Motown Week
It's hard to go wrong with Motown Week. There are literally hundreds of fantastic songs to choose from. Every contestant should have had a good night. Well . . . almost all of them did.
Casey Abrams started off the night with Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through The Grapevine." Acting on the producer's advice, he reigned in the wild man a little, which made the growl much more effective when he let it out. Unfortunately, the taming extended to his hair, which was slicked down with something that turned it dark, so it didn't match the beard anymore. But Casey was still Casey, which is a good thing.
Thia Megia ramped it up with "Heatwave" by Martha and the Vandellas. She "knocked it out of the park." Her voice and style seemed a little too smooth for this song, but I can't think that's a bad thing.
Jacob Lusk sang "You're All I Need To Get By" by Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell. Like Casey, he reigned it in from his usual all-out gospel-fest and showed beautiful control. He had Jennifer dancing in her seat, and at the end of the song, Steven ran up on stage to hug him. I did notice that Jacob has such a strong vibrato that when he isn't all over the place on purpose, he has a weensy bit of a problem staying on pitch.
I worried how Lauren Alaina would do with Motown, since she is the token country girl. But no worries. She sang the Supremes' "You Keep Me Hanging On" with attitude to spare, and if I had never watched her perform before, I would not have suspected she was a country singer. This girl is a big talent. It will be fun to see what she does with other genres.
Up to this point, I have really liked listening to Stefano Langone. He picked one of my all time favorite songs, "Hello" by Lionel Ritchie. And then he mangled it. The arrangement was so oddly chopped up I could barely recognize it. I think the style of the song was just all wrong for Stefano's voice. Or maybe it was the other way around.
Haley Reinhart was up next with "You Really Got A Hold On Me" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. She was totally in her niche! This girl has a rhythm and blues voice. As Jennifer said, she has the most soulful voice in the competition (aside from Jacob Lusk). I think she deserves to move up from her normal position in the bottom three this week.
I was seriously worried how Scotty McCreery would deal with Motown. He chose "For Once In My Life" by Stevie Wonder. So how does a country boy do Stevie Wonder? By doing Glenn Campbell. Scotty sang like he meant every word, and then he threw in what Randy termed "the young lady killer note" at the end. Love that deep, deep, deep voice.
Pia Toscana sang Stevie Wonder's "All In Love Is Fair." Wow! This time instead of singing another diva's song, she was the diva. It was still a ballad, which is her bread and butter. She promised Randy to change things up next time.
Paul McDonald sang "Tracks of My Tears" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. He brought out the guitar and wasn't jumping around the stage. So there was improvement there. But still, what is everybody raving about. I still don't get this guy.
Then Naima Adedapo got her act together with "Dancing In The Streets" by Martha and the Vandellas. When she was singing, she was singing. When she was dancing, she was dancing. And she has learned that she can't do both at the same time. This song was a great for her lower voice, too. All in all, a much better performance this week.
James Durbin brought up the rear with Stevie Wonder's "Livin' For The City." I love watching this guy perform! Not only does he have a fantastic voice, he knows how to work a crowd. And he was dancing! While he was singing! And still sounded good! The only way James will not win is if Scotty's country fans outnumber and/or out vote the rockers.
So my pick to go home this week is Stefano. He butchered one of my favorite songs. Haley and Naima both really got their acts together this time, so I hope they raked in more votes. I wish it was Paul's turn to go, but that won't happen for a few more weeks. (Frightening.)
Steven Tyler was in great form and gifted us with several new Tylerisms (beyond the hug):
"Perfect pitch with a perfect mix of crazy ____ out of control ego."
"You don't look a day over fabulous."
"You can't make a 3-point shot from under the net." (That's true.)
"E to the Z who tweedleedee." (What?)
"You ate the stage."
Where does he come up with this stuff? He's becoming the best part of the show.