Tuesday, April 21, 2009

American Idol recap

All week long, I waited in eager anticipation to see tonight's American Idol. Disco Night! How very, very cool. What will they do? I thought.

Imagine my disappointment when a few of the performers didn't follow directions and wimped out, turning a classic up tempo, heavy driving bass-drum dance-beat into a non-recognizable, passe ballad. Hmpf! For that reason, I removed stars from some of the  performances. There's probably no harder genre than disco and I have to give credit to everyone who tried it.

01 — Lil Rounds — I'm Every Woman 2 Stars

If Rounds hadn't been pitchy, pitchy, pitchy, I would have easily given her four stars for her performance of this Chaka Khan song.  It's really hard to go on first and bring the tempo from zero to sixty in one second flat. But Rounds did an excellent job of warming up the crowd. 

02 — Kris Allen — She Works Hard for the Money — 4 stars

Allen chose to ignore the disco theme, and instead created a more moving rendition on guitar of this "woman-power" song sung by vocal powerhouse, Donna Summer. I really liked his creative arrangement, the funky beat, and the tropical sound, which reminded me of Gloria Estefan. I think maybe Allen has found his niche.

03 — Danny Gokey — September — 5 stars

When Gokey hits the stage, one can't help but feel that they are watching a professional performer. Smooth, smooth, smooth. The arrangement of this Earth, Wind, and Fire classic was good, especially in the way he enlisted the help of the incredibly talented backup singers. Great job!

04 — Allison Iraheta — Hot Stuff — 5 stars

Iraheta's performance was both strange and bizarre, but in a really good way. This was one time when her intense vocals worked well for her as she built from a soft and soulful verse into an intense, rock/disco chorus. Wearing six inch heals and a strangely shredded sequined ensemble, she got my attention. The drama was perfect. Her voice was perfect. The tempo was perfect. Fabulous!

05 — Adam Lambert — If I Can't Have You — 4 stars

When you think "disco," most people think "Saturday Night Fever." Lambert picked his song from this album, but did it straight, wearing a black suit, tie and white shirt.  He ignored the disco genre and sang the song as a ballad, proving that he can be a fabulous singer without all the bells and whistles. Sometimes, Lambert reminds me of Elvis. Tonight, he reminded me of Robert Smith of "The Cure." Whenever you see Lambert perform, you know you're watching something really, really special.

06 — Matt Giraud — Staying Alive — 3 stars

Giraud proved that not only can he dance and sing in tune and on time (have you ever tried that? It's impossible!), but that he can sing anything, even disco! It was energetic and I should have loved it, but... Unfortunately, it was lacking a certain something, which I haven't been able to put my finger on. Simon suggested that the performance "came over as a bit desperate." Maybe that's what it was lacking - confidence?

07 — Anoop Desai — Dim All the Lights — 3 stars

In an effort to showcase his sexy voice, Desai slowed down the tempo on this Donna Summer hit. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me. Singing "Gonna dance the night away" to a slow tempo sounded a bit loungey. I think this was a missed opportunity. 

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