American Idol: And Then There Were Six

Last night’s American Idol theme, “Songs from the Cinema”, should have been called “Night of Weepy, Sappy Ballads” instead. Even guest mentor Quentin Tarentino, one of the best mentors they have, couldn’t save the night.

And one would have thought with such a cool, now guy as mentor, the contestants would have been guided toward some contemporary hits, at least something from this decade. But, alas, it was not to be. Kris was the lone exception, at least singing something from this decade. He crooned Falling Slowly, the Academy Award-winning song, by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, from the 2007 film, Once

Adam was the other exception. He sang/screeched Steppenwolf’s classis hit Born to be Wild, from the Easy Rider movie of 1969. While not of this decade, or even one close, at least it was the only non-ballad of the night.

The rest of the contestants sang insipid ballads from decades gone by. Some of the songs themselves were very good, while a couple of others would have been better suited staying on your local Lite FM station, or your dentist’s office, or the elevator you take to get to your office… You get the point.

After going over their time limit by several minutes last week, the judges were punished this week by having their critiques cut in half. That is, only two judges got to critique each performer instead of all four. I understand that it was in the interest of saving time, but I think that it’s better with all four of them. At least that way if one of them says something moronic, there is a better chance of another one saying something lucid and intelligent. Helpful, even.

Overall, the night was kind of a drag, and none of the contestants really had a great performance. That being said, here is how I saw them, from first to worst:

1 – Anoop Desai, Everything I Do I Do It for You (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) – Anoop has apparently found his niche, and he needs to stay there. These powerful ballads are exactly what he needs to continue doing. One of his best performances in several weeks.

2 – Adam Lambert, Born to Be Wild (Easy Rider) – While this was probably his worst performance in weeks, it was still better than nearly anyone else in the field. I’m not sure if that says a lot for Adam or little for the rest. I guess time will bear that out. Meanwhile, last night’s performance started off campy, and he actually stayed away from his normal powerful falsetto, at least until about 3/4th of the way through. Then he let loose and it was typical Adam, which isn’t anything bad, just predictable. It’s not going to hurt him at all in the voting. I’m not sure about Paula’s assessment that he’s “dares to dance in the path of greatness”. I’m not even sure what that means.

3 – Kris Allen, Falling Slowly (Once) – Technically, Kris’s version of Falling Slowly seemed to be in tune, and in pitch for the entire song. However, the song was boring as hell and I found myself thinking about other things, like, is there any ice cream is in the freezer? Even though he picked a very obscure song, and probably put half of his fans to sleep, it won’t’ hurt him either. And sadly, Randy showed how invaluable his critique can sometimes be. ”Yo, Kris. All right, so check it out man. Uh, dude, for me…for me, for you tonight dude, I gotta tell you somethin’ man, I don’t know, I didn’t — it never quite caught on — for me. And I love, and yo, I love…I love that song. But for me it was pitchy from note one for me. For me!” What the hell. How many times can you say “For me” in one minute.

4 – Danny Gokey, Endless Love (Endless Love) – Abandoning the growly, usually well-placed runs, Danny just sang with emotion and heart, and it paid off. While he hasn’t been bad in the past few weeks, he certainly raised his game a notch this week. And the harp was a nice touch. And, he gets props for taking what has always been a duet and pulling it off.

5 – Allison Iraheta, I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing (Armageddon) – Easily her worst performance in the past month. Allison was off pitch on her low notes, and tried to hard on the rest. This song was way too big for her and she let it get the best of her. I hope to see her back in form next week. She’s one of my favorites.

6 – Matt Giraud, Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman? (Don Juan DeMarco) – Well, I hate to say it, but this was one of Matt’s worst weeks. He really started off great, singing a beautiful song near perfectly, but about halfway through the song he attempted to change it up by adding his jazzy, R&B touch. It was awful. The rest of the song was off-pitch and he seemed to get lost in what he was doing. It really is a shame, too. If he stayed on track he could have had the best performance of the night instead of one of the worst.

7 – Lil Rounds, The Rose (The Rose) – I think Ms Lil has reached the end of her Idol journey. While I feel badly that she has been the judges’ punching bag for the past several weeks, the fact is, she just doesn’t get it. After weeks of the judges telling her to take a song and make it her own, she finally decides to try that, with a song that really can’t be remade. And she tried to take the song and add a gospel tone to it. What she ended up with was a mess. To make matters worse, she showed no emotional connection to the song.

Lil Rounds