I am back from a horrendous sinus thingy and chest cold to bring back the snark. And there was stuff to be snarky about. But less than the previous two weeks.
Yes- this week was actually pretty good.
Von Smith opened the show with a restrained ( for Von Smith) version of ” You’re All I Need To Get By”. The Tammi Terrell- Marvin Gaye classic is one of those songs I adore and refuse to believe anyone can sing it better than the soul king and his princess. And still, no one can. But Von surprised me and I didn’t hate him as much as i did when he tried to blast everyone’s ear drums out of their heads. It was far from perfect- he started too low and ended up shaky to start, and he seemed half a step off the tempo at times. But considering what I’ve heard from the previous two groups…
Is Simon calling you Clay Aiken like a good thing?
Taylor Vaifuna seems lovely, but that version of ” If I Ain’t Got You”- not so much. I normally hate girls who attempt Alicia Keys, who is an amazing singer and an intricate songwriter. The song was simply too big for her. Not pretty.
Alex Wagner-Tugman impressed in earlier rounds with a surprising soulful grit, but his version of ” I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues” was all over the place. He brought in the grit where it didn’t need to be, and his straight ahead vocals were good, not spectacular. He blew it.
Arianna Asfar is a cute kid, but she has apparently never heard my advice about ABBA. NEVER sing ABBA. The melodies are deceptive. Believe me, we own ABBA SingStar, and we cannot leave the easy stage due to the fact that those songs are impossibly complex melodically. And she dared to change it up, and it was a gigantic disaster. She was never on pitch, never on tempo, and the judges declaration of ” gloomy” was spot on ( a teenage girl singing a song about trying to make peace after finalizing divorce? Seriously?).
Ju’not Joyner surprised me with a warm, touching, soulful version of ” Hey There Delilah” A little pitchy at points, but it was sweet, gentle, even delicate. Delightful. But I don’t think it’s enough unless the judges bring him back.
Kristen McNamara gained fame during Hollywood week as being part of Drama Queen’s drama. But she does have a really great rock-blues voice, and Tracy Chapman’s ” Give Me One Reason” was a really safe choice. She managed to incorporate four different keys in two minutes, and she hit every change flawlessly. The arrangement was sunnier than the original, so it fit the young singer better. Again, though, as good as she was, it’s likely not enough.
Nathaniel ” Drama Queen” Marshall chose ” I Would do Anything For Love”. Why? His performance was cabaret at best, bad drag act at worst. I’m in Simon’s camp on this one- it was excruciating.
Felicia Barton is the girl who took the Ringer’s place, and she turned in a really great vocal on- shocker- an Alicia Keys song. There were a few stray notes ( and one big whopper of a missed one), but it was consistently good. I wonder if it was enough.
Scott MacIntyre, though, won me over with ” Mandolin Rain”. Not a perfect vocal, and the judges are right to say he isn’t the best vocalist. But man, I believed that song, I believed him, and I love me some Bruce Hornsby. I want Scott to stay so I can see him play. The pianist in me needs that.
Kendall beard is another of those blonde country girl Idol loves, but she falls way short of Carrie and Kellie into Kristy Lee territory. Her vocals are not strong enough.
Surprise of the night was Jorge Nunez. I honestly thought he was some lame dude with an okay voice, but his version of ” Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” was almost on par with Aiken’s season two masterpiece. I just don’t like the facial tics.
Producer’s Pimp Spot goes to the pimped to high heavens Lil Rounds. And finally someone deserved it. She kicked that Mary J. Blige song out of the park. Plus, bonus on the self censorship. She missed a couple of notes and was a little quick at the start ( nerves). But yeah, that, my friends, is how to use the pimp slot to your advantage. Take notes, Madame Lambert.
Can we just dump Danny and Adam? Just asking.
Push comes to shove, I think Lil has the ladies, Scott the gents, with Ju’not, Kristen, Felicia, and Jorge fighting for that last spot. I also think that who gets through weighs the judges choice. If two guys and a girl get in again, will they go all female to balance gender ( Idol loves symmetry)? Lord knows, although Simon would tsk tsk me in thinking such a thing.
BTW- I think it’ll be a guy who gets the third slot, and I’m thinking it’ll be Jorge, although I personally like Ju’not better.