Feelin’ the “Oldies”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! Is everyone wearing green? If not, consider this a pinch from me.

Ryan opened the show for us (as he does so well) and proclaimed the theme for the evening…”Songs from the Year They Were Born”. Otherwise known as “Make Amy Feel Ancient Before She Even Turns 30”. He also said we’d be able to catch a glimpse of each contestant’s childhood by talking to their parents and seeing photos from their ankle-biter days. But then something weird happened. Ryan tried to say “…just gives us a chance to see how cute they were as babies” normally but it came out with a mild Irish accent. Coincidence with St. Patrick’s day today? I think not.

Naima Adedapo (Born in 1984)

“What’s Love Got to Do With It” by Tina Turner

It was during Naima’s “mentoring session” with the great Jimmy Iovine that my eyes were captivated with what looked like a botanical table garden. Maybe those plants have some sort of healing properties or can be turned into a poisonous concoction depending on how the interviews go…

Because the staircase of stardom’s mojo was working for Casey last week, Naima tried to give it a go. But as she descended the stairs, I couldn’t help but be drawn to what I can only describe as decorative knee garters. Those only added to the impression that she was dressed like she’s going to a gypsy circus.

I was so relieved to hear J. Lo FINALLY keep it real and nail her on her pitch problems. There was a phrase that was completely flat and a note early on. But, in my opinion, she wasn’t HORRIFICALLY pitchy. All the same, I think she’ll probably be departing the competition tonight. After all, she hasn’t had an amazing performance on the big stage yet and she wasn’t one of America’s choices, so I’m guessing it’s going to be a buh-bye tomorrow night.

Amy’s Sliding Scale of Favoritism: 12 of 12

Paul McDonald (Born in 1984)

“I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” – Elton John

For this lovely performance, Paul tamed down the quirky movements and it helped me to focus on the vocal, which I thought was great! My only complaint about his voice (other than periodic pitch problems) is that it’s sometimes not powerful enough to penetrate everything else that’s going on onstage with the band. But that’s part of his charm. That…and his chicken legs.

Amy’s Sliding Scale of Favoritism: 4 of 12

Thia Megia (Born in 1995)

“Colors of the Wind” by Vanessa Williams

What?!? Colors of the Wind by Vanessa Williams?!!?! Channeling her inner Disney Princess (I mean, who doesn’t want woodland creatures to help you with housework?), Thia took on this Pocahontas song with all the pizzaz of a snail. She had some nice moments, but I think her reticence to dance makes her glued to one place with ballads. Seriously, show us the amazing tone of your voice! Or so help me, I’ll come down there and…okay, so I don’t really have a threat ready to go. But I think we can all agree that the consequences would be severe.

Please note: in a cohesiveness rarely seen on the American Idol stage, dear Thia’s dress will be used to fish in a local lake right after the show.

Amy’s Sliding Scale of Favoritism: 8 out of 12 (unless she gets her act together)

James Durbin (Born in 1989)

“I’ll Be There for You” by Bon Jovi

I’d pay money to hear James, Stefano, Casey, and Paul in their newly formed band. What kind of songs would they even SING? Now, that’s a question that will fester.

I kind of love that his mom inadvertently told “America” that singing to a doll was part of his rise to singing stardom. See? All parents can embarrass their children in any circumstances…just by telling the truth. 🙂 Awesome.

James said he chose the song because it had a balance of power and emotion. And I saw the power part of that equation, but what was missing for me was the emotion of last week’s performance. A few pitchy notes to open, but he was very comfortable on stage and looked like he was having fun with his buddy, the electric guitarist. Let’s call him Malcolm.

So, let me get this straight, James. You’re gonna be here for me? ‘Cause that wasn’t quite clear in the repeating of that lyric over and over and OVER.

One of the many things I love about James is his attitude…getting SteTy to sing with him for the finale? Lauren Alaina should have nailed that down a few episodes ago! And as far as I can tell, Jennifer sang along with all the contestants, so I’m not sure how that set James apart, but okay. I’ll take it since I like him.

And just for the record, this is the night of weird accessories.

Amy’s Sliding Scale of Favoritism: 2 of 12

Haley Reinhart (Born in 1990)

“I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston

Didn’t it seem like Jimmy Iovine was subtly telling her that her work ethic needed…well…work? Maybe I’m just reading into things but his “counsel” definitely had the feeling of a backhanded compliment.

I won’t lie. I was concerned that Haley was nailing her coffin shut by performing a Whitney Houston song. I didn’t think there was any way for her to recover from this if it went badly. But I actually think she gave a great performance. And I’m not just saying that because my Mom threatened me with bodily harm if I dissed her favorite contestant on my humble blog.

Now her outfit? Not so much. But the best part of Haley’s time on stage was when Ryan came out to wipe the lipstick off her chin with a rag. Hey. It’s clearly a low-budget show! Ryan wears a lot of hats! Maybe he could be promoted to be in charge of wardrobe? I think the contestants would be better off…Ry-Ry always looks snazzy!

I do take issue with Randy’s feedback to Hay-Hay. He said that he was confused about what kind of artist she wanted to be because she sang Alicia Keys in week one, LeeAnn Rhimes in week two and Whitney Houston in week three. But didn’t Casey  do NIRVANA tonight? And a similar critique was nowhere to be found. I think he just doesn’t like Haley.

Amy’s Sliding Scale of Favoritism: 5 of 12

Stefano Langone (Born in 1989)

“If You Don’t Know Me By Now” by Simply Red

Ooo, Stefano. You know you DIDN’T just diss NKOTB!?! You are going on my list.

I think Stefano’s deepest desire is to be the new Ne-Yo. But he was definitely one of the best of the night. For me, it was a little over-worked. It didn’t feel super natural to me. But it was smooth. It was well-sung. It was current. All I’m looking for is the connection with the audience now.

It became clear to me at this point that J. Lo is getting the most screen time of any of the other judges.

Amy’s Sliding Scale of Favoritism: 6 of 12

Pia Toscano (Born in 1988)

“Where Do Broken Hearts Go” by Whitney Houston

Oh my gosh, her home video of her singing was supercute. Those eyes! That intensity!

As the opening notes sounded, I was thanking my lucky stars that she didn’t choose to sing another ballad! Pia handled the song expertly but I was extremely distracted by her outfit. First of all, can someone tell me who to write to so that these jumpsuits do NOT come back in style for us common folks? They. Are. Not. Flattering. If I see one of these in Target or Old Navy, so help me I might go ballistic. And having a security officer forcefully steer me to the door is not my idea of a good time. And what was going on with the ankles? They looked as though they were tied shut? Maybe so that it could double as a beekeepers outfit? What’s wrong with a nice dress?

Amy’s Sliding Scale of Favoritism: 7 of 12

Scotty McCreery (Born in 1993)

“Can I Trust You With My Heart?” by Travis Trip

Judging by the screams, I’d say that most girls in the studio would say “Yes, you can trust me with your heart!” And his love of Elvis from a young age? That was AWESOME.

I’m so glad that Jimmy clarified that “changing him” wasn’t on his agenda. It was “making him grow” as an artist that was his goal. Newsflash: If he grows as an artist, he is changing. RIGHT? I’m not crazy here, am I? But Jimmy was right to make him dig deeper so that we aren’t treated to the same range, same sound, same phrasing every single blessed week. It’s all I can do to hold on and listen to one old-fashioned country song once every seven days!

And since there’s only so many ways I can say “I don’t like country music, but Scotty does well at it and it’s his thing”, I’ll just comment on the fact that I appreciated his singing in his upper register for a good portion of the song. And I had the brilliant idea for him to sing with Carrie Underwood. Don’t you think that’d be awesome?

But here’s my question: Can he sing a song without tilting his head and giving his eyebrows a life of their own? Ooo. Intrigue. I guess only time will tell. 🙂

Amy’s Sliding Scale of Favoritism: 9 of 12

Karen Rodriguez (Born in 1989)

“Love Will Lead You Back” by Taylor Dayne

Karen, playing the part of the go-go dancer of the evening, was very sweet to try to get her younger sister closer to Nick Jonas. If I had a big sister make it big when I was in love with Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and had her say the same thing to Ryan, I’d have been super embarrassed (it is national television, after all!) but she would have gotten MAJOR sister points for trying.

But her song choice was super boring. Her hummingbird eye flutter is losing its appeal. And I found myself really sad that she was about to sing. I know that’s not nice. But she is just so dull! No matter how big her earrings are.

Her vocal runs seemed forced and tight and though she stayed on pitch and pulled out some Spanish lyrics, I am just not impressed. Sigh.

Amy’s Sliding Scale of Favoritism: 11 of 12

Casey Abrams (Born in 1991)

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana

So, Casey Abrams was in the hospital last week getting blood transfusions due to a flare up with his ulcerative colitis. Yikes! But that fresh blood must have done him some good, because he was in fine form in his intro interview. And setting it in a forest background? Now, that just makes the little green men connection even more possible! His parents were superfunny (as I thought they would be)…more than I even thought possible.

I don’t think Jimmy even knows how to advise our little Casey. Casey took control of his sit down with the expert and basically said “Yeah, so I’m going to do what I want since it seems to be working and I love doing what I’m doing.” And Jimmy basically said “Good for you. My work here is done.”

Whoa. Lights. And just like that Casey appeared to be a rage-filled leprechaun singing a song! Magical. And Lucky. His performance showed his amazing diversity and his knack for taking the right risks and mesmerizing his audience. I didn’t love the song, but I still love Casey.

Amy’s Sliding Scale of Favoritism: 1 of 12

Lauren Alaina (Born in 1994)

“I’m the Only One” by Melissa Ethridge

Note to American Idol producers: Don’t put a heavily medicated contestant in an interview session to start her performance! Lauren was CLEARLY under the influence of some pretty trippy drugs to keep her feeling well enough to perform. And I gotta say, when I had the flu I had a difficult time going from a sleeping position to a sitting up position. I can’t imagine trying to sing. on a stage. with lights. and navigate an interview. (!) Ryan had to pretty much carry the interview while Lauren giggled, pointed, and managed to slur out that she had the flu.

Note to Lauren’s mom: I know you’re relatively young since Lauren is so young. But you gotta start dressing your age.

Lauren’s performance was pretty doggone stellar and would have been even if she wasn’t sick! There were a few phrases that I think could have been held longer, but she really nailed that song and had all the great elements that we loved about her from the beginning.

Amy’s Sliding Scale of Favoritism: 3 of 12

Jacob Lusk (Born in 1993)

“Alone” by Hart

Oh, Jacob. [Insert sigh of despair here.]

Why in HEAVEN’S NAME would you attempt this song when Allison Iraheta conquered it so handily two seasons before you?

There’s no way that Jacob’s rendition of this song even held a candle to that one and I feel really weird about his mouth when he sings. Also, he was super screamy in portions of the song and the judges didn’t even reference it.

I cannot even go on. I’m going to block this performance from my memory and hope that it sticks.

Amy’s Sliding Scale of Favoritism: 10 out of 12

My feeling about the whole evening can be summed up in one word: Meh. Even my favorites weren’t as dynamic as weeks past. And while this evening had some perfectly solid showings, I wasn’t blown over by anyone. It might just be my mood. Or it might be the fact that I haven’t had enough caffeine intake. But that’s just how I feel.

Do you think there’s anyway that Naima will remain in the competition? We’ll find out tonight!

Haddock out!

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