Well well well, I’m back from my honeymoon, and I checked out what Murtz had to say about the show, and there were a few surprises and a few “duhs”:
Surprise: Josh Palmer made the Top Ten. I haven’t seen anything “rocker” about the guy that Suzi Rawn doesn’t have, and his making the Top Ten probably says more about the judges influence than anything else. Let’s see if his Stevie Wonder improved from his Group 2 performance.
Duh: Aaron Walpole made the Top Ten. Everyone loves a singing Big Guy (see Studdard, Ruben and Rogers, Matt). He’s got a lot of heart, and that helped him get to the Top Ten. How long he stays depends on if his singing can continually match that heart.
Surprise: Darryl Brunt in the Bottom 3. The guy with the sweet voice was thought to be the next Kalan Porter, but maybe he’ll be the next Mikey Bustos? We’ll see if he can put it together this week.
Duh: Emily Vinette is the first singer eliminated. She lives and dies on the glory note. In a weaker field, she can go far (like Diana DeGarmo). In a group like this, where there aren’t too many weak singers, she’s gone early (like Mikelah Gordon).
Tonight, a second singer joins Emily on the sidelines as the remaining nine competitors butcher (maybe) Stevie Wonder. Who do I think will go home? Find out… next!!
Recap of last week and intro
Ben Mulroney‘s out, and he channels Julie Chen 2004 by saying to voters “Do Not Assume” that your voters are safe. He intros the judges – Jake Gold, Farley Flex, Sass Jordan and Zack Werner. Customary patter, and here are the Idols!!
Casey LeBlanc, “Heaven Help Us All”
There’s nothing wrong with the singing, but Casey again shows a lack of emotion for a song I’m assuming to be quite soulful. Seriously, get this girl a pulse. And a way to better connect to the audience.
Jake – Much better than last week, but you need to come out of your shell more. Good technical performance.
Farley – Little more drive, more determination.
Sass – Best performance so far (not complimentary)
Zack – It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great. If you want to keep going on, you’ll figure it out.
By the way, I’m now going to ignore Ben’s customary “no it was a good performance, really” comments.
Josh Palmer, “That Girl”
Josh is apparently trying to morph into Sam Roberts, which would be good, except he doesn’t sing nearly as well. He’s flat all over, singing incomprehensibly. and now he’s 0 for 2 singing Stevie. I just don’t see what the judges are seeing in him.
Farley – I like your interpretive skills. You made it Josh.
Sass – Great job.
Zack – That was very Josh-y, and I found it unappealing. (Josh: That coming from the guy in the cowboy shirt there.)
Jake (after appealing to the crowd to make noise) – I don’t have anything to say after what you said. Way to go.
Amber Fleury, “Lately”
Starts off a bit off, but she sings it great in the end. However, it doesn’t really work as a torch song, and I think she could have done better by pushing the emotion more. Amber’s been weak for two straight weeks, and I don’t think she can afford that at this juncture.
Sass – Your voice is like an instrument.
Zack – I may not be much of a cowboy… I don’t really feel like you devoured that. You need to demonstrate that you have the potential to win.
Jake – Sang it flawless, but you have to get out of the ballad mode.
Farley – You cannot sing a Stevie Wonder song without trying to be soulful.
L’Oreal infomercial, followed by an
Darryl Brunt, “Superstition”
Maybe it’s too much to expect 16 year olds to have a lot of soul. Darryl had a bit more emotion than Casey, but it felt really forced, and actually somewhat Clay Aiken/Barry Manilow-like. Which is fine if you like that kind of stuff.
Zack – You didn’t sing it badly, but it was like the Ice Capades.
Jake – Technically good, no soul.
Farley – Up until this point it was like Stevie Wonder Bread, but yours had a bit of whole wheat.
Sass – It’s a comedy fest in here. I thought that was great.
Ashley Leitao, “Sure Do”
Ashley kind of cabarets it up, but she adds an element of emotion that’s been lacking lately. She works the stage and is the first one who really seems to “feel” it.
Jake – Maybe a bit shticky, but at least you sang it with some grit and some soul.
Farley – It’s important to see you have fun.
Sass – You are like the number one camp counselor and the star of the casino revue. (Ashley thanks her, not realizing it’s not a compliment)
Zack – The oufit is an atrocity, but there’s nothing cool going on here. It’s B-room Casino Rama.
Ben – Never trust a man in rhinestones.
Rex “Hatboy” Goudie, “Pastime Paradise”
This song is probably better known for being repurposed for the chorus of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise”. And while Rex puts a lot of heart into the song, he kind of shouts it more than sings it. I think it’s good enough to go through though. And is Rex growing a hockey beard?
Farley – You bared your soul, that’s what it’s all about. Good on you, kid.
Sass – What Farley said. You sang it with a rock ‘n’ roll edge, and you pulled it off. Good on you.
Zack – I of course pulled out of bed in a parallel universe this morning (that explains Hatboy’s stubble). It sounded like total pap to me. I felt like you never locked in. (Rex comments on the shirt)
Jake – Soul means that you sing from the soul, and that’s what you did.
Melissa O’Neill, “Living For The City”
OK, why is she humping the mike stand? This is kind of an imitation of a black soul singer, and completes the trifecta of 16-year olds singing poorly tonight. I think they just don’t get Stevie.
Sass – Thanks for getting’ yo ass into it. I thought you pulled it off.
Zack – I was digging the first verse, I thought you would kill it. But something went wrong. (Farley pulls Zack out of his chair)
Jake – That’s a good way to stop that. At least you put your heart and soul into it. You gave it what you have.
Farley – You had trouble singing the song, but I appreciated the effort.
Aaron Walpole, “You Haven’t Done Nothing”
Not surprisingly, a lot of soul from the big man. Why does that stereotype seem to hold true on these shows? Best performance of the night so far. He feels it, and sings it well to boot.
Zack – Performance of the night by a million miles.
Jake – Really obvious that you’re working really hard, and it’s making a big difference. You rose right to the occasion.
Farley – A whole lot of soul. That was wicked.
Sass – I liked the scream, but (singing) You ain’t done nuthin’
Ben hands the mike over to Aaron, who does an movie trailer-type read of his numbers, which is pretty funny and probably cements his safety for this week, if his performance didn’t already.
Suzi Rawn, “Higher Ground”
We get our only true “cheat” of the show as Suzi sings it more Chili Peppers than Stevie Wonder, and in that context, it rocked. Great performance, and a perfect song for her. Not the best of the night, but maybe a notch below Aaron.
Jake – Great way to finish the night. Strong rock performance.
Farley – You’re so memorable. You’re the star.
Sass – You own the stage, which makes us love you.
Zack – I only have one word to say about that song: BOOM!!
Recap of the performances and numbers, and we’re outta here.