It was off to Detroit for "American Idol" this week as the Top 10 took a shot at Motown classics.
With the theme announced last week, I was expecting it to be great for some contestants and not so great for others. Having seen them perform, I have to say my assessment was correct … I just happened to have my contestants switched.
One of the people I thought would have a hard time this week was Adam Lambert because I was expecting him to come out with some kind of rock-poser version of his Motown hit. Instead he ditched the cotton candy hair and black nail polish and came out looking like Elvis and singing like Smokey Robinson. Simon dubbed it the best performance of the night, as did I.
But that was of course before we’d seen Allison Iraheta kill it on “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” Allison was another contestant I thought might be hurt by the week’s theme but she showed just how far song choice and soul can take you in this competition. Though I do agree with Paula’s critique from last week: we already know she can rock out with the best of them, it’s time for her to show us that she can sing softly too.
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Stepping out of her comfort zone could end up working well for Allison, unlike Paula, who I think stepped a little too far into her comfort zone, and as result catapulted me out of mine. She was crawling under tables; she compared Matt Giraud to a great old pair of jeans; and I’m not sure what she was implying when she told Seacrest she was hiding something ‘under her skirt,’ but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know.
Simon had his own little uncomfortable moment telling Megan Corkery that whoever is advising her should be fired. Um … wouldn’t that be the week’s mentor, Smokey Robinson, who was sitting five feet away from him? Awkwarrrrrd.
Though there were a few moments in there where I thought maybe Smokey should have been fired. It’s like the guy was allergic to criticism. I mean he told both Megan Corkery and Scott MacIntyre to not change a single thing with their performances. I rest my case.
Just once it would be nice to see a mentor flatly tell a contestant that they should stop butchering the melody of a great song (Michael Sarver), or that they shouldn’t sing a certain song and then help them pick a better one – THAT would be some real guidance.
And it’s the kind of guidance that could have done wonders for Lil Rounds. As Kara said, with Motown as the theme, this was supposed to be Lil’s week, but, like Simon said, the soulful diva missed the opportunity to have a real ‘moment’ on the show by picking a song that was way too fast-paced and didn’t give her the opportunity to show off her voice.
So where was Smokey on that one? Too busy telling Lil that she “could sing the phonebook.” Sorry Smokey, they already have a fourth judge.
But I did think that Smokey was spot on when he told Danny Gokey to sing both parts of the verses in “Get Ready.” And after Danny gave this whole speech about how Smokey’s a legend and clearly knows better so he was just going to trust him … he didn’t do it.
How can we motivate mentors to offer advice if we’re going to ignore them when they finally do? Work with me people!
I still liked Danny’s performance though, but not as much as I thought I was going to. Like Lil, I thought Danny was going to really shine this week. And like Lil, he did fine, but fell a little flat. Though despite loving how Matt, Anoop and Adam were flaunting their falsettos, it was nice to hear one of the guys singing like a guy — and doing it well.
Whatever Danny’s flaws they came nowhere near the fumbles of Scott singing “Can’t Hurry Love” (or his performance, unfortunately), Megan howling “For Once in My Life” or Michael managing to ruin may favorite song of the night: “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”
If American gets it right these will be our bottom three tonight and Michael will finally go home. I just hope this time I don’t have my contestants switched.