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American Idol Season 8 (2009)


April 14 - Born To Be Mild (Movie songs)


Quentin Tarantino is tonight's guest mentor.  He's an Idol geek, which probably explains why he likes to make such violent movies.  I'm hoping that he'll teach the contestants how to sing while simultaneously hacking and blasting the judges with swords and automatic weapons.  Now that would make for an interesting show. Instead, we have an episode filled with (mostly) predictable ballads.  Except for Adam.  Figures. 

Tonight, only two judges will critique each performance, so they don't run out of time.  Ugh.  Bad idea.  Why don't they just have the judges not talk so much during the critiques?

Allison Iraheta (sings Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing" from Armageddon): Allison felt like she was auditioning for Quentin, but he thinks she'll do a great job.  On her lower register, not so much.  In fact, to me she only sounds good on a few belting notes.  There are pitch problems all over the place.  Oh, dear.  This is just not her type of rock ballad.  She needed something up-tempo to rock out more.  But the judges obviously don't want her to go anywhere.  Paula says Allison possesses the same "special sauce" as Adam and calls her one remarkable, talented young lady.  Simon says she's like barbecue sauce, and she's the girls' only hope left in the competition.  He thinks she has a chance to make it all the way to the finals.  Hmm.  That would be nice, but I wouldn't have predicted it based on this performance.  And I don't know if Allison will even make it to next week, since she now looks like she's about to faint from Simon's praise. 

Anoop Desai (sings Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)" from Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves): Quentin tells him to "rough it up" so he can kill the audience with a big vocal.  Well, I don't know how much he really roughed it up, but it was pretty...in a nice, safe, wedding singer way.  Too bad people are probably going to forget him.  Randy tells him he found his zone and did a really good job.  Kara says he should sing pop songs with soul in it--that's his niche.  She felt connected to his singing and calls it his best performance to date.

Adam Lambert (sings Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild" from Easy Rider): Quentin always looks forward to what Adam does.  I guess he offered no suggestions to him.  And then Adam comes out and...my goodness.  I am now officially awake.  He's headbanging, he's jumping around the stage, he's interacting with the band, he's wailing away.  Totally awesome, dude.  That's how you put on a show.  The audience members are screaming their heads off.  Paula blathers about Adam daring to dance in the path of greatness and says that he's one of the bravest contestants they've had.  Simon jokes that Adam needs to express himself better (heh), then goes on to say that while he liked the performance, he doesn't think it will be as popular as last week's, which Simon thought was more original.

Matt Giraud (sings Bryan Adams' "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman" from Don Juan DeMarco): Quentin says Matt did a good job with it, telling him only to be careful not to lose the enunciation of the lyrics.  I thought I would hate this song, but it's surprisingly okay.  Just okay.  I liked the softer parts, anyway, with Matt on his own playing the piano.  The orchestra coming in and Matt adding all these weird runs sort of deflated it.  Randy calls the performance interesting, but he thinks that Matt fell down more than he should with that song with all the runs he added.  Kara says he took away some of the core melodies that make the song great.  Oops.

Danny Gokey (sings Diana Ross'/Lionel Richie's "Endless Love" from, er, Endless Love): Quentin tells him not to use hand gestures.  So of course Danny uses hand gestures.  And he brings nothing new to this song...well, except for an icky harp accompaniment.  While my cat coughs up a hairball, I fall asleep.  Paula thinks Danny pulled it together from the middle of the song on and calls it a beautiful rendition.  Simon can't fault the way Danny sang the song, but he's disappointed at the very traditional arrangement.  He still congratulates Danny for showing emotion.

Kris Allen (sings Glen Hansard's "Falling Slowly" from Once): Quentin tells him to consider playing an instrument, but felt he lived up most to the spirit of the competition in finding a song from a film that meant something to him.  It won an Oscar for best song two years ago, but I don't think it got a lot of radio play.   Anyway, Kris gives a very tender, emotional performance--sans guitar--and I think it was probably one of the better performances of the night.  Randy, though, says it never quite caught on for him and was pitchy from the start.  On the other hand, Kara believes it was one of his best moments ever.

Lil Rounds (sings Bette Midler's "The Rose" from, duh, The Rose): Quentin tells her to commit to the first half as much as the second part.  The first part is sung straight, while the second goes into this gospel version with all the requisite silly runs.  Sigh. I suppose I should give her a B+ for effort, but seriously, the girl has no idea what songs work for her.  If she'd been on Season 3, Fantasia, Jennifer, and LaToya would have all wiped the floor with her.  Paula says absolutely nothing constructive or even comprehensible.  Simon tells Lil that the song was too soft and middle of the road for her, and she's not the artist they met seven or eight weeks ago.  Ouch.  Lil gets all bitchy back to him.  While I understand her frustration, that outburst probably just landed her back in the bottom three.

My ranking:

1. Adam Lambert - The only one who worked the stage, the audience, and the band.  Yeah, it was over the top, but he brought the only excitement of the evening.
2. Kris Allen - He probably should have chosen a more familiar song, but he showed genuine emotion (without resorting to silly hand gestures - I'm looking at you, Danny).
3. Anoop Desai - The singing was on pitch and pleasant enough to listen to.
4. Allison Iraheta - Not her best performance, but I'd rather see her again than...
5. Matt Giraud - There were parts that were nice, but the man just doesn't know when it's appropriate to add soul to a song.
6. Danny Gokey - Zzzzzzz.  Oh...did he sing?
7. Lil Rounds - Too little, too late.  Please go home.

Bottom 3 (announced on April 15 results show):  Anoop Desai, Lil Rounds, Matt Giraud

Lowest vote-getter, but saved by the judges to sing again next week:  Matt Giraud


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


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