What an Idol week it has been, huh? What’s up, music lovers? How did you like Motown week? Were you afraid that Scotty McCreery would be lost without an opportunity to sing Travis Tritt? Did you think Lusky was an automatic shoe-in? Were you worried that Thia would actually fall asleep onstage? Did you forget about Naima again until Tink mentioned she’d be up next? All of this and more was on my mind as the Top 11 took to the stage.
Meanwhile, JHo demanded that the castoffs be added to her hair & makeup team.
Did you know she has, like 30 stylists working with her? She’s going to single-handedly reduce unemployment and look fabulous doing it. Wednesday night’s show started off in scratchy black and white. Tink looked like a shinier, blonder, tinier version of Dick Clark. Yes, it was Motown week on “Tink’s American Bandstand.” There’s also a sign in the audience that says “Steven Tyler You’re My Mom’s Hall Pass.” Let’s discuss for a minute. Does that mean what I think it means? That someone just announced their mom’s get-out-of-marriage-free card on national TV? Ewww. Why would you know that about your mom? Was this a family discussion? Last Thanksgiving, did someone sit her children down and say: “listen, kids, your father and I have been talking. Mommy and Daddy love each other very much but the sex is boring. So we agreed: if Steven Tyler asks me to have sex with him, I’m allowed to do it and your father will just have to deal with being cuckolded. And if Rihanna begs your father to have sex, he can do that, just no mouth kissing. I hope the turkey isn’t too dry.”
Back to the stage… Tink says there’s a massive amount of pressure on the contestants and on the audience because the top 10 will go out on tour together this summer. Then he tells us how important Motown was in bringing people together and blurring social lines and getting Barry Gordy laid. Producer Ron Fair says that the Motown sound became the sound of the entire country and eventually the world. So it was pretty damn important!
This evening, Randy’s got on a graphic print, button down sweater. Randy’s like the Cliff Huxtable of a new generation — dead-set on finally making it socially acceptable to wear hideous sweaters. He says Motown week on Idol always re-inspires him.
JHo is dressed like a naughty, sparkly cheerleader with a short pleated skirt and a tight, glittery sweater. Some child has also painted her face with Easter colors. She’s always so sparkly!
Steven is, as usual, dressed like a medicine man. He’s wearing a flowy, leopard-print shirt that has gold thread running throughout and he’s added a giant tooth to the collection of bones he wears around his neck. He’s ready to make some juju on everyone’s asses. He says Motown music made him want to make out with girls.
Tink says Motown made him do a lot more than make out… because his daughter Liv is in the audience! Liv laughs and covers her face in embarrassment. It’s always so awkward when Tink makes sex jokes.
“What? I love making the sex with the ladies. I can’t stop talking about it!”
OK, Casey is first up and he’s doing Marvin Gaye’s “Heard it Through the Grapevine.” Oh, someone tried to clean him up this week. He looks less Grizzly Adams and more… Grizzly Adams with some gel in his hair. What do you think Casey’s face looks like under that beard? Perhaps, like Chuck Norris, he has a fist hiding out in that ginger thicket.
A fist that’s ready to grab that mic and shove it down your throat.
During rehearsals, the producers work with Wolfman on keeping his voice under control so that he doesn’t end up screeching at the audience like he did when he covered Nirvana. When he gets onstage, he’s changed the song up and made it very bluesy. He manages to keep it under control, although it looks like he’s fighting it. The audience seems to love it and Casey gets off stage to go sing to a girl who’s sitting with some guys who are probably Casey’s friends. They all have that slightly dirty look to them.
Overall, I enjoyed the performance and thought Casey did a great job “making the song his own,” like the judges always say. Steven shakes the bones around his neck, mutters some incantations and says that Casey is the perfect entertainer: he’s got perfect pitch and an out-of-control ego. Alrighty, then. JHo says there’s no one else out there like him right now. Randy says he’s a true original and “you can only do you and that you is great.”
Tink comes onstage to ask who Casey sang to. Casey says it was Megan. Just in case Casey had a chance with Megan, Tink points out how sweaty and disgusting Casey is. If Tink can’t have his Casey Bear, no one can! Not even Megan…
Actually, it looks like Megan’s into it.
Thia Megia tells us that it was tough having the judges point out how boring she was last week. So she’s going to pick an exciting song this week and get all of us on our feet and cheering. She chose “(Love is Like a) Heatwave” by Martha and the Vandellas. It’s a good choice, if she can pull it off. Jimmy Iovine is back and thinks it’s the right song for her, too.
Thia does a good job of staying awake this week, although she manages to bring an exciting song down a notch. Even though the song is uptempo, she’s still singing it like it’s amateur night at Jazz Alley. Also, she seems confused by the lyrics. Which is said because half the lyrics are “yeah, yeah, yeah, yeahhhhh, ohhh, heatwave!”
At least she got to wear her quinceanera dress again…
JHo says she needs to do a better job of connecting with the lyrics and even though she’s only 16 (did Thia have a birthday?), she can still pretend like she understands how the lyrics are supposed to make you feel. Randy says he’s happy she tried something different and he hopes she takes more chances. Steven says “I’m good with it,” without looking up from the voodoo doll he’s sticking pins into. How much is he getting paid, again?
Lusky Stank is up next and he’ll be doing “You’re All I Need to Get By” by Tammy Terrell and Marvin Gaye. Jimmy Iovine says Lusky is the best person in the competition to do Motown. Lusky just wants to change people’s lives with his song choices. I imagine that he envisions himself giving concerts where everyone is weeping, waving an arm in the air, and hollering “yes, Jesus, yes! Jeee-sus, yes Lord!” with their eyes closed. Just like every Sunday.
Jimmy tells Lusky he has a very powerful voice, but he needs to reign that shit in cause it’s a little too much sometimes. Jimmy is giving very good advice today.
This is Lusky, trying to reign it in.
Legendary bassist Bob Babbitt is going to be playign with Lusky on stage. Bob has been working with Motown since the 1960s. He’s what musicians look like when they don’t make millions of dollars. He looks rundown, worn out and like he could collapse at any moment. He also looks as though he smells of tobacco, sweat and gin — a lethal combination.
Lusky’s backup singers start the song out, and he comes in soft and then slowly builds up. He really seems comfortable on stage and ends on a killer high nots. JHo is loving it and so am I. Kirsten Dunst really liked it, too. Good for her for getting on camera! It’s been awhile, hasn’t it Kirsty?
Randy says Barry Gordy is somewhere saying “oh my god.” Steven applauds Lusky for holding back and milking it. JHo says she was moved. Tink sends Lusky offstage to hug and kiss his grandma (Lusky’s grandma, not Tink’s) and then Tink invites the entire front row onstage to hug Lusky.
Lauren is singing the Supreme’s “You Keep Me Hanging On.” She doesn’t seem to know much about Motown, which is a shame, so the Rock Mafia producers picked the song for her. But! Lauren says she can relate to the song because it’s about being confident and moving on in spite of what someone else is saying about you and she has had to learn how to do that since entering the spotlight, what with people being mean and all. This is the difference between her and Thia, I guess. They’re both 16 and have limited life experience, but Lauren was able to connect to her song and find an emotional parallel. The big question is, though, can she bring that onstage?
She does an okay job with it. She works the judges and the audience a little bit and seems very comfortable and mature on stage. I liked her singing last week better, though.
Steven says she ripped the song another beauty mark. JHo says she brought the song to life and looked amazing. Randy says she has her swagger on high. Not one of those comments made sense, so I think the judges think that it was just okay, as well.
Stefano and Tink are sitting onstage so that they can talk about how Stefano’s mom made everyone a home-cooked meal this week. Tink has some leftovers that he starts chowing down on. Someone hands him a coke, too. Because nothing goes better with leftovers than a nice, refreshing, cold Coca-Cola. Have a Coke and a smile. Refresh everything.
Stefano is doing Lionel Richie’s “Hello.” Jimmy warns him that he can’t start the song out like he’s singing in a Broadway production of “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” all loud and amped up. He’s got to start it slow and soft, with pure emotion. Producer and Afro-hawk aficionado Rodney Jerkins tells him to keep his eyes open. Because 25 million people will be watching. Don’t get nervous and close your eyes, he says, because there will be millions and millions of people watching and they’ll all hate you if you close your eyes. Also, those 25 million people will think he’s asleep. So don’t be skerd.
“It’s just 25 million people… 25 million people… 25 million…”
Stefano does start out softly and manages to keep his eyes open about 50 percent of the time, which is a big improvement over last week. It’s a shame because he does have beautiful, dreamy eyes and some fantastic lashes. He ends the song by looking to the camera and whispering “I love you.” Ewwww.
JHo says she needs to rundown a checklist with him: Fine? Check. Sing like crazy? Check. Open eyes? Buzz! He needs to be more intense and the intensity is going to come from feeling the emotion of the song, not the desire to do well. Hey! That was actually a really good commentary. Thank you, JHo.
Randy says Stefano is one of the best singers in the competition but he’s missing the connection. Steven says he ramped up too soon. Would Stefano like for him to mix up a potion that will keep his eyes open during his performances? It contains some bat genetalia but the taste is masked by some swamp grass he’s gonna put in. He’ll do it for $12 and the cord blood from Stefano’s first born.
Tink has given Mama Stefano’s pasta to Gordon Ramsay. Because surely winning TV personality and accomplished chef Gordon Ramsay will say something nice about it and make Mama Stefano feel really good, right? Wrong. He takes a bite, makes a face and says thank god Stefano can sing. Stefano’s mom looks a little upset. What a dick. Do you think that in addition to cheating on his wife and not paying his restaurant suppliers, Gordon also kicks puppies and pops children’s balloons?
Sitting near Ramsay is a much nicer gentleman in a much more interesting outfit. Otis Williams is a founding member of the Temptations and is there to say that he is “immensely” enjoying the show. Thanks, Otis! Back to obscurity until next year…
Haley is singing Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “You Really Got a Hold on Me.” Jimmy advises her to be confident. What she really needs a choreographer. Or someone to tie her left arm to her body so she’ll stop waving it around.
Haley starts off on the stairs. She awkwardly walks down and she seems to be bent over sideways, doing a sort of Scotty McCreery/hunchback of Notre Dame-type move. She’s awkward but she sounds and looks good. She’s wearing a white tuxedo jacket and some tuxedo shorts and some heels, which may explain her awkward stance on the stairs. She still has no idea what her left arm should be doing.
Perhaps she’s showing us what’s up for grabs in the Showcase Showdown?
Randy says it started out rough, but by the middle of the song the Haley they love was back with her Janis Joplin growl. Steven says it was beautiful and touched his heart. And Haley doesn’t look a day over fabulous. JHo says she’s got the most soulful voice out of all the girls in the competition.
Before we get to Alfred E. Neuman’s song choice, Tink shows us a video of Alfred throwing a basketball out of a 2nd floor window and through the hoop. So if Alfred’s country career doesn’t take off, he can become the only white member of the Harlem Globetrotters, I suppose.
Alfred didn’t listen to a lot of Motown-type music growing up. But he’s going to give it a shot and sing Stevie Wonder’s “For Once in My Life.” He’s going to make it more country, of course, because this is what his fans expect of him. Jimmy advises Al to stay intense, so that he won’t sound like a lounge singer.
The song starts off with a harmonica and Al sitting on the stairs. Ugh. Why does this kid annoy me so much? I can’t put my finger on it. He just seems so smug. And his insistence to put his twang on everything aggravates me. There are plenty of country singers I like that don’t twang it up all the time. Carrie Underwood, for instance, can tone it down a little. Also, this refusal to commit just one performance to another genre seems… limiting. If you’re going to be the American Idol, shouldn’t you have some crossover appeal. Anyway. Al gives a little cheesy, twitchy performance and has some nice deep, low notes.
Steven thought it was beautiful and that low notes are his niche. JHo says it wasn’t his strongest vocal performance but she like the low notes. Randy says the low notes are his young lady-killer notes. Tink wants to know if the voice in Alfred’s head is as deep as his speaking voice. A very good question.
Tink calls Pita Tostita the Pride of Howard Beach. LOL. Congrats, Pita. There’s one neighborhood in one of NYC’s boroughs that absolutely loves you. I hope they remember to vote. She’s bringing us another Stevie Wonderful song: “All in Love is Fair.” Music producer Harvey Mason, Jr. worked with her. I only mention this because I wouldn’t mind if Harv worked my vocal chords a little, knowwhatI’msayin’? Also because he thinks there aren’t any singers like Pita out there anymore.
As usual, she looks beautiful and is wearing a long, elegant black dress. She sounds fantastic and the audience is cheering halfway through. She ends on a crazy, big note and it sounds just awesome.
JHo wants to do another checklist: Amazing vocals? Check. Beauty? Check. Feelings? Check. Owning the stage? Buzz! JHo says she should be more like Celine who walks around and owns the stage. Randy agrees and reminds her that she can’t live on ballads alone. Steven: right now you are the closest star in this American Idol universe. Would you like some of the same potion I made for Celine? It made her extra fertile and gave her a craving for old man balls.
Tink comes onstage to point out how regal Pita looks and adds that the best seats in the house are behind her. Because they get to see her backside. He’s trying so hard, ya’ll. Let’s pretend we believe him, ok?
It has been a busy week for Bradley Cooper. First, he broke up with Pinchface Zellweger. Then he had the number one movie in America, a film about a man who eats Robert DeNiro’s magic beans. Then he had to perform “Tracks of My Tears” on Idol. He didn’t even have time to brush his hair before going onstage!
Paul “Baby Bradley” McDonald is going to play the acoustic guitar while he sings. This is good because it prevents him from doing that very special dance that I’m calling the Baby Bradley Bugaloo (for now).
BB has some stage presence and is good at disguising it when he can’t quite hit the note he’s going for. His legs are bugalooing, but his arms are blessedly occupied and we can concentrate on his whisper-singing.
Randy was worried at the beginning, but he likes that BB took it to a Rod Steward-y kind of place and he loved when BB sang “tender” at the end. JHo says he’s the most seasoned performer and he’s a good package, all he needs is a good producer. Steven says his voice his different, like Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. Tink wants to know about the pin that BB is wearing. BB says it’s a jaguar. Tink says it’s a cougar. Because Paul’s gonna get the cougar vote. Trying. So. Hard.
Tink stands by the judges and points out that Randy hasn’t said “pitchy” all night. If you’re at home, how do you decide whom to vote for? JHo says vote for your favorite. Steven grabs JHo’s mic, which is apparently better than his, and says you should vote for someone who moved you to tears and changed your life. That’s all. Just those simple little requirements. Text your vote for the person who changed the course of your life forever and put you on a new path to a new destiny. Or, if you’re a cougar, vote for the person you want to bone the most.
Speaking of pitchy… Naima’s going to sing “Dancing in the Street,” another hit from Martha and the Vandellas. She also wants to add some African dancing to it. Jimmy Iovine says it’s going to be hard and she has to work on her breathing. This is going to be challenging because this girl can barely breathe when she’s just singing. Adding dancing to the mix could be a train wreck.
She starts off strong, singing alongside what I assume is an African drummer. Towards the ends more drummers come on stage and she does her dance, flinging her hair and arms and legs all over the place and then the song ends. And she made it through without gasping for air or passing out! You know, even though I hated her pants (I call them drants because the top part was pants and the bottom part looked like a dress) she actually turned in an entertaining, energetic performance. And it was appropriate. It wasn’t too much dancing. But the song is about dancing, so I think it was called for. I know there aren’t a lot of Naima superfans on here, but you know she’s going to put together thoughtful, high-energy performances, which are much better for concerts than someone with a stronger voice just standing on stage and singing.
That’s either Jesus or Naima… based on the heinous outfit, I’m going with Naima.
Steven says: “it was E to the Z ooo tweedly-dee.” He says that means it was the total package, but I think he may have just cast a spell on national television. JHo says Naima is an exciting performer who gave her goosebumps. Randy said he’s been rough on her lately, but tonight she really showed up.
James Durbin is closing the show with “Living for the City,” a Stevie Wonder song about poverty and racism, but, James adds, it’s a hopeful song, too. Did anyone else hear audio issues during this part of the show? The sound on my TV kept cutting in and out, and it definitely wasn’t me need to adjust my set. In any case, I did get to hear most of James’s performance and it was, as usual, pretty awesome. He sounds great and he has an adorable moment when he dances in step with the backup singers. He’s all over the stage and is really reminiscent of Adam Hambert, though I think Hambert has the better voice.
At the end, Steven looks confused and James is hugging everyone, and the audience is going crazy and JHo is saying ohmigod, ohmigod, and the audience won’t shut up and James is egging them on. Finally JHo gets to say that he’s serious business and she’s speechless. Randy says it started out rough — JHo disagrees — but James was unbelievable when he hit his stride. Steven has gotten himself together and says sometimes it takes being a little crazy to make a difference in this world and that’s what he’s about.
So! Even though I wouldn’t have made out to any of those songs, it was an awesome night and as we know, elimination night was just as insane. At this point, I think James is the one to beat. Who changed your life? And who is your “hall pass?”