I haven’t read Gordon’s post yet, because I did not want to risk tainting my opinions. And without further ado, here is my recap of tonight’s performances.
Anoop Desai – If I could have given Anoop any advice last week (which I did, but he apparently can’t hear me shouting at the television), it would have been this: “Never listen to Randy Jackson’s advice! Ever!” Anoop unwisely listens to Randy and tries another upbeat R&B song after two weeks of strong ballad performances, and he completely blows it. Performing Usher’s “Caught Up,” Anoop mangles every second of this song. When Usher sings it, the song has a recognizable groove and melody. When Anoop sings it, it becomes the aural equivalent of chocolate pudding, a sloppy, formless mess of unpleasant goo.
Megan Joy – Megan takes a shot at Lauryn Hill’s cover of Bob Marley tune “Turn The Light Down Low.” And forgive me, but it is actually her most accomplished vocal by a mile. Take that with a grain of salt, though, because it was still pretty bad. Megan looks awkward on stage, her forced vibrato and vowel-stretching pronunciation are difficult to stomach, and she sounds a little like Gwen Stefani. That’s not a compliment, because Gwen Stefani can’t sing either. I agree with the judges that her personality is disappearing, and, as a result, what was one of her better vocals ends up being flat and boring.
Danny Gokey – I did not think it was possible to sing in a more nasally fashion than the lead singer of Rascal Flatts, but Danny does so in his interpretation of “What Hurts The Most.” The verses are particularly nasally, but when Gokey hits the chorus and really belts it out, he sounds decent. This seems to be a pattern for Danny: mediocre verse followed by powerhouse chorus. Meh.
Allison Iraheta – Oh, Allison! Why? You were on such a great streak with all of your previous performances, but you really tied a heavy weight around your neck with this song choice and proceeded to sink to the bottom. Allison’s voice has excellent tone, but this was an awful song for her particular voice, and she could be in big trouble. The judges ripped on her for her fashion choice and had little else to say. Hey, douchebags, this is not “America’s Next Top Model,” it’s “America’s Next Top Karaoke Singer!” Get it straight!
Scott MacIntyre – “Just The Way You Are” sung by Scott sounds awful on paper, and before the performance began, I thought I was about to see Scott’s final bow on the Idol stage. But, holy shit, this really worked for him! He’s still not a great singer, but he pulled off some fairly nuanced vocal work here, and the song did nothing but highlight his greatest strengths. A surprise from Scott!
Matt Giraud – Desperate to avoid the bottom three after last week’s shocker, Matt decides to sing “You Found Me” by The Fray. From the first hurried note, Matt imbues the entire song with a really unpleasant whiny growl, his attempt at “rock,” apparently. He’s flat for the whole performance, and he was only able to pull it together for the brief falsetto note. Trip home for Matt? Maybe so.
Lil Rounds - ”I Surrender” by Celine Dion. I’ll start with the second half of the song and repeat what I’ve always said about Lil: nothing but tuneless shouting/screaming. Now, the first half of the song is where Lil really proves something. She proves that when she’s actually trying to sing softly without screaming at the top of her lungs, she in absolutely no way compares to the “diva” contestants of seasons past, like Melinda Doolittle or Jennifer Hudson. She has no bottom end (well, okay, she’s definitely got one of those), and it showed tonight.
Adam Lambert – Adam sings “Play That Funky Music,” and he brings his special brand of crazy to it. I’m not wild about his vocals this week, but what makes Adam stand apart from the crowd is his absolute fearlessness. Sure, it was over the top, theatrical, and corny, but dammit, it was entertaining as hell! Adam is going far.
Kris Allen – Look, I don’t like Kris Allen. He has never been anything but boring, and his weird monkey mouth faces that he makes while singing are really hard to watch. However, Kris blew it out of the water tonight with the Bill Withers classic “Ain’t No Sunshine.” This is an unimpeachably cool song, and Kris actually brought a new and interesting flavor to it. This is the first time that he has appeared as anything other than a whiny boy band imitator, and although I hate to say it, Kris was the best of the night.
So there we have it. Overall this was a pretty rough week for most of the Idols, with a few surprises thrown into the mix. I believe that the bottom three tomorrow will be Anoop Desai, Lil Rounds, and Matt Giraud. It’s a tough call between Anoop and Matt, but I’m going to say Matt goes home.