There was a lot of controversy when Ashthon Jones, Stefano Langone and Naima Adedapo were chosen as wild cards on last Thursday’s American Idol, but was the controversy deserved? As the contestants once again took to the stage last night to try to win the votes of America, that question was answered with a resounding… maybe?
This week saw contestants performing songs by their own personal idols – songs which they recorded in the studio and worked on with none other than Jimmy Iovine and his ‘dream team’ of producers. One has to wonder if some of the evening’s lesser performances can be attributed to the pressure of having to perform in front a legend like Jimmy. Regardless of the reason, there were definitely some underwhelming performances – and some of the contestants turning in those lackluster performances really surprised me. Let’s get to it.
Lauren Alaina – ‘Any Man of Mine’ by Shania Twain
Lauren. She was my favorite to win the whole thing, but last night… well, I don’t know. Her voice sounded great. She had lots of energy but there was something missing. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I was left feeling disappointed. Perhaps it was just a bad song choice. I can understand Lauren wanting to do something a little different than what the others were doing, but it just didn’t work. In the end, her performance was, sadly, very forgettable. She won’t get sent home for it, but she definitely needs to come back with something stronger next week. The judges seemed to agree with Steven telling her he was expecting something more ‘kick ass’. Agreed, Steven.
Casey Abrams – ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ by Joe Cocker
As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing this kid can’t do. Last night was flawless just as it always is. If this kid doesn’t end up in the top three, I’ll eat all of the keys on my keyboard.
Ashthon Jones – ‘When You Tell Me That You Love Me’ by Diana Ross
Ashthon didn’t do a thing for me last night. She has a big, powerful voice, tons of confidence and a lot of personality. She takes the stage like a true diva but last night? I found it a bit tired and half hearted. In addition, I didn’t like the tone or quality of her voice on the high notes. She sounded sharp and I was genuinely surprised the judges didn’t say more about that. I don’t think she proved she was deserving of a wild card; especially over Lauren Turner or even Rachel Zavita or Julie Zorrilla who were really done in by poor song choice. I think we’ll see better from Ashthon in the future if she made it through the vote.
Paul McDonald – ‘Come Take Me Home’ by Ryan Adams
Paul McDonald is my favorite guy on the show that has no chance of winning. At all. I’ll be very surprised if he makes it into the actual top ten. Very surprised. That said, I love him. I love that he chose a Ryan Adams song. I love that he has fun when he’s on stage. Will America ‘get it’? Randy and Jennifer don’t seem convinced. Neither am I, but I got it.
Pia Toscano – ‘All By Myself’ by Celine Dion
Where did this girl even come from? I remember her from group week and she was fabulous, but it wasn’t really until last week that I started seeing her as a real stand out. She picked the perfect time to really show us what she’s got and I can’t wait to see what she does next week. There’s no chance she’s going home tonight. None.
James Durbin – ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ by Paul McCartney
Whoa… okay, what? James Durbin! Look at you go! I’m not kidding, I never really got the big deal about James. I liked his performances but I felt the screaming was too much. Last night, James made a fan of me with what I feel was his best performance so far.
Haley Reinhart – ‘Blue’ by Leanne Rimes
I will give Haley credit – this is not an easy song to sing. It’s an even harder song to impress with. Haley played it pretty straight, more or less singing a note for note cover of the original, but it was just boring. The thing that makes Haley stand out is her personality and her heat and that was missing almost entirely from this performance.
Jacob Lusk – ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ by R. Kelly
Let me start off by saying I know some of you are going to disagree with me on Jacob this week. In all honesty, I thought the whole middle of the song was a total miss. I honestly didn’t like the performance as a whole. His voice was fabulous as always – for the most part. To be honest though, I was looking forward to his performance through the whole show and I was disappointed. I know it’s a momentary hiccup and I’ll be in love with him all over again next week, though.
Thia Megia – ‘Smile’ by Charlie Chaplin
Thia… what happened?? I have been up and down about Thia since the beginning. I didn’t really feel her audition and I wasn’t even sure about her in Hollywood week. When she made it to the top 24 I expected her to be one of the first gone. Then last week happened and suddenly – boom! I saw what all the fuss was about. It was shaping up to be another one of those performances but then something happened. The jazzy arrangement kicked in and she lost it. The whole performance went off the rails and she couldn’t pull it back together. It’s a shame. Hopefully America gives her another shot. I think she deserves it.
Stefano Langone – ‘Lately’ by Stevie Wonder
Now that is how you show America you deserve your wild card. I loved what Stefano did with the song and I loved that he really got into it. That boy can sing and we’re really seeing it now. He clearly took his near miss last week seriously and wanted to prove himself to America. If he gets booted tonight, I will be absolutely, one hundred and ten percent shocked.
Karen Rodriguez – ‘I Could Fall In Love’ by Selena
Last week, I went on a bit of a rant about Karen making it into the top ten. Last night, I feel I was proved right. Lauren Turner can sing circles around this girl. That isn’t to say I don’t like Karen. I do – very much in fact. She has a beautiful voice, is a beautiful girl and has a lot of passion for music, but I really don’t think she has what it takes to make it to the top. Lauren Turner would’ve given the rest of the contestants a run for their money. Karen? Not so much. I think she could have a career in music – just not on Idol.
Scotty McCreery – ‘The River’ by Garth Brooks
Considering my well documented love of Scotty, you may be surprised to learn I’m actually not big on country music. I love Garth, though and The River is one of my favorites. Scotty did a pretty decent job of it and I loved that he’s starting to open up on stage, but I honestly felt there was something missing – much like with Lauren’s performance. The judges loved it, though, and the crowd seemed to as well.
Naima Adedapo – ‘Umbrella’ by Rihanna
I didn’t love the vocals, but I loved Naima and her performance. She showed she has what it takes to be an entertainer – not just a singer and I loved that. Will America? That’s hard to say. I honestly don’t think it matters how she does in this competition. Jimmy Iovine seemed to love her. She’ll get a recording contract either way and she’ll have a huge career – Idol or not. Mark my words. This isn’t a girl that’s going to fade away.
With the performances out of the way, the fate of the contestants was left in the hands of America. How did they do? I suppose we’ll find out tonight. My prediction – Thia or Karen head home tonight. Paul is another possibility. My bet is on Karen though. Her performance was only mediocre and I’m not sure she has the fan base behind her to keep her around. Ashthon should be concerned as well. I think Naima is safe on her performance alone, but if she wants to last she needs to combine the awesome performance with the awesome voice. She’d be the total package.
Sure things? Casey, Jacob, Stefano, Pia and James are on the the next round without question. I think Lauren’s pretty safe as well. People really like her and despite her poor showing last night, I think her personality and her past performances will carry her through.
Come back tomorrow to find out if I was right on wrong. As always, I invite you all to tell me your predictions in the comments section below and make sure you share this recap with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.