Tuesday, April 13, 2010

AI9 What Will Wise Men Say?

Tonight, we know that season 8 runner up Adam Lambert has been announced to be the mentor, making him, to the best of my knowledge, the first former-contestant to make the step to the mentor role. Certainly many have come back to perform, often showcasing their latest effort. To me, it seems like an odd choice, but this season, AI producers seem to be making some odd ones.

Crusty welcomes back the nine finalists to compete on the 'Top 8' show. He reminds us about the excitement of last week, when Big Mike was on the block to go home, only to be saved by the judges. It is Elvis Presley night on Idol, considered one on the greatest rock singers of all time. Will the remaining Idols be able to bring the classic songs back to life and sound current, or just sound like karaoke night in your home town. And the introduce Lambert as the mentor. Adam declares he thinks they are great, but will be demanding more energy from them.

First up is Crystal, singing Saved, a gospel number. She does a great job, sounding fantastic. She brings out the electric guitar is nice - she changed things up a bit. The judges all loved it - I just wish Randy would stop calling her the second coming of Bonnie Raitt - a singer who hasn't had a hit song in a long time. Don't get me wrong, I love Raitt, but to me, it points out the slightly dated feel to Crystal that I can't shake. But I will venture to say with this performance, Crystal will remain one of the highlights of the night. Next up was Andrew, who is performing Hound Dog, the 1956 hit for Elvis. Working with Adam, Andrew did the traditional arrangement, and Adam encouraged his to change things up, and Andrew comes out with his own take on the song. While it is an interesting arrangement, it tends to showcase his rather unspectacular vocals for me. Randy thought it was bad karaoke, while Ellen liked it. Kara didn't like it very much, missing much swagger. Simon thinks it lacks star quality, and his coolness has been sucked out of him.

Tim is up next, and before the commercial we get a shot of his electric smile. When we return, we meet Mama crusty, who introduces Tim. Adam likes Tim, and his version of Can't Help Falling In Love. He is doing a nice job, sounding like a more current acoustic song. I think Tim did really good with that one. Randy really liked it, as did Ellen and Kara. Simon thinks he has gone from zero to hero in a matter of weeks. Lee is on board next, and Adam points out there is nothing going on facially when Lee sings. He sings A Little Less Conversation, opening with just him and the acoustic guitar. In the chorus, we get added instruments, and in the second bridge, we get background singers. I have to say Lee is surprising me tonight, actually hitting most of the notes. He is still a bit boring to watch, but that song did sound more current than either Andrew and Crystal. The judges love it, although Kara would like a little more playfulness, and Simon disagrees. Lee credits Adam with his renewed performance.

Aaron is next, singing Blue Suede Shoes, and Adam is impressed with the teens vocals. He is in great voice, but uses a rather traditional arrangement, and comes off a bit karaoke, until the breakdown at the end. The judges are not loving it, save Kara. She thinks it made him feel younger and edgier, while Simon completely disagrees, thinking just the opposite.Crusty points out Aaron was in the bottom but sent back to safety last week, so he needs votes to keep him safe. Interesting, Crusty. Then he teases the idea of Siobhan and Adam in the same room together - what will happen?

In the commercial break, we are reminded GLEE is back, following Idol. Sad, but I am more excited about GLEE than Idol, to be sure.

admits to Crusty she is a true Elvis fan, and loves his rags to riches story. She sings Suspicious Minds, a 1969 hit, and Adam suggests she ups the tempo, giving her a more rhythmic basis for her vocals. There is also a bit of a mutual admiration thing going on, both enjoying the outsider role. Siobhan gives an interesting performance, the first half being a bit karaoke for me, but the second half comes alive, although it is a bit uneven. She might have been better served checking out the cover by Fine Young Cannibals. The judges aren't thrilled with the performance, and Siobhan talks about not wanting to be labeled as a singer, no matter how hard Kara wants to do it. And we hear Big Mike will defend his save next. Idol Gives Back is next week, and Crusty will be handling the main stage, and Queen Latifah will be covering the all-star second stage. Big Mike will be singing In The Ghetto, and Adam wants more theatricality, even if Simon has pounded Mike for that. He is doing an interesting version, keeping the beginning very current, sitting on the edge of the stage with the acoustic guitar. Not karaoke in the slightest, nor does it sound college frat party, my biggest worry with him. Randy loved the vocals, Ellen was glad they saved him, Kara dug it, and Simon thought it was his favorite Mike performance to date. They are running behind, and GLEE is starting at 9:28, so the judges are giving shorter reviews, and for that I am grateful. Katie snarls from the perch, and she will be the next to sing.

Katie sings Baby What You Want Me To Do. Adam wants her to bring her frustration with the judges comments to the song. I will say she is singing the heck out of the song, adding lots of growl and spark, selling the blues song. Randy liked it, made him move, and Ellen loved it. Kara thought she showed the judges. Simon didn't like it, thought it was loud and annoying. Simon, get over yourself. That leaves Casey to close the show, a genre that should suit his style so very well. His Southern rock/blues performances have been good, but now put to the test with a direct comparison to Elvis. The cast of GLEE is in the audience! Casey is doing Lawdy Miss Claudy. It is old school Elvis, and old school blues. It is an interesting song choice, not sure if it serves him well. Randy thinks it is a solid performance, and the rest of the judges were also not enthralled.

In the recap, we get to see last 85 minutes in about 60 seconds, reminding voters of the earlier performances. and I notice there were several I forgot about myself, including Tim, Andrew and Big Mike. Does that mean something? Crusty also points out there will be two going home tomorrow night, and there are no more saves from the judges. And. most impressively, they are finishing on time, even with yet another GLEE promotion.


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