Join us here at 8 pm/7 pm central for the weekly live recap of "American Idol." I'm glad to be back and I'm sorry I missed Country Week, but I think Motown Week will be great. Follow along below for the live recap, keep refreshing every few minutes for editorial and comments.
Seacrest greets us and the creepy "Price is Right" Voice introduces the judges. I thought we were rid of him. Bah. Seacrest also reminds us how "shocking" Alexis's elimination was. We chat with the judges and Randy appears to have borrowed a sweater from Mr. Rogers. Paula, sporting a prom dress from 1953, has some word-salad about the contestants "challenging their artistic integrity." Did Paula just advise them to sell out? What on earth? Get to some Motown!
Motown Montage. My viewing partner Alyssa says, "My dad always wanted to be a Pip." I respond, "Who doesn't?" I'd be a Pip for Gladys. The Idols get to the Motor City and meet Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown. Man, Smokey Robinson looks like an alien. Lay off the plastic surgery, Smokey. I can't see Smokey without thinking of this from my childhood. It gave me nightmares and I am not even kidding. The Idols gather 'round the ol' ivories with Smokey to sing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." It's like some kind of Christmas special. Where is the roaring fireplace?
Matt Giraud, "Let's Get It On," Marvin Gaye
Nice choice. The vocals are soulful and he does a nice job jumping from the low notes to the falsetto stuff. Of course, he too is dressed like Mr. Rogers. WTF, people? Except it's a two-sizes-too-small Mr. Rogers. If I listen with my eyes closed, it's great. Randy says he's challenging for the top spot, Kara says girls are going, "Yeeeaaaahhhh." She's got her cougar on tonight. Paula calls him tasteful, classy and respectful of the melody, likening him to a great old pair of worn-in jeans. Simon says it was brilliant, other than the cheezy bit playing to the judges.
Kris Allen, "How Sweet It Is to Be Loved By You," Marvin Gaye
Boring. The best parts are the "bop shoo wops" by the back-up singers. This is vocally a very safe and small-range choice. This reminds of a few seasons ago when Top 24 contestant Will Makar sang this and put us all to sleep. He then reaches for a last loud belter note and alllllmost gets there. Also, he's dressed like a convict-meets-Battlestar-Galactica. Kara says it wasn't Marvin, it wasn't James Taylor, it was Kris and that he did everything right. Paula liked seeing him come into his own. Simon thought it was smart but wants to see him believe in himself. When did Simon turn into a warm-fuzzy-giver? Randy likes his consistency. After some pointless arguing about Kris, Simon and Ryan's levels of conceitedness, Seacrest gives the numbers.
Viewing Partner Alyssa sees Kris's wife in the audience and goes, "Do they get conjugal visits or are they just locked in that mansion?"
Scott McIntyre, "Can't Hurry Love," Diana Ross
Seacrest interviews Scott on the stools tonight. Scott is wearing salmon-colored pants, a paisley shirt and a brown coat. Must… resist… joke… about… dressing… himself. Blargh. In Scott's video, Smokey comments that he "had no negative comments for Scott" and Alyssa and I respond in unison, "Because he's blind." Lordy. I am going straight to hell after tonight.
We finally get to the performance. I don't enjoy the slow start but once it kicks up it's… cutesy. The back-up singers are around the piano like he's Ray Charles and they're the "Designing Women." Seriously, look here. This is really subpar. Scott's high notes sound like when you accidentally step on the cat in the dark. God, let it end.
Paula praises him for having the singers around the piano. That's like when they tell girls "well at least you're pretty." Simon cites the line "how much more can I take?" Snerk. Simon should write for us. Randy wanted to see him take a risk. Kara liked his rhythm and gets her cougar on again. We already have one Paula, Kara.
Weirdly, behind the judges we see Megan Joy interacting with the audience. It's weird. Do the Idols talk to the audience before they perform? Back with the judges, Paula is going under the table because she "has something for Simon." I NEED AN ADULT! But actually it's crayons and a coloring book for Simon because he's acting like a little kid.
Megan Joy, "For Once in My Life," Stevie Wonder
She sounds like a singer on a cruise ship. I am a big Megan fan and this is *not* good. Her "belter" notes are just shouting. Apparently she's been taking lessons from Adam Lambert. Her dress is like a silky bath towel wrapped around her. It actually might cover *less* than a bath towel. Overall… yikes, Megan. Randy calls it a trainwreck. Kara wanted her to sing "My Guy." That's what I had pegged, Kara. She also thought the song dominated her. Paula falls back on "but you're BEAUTIFUL." Simon says "horrible."
Anoop Desai, "Ooh Baby Baby," Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
Well, at least he took my advice and didn't do something manic like "All Night Long." When he performs, the back-up singers get some fun "shoo-be-doos" and he's rocking the sit-on-the-steps-to-convey-angst, trademarked by Carrie Underwood in "Crying." Anyway, vocally he sounds really nice. He handles the falsetto stuff (which is like 80% of the song) with aplomb. I wanted a bigger note at the end instead of the soft falsetto, but overall very nice.
Kara cites the difficulty level and says he was pretty good. Paula loves his phrasing, delivery and falsetto. Sometimes I wonder if through Paula's addled haze, she just repeats to herself, "Find 3 things to comment on that sound smart, find 3 things to comment on that sound smart." Simon loved the vocal but thought it was a little theatrical. He wanted more showmanship. Randy says next week he wants Anoop to turn the energy back up. NOOOOOO. No more "My Preogative" shenanigans!
Side note: during Anoop's critique, Kara said that "you can sing and now people know that." Umm, shouldn't, when we get the Top 12, EVERYBODY be able to really sing?
Side Note 2: Anoop comments that he tried to do, "Smokey justice." I can't decide if "Smokey Justice" would make a good band name or if sounds more… akin to something like the Dirty Sanchez.
Michael Sarver, "Ain't too Proud to Beg," The Temptations
Turns out Michael got Megan's flu and didn't get to go to Detroit. Well, stop making out with Megan, dummy. Hey, this is what I suggested! While he was sick, he must've read my blog post! Michael says he's going to "church it up." Alyssa comments that when she churches it up, it involves bells. We then laugh for 5 minutes (we have to pause it) imagining Michael Sarver running around behind a set of handbells while singing "Ain't to Proud to Beg."
Side note: I keep typing "Ain't too Proud to Bed." Boy… that's a Freudian slip if I ever saw one. Alyssa comments that it's true and I smack her.
Anyway, the performance. Michael tries the falsetto on "ain't too proud to plead" and it's not good. This whole thing is very karaoke. Like I could see this at the local bar. It has a few good moments, but it's pretty rough overall. If this is what church is like, I'm glad I don't go anymore. AND THEN, OH MY GOD. Michael goes all "gospel choir" on the ending and makes a noise like he's passing a stone. Alyssa comments that he "may have to beg now… for some votes." Paula calls it Las Vegas loungey, Simon says he couldn't wait for it to end, Randy says the song is unbelievable but too big for him and tells him he isn't "R&B" enough for it (does he mean Michael is too white for it?), Kara says it's not about singing, it's about artistry. Well, Alyssa and I don't agree with that, Kara. It's still somewhat about singing.
Lil Rounds, "Heat Wave," Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
Her hair is down and all wavy and she's in a flapper dress, very awesome look. The high stuff is dynamite, but there are some weird-ass low notes. There's a shot of Paula dancing, but off to the left Kara is making a face like she's trying to set Lil on fire using just
the power of her stare. Maybe Kara is systematically eliminating the girls so it can just be her personal harem. Overall, I enjoyed Lil's performance. It was hardly perfect, but it was energetic and powerful.
Randy liked the end but says the front of the song wasn't that good. Kara drums her fingers and nods in hate-filled agreement. Watch your back, Lil. Kara goes to "but you're beautiful" and thinks Lil wasted a chance to be a diva. Paula disagrees completely and thought it was a classic throwback but with freshness. I feel a little cray-cray but I agree with Paula. Simon liked her authentic tribute to Motown, but says it was the wrong song choice and had no "moment."
Side note: during Kara's critique of Lil, she told Lil not to shout when she sings. When will someone say that to Adam? WHEN?!?!
Adam Lambert, "Tracks of My Tears," Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
I completely rescind my Adam hatred. Doesn't mean I don't hate it when he screams at me, but this was fantastic. First off, I love his outfit. It's so period and the emo hair is gone for once. Vocally, it's very pretty and he has a nice trill on "break-up with you." Fabulous. The only thing he's missing is one little "Cry Baby" tear on his cheek during the last note. Smokey even stands up for a standing ovation.
Kara then jumps on the standing-up wagon and says "one of the best OF.THE. NIGHT." Really, Kara? That's not saying much. How about one of the best of the season? Or of many seasons? That just trumped all of season 3 except for "Summertime." Paula says he is in another league. Simon steals my joke and says THE best performance of the night. I still think that is short-changing him. Randy says he showed that he's not just "a cool kinda indie kinda cool rocker" and that it was unbelievably hot.
Ryan introduces Danny while holding a trumpet. Okay.
Danny Gokey, "Get Ready," The Temptations
I commend the choice not to go schmoopy. But he completely ignores Smokey's critique to sing the "you're alright" and "you're outta sight" parts right after Danny said he was going to sing those parts because Smokey knows what he's talking about. Huh. Is that a big middle finger to Smokey Robinson? Danny! Vocally, I enjoy this. He's still a big dork when he dances but I do like his grooving with the back-up singers. Paula channels the Rev. Al Sharpton when she says "undeniable, identifiable and always reliable." Simon says "clumsy and amateurish." Randy loved the energy and feel of it. Kara says "good, not great." We are rushignthroughthisbecauseIdolcan'ttimemanageandAllisonisrunning outoftime.
Allison Iraheta, "Papa was a Rolling Stone," The Temptations
Please be better than David Hernandez, please be better than David Hernandez. I love this song, btw. She's dressed like a 70s hooker but she sounds sultry and awesome. Fantastic. She handles the mish-mash of fast lyrics really well and really blows it up at the end! Awesome. I honestly think she just tied Adam for best of the night. Randy says she's one of the dopest singers and it was blazing hot. Kara tells America to vote for this girl! WOO! Paula has a mustache from Simon's crayons. What did I say earlier about a Dirty Sanchez? Paula says it was amazing. Simon giggles his way through citing the difficulty level and telling her it was one of the best she's ever done.
Recap: Matt sexing us up with Marvin Gaye's help, Kris playing his little USO heart out and putting me to sleep, Scott sounding like a bad high school talent show, Megan crapping the bed, Anoop tenderly wooing us with Smokey's help, Michael needing to beg for some votes to stay here, Lil doing a nice girl group throwback, Adam totally redeeming himself for me, Danny having fun and Allison singing her ass off.
Who should go home? Based on this week, Scott, Megan and Michael should just be taken out back and shot and everybody else should get two free weeks. By the way, Seacrest talks to plether-clad Smokey before we go and I am struck by how much Smokey looks like Mr. Trick from Buffy.