This week American Idol partnered with Quentin Tarantino to take on the songs of cinema, where in lies the problem. First let me say that I have no doubt in Quentin Tarantino’s movie making ability, but what qualifies him for as a musical mentor? Sure, he has experience picking songs, but how does that qualify him to coach others vocally? Is Idol that desperate for mentors?
Secondly, the hits of cinema are huge, popular songs that we all loved; that’s what made them such great songs for the movies. But it also makes it real hard for the Top 7 not to be compared to the original.
However, the crowd seemed very into the performances tonight while I felt that the night was ho-hum. I expected more of the Top 7 this late in the competitions. But there were a couple of exceptions that stood out.
What can I say about Adam Lambert but that he knows how to bring out the unusual in a song. I can’t say that I would have pictured Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper cruising down the highway to that techno version of Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” in Easy Rider, but Adam made it work and that is what makes Adam a forerunner.
On the other hand, Kris Allen stood out tonight because he sang a song I’d never heard before – “Falling Slowly” from the movie Once. But he sang it so beautifully that I now want to see the movie. It was an absolutely gorgeous song both in the words and his delivery and I wanted to hear more. I can’t tell you if the song sounded different from the original, but by picking an obscure song, Kris shined.
Unfortunately, the others picked songs so popular; you couldn’t help but compare them to the original.
A perfect example is Allison Iraheta. The best thing about Allison is that she knows how to pick the right songs for her voice. And “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” from Armageddon was definitely a song that suited her. But I think she missed the opportunity to stand out by not doing anything original with the song leaving her to be compared to Aerosmith. And in that case Allison just didn’t measure up. However, Allison is still a contender to be reckoned with.
Still other performances were just forgettable.
I’ve never been a big Danny Gokey fan and I’m really starting to lose any interest I had in him now. This week he did another ballad, this one the title song from Endless Love by Lionel Richie. And to me it sounded like every other ballad he’s done in the last few weeks. He even does the same hand gestures. I know Danny is a fan and judge favorite, but if he really wants a shot at the title, he needs to change it up a little.
Meanwhile Anoop Desai continues to do what he does best – ballads. This week he chose Brian Adam’s “(Everything I do) I Do It for You” from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. And while the performance was okay, it was forgettable. Anoop is a good guy, but I think he’s going to struggle to be remain in the contest from here on out.
Similarly, Matt Giraud also had a nice performance that was easily forgotten. He chose a beautiful song – Brian Adam’s “Have you Ever Really Loved a Woman?” from Don Juan DeMarco and had a solid performance. However, unfortunately, by the end of the night I couldn’t remember it.
And finally we have Lil Rounds who might have saved herself for at least another week with the title song from The Rose by Bette Midler. I wouldn’t say that this was the best performance ever, but it is the best one we’ve heard from Lil in a long while. I personally liked the stripped down beginning and end much more than the middle.
Overall a mediocre night, no train wrecks, but it’s still hard to pick the bottom three out of all the so-so. I guess my bottom three are Anoop, Matt and Lil. I honestly have no idea who’s going to be sent home – maybe Anoop, maybe Lil.
And finally, can I just say that I do not like the new judges comment format. I’d rather hear from all four judges and less fluff from Ryan. Besides, even by limiting the comments to two judges per contestant, Idol still went over.