American Idol Top 13, Season 8, March 10, 2009

Find my latest American Idol article here.

The judges’ entrance last night was the most self-indulgent thing ever seen on Idol, and that it saying something.  I guess that we can expect the show to open with Simon sitting on a throne at some point in the near future.

I was expecting that they would be sending two contestants home tomorrow, but the forecasted ‘rules change’ has me nervous.  I am afraid that it will be something like this: the top X number of vote-getters will go through, and then the judges will take the bottom three, and decide among themselves who will go home.  This sort of thing is a reaction to the “Vote for the Worsters”, and their perceived impact on the show over the past two seasons.  I am afraid, however, that the judges are not objective enough to make these decisions.  In the past, there have been many judge favorites that the public have rightly voted off because they did not perform well.  A change like this will remove this corrective element from the show, and will allow some contestants with style-over-substance to go further.

Finally, I thought that Michael Jackson was a too difficult theme at this early point in the competition.  We are still learning who these people are, and it would be nice to see the contestants get a bigger opportunity to show who they are, and how well they can do in their genre before they are forced to step outside of their comfort zone.

Lil Rounds, “The Way You Make Me Feel”– It was a little too affected, but she sang it well.  She was dressed badly.  My wife said, “Her butt is too big for pants with pockets.”  I corrected her and said, “Her butt is too big, and she should not wear those pants.”  She definitely has one of the best voices in the competition.  The judges were generally positive.

Scott MacIntyre, “Keep the Faith”– Starting the show off with a song that no one knows that also does not make you stand out is the Idol kiss of death.  I thought it was a pretty safe choice with a sing-song quality to it.  He was a little pitchy, but for the most part he did a decent job.  The judges were mixed with Simon being pretty critical.

Danny Gokey, “P.Y.T”– I hated the beginning, but when it took off, it got very good.  The gruff quality to his voice was a good addition to the song.  The judges gushed over his vocal performance.

Michael Sarver, “You are not Alone”– He showed the softer side of his vocal ability last night.  I did not know the song, and like Scott’s version, but I thought it had a sing-song quality and was safe.  I do not think this guy stands out from the crowd enough to make it very far in the competition.  The judges gave pretty positive feedback.

Jasmine Murray- “I’ll Be There”– She started well, and really brought it on the second verse, but went flat and a little nasally on the chorus.  She screamed a little toward the end, but all in all it was a decent job.  The judges were forgiving of the vocal issues, and generally had positive comments.

Kris Allen- “Remember the Time”– I thought he generally performed the song well, but it was safe, and did not prove to be a showcase for his vocal abilities.  He also screamed his big notes.  The judges, for the most part, liked the vocal but not the song choice.

Allison Irahita- “Give in to Me”– I have to admit she did a good job on the song.  I, personally, do not like her style of singing, however.  I hate the way she uses inflection and the way she makes her voice break.  To me she is simply a newer version of Amanda “Skunk Girl” Overmeyer that can actually sing.  The judges, of course, loved it.

Anoop Desai, “Beat It”– He sang the notes right, but proceeded to take all of the edge and darkness out of the song.  It was as if the Go Gos had decided to sing the song.  It in no way compared to the original.  The judges were highly critical of all aspects of the performance.  This, of course, is what happens when you choose style over substance.  Sorry, Ricky.

Jorge Nunez, “Never Can Say Goodbye”– I did not know the song but I thought he sang very well.  I thought it was something that might have been heard on the radio.  The judges, however, were roundly critical of the song choice.

Megan Corkrey, “Rockin’ Robin”– This was the first thing that I have heard from her that I have really liked.  The tiny bit of country twang in her voice really added something to the song.  The judges, however, were extremely mixed in their reviews of it.

Adam Lambert, “Black or White”– The first thing I thought was that Michael Jackson is right in his wheel-house.  He rocked it up well, and the big note was huge, once again.  He will be in the final.  The judges agreed that he is in his own class in the competition.

Matt Giraud, “Human Nature”– He looked good behind the piano, and the vocal reminded me of Phil Collins’ style.  His tone and inflection were good, and he hit the big note, until he sort of fell off at the end.  The judges all liked it.

Alexis Grace- “Dirty Diana”– I am getting used to her powerful voice now, and she proved that she can do the rocker-girl thing better than the rest of the girls.  She looked polished and comfortable of the stage.  I think she is the best of the girls.  The judges were unanimously positive in their comments.

This is the point in the season where I pick my top six, my top two and the winner.  So, give me: Lil Rounds, Allison Irahita, Alexis Grace, Danny Gokey, Adam Lambert and Matt Giraud (he was a hard choice over Jorge Nunez and Kris Allen) for my top six.  My top two will be Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert, and I predict Adam Lambert will win it all.

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