It was a disappointing night on American Idol as we watched ten performances from guys the judges deemed worthy of Idol status, but certainly 2 or 3 weren’t in my top-10 (and I’m guessing yours). I have some theories on why they’re picking certain guys and gals over others, and I’ll get to that shortly. For now, let’s just look at the performances and see if you can pick up on my sadness and figure out who I like and don’t like.
Just like I don’t understand MK and Pink-Hair being among the judge’s favorite ladies, I don’t get why they like Caleb Johnson who kicked off the night with a song by Meatloaf, and even though I know it wasn’t by Meatloaf (it was Rod Stewart), everything he sings turns into a Meatloaf cover. I guess if you like Caleb Johnson, you really liked his performance last night and your name might be Harry Connick, Jr., JLo, or Keith Urban. Caleb just “tries too hard” to look cool and look like a rocker. I guess there’s a certain charm to a guy who idolizes rockers like Steven Tyler or David Lee Roth and they want to be larger than life on stage, and it’s really no different than the guys who roll up on stage in worn out jeans and plaid shirts trying to look all collegiate and preppy and like Dave Matthews, but it ain’t 1987 and we’ve moved on from this “rock look.” But I bet he gets enough votes to make the next round and I’ll have to complain about him again.
Mentors Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert were back begging people again to drop their guitars, but C.J. Harris was the first of the night to ignore them, and he sang a little Ray Lamontagne, which blew up the stereotype meter. His problem will be getting these pop-culture viewers to vote for him even though he picked an artist and song decidedly out of the mainstream. Will he get sympathy because he performed a day after having a root canal? Will it pay off for him to do what we weren’t expecting?
The flamboyant Emmanual Zidor was next with his rendition of “Best of My Love” and he sorta sucked, which I’m glad about. If American Idol wants to destroy itself, give us a final four with Emmanual, Caleb Johnson, MK, and Pink-Hair. Why… are… the …judges …doing this? Is it to surround their true favorites with people who could never win so there isn’t another Crystal Bowersox in the finals or a Candice Glover who wins it all? I’m going with that theory. I think, in this years format, Candice Glover wouldn’t have been picked on Tuesday night.
Bottom line, though this isn’t Russia, even in the U.S. a guy like Emmanual isn’t going to find a following and won’t sell a million records.
Next up was Sam Woolf and it was nice to finally see a guy who could be an Idol. Why he chose David Grey’s “Babylon”, I’ll never know. He’ll piss of 30- and 40-something dudes who feel like David Grey is theirs and theirs alone. Music snobs, I hate those guys. But I was sitting on my couch with my 10- and 7-year-old daughter and I wanted to Tweet a picture to Sam Woolf and be like, “entertain these two and you’ll win.” As a 40-something guy, myself, sure I liked him. But most men my age don’t watch, and if they do, they sure as heck don’t vote.
George Lovett was next and picked Bruno Mars’s “Grenade”, and Randy wondered if he should pick that song because it’s been done to death on Idol, and Adam Lambert wondered how he’d build that song up …and based on his treatment of the song and performance, he was obviously not trying to match Bruno Mars move for move or note for note. Nope. He just tried to make it an R&B jam. The judges, well mainly Harry Connick, Jr. and Keith Urban gave him some pretty harsh critique but stopped short of being totally honest. What they were hinting at, I’ll come right out and say. George Lovett needs to go old skool R&B and stay there. And no matter what genre or theme they throw at him, he needs to turn it into a Brain McK night style version. When he gets to pick his own songs, he should stick with Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight, R. Kelly, and Luthor Vandross songs. As Harry says …stay in your pocket.
Remember when Garth Brooks tried to release a Rock album? He was out of his pocket.
Dexter Roberts say he “Dexterfies” the songs he sings. He isn’t “sorta Country” and didn’t just show Country tendencies, he’s as Country as anyone who’s ever been on Idol. So “Country” that I didn’t even understand all the English words he was sangin’. You know my theory on Country music and this show …wanna make the Top-5 …go Country. The heartland of these here United States love their Country music and they’ll dial furiously for anyone singing with a twang in their voice and guitar.
Alex Preston can’t be the American Idol. He’s odd and different, but when he revealed he plays 11 different instruments, if that’s true, that explains him perfectly. He’s socially awkward and his friends are musical notes and his toys are instruments. I loved his version of “Volcano” …like love, loved it. He’s the female Malaya …meaning he’s the male nerd of Idol this season. He’s naturally different. There are artists, like Lady Gaga, who try very hard to be different, but it’s mostly an act. Granted, Lady Gaga’s act is very good, and she’s mega talented, but she doesn’t really need the meat dress to get noticed – her music will do it. But she wants to be weirder than she is. Alex Preston is true, genuine weirdness, and he’s awesome. And I loved how Harry went all music-nerd and pointed out that Alex “finished on the nine.” What? I wish I was that cool!
I haven’t mentioned Randy Jackson because …good Lord was he a waste of space last night.
Malcom Allen is the R&B and Soul entry this season. Damn, was he smooth. He picked an obscure song with limited range, and Jlo said it best when she wanted a performance that “hit her more” and she wanted “goosies” (aka “goose bumps”) that comes from a powerful soul ballad. Harry pointed out he sang out of tune. It’s really a battle between Malcom and George Lovett for the R&B vote. History has proven there’s only room for one R&B genre performer on Idol at a time.
Barely Here Ben Briley somehow made the cut, and I enjoyed hearing about his musical background. He broke out a little guitar solo… What?!?! Harry cracked me up talking about his tie and the massive knot. Hat backwards and big knot on his tie. That’s all you need to know. He won’t be here next week.
And finally, and I was getting nervous, was Pretty Boy Spencer Lloyd, who wanted to drop the guitar but Randy told him to keep the guitar, while Adam Lambert said forget the guitar. He wisely listened to Adam. Smart move and then he came on stage like the second coming of Elvis, just walking around looking incredibly handsome and winking at the ladies and throwing in some more handsome-ness. All the judges agreed he wasn’t great, but he should be fine – because he’s handsome. Harry told him to get back to the piano (and melt hearts). I added the “melt hearts” part.
And that was the night. My bold predictions will be that America votes through Spencer, Alex Preston, Dexter Roberts, and Sam Woolf for sure. Then I’d probably have to guess Caleb “I’m a Rocker” Johnson and C.J. Harris (because I like him, so that’s sorta wishful thinking).
We’ll know tonight how right or wrong I am. See you tomorrow where I’ll either be angry, happy, or melancholy.