Wednesday, March 09, 2011

American Idol Season 10 - Top 13 Perform

Hello Friends!  We're back for the top 13 and I have to say, I'm starting to regret coming back out of retirement for this!  This week did nothing for me at all.  There may have been a couple good performances, but for the most part I was just utterly bored for 2 hours.  And is it me or does the AUDIO feed coming to our TVs not sound as good for these live shows?  I thought it was my surround system dying or something but it sounds fine on commercials and every other show.  You'd think for a show being judged by how it sounds that it would be giving America the best sound to hear it!   So I don't know.  Maybe the judges were telling the truth for a lot of these contestants by saying they were great.  But it certainly did not sound that way to me.  By the way, did you know tonight's episode was pre-recorded?  They wanted to make sure they fit all 13 contestants into 2 hours.  Now, I'm not sure when it was ACTUALLY recorded but Steven Tyler wished someone a Happy International Women's day and that was yesterday (my wife made sure I knew!).   So that's kinda bizarre.  Anyway, I'm not really sure I'll have much to comment on below.  (I say that a lot)  So we'll just see how this goes.  Could be tough to pick who is going home.  The contestants sang songs from their "IDOLS" and Jimmy Iovine and his production team  gave them some tips on how to improve their sound.  The reviews after the jump.

  1. Lauren Alaina:  Idol = Shania Twain, Song "Any Man of Mine" - You always hate to go first on this show, especially with 13 contestants.  You also should think twice about singing "Any Man of Mine" on the Idol stage.  Mandisa did it in season 5 and it was her curtain call!  Lauren was not very good tonight.  And she made sure she did a lot of kissing up to Steven and calling Ryan "Peaches" to make up for it.  Hey, I hope she lasts too.  She definitely has the Idol look and can appeal to the masses...but that's if she sings well!  She seemed out of breath, and even in her pre-performance video she seemed a little hoarse.  And what was up with the Doublemint Twins singing behind her?  That was creepy!   I'm sure Lauren will be fine this week but she needs to step up her game.  BTW, you have to love how she slammed other contestants for picking ballads in a not so subtle way.  "I tried to do something up tempo, because you know everyone does ballads!"  Nice foreshadowing for the night! 
  2. Casey Abrams: Idol = Joe Cocker, Song "With a Little Help From My Friends" (A Beatles song originally, naturally) - The build-up for this had the makings of a true classic for Casey, but he just didn't seem to deliver.  Maybe, because he was hyped up to be singing as crazily as Joe Cocker himself would have done, and has done on the Idol stage.  Don't get me wrong, he sounded good in the parts when he was singing.  But the whole part with the chorus repeating over and over, it just got old really quickly.  And yes, I know that's how the song goes.  But you have to bring something really special to make that interesting!  I thought Casey, at best, did a mediocre impression of Joe Cocker.  Which makes me kind of think that this "Sing your Idol's Music Week" idea is not the greatest idea.  All of these contestants are going to pale in comparison to their Idols!   But whatever.  I think Casey will be fine too. 
  3. Ashton "HEH!  HEY!" Jones: Idol = Diana Ross, Song "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" - If she does that little "HEY!" between lines of the song any more, I just can't be responsible for what I do next.  Ugh, it's so annoying.  I'm sure it's like people saying "UM" during public speaking, and she doesn't even realize she's doing it.  But she needs to fix it, pronto.  Then again, maybe she won't even have the chance to do that.  Because this performance was pretty much a snooze fest.  Ashton has to drop the "DIVA-TUDE" and get a little younger and hipper with her musical selections.  You need to pick songs that will appeal to the masses, and this just isn't one of them.    That is all...
  4. Paul McDonald: Idol = Ryan Adams, Song "Come Pick Me Up" - People are either in Paul's corner or they're 100% in the other direction.  I don't think there is an in-between.  Well, scratch that, because I may be in between after this one.  I really like the guy and I want him to do well.  Now, unlike J-Lo, I do know who Ryan Adams is.  But I cannot say that I'm fluent in his music.  And even if I wasn't, the song wasn't the issue.  The song sounded like a really good song.  But for the big idol stage with Paul's unique soft raspy voice, it just seemed to get eaten up.  And the dancing, well I don't know what to say about it.  I love it and I hate it all at the same time.  I love it in the sense that, he's one crazy dude and he's having a good time.  I hate it in the sense that, THIS is why some of America hates him.  I'm sure Paul will be fine this week too, but I would ove to see him slow it down and do a nice ballad one week.  That seemed to be where he shined.  There must be only certain weeks where they'll be able to use their instruments in performances.  That makes things fair I guess. 
  5. Pia Toscano: Idol = Celine Dion, Song "All By Myself" (originally an Eric Carmen Tune) - Well, we were saying last week how she is the 2nd coming of Celine and I believe I mentioned how Idol used to be looking for the next Mariah, Celine, Whitney.  So glad Randy didn't let me down in American Idol Season 10: THE REMIX! YO!   He brought up that same point but to the fact that Pia actually held her own with Celine's version of the tune.  I mean, she sounded JUST like it.  At first, I thought she was a little off on the high note, but I think it was because the shortened version didn't allow her to hold that note out as the band played the complimentary chord to make it REALLY soar.   (look at me being all technical!)  But, if one person shined tonight, it was Pia.  But, I have the opposite advice for Pia than I did Paul.  She needs to pick things up now.  2 power ballads in a row, it's time to see what else you got!  Oh, and the dress.  Was she wearing a CAPE?!  That was kind of nuts.  
  6. James Durbin: Idol = Paul McCartney, Song "Maybe I'm Amazed" - Yet another song that repeats the same lyrics over and over again.  I actually didn't think James was too bad tonight.  So that's 2 weeks in a row where he has been slightly less annoying than I anticipated.  I still hear an unmistakable similarity between his voice and Adam Lambert's voice (just a little less razzle dazzle to James's demeanor).  And hey, NO SCARF TAIL this week!  Just an American Flag vest while singing an Englishman's song!  
  7. Haley Reinhart: Idol = LeAnn Rimes, Song "Blue" - Well how could you go wrong with the producing duo ROCK MAFIA helping you out!?  Bizarre.  Anyway, something about Haley just really gets on my nerves.  I can't even pinpoint it.  She has a great voice minus the weird facial expressions and the over-growling.  Add this week, the YODELING! HUH?!  She sounded like 1930's Tarzan swinging through the vines with some of those notes jumping all over the place.  I just don't know about her.
  8. Jacob Lusk: Idol = R. Kelly, Song "I Believe I Can Fly" -  The best part of this whole segment was seeing Jacob from back in the day when SPACE JAM came out and he had a crazy flat top, Kid n' Play style!  But seriously, dude, your idol is R. Kelly?  You may need some different inspirations in life!  Once I heard that, I knew he was going to believe he could fly.  He wouldn't be remixing to ignition (love that song!).  Anyway, of course the judges were going to rave about Jacob.  And how could you not with that crazy voice and that crazy range?  Well, I'm not going to.  I thought he got WAY too high with it and he stayed there way too long.  It's like he inhaled helium to HELP him fly.   He has a deep and powerful voice.  He doesn't need to be doing those theatrics to prove anything.  Stick to the ground next time Jacob. 
  9. Thia Megia: Idol = Michael Jackson, Song "Smile"(Originally a Charlie Chaplin song) - Now we get into the weird segment where every ballad had to transform into something peppier!  Thia has a great voice too and you could hear that throughout the performance.  But why on earth did they pick it up into some Jazz fest tune in the middle?  It did not sound good at all!  And may I take this opportunity to say that I miss Ricky Minor and the band!  They went some new direction with the band this year and it definitely sounds noticeable.  Poor Thia was seen crying back stage hoping for another chance.  Awww, look at American Idol editing the show to make people feel bad!  (it worked!) 
  10. Stefano Langone: Idol = Stevie Wonder, Song "Lately" - Here we go again.  Song starts off decently enough and then turns into DISCO FEVER by the end.  What on Earth did these producers tell the contestants?!  Were they worried it was too many ballads so they had to pick up the pace?  Anyway, Stefano has a great voice, but it just sounded bizarre for me.  The judges seemed to like it so maybe all of you out there did too! 
  11. Karen Rodriguez: Idol = Selena (of course), Song "I Could Fall in Love With You" - I could fall asleep on YOU!  After Karen's bilingual disaster last week, it came as no surprise that her Idol is Selena who happened to be portrayed by Jennifer Lopez in the movie.  Convenient?  Doubtful.   Well, kissing up to the judge didn't do her any favors this week.  The performance was a train wreck.  Showing us that you have a creepy Selena Barbie Doll collection just made it worse!  I really didn't think she was good last week, so this week didn't surprise me either.  She could be a threat for the bottom. 
  12. Scotty McCreery: Idol = Garth Brooks, Song "The River" - It's tough not to like this guy!  He picked a good song and he sang it as best as he could.  He has that great country twang.  But, he also got drowned out by the band.  Yes, he was opening up to the crowd as J-Lo suggested.  And he still is a big favorite with the people out there.  Especially in the Country Western part of the country, right Steven?  I don't feel Scotty is in an danger of leaving any time soon but I just hope he evolves a bit as the show goes on.
  13. Naima Adedapo: Idol = Rihanna, Song "Umbrella" - I really thought with this being the last performance of the night that she was really going to do something special with it.  And NEWSFLASH!  Another disaster!  Pitch was all over the place.  Newsflash: Jennifer Lopez does not care about Pitch on a singing competition!  The dancing was ridiculous, the Jamaican breakdown was bizarre.  No fear, Randy wants more of it!   Ugh, where is SIMON!?!?!?!  The judges were pretty much a love fest tonight and I think Simon would have helped with his analogies of Cats falling off skyscrapers and what not.   I must say though, Steven has Paula down to a tee!  I'm going to have to start writing down his crazy critiques.   Back to Naima, what was up with her saying she "OVERstands" instead of understands?  Did she think that was witty?  Wouldn't OVERSIT have been better?  (Oh don't worry, I know it's really bad but look who I'm competing with for Laughs!)   I had seen before the show on Twitter that the dial up number was going to be 36 to avoid the stigma of the number 13.  Hmmmm....who is really going to remember to dial 36???  And especially with a performance like that?   Man, can you imagine the fallout if Naima gets sent packing after having a disadvantage with the phone number?  Whew, I'm actually starting to hope it happens! 
I really did not have many great things to say about most of them, did I?  It was a mess of a night.  People are entitled to disagree with me, but I just wasn't feeling it and hope for MAJOR improvements next week.  Well, we still need to figure out who is going home so let's get to it. 

Safe this week: Pia
Weren't Awful: Scotty, Casey, Paul, Lauren, Jacob, James
Good voices outside of bad arrangements: Stefano, Thia
Totally Weird: Haley
Total Disasters: Ashton, Naima, Karen

Bottom 3: Ashton Jones, Naima Adedapo, Karen Rodriguez  Bonus Pick: Lauren Alaina

Elimination Pick: Ashton Jones

I was going to go with Karen, but then I remember Jennifer Lopez pleading and begging and hoping Karen stays because she has one of the best female voices in the competition.   I'm still waiting to hear it!  I put Lauren as a Bonus pick because she had the disadvantage of going first and she wasn't very memorable.    But,  I think the 3 wildcards that got in are really the most vulnerable (didn't include Stefano in the list above).  None of them really blew anyone away this week.  And Ashton was the one that gave us more of the same.  And I just don't think it was good enough.  So hopefully, I'm right! 

Anyway, I can't believe I got that many words out of a bad performance night.  I don't have much more in me so I will bid adieu!  Can't make any promises on a results show recap but we'll see how things go tomorrow (or even Friday if I can post something real quick).  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings as always and I'll see you when I see you! 


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 ET on NBC.   
  • Fringe airs its next episode this Friday, March 11th on FOX. (I highly recommend watching this show!) 


Ian said...

I'm hearing all kinds of negatives about Paul's performance (Vote For the Worst even made him their pick), which surprises me. I thought he was OK, and I wasn't surprised at all that the judges gave him good feedback. I'm still more or less indifferent about him, but I didn't have any major objections to what he did this week.

There's a part of me that wants to like Karen (I'll admit it: it's because I find her attractive), but her performance this week was pretty lousy. I won't miss her if she goes.

I thought Pia's performance was fantastic. I'm not necessarily a fan of the whole Celine Dion style, but when you can consistently hit those high notes with a rich, full tone (take note, Ashthon), the performance as a whole ends up being much more satisfying.

Speaking of Ashthon, I agree that she's probably the one going home. She was one of the worst of the night, plus she went early, plus she was a Wild Card pick, meaning the American voters don't have a whole lot invested in her. Add it all up and it doesn't look good for our mini-diva.

Mike V. said...

Yeah, Paul definitely is not the WORST in the competition but I definitely know some people don't like him AT ALL. So, I can see VFTW latching onto that. I thought this week's performance was a little bizarre but I still like him!

LOL on Karen.

Agreed, you gotta give credit to Pia even if you're not a fan of Celine. When someone can sing like that, you just have to appreciate it and be awed! This is the type of contestant American Idol used to soley be looking for. They weren't looking for the next ROCK STAR or COUNTRY STAR. They wanted a big voice, so it's nice to see they have a few this year. And eliminating the instrumentation from "EVERY" round goes a long way to getting back to their original mission.

Yep, Ashton has everything going against her. The only thing going FOR her are if she had any fans to begin with that were shocked that she had to resort to a Wild Card to get in. People might vote extra for her. But, I think I've seen enough to know that she won't be making any significant improvements!

Nicole said...

I thought Lauren was terrible. What a hokey performance (which isn't hard to do with such a hokey song). I am becoming really anti-Lauren. I think my fanship of her had to do with liking her fun personality, but as I think about her singing, I can't think of anything I REALLY liked, except maybe when she off-the-cuff sang "Don't Wanna Miss a Thing." She won't last terribly long, despite the producer hype, and I won't miss her.

Someone who I haven't been particularly in love with was, IMO, the best of the night - Durbin. And I practically jumped on my couch when I saw his scarf tail gone. He showcased that he has a good voice, and can actually SING in his upper register rather than just screech.

Pia was VERY good. She did the song justice, which is the most anyone can do on a Celine Dion song... no woman has or ever will be as good of a vocalist as Celine, so justice is as good as it gets. I did have a technical problem with Pia's performance, though. You sort of got at it too, with talking about how she had to shorten her notes. She did cut off her power notes, and when she did so, she did the tiniest stylistic scoop-down at the end of the note. Performers sometimes think that's a way to add a pop-flair to a melody. It really bothers me; it shows me a lack of faith in their voice-it's a cop-out. It also means that they don't have the breath support to execute. She did it on every long note.

I disagree on Casey. I thought he ROCKED. I watched him twice. Yes, the song is repetitive, but I thought he brought a growing strength to each line that made it captivating. And I did not think he sounded like a Cocker-copy.

Ashton and Stefano - so boring. Don't care.

Completely agree on Haley - it was weird. Technically, it was pretty perfect. She sang it right on. But there just was something I didn't like.

Thia's voice is SO pure and beautiful. But I agreed that the jazzy part was bad. That sound requires more emotion in it-something I don't think Thia knows how to do. She's got a lack of life experience working against her there.

I didn't hate Naima like you did. I thought she really performed. Like real performers do - not spot on vocally, but putting on a good show. Have you ever been to a U2 concert? Bono doesn't sing that great live because he's running all over the place. But it's still a GREAT show. But yes, yes... I know this is a SINGING competition.

OK, there's something really bothering me about Jacob. I don't think he's that good of a singer in his normal voice. Now, when he gets into the high register and is doing the frantic, emotional belting that he does so well, he is ASTOUNDING. But his regular singing does nothing for me. And I agree, totally, on R Kelly as a choice?!?!? I think he should have done Dave Chappelle's R Kelly spoof "I wanna pee on you."

You know I love Paul, but that was not his best. But I didn't turn against him, either. He was a little out-of-tune, but it's almost like his loosey-goosey weird sloppy style requires it. Unlike you, I like his stage presence and moves. It's weird and quirky. He's got a stamp, and I like it.

And that brings me to the 2 that I think were the WORST of the night:
Karen - awful. She's my pick for going home. I can't believe Ian finds her attractive - I think she looks like she's 50. And sings like it too.

It pains me to criticize Scotty as harshly as I'm about to. He was TERRIBLE. I don't know what the judges were listening to. He was under-pitch for almost the entire song, until the modulation, when he went so sharp I almost tore my hair out. That song is an iconic song of the modern country era, and he embarrassed it. I wonder if the acoustics of the theater made it sound better live. I think everyone's going to hate it when they listen back. That said, I don't think he'll even be in the bottom - too much praise from the judges and too big of a fan base.

Nicole said...

Interesting tangent re Haley: I listen to a local radio show that was talking about American Idol before the season even began. Some guy from Wheeling, IL called in and said he was excited about the season because his good friend Haley made it in Hollywood. Isn't that a breach of confidentiality, that she told some guy that before the season aired? I want to report her, just because she bugs me!!!

Mike V. said...

Thanks for the comments Nicole!

Can't blame you on Lauren, and I almost agree with you. I don't want to say she was terrible, but she certainly was not great! Durbin was really good last night. I may have understated it a bit. But I was so put off by the whole episode, it was easy to forget. Same goes for Casey. I just wasn't feeling it lastnight for anyone. And may have been my sound on my TV. I'm curious to see if anyone else is having that issue.

Good points on PIA and yes, obviously, it will be tough to top Celine...if there was someone like Celine out there, she would already have a record contract! Then again, no one really discovered Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood until this

Glad to see I'm not alone with thinking Haley is bizarre but still sings well lol And very interesting...I think that IS a breach of contract! Probably too late to do anything about it though. I'm sure every season there are some people that KNOW who got through and who didn't prior to the live shows.

agree with Thia and ALL of the young'ens on the competition. I've never been really FOR supporting the 16 year olds on Idol. Now that they've gone to 15 it only gets worse. They sail through the opening rounds of the competition, but once they go live, you start to see that they just haven't LIVED enough. Jordin Sparks was an exception...but an exception in a BAD season.

U2 - I have been to 2 U2 Concerts and they're amazing. Of course, Bono doesn't have to sing well because we're all singing along with him. Bono has a stage presence though like no other front man. plus, he's BONO! He has nothing left to prove! lol Naima still needs to grow on me...and I just thought the performance was goofy! And yep, it IS a singing competition :-)
Interesting point on could be totally right on his normal voice. I'll have to take note next week. And LOL on Dave Chappelle should out!

Hey, I saw nothing wrong with Paul's presence and moves last worked for the Rod Stewart song...but then it just didn't seem to fit what he was doing this week! Maybe it was becaucse Maggie May is such a well known song and the Ryan Adams song isn't. But I still like the dude and want to see more of what he can do!

I wasn't going to say anything about Karen's attractiveness or not attractiveness...but I'm more inclined to agree with you! I don't even think she should be in the Top 13, Top 12 or Top 10 so I'm perfectly fine if she goes home. But I think she has the Spanish Speaking people vote in the bag!

I'm glad you could say it about Scotty. I just couldn't bring myself to do it so I said it as nicely as possible! lol i.e. "He did the best he could with it". I really don't know how long he's going to last. Again, it's going back to the 15/16 year old thing. But he does have a really large fan base. Speaking of which...I haven't even checked today! I'll have to do that.

Mike V. said...

Pretty scary bottom 3 on if it's right. I won't reveal anything in case it's right!

LoRo said...

I think it's Ashton's time to go! Between "hey!" her diva attitude and grabbing an undeserved wild card spot, hopefully America will send her packing!

Ian said...

Man, guys! Quit bagging on my girl Karen! She doesn't look that old! She does come across as a bit more mature than her actual age of 21, but 50? Come on! I will say though, that I found her more attractive when her hair was curly. It gave her a sense of girlish vibrance that she hasn't had since straightening it out. I can't believe I wrote that last sentence. Moving on...

I don't know if you're interested, Mike, but I put up the first installment of my LOST episode rankings (do you even remember last year when I talked about doing that?). I'm not sure when I'll get around to writing the next one, but if you care, the first part is here.

Mike V. said...

LoRo - Totally agree!

Ian - Okay, well maybe I didn't agree with EVERYTHING Nicole said but I was just saying I didn't find her THAT attractive lol

I'll check it out Ian, thanks! I really need to get around to writing another LOST blog posting. I just don't know what to write about! Maybe reflections a year later after the finale with some excerpts from the encyclopedia. Ugh...I just want MORE LOST to talk about. I take it you're not a Fringe or EVENT watcher? You really should get into Fringe. The Event is a lost cause. I also wrote about The Walking Dead on the new blog. But I have high hopes for JJ Abrams' Alcatraz in the fall. We'll see!

Nicole said...

And, yes, I was exaggerating about Karen looking 50 (but not the sounding) - she does make herself look WAY older than her mere 21 years, though.

Not to turn this into a LOST comment-fest, but I want ABC to do a documentary on the island. Like a Discovery Channel documentary - not with the actors or anything. Give us some of the straight-up island secrets that the show bailed on us about. And, of course, have Morgan Freeman narrate it. Can you IMAGINE what their ratings would be on such a thing?

I don't watch The Event or Fringe, but did love Walking Dead.

Mike V. said...

Nicole, be sure to check out TV ADDICTS BLOG ( when The Walking Dead returns! I'll be blogging.

As for LOST (, that does sound like a really cool idea. Of course, they would need Team Dartlon reuninted to write this documentary. But, I really do prefer to leave it up to the imagination! I don't think any answers that delved any deeper would have been satisfactory. But yeah, if Morgan Freeman was telling us about them, maybe they would be! lol

I do think/hope more LOST adventures will be coming our way one day though in some form or another. Just not any time soon! ABC is sitting on a cash cow. Even Damon and Carlton said it would be bad business not to produce more LOST-related products (Books, Comics, Video Games, Movies, TV Reboots 20 years from now who knows??)

Ian said...

You're correct, I don't watch Fringe or The Event. I'm not sure I've even heard of The Waking Dead. The only shows I regularly watch are American Idol and The Apprentice.

I forgot all about The Event. That was the one they were hyping up as potentially being the next LOST, right? From your comments, it sounds like nothing will ever quite match the original.

Fringe always looks creepy based on the commercials I see for it. It looks like there's a lot of medical/scientific stuff in it, the type that usually makes me squeamish. I'm not sure if it's the type of show I'd get into.

As much as I enjoy good television, it's probably best that I avoid the distractions of a new show right now. I have enough trouble concentrating on the important stuff as it is!

Mike V. said...

Eh Fringe has some gruesome moments, but the overall story is fantastic. Especially the 2nd half of season 2 through to the present episodes. They have really focused on the core mythology of the show. It's a good time! But understandable that you don't have time to watch!

Anyway, turns out I have some time to write about the results show so I'm off to do that!