~April 14, 2009~

The Top Seven hit the cinemas with Music from the Movies as the theme. Who was worthy of an Oscar? And whose performance should have gone straight to DVD?


The new trick to get out on time rots
Allison Iraheta started out the show and sang "Don't Want to Miss A Thing" from Armageddon. But the show decided to limit the judges to only two commenting on each singer due to last week's show going overtime. Seriously hated this. I want to hear from everyone. That's what they're there for. Kara could stand to learn how to talk in sound bites more and Paula is not always the most succinct. But I still want to hear from all of them. My take on Allison's performance? She chose a good song for her. Her husky voice sounded good on it. But the song started out weak--I wanted more intensity under the quiet. Even when the song kicked-up, it wasn't great. She should have chosen a different key. Even a half step higher would have increased the brilliance in her voice. Instead it was an "eh" performance, leaving me hating where the song sat.

Simon and Paula weighed in with Simon calling her the girls' only hope in this competition. While that may be true, someone should have said something about the key. I can't help but feel my dawg Randy would have brought that up.


Quentin Tarentino served as the guest mentor and it was interesting to see his director's take on a performance. The Idols could benefit from that side of him, as there's a big difference in *singing* and *performing*. Case in point...

Anoop vs. Matt
We know Anoop can sing. He's proven that time and again. But where he's falling short is in his performance and his connection with the audience. He has a really nice voice and tone for Bryan Adams "Everything I Do" (from Robin Hood). But I just didn't feel his performance. Sometimes I wonder if he believes the words he is singing. But then take Matt. Matt also chose a Bryan Adams song, "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman" (from Don Juan de Marco). From the moment Matt opens his mouth, you believe it. He feels what he's singing and he knows how to convey that. Anoop can sing beautifully. But I want the glass wall between him and the audience to shatter.
Anoop's arrangement didn't help
My complaint about his arrangement: he shouldn't have cut out the bridge. That's where the song builds and that's where its power comes from. But, in taking that out, there was no build and the song felt stagnant.

Matt also had problems
Matt sounded great and this had the promise of a good performance. But he hit the bridge and all went south. He struggled, his voice cracked and it seemed like he tried to scat to cover the mistake. I hope people remember how he began and throw out the bridge. But it was a big enough part of the song that it could end up biting him.

Adam was Born to Be Wild
Adam Lambert chose this song from Low Rider and was back to his rockin', crazy vocals ways. It was a good song for him because it sits high and then he put his own signature on it with kicked-up singing and unbelievable high notes, especially on "never gonna die". He ended on his knees holding a righteous high note. No idea how he does that. He's one who puts it all out there when he performs. I loved when Simon tongue and cheekedly told him he needs to learn how to express himself more. Simon also thought there will be a portion who loved that performance and another portion that will despise it. While I agree there will be a contingency that doesn't wasn't into it, I do think they will still recognize the talent in it.

Danny Gokey went glassless for his first time all season. He sang "Endless Love" by the movie of the same name. He started out with a harp on stage which lended beautifully. But truthfully, I didn't feel connected to Danny in this song until it kicked up in the middle. He sounded great on the transition "how much you care" and things headed upwards from there. The message pulls at your heart when you know Danny is singing to his wife who passed away less than a year ago. He ended the song looking up. I agreed with Paula when she said he pulled it together midway through the end but did not agree with Simon when he said he didn't like the traditional rendition. But Simon did redeem it when he said, "This song obviously means a lot to you personally and I can see you're emotional. It's a hard thing to do and I congratulate you for that." I say it's brave to make yourself that vulnerable on stage. I have no idea how he made it through.

Kris Allen did "Falling Slowly" from the movie Once. This choice was completely lost on me. It's always important to enunciate when you're singing but especially with a little known song and Kris mumbled through the verse at the beginning. Throughout the performance, I can tell he loves this song but I am not sure he shines on it. It got to the end and all I thought was, "That was it?" I kept waiting for something to happen and it never did. Kara gushed over it, saying it was one of his best. I, however, side with Randy. He said it never quite caught on for him and it was pitchy from note one.

Lil Rounds put her own twist on "The Rose" from the movie of that name. She had a really cool idea of taking the middle of the song and giving it a gospel nudge. But it would have been way better if she would have sung the first verse straight with no embellishment whatsoever. The gospel middle loses its shine when the first verse has already been altered. Lil had some sweet moments that hearkened back to when we first saw her. But I fear it's way too little too late and she's going home.

Most Inane Comment Ever
Paula responded to Lil's performance by first complimenting the lyrics, something Lil had no control over, and then quoting the song by saying, "The contestants probably agree that sometimes the road is really long, but it's a road that's worthwhile taking, especially when you've made it this far." I had to echo Simon's rolling his eyes in disgust. Paula, seriously, you are representing two judges who aren't allowed to talk. You've forsaken all right to empty comments and that was the worst from you I have ever heard.

To Lil's credit, she defended her song choice and arrangement to Simon when he started railing on her. He said it was too soft, too middle of the road though he did admit she had some nice moments in there. I can see that Lil is really trying to incorporate what the judges say. She's a diamond in the rough where she has the talent (I am convinced it is still there under a now shattered confidence) but she needs tremendous guidance. She doesn't know how to choose songs and she doesn't know how to arrange songs. But she has/had mad skills. My hope is someone is watching and will snatch her up when she's voted off, then give her the guidance she needs to excel in a career I think she could definitely do.

I say the Bottom Three are Lil, Anoop and Kris though Matt could also be in the Bottom Three. We'll see what America has to say tomorrow night when Jennifer Hudson and Miley Cyrus perform.