First a bit of background. As you may know, I like to use this blog to talk about American Idol. Last year was a low point in the show for sure. Last year’s one bright spot was when Harry Connick Jr. took Randy Jackson to task when he was mentoring the show one week. He worked his way up to the judges’ table, and must have been a good enough fit, because he has basically stepped in as the voice of reason this year.
They have removed most of the schtick involving the talentless who audition, leaving the judges only having to navigate the in-betweeners, which they do with grace and clarity. Gone is any remnant of the need for Simon Cowell and what he brought, because with Harry, you have all the same musical expertise without any of the forked tongue. Looking forward to Harry’s “in the moment” live responses to individual performances. And so, since I’m looking forward to it, I guess I can’t help myself but to share it with whoever wants to read about it. Here goes!
Here are my thoughts on tonight’s Rush Week for the ladies…
First curve ball - we’re only going to see the top ten of the top fifteen. And in walks Randy Jackson. Well, I knew that the first couple weeks of shows were probably too good to be true. But we do start with a video piece about the mentoring moment with Randy.
What’s this? Non-denominational spiritual advisors for American Idol?!?!?! I have clearly missed my calling! Very interesting decision not only to have them, but to highlight their existence on the show. And Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert, so it all evens out in the end I guess.
Here are my thoughts on those who did perform, my comments uttered as always, before I have heard what the judges have to say.
Majesty: “Happy” - the energy of this is great, it’s a hot song for sure, but the breakdown doesn’t exactly show off much about her. There was energy, but not passion. The song is more to credit for that than her performance.
Kristen: “Turning Tables” - Great voice, pretty surprising. The first verse was a little shaky, but she came alive.
As this is going on, I do think that the fact that the judges are “selecting” the top ten to sing is making for a pretty milquetoast feedback loop - what are they going to say, “you stink and we’re sorry we picked you instead of the others?”
Briana: “Warrior” - I thought this was good, but she’s a little “dead in the eyes” - which is unfortunate, because she has very big eyes. I was also honestly distracted by the intensity of the “mom watching” that was happening.
Jena: “Paint it Black” - Ann Wilson is back. This is a great choice for what her voice does. She’s a true female rocker, with a killer belt. Wow. This is the kind of voice I would love to hear in the genre shifting of american idol.
Hey Harry: Jena didn’t know what she was singing when she sang “Paint it Black” because Mick Jagger didn’t know what he was singing when he did it the first time either.
Bria: “Wrong side of a love song” - This seemed desperate to me, but not in the good way. (Is there a good way to be desperate? Nevermind.) She pushed a ton. Not good enough, probably the judges’ first misstep.
Marrialle: “Roar” - I think that this is a good performer who made a very bad song choice. Only on the last chorus when she added a harmony to the lead melody line did it even remotely feel like something special.
Jessica: “Drink a Beer” - I think what she lacks in vocal control getting through the nerves she makes up for in story-telling ability and clear understanding of how to allow for vulnerability in her performance. Always good to see Leather Tuscadero making a comeback…
Emily: “Paris (Ooh La La)” - She has a great voice, and I think the main problem with the lyric of the song and whether or not it’s appropriate for her to sing, was that the lyric regarding shaving is fairly bizarre all on its own. She should get past this performance and really wow us in the near future.
MK: “All Of Me” - MK, KD you are not… yet… I think this was a very ambitious choice for a song, because John Legend disguises how difficult his songs are within his seemingly easy-going attack. Without getting too obviously political, she could go on in the competition, though I’m not sure she’s got the best voice.
There’s a break in the action now, as we find out that Ben is the one who will go on into tomorrow night’s competition, though I guess even then he may not get a shot unless the judges allow for it.
Malaya: “Hard Times” - There’s something about this girl that really makes me smile. That brought the house down, all the way to the last note. She’s fantastic, and my personal favorite.
So there you go - what did you think of the first “live” show? (portions of this program pre-recorded...)