Idol Final Eight Performance Night/Safe to in Danger:
Good luck tonight Idol; Idol’s opening act was Siobhan and her new band “Doubtful Guest”. They debuted the band tonight with a concert on stageit.com. If you are on facebook you probably got several blurbs about it from me. If you didn’t watch, it was your loss. It. Was. Awesome!!!
Tonight’s theme is songs from Detroit, so we might see someone take on Eminem, or Bob Seger, or Alice Cooper, or (mostly) songs from Motown Records. Smokey Robinson is here to reprise his role as the best mentor ever, so let’s get to it…
The Singers, the Songs:
Candice, “Heard it through the Grapevine”
Call it over the top, call it self indulgent, whatever. If you got it, you got it. Some people will hate the arrangement, some people will hate that she isn’t Marvin Gaye, and a few will even hate that she isn’t John Fogerty, but nobody can say that she didn’t dominate the stage, the song, and her audience. Idol’s old status as pop culture’s midweek, midseason center of attention ain’t what it used to be, so this might not end up being a famous performance – but Candice sang as well tonight as any performer the show’s ever seen, including Adam Lambert. It was a moment for Idol fans, and a moment for Candice. A+
Duet next, Kree and Janelle doing “Like a Prayer”
Madonna too, that’s right… Detroit gave us some music, didn’t it? Janelle… I just figured out who she reminds me of: Steve Earle. Not as a singer, just how she talks, how her mouth moves. Lets hear it..
I was surprised at how well Janelle matched up with Kree’s vocal strength; either they fixed their mics perfectly, or Janelle has a bit more power than I give her credit for. I enjoyed the song, but I would have enjoyed it a lot more if they had skipped the freaking choir. Two Idol level singers like Kree and Janelle don’t need all that help. Elephant = Mouse, built to government specifications.
Lazaro, “For Once in my Life”
No matter what you think of Laz, don’t buy the Idol hype that he’s some Latino farm boy who just saw his first bright light when his plane touched down in Hollywood. Laz is experienced, and Laz is savvy. I personally see this as a positive, because Laz is going to be very busy once the show ends, singing for large crowds all over the world. I don’t think he needs to win Idol, or even make it deep, to be successful. He just needs to be honest with his fans, and be who they think he is.
Tonight he smoked it, his best performance of the year. He is still missing the… that… how do I explain it? Trumpet players, Sax players too I think (I don’t play either one), play the same three valves in various forms, and they expand, go up and then up some more, by using more air and tightening their lips, “popping” to a new level. Laz needs to learn how to do that with his voice. Siobhan (you knew she was coming eventually) is really good at this. Some of the other contestants this year are good at it; so many that it’s more noticeable when someone can’t do it – like Laz. A-
Janelle, “Keep Me Hanging On”
Her re-arrangement was brilliant, a Nashville-ish reinvention of a song that’s already been reinvented several times. I could sort of hear how she wanted to sing it, but Smokey gave her bad advice. I’m not dunning Smokey, I’m a huge fan, but his advice was good for someone cutting a record, with dozens of takes available to get it right. Janelle had one shot, and she did ok, but not nearly as well as she would have done with the melody she had been doing since she was fourteen years old. She should be safe as hell, so no harm no foul, but oops. B+
Devin, “Tracks of my Tears”
I like Devin’s voice, and I thought he sang well enough tonight to be safe in most years, but he was next to last in the voting in each of the first two weeks of the finals. He’s going to be bottom three tomorrow night no matter what, and his only real chance of not going home is that the girls votes will get split and Amber will get the green weenie. Amber hasn’t been up yet, so he can maybe hope she goes off on a trill-a-thon or something, or Randy wakes up and says a bunch of stupid stuff to Amber like he did last week. Seriously, why does anyone listen to the judges? B+
Candice, Amber and Angela, “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me”
This was one of the tightest concentrations of talent Idol’s ever put together on a performance night, and they were all terrific. Angela got “outed” by Candice as the flirty girl who manipulates the audience; we’ll see if that matters later (I doubt it). Oh, and look at you, Amber!! So glamorous, and since I’m already there; how about Kree tonight? She isn’t the dress up type, but at least she let them do her hair and she put on a clean pair of pants. Progress…
Burnell, “My Cheri Amore”
He’s still a kid, so he has some learning left to do, like a young pitcher with a perfect delivery might need to stretch his arm out and define his off speed pitches a little more. It would be a bad idea to mess with his basic delivery, though. Those moosy low notes, the natural, sedate delivery, the waving arms he uses to keep himself in the rhythm of the song…. anyone who messes with those things risks taking away what makes him special. He’s the Natural. Just leave him be, and stock extra light bulbs. A
Angela, “Shop Around”
I always think of this as a “Captain and Tennille” song, but that’s an age thing. Most people think of it as an “Elevator and Dentist’s Office” song. Lets hear it.
She has the God Squadder vibe, but underneath beats the heart of a Miley Cyrus, “I’ll do ANYTHING to be famous” doll. Never underestimate her desire to win. B, but a pleasing B. Thanks for doing something up tempo, you Prom Night Serial Killer.
Candice is killing her chances of winning, or even making it past next week, but we really need to appreciate just how good Amber’s voice is. I spent half of tonight listening to my favorite Idol ever, Siobhan Magnus. I’m Siobhan’s biggest fan; she sounded amazing tonight, but Amber makes even Siobhan sound like a Bob Dylan imitator in comparison. A+, I won’t call it a moment on a night when Candice remade Grapevine; but maybe America will wake up and give Amber her due.
Amber is going to be a star eventually, but she is also going to be in danger again tomorrow night because the voters can’t (or won’t) vote for the perceived number five woman over the three remaining men. Amber is going to have to be content to be the new Jennifer Hudson.
I don’t have the patience to listen to the judges most of the time, but I listened to what they said about Amber tonight. Nicki was her usual moron self (she can’t help it, Idol should have known that she isn’t a singer), but the others gave Amber some love, so she should be safe. She isn’t safe, of course, but she should be. Most years, she would be the Pia. Wait, Pia finished ninth, didn’t she? By that measure Amber is doing ok…. I would tell her to gamble soon, do something outrageous and dangerous. She won’t survive by playing safe, not with Kree and Janelle up against her.
The Guys, “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)”
Laz missed a couple of cues, forgot the words, and ruined the performance (oops). I don’t think it’s fair to dun the other guys for it; they were both right on their cues and sounded terrific. I feel for Devin, who is going to likely be gone tomorrow night. He is a better singer than Laz, but Idol didn’t give him any backstory – or any fashion advice. Seriously, can we shoot the bastard who dressed him tonight? Shoot him, bury him, then dig him up and shoot him again.
Kree, “Don’t Play that Song”
Blonde up her hair, take the new mother weight off her hips, teach her how to dress – and Kree is Carrie Underwood. No singer in Idol history, and believe me hundreds if not thousands if not millions have tried, has ever been as close to being the new Carrie Underwood as Kree is. It’s a tribute to the level of talent this year that Kree isn’t the frontrunner. Kree is probably headed to the final four anyway. Get used to her, and enjoy her. A
Safe to in Danger:
Devin, or there is going to be some serious angst coming out of my word processer. I like Devin, but I like everyone else more who might be in danger. I’m ok with Laz leaving, but that ain’t happening.