After a rocky start, Allison Iraheta proved that the second group of the Top 36 wasn’t without some talent as American Idol vets its second 12.
But before we get to the performances, let’s talk about the changes this week from last week. First, they got rid of the uncomfortable parent interviews following the performances. Like what else are parents going to say but that they thought their son/daughter did a great job?
The judges also had some changes. First, they sat in opposite order. Secondly, they alternated who critiqued the contestant first. I actually liked this format better. You get a different perspective each time. My only complaint is when Paula goes first. She still doesn’t make much sense.
As for the contestants, several of them we have heard very little from going into the night so it was a little hard to predict what we’d see. Unfortunately, too many of the performances were forgettable.
I was beginning to wonder if we were going to have anyone stand out tonight. But then came Allison Iraheta. This girl might only be 16, but she can rock. We haven’t seen Allison since her audition so I wasn’t sure what to expect when she said she’d be singing “Alone” by Heart, but I have to say I’m impressed. The beginning was a little shaky, but we can chalk that up to the stage fright Kara mentioned. But once Allison found her grove, she proved that she’s a contender.
Also impressive was Kris Allen’s version of “Man in the Mirror.” I’m not a big fan of contestants doing Michael Jackson, but I thought Kris did a really good job. He was personable, entertaining and the vocals were great. Kara said the performance didn’t measure to those he did in Hollywood, but since we didn’t get to see most of them I can’t comment on the comparison.
While this episode might have had a rough start, it definitely had a solid ending. Adam Lambert took on The Rolling Stone and I have to say that his version of “Satisfaction” was very satisfying. Sure it might have been, as Randy said, a little manic, but hey it’s the Stones. I definitely think that Adam has improved since his audition.
But as good as the above three were, the most memorable performance goes to Nick Mitchell, aka Norman Gentle. Unfortunately, as entertaining as Nick’s version of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls was, he vocals just didn’t shine tonight.
I think it’s about time for Nick and Idol to part. But I really hope this guy gets some kind of gig out of this experience, because he really is funny.
The other eight performances were average. I don’t think anyone totally bombed it, but overall the performances were forgettable.
Jasmine Murray led off the night with “Love Song” Sara Bareilles. It was a nice fun song with a little spunk, but it just didn’t do anything for me and I’m a fan of Jasmine. She had a rough beginning and just never really recovered.
The dueling piano player has dueling song personalities. Matt Giraud wants to sing pop songs like Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”. But I – and the judges – like him better when he’s singing the blues. I also like seeing him behind the keyboard better.
Overenthusiasm got better Jeanine Vailes. She wanted to get noticed. Instead she just overdid “This Love” by Maroon 5. She just tried too hard.
But enthusiasm worked for Megan Joy Corkrey. The judges really liked her version of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On.” I think she’s got an interesting voice, but the weird dancing thing was just distracting.
And when will the contestants learn to pick the right song? Even after the judges told him it was the wrong song, Matt Breitzke said he would have still picked “If You Could Only See” by Tonic. I really like this guy’s voice, but I have to agree with Simon that the performance was boring.
Jesse Langseth also picked her favorite song – Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes.” But her performance just didn’t measure up to the original. I think she sounded better than in the sing off from Hollywood Week, but it just wasn’t memorable.
Standing out was also an issue for Kai Kalama who’s version of “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” by Jimmy Ruffin was a little old fashion for Kara. This guy definitely needs to find something more hip to sing if he wants to avoid comparisons to a wedding singer.
Mishavonna Henson also came across as much older than her 18 years. While I like Train’s “Drops of Jupiter,” Mishavonna’s performance just fell flat for me. I think Kara nailed it when she told Mishavonna to loosen up.
My picks for those who will be returning are Allison, Kris and Adam. We will find out on Thursday who makes it.