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American Idol Season 8 (2009)

 

March 10 - Just beat it (Michael Jackson songs)

 

Tonight's theme is Michael Jackson.  The very first album I ever owned was by the Jackson 5, and while I never purchased any of Michael's full-length CDs as he grew up, I've always appreciated his music - wacko lifestyle notwithstanding.  So I can't decide whether to look forward to this night or dread it.  I'm leaning toward the latter.

 

Lil Rounds (sings "The Way You Make Me Feel"): She sings this well - her voice is perfect for this type of music - but, uh, couldn't she have changed the words so she's not singing to a woman?  Move a little more around the stage, too, please.  And that pink ruffle on the shoulder needs to go.  Randy says this is the way we kick off Season 8, and she made the song new again.  Kara says the other contestants will be saying, "Uh, oh."  Paula complements Lil's clothing.  Snort.  Simon was a little disappointed because he thought she made a lazy song choice, and he hates what she's wearing.  I'm not sure what to think about the fact that Simon and I share the same taste in women's clothes.

 

Scott MacIntyre (sings "Keep the Faith"): He plays the piano.  Otherwise, he's pretty unremarkable.  I try to cut him some slack because he's mostly blind, but the eyes just staring at me really creep me out.  I'm sorry.  Put some shades on.  The fact that I don't recognize this song at all doesn't help matters.  Kara asks if Scott just learned the song on the piano this week, and he says yes, in just a couple of days.  Ooo, ahh.  She likes his hopeful message and the fact that he's true to himself every week.  Paula calls the performance magical.  Simon hated the song because no one knows it, and when Scott says he was trying to be artistic, Simon reminds him that people shouldn't be artistic on this show.  Heh.  Heh, heh.  Randy felt that the performance was good but safe.

 

Danny Gokey (sings "PYT"): Why does he keep trying to stick his hand in his pocket?  Otherwise, it's a pretty hopping arrangement.  He's really into it.  Me likey.  Paula says they know exactly who he is, and she predicts he'll be in the finals. Simon thinks the vocals were brilliant but the dancing was hideous.  This leads into a discussion of getting someone to teach the contestants to dance.  Randy says when you got it, you got it, and Danny has it.  Kara believes he has joy when he's on stage.  Joy, joy, joy.

 

Michael Sarver (sings "You Are Not Alone"): This would have been very good in earlier seasons.  He's singing his heart out, and he's got a decent tone.  But it's kind of middle of the road here, and the arrangement is really, really overwrought.  Everyone feels they have to belt every song tonight, I guess.  Sigh.  Simon believes that Michael made up for not being the best singer by showing passion and heart.  Randy thinks he's one of the best people tonight.  Kara says that tonight showed that he really can sing.  Like I guess he couldn't before, and that's why you put him through to the top 36, right?  Paula calls Michael likeable and says he made an "instinctual" song choice.

 

Jasmine Murray (sings "I'll Be There"): I don't expect this big voice out of her.  I'm impressed, even though it's a little on the strident side at the upper end.  Randy - who must point out that he recorded this with Mariah Carey - says he was actually impressed, too.  Kara thinks a half key down would have been more comfortable for her, but Jasmine sold it, anyway.  Paula says Jasmine has tremendous composure, then points out where she was under pitch, then says "well done."  Uh, okay.  Simon says she was a little robotic at times and she should lighten up a little, since she's still young.  Um, and how old was Michael Jackson when he sang this?  Much younger than this, I believe.  Pppphht.

 

Kris Allen: (sings "Remember the Time"): He plays guitar, which I can't hear that much.  He stumbles a little on the words at one point, but he's okay and kind of fun.  And definitely cute.  Kara says the girls love him, and she's happy to see him with his guitar.  She also gives him props for helping out the other contestants this week.  Paula doesn't think that anyone knows Michael's catalog better than Kris.  Then she meanders.  Simon calls it interesting, although he wasn't sure the song lent itself to the guitar.  Randy calls him Jason Mraz-y.

 

Allison Iraheta (sings "Give In To Me"): Okay, I don't recognize this song, either, but she's got a nice rock edge.  Joan Jett meets Michael Jackson.  Yeah, I'm liking this one.  For the first time, this show has a genuine rocker chick who doesn't sound like she's screaming her lungs out.  Paula says that Allison is mind-boggling for a 16-year-old.  And yeah, I agree.  Simon thinks it was a good performance, and they know who she is.  Someone bumped Randy the Record Player, because once again he says if you got it, you got it.  Kara tells Allison to keep being a rocker and calls her brilliant.

 

Anoop Desai (sings "Beat It"): Not the best vocals, and he tries too much to imitate Michael's moves.  But he looked like he was trying to have fun, and the stylist did the best job with him of anyone else so far.  The judges are having none of it, though.  Paula thought the song sounded karaoke, and no one should touch it except Michael Jackson.  Simon thought it was horrible and looked a bit stupid.  Randy felt it was the wrong choice, and it didn't work.  Kara felt the biggest problem was that there wasn't any variation, and she felt disconnected from him as a performer.  I give Anoop kudos, though, for making me finally understand that Michael was singing, "No one wants to be defeated."

 

Jorge Nuñez (sings "Never Can Say Goodbye"): Okay, there were a number of rough notes in here, and it's a very Vegas-style arrangement, but he's got that Latin voice going on that's kind of, well, sexy.  I wish he'd chosen a different song to bring that out more.  But I'm sure that all of Puerto Rico is voting for him, so I'm guessing he's safe.  Randy says it wasn't the song he would have chosen for Jorge.  Kara didn't feel emotionally connected with him and wishes he'd sung something like "She's Out of My Life."  You know, she's right - that would have been perfect.  Paula agrees it wasn't the right song.  Simon says it was corny, Jorge was out of his depth, and Simon hated the arrangement so much he couldn't wait for it to end.

 

Megan Joy Corkrey (sings "Rockin' Robin"): Icky arrangement.  Icky red dress.  Stupid twitchy moves.  And then she caws like a crow at the end.  What the...?  Kara says she injected her personality in it.  Paula loves her quirky and unique tone, but she was a little disconnected.  Simon calls it a stupid song choice and the whole performance was clumsy and awkward.  Yep.  Randy says the song didn't allow her to really be herself.

 

Adam Lambert (sings "Black and White"): Woah.  He's slinky, he's sexy, he owns the stage.  Insert heavy panting here.  He shoots straight to the top of my list.  Paula says that never in the history of American Idol have they seen someone so comfortable on stage.  She's putting him in the finals, too.  Simon says that was in a totally different league from everything else they've seen tonight.  Randy says he could make a record right now and sail right to the top of the charts.  If you got it, you got it, blah, blah.  Kara hopes Michael Jackson is watching this tonight.  Adam looks like he's going to cry, and with those Zac Efron eyes he looks soooo dreamy.  [*bats eyelashes*]  He's going to single-handedly save this season for me.  Thank you.

 

Matt Giraud (sings "Human Nature"): Here's another pianist.  He's fine, and the arrangement works, but I'm still reeling from Adam.  Okay, the falsetto is losing me here.  Matt seems a little nervous.  Whatever.  He's probably safe.  Randy calls it a really good performance.  Kara hopes she sees him for many, many weeks.  Paula calls him talented, sexy, amazing, authentic.  Simon calls it "meat and potatoes" good.  They're obviously running out of time, because zip, zip, and they're done.

 

Alexis Grace (sings "Dirty Diana"): She's a little behind the beat on the verses, but she's very gritty, which suits the song.  And that way short, short, short dress...well, the guys will love her.  Kara says she's a naughty girl, and she likes it.  Paula tells her to watch her oversinging.  Simon calls it over the top and not as good as she thinks it is.  Randy says he likes her attitude.

 

My ranking:

 

1.  Adam Lambert - If he goes before the finals, this show will be zapped of all its energy.

 

Big space.

 

2.  Danny Gokey - Solid performance.

3.  Allison Iraheta - You rock, girl.  Choose a more familiar song next time.

4.  Lil Rounds - Not the most dynamic stage performance, but great vocals.

5.  Alexis Grace - Naughty is nice.  Staying on the beat would be nice, too.

6.  Matt Giraud - Understated in a good way.  Falsettos should only be attempted when nerves are less, though (or when pins are handy).

7.  Jasmine Murray - In a few more years, she'll blow most of these people away.

8.  Kris Allen - He's fun.  He's cute.  He's safe.

9.  Michael Sarver - A little too earnest for my taste, and a boring song choice, but he sang it decently.

10.  Anoop Desai, Jorge Nuñez - They both chose the wrong song, but they should both be able to come back.

12.  Scott MacIntyre - Boring song, boring performance.

13.  Megan Joy Corkrey - Someone shoot that bird, please.

 

Two people will be eliminated tomorrow.  Ryan tells us that that there will be a new twist in the way contestants are voted off, and Simon says the audience might not like it.  I'm thinking that maybe the judges will have the final say with the bottom three or something like that.  Whatever.  I guess we'll find out tomorrow.  Gee, I can hardly wait.

 

Bottom 4 (announced on March 11 results show):  Jasmine Murray, Megan Joy Corkrey, Anoop Desai, Jorge Nuñez

Eliminated:  Jasmine Murray, Jorge Nuñez

 

Review © 2009 by Patricia Lowhorn.  For comments, e-mail tricia@lowhorn.org.

 

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