Wednesday, March 23, 2011

American Idol Season 10 - Top 11 Perform

Hello Idol fanatics!  We're back.  And what a difference a week makes!  I guess Motown week usually brings out the best in contestants.  Everyone knows the songs, and people can really showcase their voices with them.  There really is not one contestant I can point to this week and say they were horrible.  No, I think the ones that will be in danger are the ones that are forgettable or unlikable.  (i.e. the usual suspects)  But, I will do my standard ritual of talking about each contestant individually before declaring my results!   Let's dive on in!


  1. Casey Abrams - "Heard it Through the Grapevine" - Finally, Casey showed us he can actually sing!  When I saw him all dressed up I thought we'd be in for the standup bass tonight and a "Casey-ized" version of "Grapevine".   While it was jazzed up a little bit, it was just Casey roaming the stage with a string section following him.  It was a major improvement from last week and I think he'll be safe to move on to next week.  I do want to see him tone it down a bit still, bring out that upright bass and give the crowd the blues for all the right reasons!  
  2. Thia Mega - "Heat Wave" - Any time I hear that someone is going to do this song I think of Kimberly Locke back in season 2 with the big flames behind her and always dread that we'll see that awful flaming background yet again.  The Idol stage team finally did away with those thankfully.  For most of the song I was impressed with Thia's voice.  She picked an upbeat song and she was singing well.  Nothing really stood out about it, until......the middle of the song.   She start doing some "oohs and ahs" and started looking around and then started singing the middle of a chorus and then we realized,  "oh she totally forgot the words!!"   Of course, maybe not everyone noticed that she messed up half of the song's lyrics because certainly the judges weren't paying attention.  They had already prepared their critiques after listening to the first half of the song (or maybe even the dress rehearsal).  Not one of them critiqued her on forgetting the words.   And no one may have EVER known about her forgetting the words until this recap if Thia didn't bring attention to it herself in the POST performance interview.  OOPS!   Granted, it's probably the only thing she had going on in her head the whole time so when she got off stage she just blurted it out to the cameras!   So, 2 performances in, I thought Thia MIGHT be fine.  9 performances after her, yeah, it might not be looking good for her.  Definitely bottom 3.  We'll see if she goes home. 
  3. Jacob Lusk - "You're All I Need to Get By" - Well, I just thought she did a fabulous job!!  Okay okay!!  Kidding!  Well, he really did do a good job, and I was HALF kidding about the she part.  Jacob was able to sorta tone down the feminine tendencies that he has.  And besides him having to adjust his jacket in mid performance after he raised his arms up, I can't really find many flaws.  The dude went with my advice (or Jimmy Iovine's advice too I guess).  I suggested he tone it down and only bring out the big guns in small portions to make it more effective.  That's what he did and he soared with it.  I love how Randy complimented him on doing that but his earlier critiques were that Jacob should ALWAYS be over the top!  Way to contradict yourself ex-Dawg!  (you know, because he purposefully doesn't say it now)
  4. Lauren Alaina - "You Keep Me Hanging On" - I think Lauren has really stepped it up the past couple of weeks after a couple iffy performances prior.  She was recovering from the flu last week and did pretty good.  This week was even better.  The wife and J-Lo both told me she was looking fabulous.  I have to be careful because of the age difference so just note that I personally said nothing about it!   I think Lauren has a strong fan base and will be "hanging on" for awhile.  (ahhhh how many bloggers do you think used THAT little play on words this week?) 
  5. Stefano Langone - "Hello" - After last week, I felt like Stefano could be a real sleeper in this competition.  He really does have an amazing voice and it was on display again tonight.  But he's getting to be a little on the ballad-heavy side.  The judges said he needs to connect with the vocals.  I thought he was fine, but there's always room for improvement.  Another guy that does not need to worry this week. 
  6. Haley Reinhart - "You Really Got a Hold on Me" - UGH, her again!?  She is still here?  Let me just ask you one question.  Who wears short shorts?  Oh right, Haley does!  What on earth was THAT attire?  And thus, the growling and howling and prowling continued.  When they were replaying the performances at the end of the night I was thinking "Casey, oh yeah he was pretty good.  Thia...yeah might be a little forgettable, Jacob...yup keep that jacket pulled down, Lauren....nice job!  Stefano...HELLO!  Haley...."  I just started laughing.  How can anyone take this girl seriously?  ROOOOWLLL!!!! YOu REAAAAHHWWWLY Got a hooooooOOOOOooooOOOOOoooOOOOooooOOLDD oOOOOoooOOOOnn  MEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeee.     UGH....put her out of her misery!  Yes, she can carry a tune but she is causing us all torment!  Please, end it now! 
  7. Scotty McCreery - "For Once in My Life" - How can anyone not like this kid?  Even I was thinking at the end, "that is just too darn cute!"  The 3 point shot from the Idol Mansion has to give him some street cred too. (though, how many times do you think he took that shot before he made it?)  But Scotty keeps churning out the tunes.  And no, he doesn't have the strongest voice in the competition but it sure is distinct.  That low voice is so nice, I agree with J-Lo.   And his high's aren't bad either.   He definitely countrified his song convincingly.  I have a feeling that he is very very popular amongst Idol voters.  So popular, that there might be backlash eventually if he starts staying in longer than really powerful singers.  In any case, Scotty has a record deal in Nashville waiting for him.  And I still maintain that he'll be singing with Josh Turner at the finale, and then everyone can see what an established low voiced country crooner sounds like.  That dude is crazy good. 
  8. Pia Toscano - "All in Love is Fair" - So, I'm sitting on the couch, staring at the TV in absolute awe of Pia's performance.  What an amazing voice, what amazing control, how can anyone top this girl?   And then out of the silence my wife says, "nice fake pony tail."  WHAAAT!?!?!?  So, naturally, that's all I remember now.  But she did agree that Pia is amazing.  There just isn't anything else to say.  I totally agree with the judges.  It's time for her to step it up.  She probably showed in earlier rounds (pre-taped) that she could really rock the stage, but we have not seen it on the live shows yet.  So, it's time to bust it out!
  9. Paul McDonald - "Tracks of My Tears" - Well well well, what did I suggest for Paul last week?  Stop dancing around the stage, pick up your guitar and tone it down.   He certainly did that!  Now, the performance is immediately going to draw comparisons to Adam Lambert's very memorable performance of the same song on the Idol Stage.  (As not the biggest Glambert fan, I have admitted that this was his best performance and one of the best ever)  So what can I say about Paul?  It's still the same thing.  You either like him or you don't.  His voice is not the strongest in the competition, but it's distinct and good for what he wants it to be.  I could probably go to a Paul McDonald concert and have a blast listening to him.  He was really feeling the music and rocking it on stage doing his thing.  But in a singing competition, people might look at him and just say "this guy's voice is awful!"   It doesn't help him when he is placed right after Pia whose voice is ridiculous and in another stratosphere.    That all being said, I think Paul made the right move and did great for the artist that he is.  Now, it's just a question of how long America will tolerate him on the show.  Could he be in the bottom 3 this week?  Maybe, but I'm not sure he deserves it. 
  10. Naima Adedapo - "Dancing in the Street" - So you think you can sing?  WELL THEN STOP DANCING!  You're on the wrong show!  Naima is another contestant who has already destroyed my enjoyment of her beyond repair.  Sure, she sang a lot better this week.  But once I heard she was going to bust out the African Dance in the song, I already dreaded the entire performance.  I kept wondering after each phrase "when is it going to come?"  And when it finally got there, I thought the Idol roof was going to collapse and rain was going to pour in.  Either that or Naima's head was going to start spinning Exorcist style.   What on Earth was that and why was it on my television!?!?    I'm sorry if I'm insulting someone's culture or whatever, but there is a time and place for it and it is NOT in a singing competition.  I'm done. 
  11. James Durbin - "Living For the City" - Well, James had nowhere to go but up after last week's Bon Jovi debacle.  He certainly improved this week with the Stevie Wonder classic.  He worked the stage, he did a little back step dance (not deterring from the SINGING! Big difference, Naima!) and he sang well.  Yeah, the high notes can get a little irritating after awhile, but he hit them all and he sounded good.  Not my favorite performer, but he is probably going to be in this thing for awhile and deservedly so.  
Honestly, I really have no idea who is going to win this year.  There is a plethora of talent (if only they had a plethora of piñatas to go with all of the talent!)  I'm sure it will get easier as time goes on.  But, it must be said that the talent in this year's finals is SO much better than last year's disaster.  And with that, I guess it's time to get to the picks. 

Elimination Pick
Who was good? Most of them
Forgettable? Thia
Laughable? Haley
Danced too much? Naima
May never be everyone's favorite? Paul

Bottom 3 Picks: Thia Megia, Haley Reinhart, Paul McDonald  Wildcard: Naima Adedapo

Elimination Pick: Haley Reinhart - Don't even care if I'm wrong.  I can't stand the girl.  Knowing she has been in the bottom 3 twice now means that no one is too desperate to vote extra and save her.  She is an acquired taste that no one wants to acquire.  Time to go home!  

It could easily be Thia too.  Messing up the lyrics, going so early, people may just not vote for her because so many others impressed.  It could easily be someone I didn't mention too.  Someone everyone assumes will be safe and just ends up getting eliminated.  I think it's too early for that to happen though.  With people like Haley hanging out, I think everyone else can still feel safe.  We shall see! 

That's all I have for tonight folks.  As always, I cannot guarantee I'll recap the elimination show.  But as promised, last week I did add comments to the performance recap with my thoughts on the elimination.  So, I will do the same if I can't get around to it.  Stay tuned.  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings, can't wait to hear yours and I'll see you when I see you! 

Check Out My New Blog!

I've been recapping any and all TV over at the TV Addicts Blog (  Mainly The EventFringe and The Walking Dead.  Occasionally, I'll comment on other shows I'm watching.  I'm already looking ahead to some other returning shows this spring as well as some potentially big shows in Fall 2011.  Keep tuning in and join the discussions!   
  • The Event has returned and airs on Mondays 9pm EST on NBC.   
  • Fringe airs on Fridays 9pm EST on FOX.  SAVE THIS SHOW!  WATCH LIVE.  It needs everyone's help!   


Ian said...

Good recap. I agree with you for the most part. Disagreements? Well, I have a few:

Casey - I've decided I just don't like his voice. I've noticed that if a performer seems to be in control of the performance it usually comes across fairly well. Casey was definitely in control during his performance, which was a plus, but on the minus side, his vocal tone grates on me. If he weren't so overrated by the judges I might be able to tolerate him more, but as it stands, I find him obnoxious. I want his undeservedly-pimped behind kicked to the curb as soon as possible.

Haley - Yeah, the growling was a bit much, but believe it or not, I cast a few votes for her this week. I was just excited that someone actually did a Motown song we haven't heard on this show before (and one I happen to love). For showing some originality I figured she deserved some credit, and the only way I could express that was by voting.

As a guy over 21, I can relate to you on the whole "be careful how you compliment an underage girl" thing. Even if your comment is innocuous there's always that nagging fear that someone's going to take it the wrong way.

I think I've decided that Scotty is my favorite this year (which is weird to say). Like you, I'm a fan of Josh Turner, and Scotty does that whole vibe well. I thought his vocals were a bit awkward this week, but I gave him a few votes because I want him to stick around.

I don't get all the complaints about Paul. In the semifinals everyone loved his voice, but once the finals began it seemed like everyone suddenly started hating it. To me he sounds exactly the same as he always has. In fact, he's even starting to grow on me a bit. Am I missing something?

Even though I voted for her, I think Haley probably is the one leaving us (no way the judges use the stupid save on her).

Mike V. said...

Thanks Ian!  And it is definitely okay to disagree.  We all have different ears and eyes! lol

I understand your dislike of Casey.  I think HE is actually becoming an acquired taste the further we get into this.  I don't think he's the strongest in the competition anymore but I still enjoy what he's doing.  I'm sure he won't be winning the whole thing.

I knew SOMEONE out there had to like Haley lol  Even for a week!  I think she could be perfect on a song and still I just wouldn't enjoy.  Something about her is just cringe-worthy.  But maybe there are more like you and she will be spared.

As for the Lauren's age was mostly a joke but with a bit of seriousness to it.  I don't want to come off as a CREEP! lol  Ahh, it's great getting older isn't it?

Can't blame you on liking Scotty.  I like him too but he definitely has his flaws.  Age, Life experience, not as POTENT a voice...but still a really GOOD voice.   But he is extremely likable.  And I think that will go a long way.

You're not missing anything on Paul.  He's a good talent.  Some people just don't understand it.  I think in any other setting other than American Idol, he would be acknoweldged as talented.  But with all of these power vocalists in the competition, he just seems like the odd man out.  But, he could have a stronger fan base than I think.  

Thanks for the comments as always Ian!

Nicole said...

I don't have much to disagree with you on. My favorite of the night was definitely Jacob Lusk, and I'm not usually a fan. But for the reasons you said, he was great. I'm really annoyed with Randy giving him the "best ever" compliment, though. Because the best ever on Idol (and how's this for a segue) was Lambert's Tracks of My Tears (second best: Lambert's Mad World). Now, you're predicting comparisons between that and Paul's rendition. You won't get it from me. I was SO mad at Paul for a split second for doing it, and then when I realized (even before he started singing) how different it would be, my anger evaporated. I sat back and enjoyed. THAT'S the Paul whose record I'd buy tomorrow. Yay! My second-fave performance of the night.

A comparison I will make is to my third-favorite-ever Idol performance: David Cook's "Hello." Stefano is SUCH a better singer than David Cook, but Cook's performance was 10 times better than Stefano's. When Cook did it, it was haunting and evocative. Stefano just sounded good as usual. He was missing that je ne sais quoi. And his eyes were closed for most of the performance - I can't believe the judges didn't point that out!

All of Thia's and Lauren's performances are forgettable. Both girls looked fab. I am coveting Lauren's dress. Pia is boring me to tears with her song choices, but of course I can't disagree with how amazing her voice is.

The only reason Naima sounded semi-good was because she chose a song with, like, a 6-note range. Go home!

Casey and Durbin, thank you for being in my good category again. I love those guys - neither were at their best last night, but they were good. I will always compare Durbin to himself in that Paul McCartney song - wondering if he can repeat that goodness.

I'm with you on Haley - nothing to add. Boo.

Scotty. I guess maybe we disagree about Scotty. But I'm not sure. I literally laughed on the verge of hysterically through most of his performance last night. My husband looked at me like I had three heads, until it caught on and he started chuckling himself. Then, when they showed the brief recaps of the performances, I laughed all over again. I can't exactly articulate why. It was partly because he IS cute, with his silly smiles and expressions and eyebrows and holding the mic sideways and tilting his body etc etc etc. It's partly because all of that is also slightly ridiculous, especially coming from a CHILD. It's partly because he looks like Alfred E. Neuman, and I just can't get that out of my head. And it's partly je ne sais quoi! You know I started out as a big fan of Scotty's, but I'm so ambivilent about him now. So I'm withholding critique 'cause I don't know what to say. You're right that he has a nice fat Nashville contract waiting for him.

Mike V. said...

Hi Nicole! Okay here we go.

Jacob - I think Randy said it was Jacob's 2nd best ever performance on Idol. (because he did that other crazy performance during Hollywood week where he almost passed out off stage) He may have said "maybe EVER on idol"....but he ALWAYS said that. I still argue that the best ever performance on Idol was Kelly Clarkson's big band number "Stuff Like That There" was just amazing. Lambert's "Tracks" was quite good and does rank up there...but nothing will ever top Kelly for me! But I know you're a big Adam fan so I'll let it slide lol

Paul - That's quite impressive that you were able to distinguish between Adam and Paul's versions even being such a strong supporter of Adam's idol run. But I agree, I loved Paul's version. I just didn't think it would earn him any new fans than he already had.

I think what Lauren has that Thia does not have is a bit of personality in her song and just on the stage in general. That makes her less forgettable in America's eyes. Having said that, she may not be the front runner to win the whole thing as she might have been back in the Nigel Lythgoe Tweeting days. lol

Oh yeah...I forgot to mention David Cook when recapping Stefano (it was late, I was tired! lol) I loved David Cook's run on Idol. He did more than change up the songs he performed. He made them marketable for a new audience. "hello" was great....but so were "Billie Jean" and "Always Be My Baby"....I mean such a poppy song from Mariah Carey turned into a power ballad. Awesome stuff. But yeah...agree on Stefano's voice being better than Davids but Cook's version being better. Ironically, even after the eyes comment I didn't even look to see if they were open!

Agreed on Naima - not a very difficult song to sing. Not a fan!

Casey/Durbin/Haley - Nothing to add to your comments either.

Scotty - That's kinda how I felt with Haley last night. I couldn't stop laughing. Scotty does have some goofy manerisms. I definitely caught onto that and was gonna comment. But when all is said and done, not many care at this point about them. They just love the "lock dem doors" guy! I have no issues with him. I MAY have issues when we get down to the final 4 and he's still in it against 3 really strong vocalists and he starts knocking them off. So, it's kind of a wait and see approach with him. But as a person, he seems like a real nice guy and well you just want nothing but the best for real nice guys lol

LoRo said...

I know everyone loves Pia but personally, she does nothing for me. Yeah her performances are all pretty good, but so what? She has the personality of a tree (or if you prefer insert any other inanimate object), and I don't think she will win Idol.

I'd definitely be okay with Haley, Thia or Naima going home.

Mike V. said...

LoRo - agreed that personality goes a long way. Pia will be a strong contender all the way through but she needs to show another side if she wants to win. Latoya London comes to mind (was that her name in season 3?) Really awesome voice but stone cold face and no emotion. She left much earlier than expected, leaving us with Fantasia vs. Diana DeGarmo. Ugh...what an awful season. I still say that voice of Pia's is amazing. The control she has over the voice still has be in awe. If she does an upbeat song and is still has some stage presence issues, there could be a problem. Of course, look at Carrie Underwood and all the robotic comments she was given throughout her run to the crown. Looking at Carrie's success POST-Idol, some people may not remember that. I always loved her on the show though. There was no doubt I thought she would win. Sometimes an amazing voice is all it takes. But I'm not calling Pia, Carrie Underwood! Just noting the similarities!

Nicole said...

You missed David Cook's "Eleanor Rigby" - equally as awesome as the others you mentioned.

AND WHOOOOOA! Results! That's why I'm actually a fan of the judges save. Unlike you, I know.

Joe Clarkson said...

I have to agree with Lauren! Pia has an incredible voice and is beautiful. But in all honesty, she's a robot. Everything she says in her pre and post performance interviews seem so insincere and rehearsed.

Her performances have been phenomenal, but I don't think they showcase any personality, just her amazing voice. I think if she doesn't start breaking out of her shell and proving herself, she'll be in trouble. There are contestants who aren't as talented, but who have a lot of promise and have already captivated America with their personality. It'll be interesting to see what she brings to the table next week.

Ian said...

As soon as I saw Casey was the lowest vote-getter I knew they'd be using the save on him. Hopefully he continues to stink up the joint and gets sent packing within a few weeks (further proving how useless the save is).

On a side rant, I'm so sick of them beating us over the head with how "great" Casey is, with how "funny" he is, with what "perfect pitch" he has, etc. It almost feels like they're playing a big game of "No Soap, Radio" with the American public. That dumb save is only an opportunity for the judges to make the show about them and not the contestants.

Oh well. On the bright side, at least we'll be spared the whole "sing for your life" charade from this point on.

Mike V. said...

Since you guys started commenting here, I guess I'll follow suit! lol  We don't really need a results show post for a NON-RESULTS ending anyway!

@Nicole - yes I did miss Eleanor Rigby and many others! lol   I'll save my results show comments until afterwards.

@Joe - As I mentioned before..Carrie got the same criticizm as Pia is getting.  In fact, she actually was called a "robot" too!   I'm not saying they're the same though.  Carrie was a country girl, Pia is after Celine's job.  She definitely comes off maybe a little TOO polished in those interviews.  All the other kids are just having fun and messing around.  But Pia seriously wants that crown.  Maybe she needs to loosen up a bit.  We'll see!  

@Ian - I still disagree on the Casey thing.  He is a talented guy.  Agree on Perfect Pitch not being Casey's strong suit, but he still has talent and just hasn't showcased it on the LIVE stage as well as he could have.    But, at the same time, the people spoke and the shocking ending would have been better if he was just let go.


Mike V. said...


Granted, Casey's reaction was genuine and it was cool to see him be so excited to stay on board.  But when the people leave that SHOCK AMERICA, it's what gets their attention and makes the show that much more powerful.  I guess one could argue that now that the save is gone, the effect is the same.  There are no more saves left so it's fair game.  I just think it's silly. causes some issues.  

The majority of the cast has been told that they are in the TOP 10 and are going on tour.  But now, next week are they going to eliminate 2 people?  So, who is in the top 10 then?  Is it the 9 plus whoever gets the 2nd least amount of votes?   Isn't that kind of rude if someone who has already been told they're going on tour now will NOT because Casey was saved?  I know I'd be P.O.'d.  My wife suggested that maybe all 11 will go on tour.   I guess that's a good compromise.   And Ryan may have explained how this will all work but my TiVo cut off!  (I knew it was going to when Steven started rambling about the moon coming to earth to take everyone's voices to another stratosphere or something like that)  

As far as the results show itself...could we have packed more ridiculous cameos into one live hour of television?  Really?  THE HULKSTER?!?!!   The whole wrestling bit with the contestants was amusing but seemed very contrived.  And then the whole "YOU BOTH ARE NOT SAFE" bit was kinda ridiculous.   Watching Durbin's reaction like a 5 year old boy meeting Santa Claus was kinda priceless though.  

Stevie's cameo was cool too but I think he's done it 1 or 10 times before so it was kinda repetitive to me.   The happy birthday to Steven was fun I guess.  But a lot of that stuff just makes me wonder why the results shows can't be a half hour like they used to be!    

Jennifer Hudson put on a good show, but I'm not going to run out and buy her music or anything.   I love Sugarland too, but come on...that song is like a year old now!  Play something new off the album!  And why was Sugarland there on Motown Week anyway?  No rhyme or reason to the talent they're booking I guess.

I guess I'm just in a sour mood because the rest of TV on Thursday that I watched was absolutely fantastic!  Community (Pulp Fiction homage), The Office (big big episode!), and Parks and Rec (just another run of the mill awesome ep) knocked it out of the park.   Oh yeah....and FRINGE GOT RENEWED!!!!!   So, Idol took a back seat for me.  So congratulations Casey, looking forward to see how it all pans out next week!

Ian said...

They did explain the whole tour issue. All 11 will go on tour. Apparently they had that rule in place in case something like this ever happened. Double eliminations are still annoying though.

Mike V. said...

Thanks for the heads up Ian. I guess that makes sense that they did that. But yeah, the double elimination is kinda goofy. I guess one can dream that it'll be Haley and Naima! lol