Competing for your votes tonight.
The show starts off on a more somber note, as Steven, then Jennifer and Randy, explain that the devastation in Japan is not going unnoticed, and that the money for the downloads of this week's singles are going to the Red Cross. That is quite a nice gesture. Crusty then opens the show with the immortal "This Is...American Idol." The show kicks into gear, and Crusty introduces the judges, reminds us there is a Judges' Veto to hand out, and we find out the theme for the week is Hits From the Year You Were Born, always an interesting night.
Naima was born in 1984, and will be singing Tina Turner's What's Love Got To Do With It? tonight. She is wanting to put an spin on the hit song, make it more today. She sounds much better this week, much more on pitch. It also is more today, more current, and I am thinking she is doing a nice job, although not great. Steven agrees with me, but both J-Lo and Randy bring up the pitchiness, and bring Naima down. I am surprised. And it is time for a commercial.
Paul was born in 1984, and was a cute cowboy, according to pictures. He is going to sing Elton John's I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues. He brings the quirk out on full blast. Not sure this is working for me, since Elton writes such melody-intensive songs, and melody is just a theory in Paul's performance skill set. The judges are split, with Jennifer and J-Lo liking him better than Randy, although he point
1995 is when Thia was born, and we hear she was a happy baby. She wrote her own songs since she was six, and picked Colors Of The Wind by Vanessa Williams, from the movie Disney movie, Pocahontas. She sings it beautifully, although a tad on the boring side. Randy agrees with me, and Steven likes it better, but think she might have picked a different song. Jennifer gets all technical, worrying about the quality of Thia's vibrato. After I chuckle, having heard J-Lo''s vibrato, I move on. I really must.
James is up after the commercial, and we learn that he was born in 1989. Mom says he was a happy little boy. He will be singing I'll Be There For You by Bon Jovi, for those were the days they were ruling the charts. And he starts off big, and has a tendency to veer off key a bit in the beginning. He also doesn't seem to have a whole lot of control, outside of booming. Of course, the judges love him, and thought he was great. We spend almost as much time discussing his wardrobe accessories and Steven as his performance...
1990 was the year Haley was born, and they knew she was special from the start. Her parents perform together still. She sings Whitney Houston's I'm Your Baby Tonight. She is on pitch, and shows some control, which is nice. The arrangement was a bit of a muddle, with several influences and no real flow, and it hurt the performance. The judges are confused, giving her an OK report, but not good. Steven wants her to sing more blues. J-Lo wants her to be more comfortable moving - bold words from a judge willing to ignore pitch issues a week ago.
There is a very special father/son exchange for Stefano. He was born in 1989, and will sing Simply Red's If You Don't Know Me By Now, which is really a song by the great writing team of Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff, and sung by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. Stefano did sing the crap out of the song, although he ended a bit creeky, reaching too far. But he is the strongest so far. The judges love him, and Stefano has a moment with Mama, too. We next see Pia, and there was a tear-provoking moment about her grandfather. Her year is 1988, and she is taking on Whitney Houston's Where Do Broken Heart's Go?. I will be honest, and say I haven't really gotten the Pia-love before, but she does a really nice job with the song once we got beyond the wonky beginning. A lukewarm start became a nice uptempo rendition of a classic ballad. The judges love her, with the 'in it to win it' talk starting as we go to a commercial.
Country boy Scotty brings us out of the break, and we hear the 'chunky monkey' was quite the Elvis impersonator. He was born in 1993, and will be singing Travis Tritt's Can I Trust You With My Heart, a surprisingly vulnerable song for a guy. Scotty has nice vocals, but really not a whole lot behind them. The judges love him, which is no surprise. The crowd goes crazy for him.
Following a commercial, we get to learn a bit more from Karen. After some jokes involving the Jonas brothers, her mother talks about her love of music started in utero. We also learn she was born in 1989 and will be singing a Taylor Dayne song, Love Will Lead You Back. The vocals are kinda messy; at times beautiful, other times just missing, both in phrasing and tone. It was fairly flat for me, but the judges are a bit more kind than I would be. But she is far from the bottom tonight. We go to commercial with Crusty teasing about Casey, an electronic bass, and Kurt Cobain.
Casey was born in 1991 and his parents were in their 40s, which explains something of his musical tastes. He is singing Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. It is the first time Nirvana will be performed on Idol. Wow, there are some serious pitch issues with this performance, but he does capture the feel. However, I would like for him to stop singing angry at some point. Steven loves him, and so does Jennifer, and while Randy acknowledges it wasn't a great performance, but he likes the riskiness of the choice.
We hear from Lauren after the break, and she is sick, and has a mask on. It has lipstick on it. And she has daddy drying a bit on the video. She was born in 1994 and sings I'm The Only One by the great Melissa Etheridge. She does a nice job, although she is struggling a bit with her flu. She did add a Country feel to it, which was surprisingly nice. The judges loved her.
After yet another break, they close out the show with Jacob. His mother was hysterical - I love her! He was born in 1987, and will sing Alone by Heart. He talks about putting a "Lusky stank" on it. It is a great song. He starts off not in tune at all. He cleans it up, but suddenly his style mixed with rock ballad seems overly dramatic and cabaret. Just seems all over the top to me. The judges just love him, and his performance style. They think he makes it a competition. Next there is a recap, and we are reminded how very unspecial the first half of the night was.
I am trying to think who will be in the bottom, and I am just not sure. I am sure Stefano, Pia and Scotty won't be. Am willing to bet Casey will be safe, as will Lauren, Jacob and James. That would leave Paul, Karen, Haley, Thia, and Naima battling for the bottom. Paul might be the first man to hit the bottom three, but should be safe. I would bet Naima and Karen will be joining him, but I could be very, very wrong.
Stay tuned tomorrow night for the results for this week.