Thursday, March 10, 2011

American Idol 10: Top 13

Hmm. This, to me, was an uneven performance night. A couple of people stood out, but nothing was over-the-top stellar. I don't know. Maybe I was just a bit underwhelmed just because they - especially the girls - were really good last week. But while no one really nailed it from start to finish, I could really see the potential in many of them.

Good thing, the judges did better tonight. Both Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez gave appropriately critical things towards a couple of contestants, which, to me, was a step in the right direction. They still let too many things go, but that's somewhat understandable - Hello, Ellen DeGeneres anyone?

Now, I also have to point out that I somewhat liked the involvement of music producers. I actually appreciated the fact that some attempted different arrangements with overdone songs - even if not all of them worked - but I think this is a year that the season will get better as it goes along. Somehow, I think by Top 10, we'll start seeing some breakout buzzworthy performances.. hopefully.

Anyway, here we go!

DISCLAIMER: I am no expert, but this is my opinion - to each his own - and yours will be in the comments below! Haha. 

13. Ashthon Jones
When You Tell Me That You Love Me
Vonzell Solomon pwned this song and Ashthon just paled in comparison. Seriously. Why this? I hated the arrangement, her adlibs were odd and she sounded rough all throughout the performance. I understand that she wanted to show a different part of her voice, but I kind of liked the sassy Ashthon - not this! So while I find her tone eerily similar to Beyonce - with less power - this just didn't work for me. The song was just too big for her. Sorry. 4/10

12. Jacob Lusk
I Believe I Can Fly
Wow. Jacob was seriously sharper than a diamond drill bit and the judges barely commented on it!! What gives? Maybe all the smoke and mirrors of over singing totally distracted them from the fact that he was wildly off key.. like really off key.It started when he absolutely destroyed that key change and began riffing like there's no tomorrow, which made the melody barely recognizable, and then continued to be off key for almost the rest of the song with ugly high notes until he got it back on that final redeeming note. Yes, I hated this performance. Everything was just SO overdone. The vocals, the cloudy background, and the choir. Oh, and  if people thought Pia's song choice was cheesy, Jacob's was an extra large bowl of nacho cheese. 4/10

11. Paul McDonald
Come Pick Me Up
Something about Paul really bugs me.. umm, stop moving ok? Ugh. I'm sorry, but I'm already getting sick of him hopping and jumping around the stage. Is that what people call stage presence? Moving aimlessly on stage? It's unfortunate because I seriously want to like Paul, but they better throw a guitar back at him before he bobble heads off the stage. I mean, the whole performance just didn't do him any favors, and I happen to like quirky voice. His lower range was weak, the vocals were uneven and the dancing didn't fit the song AT ALL. He kind of sounded a bit like James Blunt in this song - I'll give him that - but I think he isn't good by himself. He's definitely a band guy. Just saying. 4.5/10

10. Karen Rodriguez
I Could Fall In Love
So, wait. Karen is Latina? Ugh. We get it already! Stop! Haha. Karen, I admit, has a nice tone to her voice and I really think she's adorable, but  I have to say that she was boring like toast! Really. I just don't find her engaging at all. If she's going to do LATINA in capital letters, she might have to pull out a Shakira to get out of these ballad doldrums. She needs to ditch these boring cliche ballads and sing something interesting!! 5/10

09. Haley Reinhart
Ok. Haley's performance was a bit tricky. She started out really rough, but I actually thought she got better towards the end, especially going between the yodeling and a little bit of that sultry growling she’s more known for. I admit, the yodeling sounded strange for me, but everything else worked way better than I thought it would. The only problem I have with Haley now is that I have NO freakin' idea what kind of artist she is. I mean, she went from Alicia Keys to that old country music via LeAnn Rimes? Sure, I don't mind versatility with the themes and artists, but I'm so confused with her. I thought she was R&B soul? 6/10

08. Thia Megia
Her performance went downhill so fast, I didn't get to catch it. Haha. I don't know. She had a really great pitch at the beginning and she sounded beautiful, but suddenly when the band came in, the cheese had to explode out. Haha. Yes, it was an interesting jazzy arrangement, but she could have used a more traditional arrangement with this - or better yet, just the stripped down version of the song. Vocally, it wasn't even bad, but I could tell that the producers were trying to make her current and Thia just didn’t believe in it. She shouldn’t have picked such an old fashioned song again. Sad. 6.5/10

07. Stefano Langone
Wait, a disco version of Lately? Haha. Crazy! What's up with this arrangement? Ok. To be honest, a part of me thought that the arrangement actually worked for Stefano, but parts of it seemed a bit awkward as well. I don't know. I appreciated the fact that he took the risk of changing it up as it sounded really dynamic, which was good, but I was just a little confused by it as far as the emotions of the song. Vocally, I thought he sang it really well, if a bit flawed. 6.5/10

06. Lauren Alaina
Any Man Of Mine
The song that sent Siobhan Magnus and Mandisa home! Is this a sign? Doubtful. I think it's safe to say that Lauren will break the curse of this song. Having said that, I oddly prefer the impact that Siobhan's version had. True, Lauren had the energy coupled with her effortless vocals, but she did seem to slow down the lyrics a bit, which made the performance a bit timid. The background singers seemed to be overly supportive that I can barely hear her alone and her phrasing sounded choppy in parts. No, I didn't think it was bad, but like the judges said, she needs to just challenge herself more. It irked me a bit when she got criticized for it and then she started pouting. I guess, she got a little too used to the unadulterated praises. So now, she comes off - at least to me - as too entitled. Not good. Blech! 7/10

05. Scotty McCreery
The River
Oh come on Scotty! If you're going to do Garth Brooks, go all out and wear the hat! Haha. Truth be told, I'm not a fan of country music, but somehow Scotty managed to put a huge grin on my face while he was performing. No, this wasn't the strongest vocal of the night as I thought it actually didn't go anywhere, but he amazingly picked the perfect song to showcase his deep country voice. I wonder if America will ever get tired of him though. I mean, it doesn't seem like he even needs to try. All he needs to do is show up and sing some random country tune from his childhood. Haha. Whatever, I'm probably just nitpicking. 7/10

04. Pia Toscano
All By Myself
Yes, Pia. You convinced me. You can sing any cheesy song in the world and make it beautiful. Seriously. She's definitely one of the few contestants on American Idol who can actually tackle a REAL diva song and do it justice. I mean, I usually hate the diva-wannabe contestants on the show, but for some reason, Pia doesn't bother me. In fact, I'm still in awe of her vocal control and that impeccable power. A little too repetitive of an arrangement though, but she worked it with those vocals. Now, I’m at the point of wanting her to stop hammering home her upper range belting ability with key changes and glory notes though. I think it's time for her to prove that she can get the emotions right with a good uptempo song and also show the stage presence. She can do so much more with her impressive voice and I’d like for her to show it. 7.5/10

03. James Durbin
Maybe I'm Amazed
Again, let me eat my words now because I really spoke too soon about James. He totally surprised me again! He managed to tone it down a second week in a row, and everything just came off just right. His vocals were amazing - whether he was doing falsetto, singing regular or wailing - and he brought some soul into this performance. I thought Crystal Bowersox nailed this song last season, but James' version was just as solid. If he keeps this up, he might absolutely win me over. Oh, and he had no bandana and scarf tail on, which is always a plus on my book. Haha. 8/10

02. Naima Adedapo
Sure, this was far from being the best vocal of the night - not because she can’t sing, but because of everything else she threw in it - but Naima's performance was certainly the most relevant and exciting of them all. Really. Her rendition of Umbrella was incredibly AMUSING. Who knew? I highly enjoyed it and I loved the fact that I heard a bit of reggae on American Idol. She worked that stage and between the rapping and her dancing, yes, I died of laughter. This was so epic. Ha! Again, the vocals were off, but it's a Rihanna song. Big deal. 8/10

01. Casey Abrams
With A Little Help From My Friends
In Casey's words, "I want to be felt". I think I did. Haha. Ok. So while this performance really gave off a strong Taylor Hicks vibe, I actually enjoyed this. Sure, the last 30 seconds was more talk-singing than an actual singing, but I seriously like that he lives in the music, if that makes any sense. The vocals were on point, his musicality was absolutely impressive and he was enthusiastic, which was so refreshing. I thought this performance almost had that classical appeal. Now, I’m looking forward to the week when he sings a song straight. I wonder if it'll have the same impact. Let's see. 8.5/10


Will said...

Just finished watching the show and I gotta agree with a lot of your points (except of course, yours on Paul, lol).

- Me thinks Stefano's version was awesome, but he didn't pull it off that well coz I felt he was kinda hesitant at some parts.

-Same goes for Thia. She lacked confidence.

- Pia? I wanna marry her. (wink wink)

- And I don't need to comment on Casey, right?

- No comment on Naima. :|

Anonymous said...

- At first, I don't like James. Now, I'm kinda rooting for him.
- Kudos to Pia! Still amazing.
- I agree with you about Jacob. I think he butchered that song.
- I also agree about Paul. STOP MOVING! LOL.

katuray said...

i actually enjoyed ashton's performance. it wasn't close to pia's, but waaayyyy better than karen's. the latin diva must go!

i love the clarity of thia's singing voice.. probably the best voice quality of the 13 contestants. but w/that personality, i don't think she'll last long in the competition.

anyway, what's w/the key changes and the "remixes"?! i think they're trying too much to put their own "flavor" to their songs that most of them ended up having pitch problems.

likes: casey, james, pia
not so: alaina, karen, jacob, paul

Robbie said...

Naima is so current and unique and I loved her pergormance.

Paul's was reaaaaally off.


Will: Haha. We may agree to disagree on Paul, but did you really think that his lower range was on pitch - or even just audible? Haha.

Oh, and no comment on Naima? But why? Haha


Anonymous: Wow. We almost think a like. :)


katuray: the arrangements were a good addition to the show, although some of them didn't work that well. but I have to say, it gives Idol some cred because these are the same exact people that the eventual winner will work with. personally, it's a good thing, they just need to be very wise about their decisions.


Robbie: I'm not entirely a fan of Naima, until Umbrella. Haha. She totally won me over.

And yes, Paul was waaay off. But Jacob still tops that category. HAHA

Anonymous said...

Dam did you notice Thia was wearing the Glee sectionals dress from Special Education


Anonymous: Yes! I noticed that too. Although Thia wore something longer than the dress Glee used. :)

Anonymous said...

I just have to say that I loved Paul's performance, every time he does those quirky moves of his I have to smile or laugh. It's just so awkward that it's cute. As for his song choice, I think he chose the perfect song. Let's just say that I am on board the Paul train.

My second favorite performance was probably Haley, idk her voice just gives me chills.


Anonymos: That's good. I know a lot of people who are on board the Paul train! :)

Anonymous said...

the backqound singers of Lauren Alaina's performance are Destinee and Paris monroe who are amazing singers and have a record deal i think with interscope records but im not sure


Anonymous: Wow. Thanks for that trivia.

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...