I’m glad that they are having a mentor this week with David Cook. I was missing the vibe of hearing feedback from anyone besides Randy Jackson in the video pieces. However is it me or is all of David Cook’s interview footage ever so slightly out of focus?
Jena: "I Love Rock and Roll" - Great arrangement, great decision to double up the verse before getting onto the chorus. The tension and build up was exactly what she would need to pull it off.
Dexter: "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" - Perfect 80s pick for him. Not sure why the drummer played through the stop in the first verse, but he did it again the second time so it must have been a choice. I didn’t like it. My only criticism was that the last time he sang the end he dropped the word “don’t” which massively changes the meaning of the lyric. But he had fun.
Alex & Sam: “The Girl is Mine” - Perfect song to try and get Sam out of the bottom, very entertaining to think about the two of them having to learn this totally bizarre song. Was hoping they would do the talking bits too. (“I’m a lover not a fighter!”)
Malaya: "Through the Fire" - Your shoes are from the future. The whole sitting on the piano and walking down the stairs was totally unnecessary and in my opinion got her started on the wrong track for the first verse and chorus. But after she hit that high note the first time thru to the end was a powerhouse. I think she overshot it by about 18 percent. Youngness got her a bit.
So I have to say that so far David Cook has done a great job mentoring, and the clips of his feedback are fantastic. How come they haven’t been able to capture moments like that of Randy Jackson? Because they don’t exist….
Jena & Caleb: “It’s Only Love” - Holy smokes this is a boring song. Not even that dress could save this performance. Not a fan of the song, though they connected well with each other.
Jessica: "Call Me" - Well if other weeks hinted at Leather Tuscadero, this week flat out megaphoned it. This was the most comfortable and confident I’ve ever seen her out of the comfort zone, and that is commendable, but even then it had shades of awkward. Her voice maintained stability throughout.
JLo’s critique of Jessica was the best feedback to a female contestant from any female judge that has ever been on any season of AI ever. Fantastic.
Sam: "Time after Time" - Sam’s in trouble everyone! Bring in the tweens! He is doing better in the category of connection, and I love this song. The stripped down arrangement is lovely, I was worried that it would feel too fast, but it was very nice, and the BGVs on the chorus may have just earned him another week.
Malaya & CJ: “I Knew You Were Waiting” - I’m sorry but I still don’t get CJ. I keep waiting for someone to come over to him and kindly let him know that he is in the wrong room.
Alex: "Every Breath You Take" - This is a fantastic arrangement. This dude is a real artist. I loved the PLEASE… hold, although he was a bit flat with it. This is one I may have to download. What a fantastic piece of recorded music.
Harry, this is the first time I think that you are wrong when you are trying to parse Performer and Entertainer with Alex. The issue here is one of youth, and inexperience, not one of category. The fact that these kids haven’t figured out how to excel into the bigness of the stage and take it and own it (which they haven’t fully yet), is totally on the judges and on the producers for not grooming them to the point of entertaining. It’s a TV show for our entertainment, not for performances, and that’s on the judges.
Jessica & Dexter: “Islands in the Stream” - I can’t really take this song seriously either, as it was performed by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton but written by the Bee Gees. They’re playing it as fast as possible to get it done as quickly as possible.
CJ: "Free Fallin’" - I’m really surprised that this song was 80s. Must have been ‘89. I just checked. It was. As much as in general I don’t usually like CJ or think he belongs (see earlier post on the duet), this was pretty good - he connected his signature attack with the lyrics, and the intimacy of the verses in the first part earned the right to go off the rails in the last chorus. I didn’t like it going back down for the ending. Lost momentum and with the repeat of lyric didn’t mean much.
Oh, Randy Jackson showed up, he heard people were giving compliments about mentoring. Wrong mentor, Randy…
Caleb: "Faithfully" - The pianist just botched that opening riff. As an 80s boy going to church, that was a sin. Pyro? I actually really enjoyed that, he didn’t do much different than the original, so in that respect he honored the song. What was up with all the close ups of lip synching JLo?
So to Keith, Journey is functional like a fanny pack? What did he just say? I think he had a Paula moment.
Who is going home? Did Sam do enough to save himself?