Last night on American Idol, we got a double dose of the top five contestants. With the help of Jimmy Iovine and Sheryl Crow, each Idol hopeful sang two songs — one recent and one from “back in the day,” as Tink explained it to us. We also learned that Sir Anthony Hopkins is a huge Idol fan. I wish they’d asked him who his fave is. I bet it’s Lusky. He strikes me as the type who would enjoy the sound of a very large woman singing operatic gospel.
He should win an Academy Award just for the face he’s making here.
James kicked things off. His first song was “Closer to the Edge” by 30 Seconds to Mars and Jimmy thought it was the right kind of song for him. Jimmy really hates 80s rock and metal. James started the song quietly and a bit off key (to me and my untrained ear) but the louder he got, the better he sounded. It was a low-key performance for him: just three bursts of pyrotechnics and some high fives for the audience. That’s all. Just a few fireworks and exposure to the swine flu five times. He’s also got a weird beard going in honor of recently booted Casey.
The judges thought he kicked the song’s ass and that he’s showing them and the audience that he wants this bad. Gotta agree with that assessment. He always seems to give every performance everything he’s got, and that was even more true for his second song.
During rehearsals, he broke down while singing Harry Nilsson’s “Without You,” saying it reminded him of his wife and son. During the live performance, he started off dry-eyed, standing in one place, singing to the camera. He stayed soft, hit a nice high note, and the next thing you know, he was bawling and singing, tears running down his face. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win American Idol. The judges ate it up, of course, especially JHo.
Jacob sang “No Air” by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown (shudder). He decided to sing both the male and female parts. Obviously, he has the ability to do this because of his range, but that don’t make it a good idea. He started it off really falsetto and was a bit pitchy, especially when he started doing the snake.
The judges no likey. At least Randy didn’t. He thought it was corny and that Jake should stick to Luther Vandross/Church stuff.
Jacob’s second song was a Jimmy suggestion: “Love Hurts.’ Jacob wasn’t so sure about this, but agreed to it. It was another opportunity for him to show off his incongruous falsetto and my ears burned until he came down a little bit. The judges heard a lot in that song that I didn’t. For me it was loud and high. For them it was full of passion, had a “bobble” in the middle, and featured the highest note ever sung on the Idol stage. Was that a compliment? I’m still not sure.
Lauren’s first song was Carrie Underwood’s “Flat on the Floor” which sounds like a sexy song but turns out not to be. Lauren took Sheryl’s advice not to walk all over the stage and out into the audience and sing to goofy boys. She pretty much stayed put, but was still able to have energy and bounce and rock out to the song. The judges loved it and really didn’t have anything constructive to say.
Lauren’s second song was “Unchained Melody.” Jimmy and Sheryl deemed it a mature song that everyone would be familiar with, but thought Lauren could make it her own. Her performance and look are a little beauty pageant, if you ask me. She had waving arm movements and a floor length gown and hair as big as her mama’s, and at the end the judges didn’t have too much to say. JHo used her favorite word twice: “It was a beautiful song sung beautifully.” Steven agreed that it was beautiful.
Scotty No Body had two very different performances. The first was “Gone” by Montgomery Gentry. Jimmy and Sheryl practically peed their panties over Scotty and he had a great performance. He jumped all over the stage and ran back and forth a bit manically, but it was actually fun to watch. The judges – Steven specifically – thought he danced with the devil.
Scotty’s second song was, of course, Evlis Presley’s “You Were Always on My Mind.” I would nickname him Baby Elvis but he’d probably enjoy that too much. Sheryl was practically drooling over him by this point, trying to find a way she can profit off of his future career. Scotty kept his second song soft and, as Randy would say, “tender.” And you know the judges ate that shit up.
Finally Haley. Haley, Haley, Haley. The judges and Jimmy Iovine really screwed her over last night. It all started when Jimmy suggested that she sing an unreleased Lady Gaga song. The Gaga apparently performs the song at concerts only. After receiving a blessing from The Gaga, herself, to perform “You and I,” Haley hit the stage with a bluesy, growly and husky rendition. I’ve never heard the song before but I loved it. However, I love just about everything Gaga does and I thought Haley sounded fantastic.
JHo loved the way Haley sound, too. BUT… she didn’t think she should have done an unknown song. Randy agrees that it was too risky and wasn’t even a good song. Steven thinks she’s one good song away from winning the show. Stupid, useless judges. Who cares if no one’s heard it before? Guess what, JHo, no one heard your stupid “On the Floor” song before but that hasn’t stopped you from shoving it down our throats. At some point every song is unheard. And it’s not like Haley is one of these fools who goes to the auditions and sings some dumbass song they made up while sitting on the pot at their mama’s house. It was a song written by one of the biggest artists in the world right now. Anyway. I was annoyed.
Haley’s second song was “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals. Jimmy said that if Haley was a teen in the 1960s, she would have recorded this album. At Sheryl’s suggestion, Haley started off the song a capella. It’s a haunting song anyway, but when Haley sang it, it was even more so and was goosebump-inducing. After the first verse, the band kicked in and she started growling and singing her ass off.
At the end, the judges gave her a standing O for acting like little bitches earlier. Eventually they said that it was the best performance of the night. I don’t know. Was it? Maybe. I also liked Scotty and Lauren’s uptempo songs. I think it’s time for Lusky to be out, even though I never like to see a totally vanilla finale (excuse me, thanks to Scotty it will be one-sixteenth Puerto Rican). Everything’s better with diversity, right?
Did you vote last night? What’d you think of Haley’s first song choice? Who do you think will be kickin’ rocks later tonight? Are you excited that JHo will dust off her mic and perform tonight? I had actually forgotten that she was a singer… Also, Seacrest only mentioned JHo and Lady Antebellum as tonight’s performers, but Wikipedia says that Lady Gaga will be performing “Judas,” so maybe that’s a possibility. Regardless, the “Judas” video is supposed to premiere at 7 tonight on E!. Will you be watching?