More than one Idol said no to mentor and coach Jimmy Iovine last night opting to “be themselves” over listening to a seasoned vetertan and oh yeah, the Chairman of Interscope records, I applaud the contestants for wanting to be true to themselves but in some cases (God Scotty why?) they should have listened to Jimmy, he may epitomize selling out but he also represents large mainstream success.
After Pia’s exit last week the public had been clamoring for a ‘Simon’ amongst the judges, someone on the panel who wants – nay DEMANDS – to be listened to. If that means contestants have to endure a little ridicule from time to time in order to get better, than that’s what it is – the constant stream of praise and overt lack of actual criticism has turned this season of Idol – arguably one of the most stacked talent wise – into a bit of a joke. Simon would have seen Pia becoming complacent, he would have scared her into being better, but the combined syrupy critiques of J. Lo and Steven allowed her to settle into her 9th place spot. It’s such a shame too, with such a talented crop of people this season we really could have had something special this season. J. Lo, the most beautiful woman in the world, echoed the sentiment after Scotty’s performance; “People want us to be mean” she said “but the truth is you all are so damn good”. It’s not that people want you to be mean, people just want to hear some criticism that is more than “you didn’t connect with the audience” or “it was pitchy, Dog’. Jen was right on one thing; everyone is so damn good. So good that they NEED to be pushed to be better. The voice of reason this season is turning out to be mentor Jimmy Iovine, who in the pre-performance packages tends to be more forthcoming with his actual opinions. The fact is, at least 60 percent of the performances that have had the judges raving would have had Simon saying “So what?”. Simon was American Idol’s credibility (if American Idol ever really had any), and without him its devolved mostly into pageantry; who’s pre-performance video package is the best, the spectacle of performance, how to smile politely when the judges heap undeserving praise on you, etc. It’s just watching last night’s episode, I really missed Simon and believe I took for granted the impact his tart tongue actually had on the previous contestants’ progress.
Had to rant for a bit, but now onto last night’s Movie themed evening. First off; I just want to say how odd it was for Fox NOT to pimp a new film of theirs on Movie night. Jack Donaghy would be very disappointed.
The evening began with Paul opening the show with “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll by Bob Seger from Risky Business. This was actually a good choice for Paul, he toned down his raspiness and actually sang the song. It was an okay performance for Paul, who was completely overshadowed by his killer sax player, who totally stole the show from him. Again Steven commented only on his outfit and again Randy and Steven said nothing helpful to Paul.
It seems to be that the standard for what qualifies as a movie song is so low that as long as the song was in the movie, it’s acceptable. What? Worried you’ll have another RJ Helton singing Arthur’s Theme incident?
Next up was Lauren Alaina who totally pwned Miley covering her hit smash, that’s actually from a movie, ‘The Climb’. Like we’ve come to expect from Alaina it was a vocally solid performance. There’s not much criticism could have done to improve her – she’s a confident natural who knows what kind of performer (not artist) she is. I’m more entranced by Alaina’s mom, her trailer park smile and her poofy updo. She reminds me of Ellen Barkin’s character from the tragically underrated 1999 gem, Drop Dead Gorgeous.
Next up was Stefano Lagone. My first thought when his package came on was he’d been tanning this week, this is Idol, not Jersey Shore. He sang Boyz 2 Men’s End of the Road. It wasn’t bad per se – it was just the same lame crap that Lagone gives us week after week. This dude should quit Idol and hang out at Kareoke Bars picking up girls, he’d get so much tail. I don’t understand how or why people are so smitten with him. Hopefully he’ll go home this week.
Scotty was the first of the people to say no to Jimmy last night. I got goosebumps when he said his choice was to sing Harry Nillson’s ‘Everybody’s Talkin’. The little bit we heard in the package was A+ material, I was so pumped to be into a Scotty performance for once, that my heart sank (along with Jimmy Iovine’s) when he revealed he’d changed his mind and was singing ‘I Cross My Heart’ from Pure Country sung by country legend George Strait. It was painstakingly average for me, sung well but not special, which was kinda the same case for Haley Reinhart. She sung Blondie’s “Call Me” from American Gigolo, a movie she’s surely never seen. It’s not that it was bad – it wasn’t, it just didn’t give Haley a star moment like she had the last two weeks running. I’d love her to survive and sing some Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac but if patterns are anything it looks like Haley will make her undeserved exit tonight.
Casey was the second person to say No to Jimmy. Casey chose Nat King Cole’s Nature Boy (you know, the song that mixed with the Mad Men theme sung by Hayley Williams) which was a huge risk, the song is practically unknown to his target audience. Iovine suggested he sing “I Can Feel It Coming in the Air Tonight”, saying Nature made him to small, to which Casey said no. He needed to be true to himself and take a risk. And the risk paid off mostly, although the arrangement sounded straight out of the Thia Megia handbook for muzak, Abrams pulled through delivering some pretty impressive runs and hitting some tough notes.
I have no idea how ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ made it into movie night, especially for being in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, a sappy, but well acted 2006 Will Smith pic. But not having a real song from a movie didn’t stop Jacob from delivering probably his best performance yet. The restraint he showed was leagues above the complete lack of control he showed earlier this season. The temptation to just go nuts and wail must have been tough for the wail-prone Lusk, but he managed to reel it in and give a controlled performance.
The night ended with Le Durbs defying Jimmy and singing Sammy Hagar’s Heavy Metal from the 1981 animated Canadian anthology flick of the same name. He rocked it, bringing his flair and penchant for the hardcore to the stage yet again. He’s truly at the top of the game, along with Scotty he’s definitely the most consistent.
Based only on last night’s performances;
TVocrats bottom three: Stefano Lagone, Paul MacDonald and Haley Reinhart.
Bottom Three Prediction: Stefano Lagone, Jacob Lusk and Haley Reinhart, with Lagone going home (although Reinhart could leave – it’s been that kinda season)
Grades Week 5
- James Durbin A
- Lauren Alaina A-
- Casey Abrams A-
- Jacob Lusk B+
- Scotty McCreery B
- Haley Reinhart B-
- Paul McDonald B-
- Stefano Lagone C (GO HOME)