Friday, March 25, 2011

American Idol 11 - Motown week

Steve Tyler is proving to be an inspired choice for AI10. He was even getting applause and cheers when asked to talk about Motown which would be more Randy's specialist topic you'd think. Some very cool people in the audience and playing on stage too in what should be a good show. This is going to be one hard week to call. Only a point and a half separate everyone other than James at the top and Casey at the bottom. Surely he can't go? Perhaps he'd be saved and judgement deferred. An interesting part two beckons. It might be Haley.

Casey ♪7 ☼4
I Heard It Through The Grapevine. An odd choice - all too predictable and he simply didn't look right tonight. I think he sounded OK but, as last week, it's so difficult with the backing drowning out the vocals on tv. Dunno about this. I'm beginning to have doubts, having had him down as a sure-fire finalist. This was no good in my view. He ought to be fine but...

Thia ♪8½ ☼7
This girl's really beginning to shine. She had fun with Heatwave and looked comfortable. It was like something on the radio rather than a performance that grabbed you and said 'Hey listen!' but she'll be back next week for sure. If she could add that vital extra spark of star quality she'll be a contender.

Jacob ♪8 ☼8
You're all I need to get by needs two people but he got away with the help of some backing singers. A nice song and this had to be his good week. It was, apart from an ill-fitting jacket! He took the advice and just managed to keep the warbling at bay with a truly excellent 2 minutes. Forget his instructions and screeched at the last second but he'll be back all right.

Lauren ♪8 ☼8
You keep me hanging on. This was a great track for her. An excellent performance - and boy, has she matured since the auditions! Very competent. That could have been a single.

Stefano ♪9 ☼6
I can't actually recall what he sang which kinda sums up this accurate and beautifully sung track but it lacked anything by way of connection. He may be in a spot of trouble and got a good telling off from the judges which was a huge contrast with all the others to date. Felt a bit sorry for him. Hope he survives.

Haley ♪7 ☼7½
You really got a hold on me. The Smokey Robinson number will either work for her or it won't. No half measures. She sure made an effort and brought out those great legs for all the men out there but I'm not convinced. It was just a little desperate, as if she knows she's approaching leaving time. She's not at all bad but I just can't say she's sure of survival despite all the effort.

Scotty ♪5 ☼9
I thought he'd be well out of his comfort zone but For Once In My Life was fairly readily converted into a country song along with harmonica backing. To be honest it wasn't great when he headed for the higher notes and he can't sing 'loud' but I could imagine it working in a slower and maybe slightly lower vein.

Pia ♪9 ☼7
A track by Stevie Wonder I didn't know. She managed to find a ballad that suited her more than it probably suits Motown. No-one can deny that she can sing but I still don't see where she fits in. Still too serious, maybe a little too 'perfect'. I want to like her but there's a barrier that has to come down first - if she can. She seems pretty popular and maybe suits the 'all American' crowd taste and, as Jennifer cleverly pointed out she ticks so many boxes " but..." I'd say she'd struggle this week but I'm probably going to be the only one and she is unlikely, even if bottom three, to lose a sing-off. And I still find her top notes tinny. Maybe it's my tv.

Paul ♪7 ☼8½
What a great track. Tracks Of My Tears. I had great hopes for Paul in Motown week as he has an infectious style and true natural rhythm. This was not a track to do quick-time with a smile, though. It sounded good but looked wrong. I guess if you forget the meaning of the song then it worked and he did get there at the end. Not bad but not fabulous as he could have been with a different number. He's got a great stage style for all that and should be safe.

Naima ♪6½ ☼7
Dancing In the Street. This was a very good performance and she looked ten times better than she has all through so far. A good choice that worked well, well, except for the sudden arrival of some African dancers and she went a bit native for no good reason. She was fine without that and it is unlikely to have got her any extra votes. Some of the high notes weren't there and she's not really a long-term contender but doesn't deserve to go based on that performance.

James ♪9 ☼8½
Living For The City possibly the best performance of the night. Not at all one of my favourite tracks but he did really well, owning the stage and thoroughly enjoying the whole thing. Spot-on notes in a difficult number and genuine interaction with the band and singers as well as the all-important audience. Impressive.
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