[…] The 11 finalists stand on the Staircase of Doom as Ryan walks past them and reminds us that one is going home. THIS…is American Idol! The judges are introduced (Paula is rocking the straight hair), we’re told 31 million votes were cast, and then we go into a recap of the performances. I’m not recapping a recap so y’all can just read what happened. […]
Last week on American Idol, America voted out Jasmine Murray and Jorge Nunez and the judges chose not to save either with that stupid new veto rule. This week the top 11 are singing Grand Ole Opry songs, with mentoring by Randy Travis. Let’s get right to it!
Michael Sarver is singing “Ain’t Going Down ‘Til the Sun Comes Up.” Randy T. advises him to not mess up the fast-paced wording. Michael’s in his comfort zone and having fun, but he gets breathless and goes flat sometimes. The judges agree that the song showed his personality, but didn’t showcase his vocals.
Allison Iraheta is singing “Blame It On Your Heart.” Randy T. thinks she’s the bees knees but tells her to avoid being cutesy. She’s got some vibrato but mostly she rocks it. Kara, Paula, and Randy loved it but Simon found it tuneless in parts and calls her precocious.
Kris Allen is singing “To Make You Feel My Love.” Randy T. says Kris is a strong balladeer. Kris sounds great but he suffers from a lack of charisma. Paula was pleasantly surprised, Simon found it terrific, and Randy and Kara also praise it.
Lil Rounds is singing “Independence Day.” Randy T. wants her to slow down her arrangement. Lil doesn’t have the best voice technically but her passion and the way she can sell a song is brilliant. Randy wasn’t impressed and Kara agrees but likes Lil’s artistic integrity. Paula thinks she was brilliant and Simon, who has difficulty pronouncing “Lil,” thought she looked uncomfortable.
Adam Lambert is singing “Ring of Fire.” Randy T. hilariously doesn’t know what to make of Adam and the “Middle Eastern-flavored” version of the song he’s doing. Johnny Cash is probably turning over in his grave but Adam’s performance is sensual, confident, and vocally amazing. Kara’s reaction sums up how everyone feels about Adam: “it left me confused and kind of happy.” Except for Simon, who reacts with panic to anything that unabashedly gay.
Scott MacIntyre is singing “Wild Angels.” Randy T. thinks it’s a bad song choice but is won over during rehearsal. Scott continues his streak of sounding pleasant yet incredibly boring. His blindness is seriously the only thing that makes him stand out. Paula wants him to mix it up, Simon thinks he’s picking the wrong songs, Randy is waiting to be wowed, and Kara agrees with all of them.
Alexis Grace is singing “Jolene,” which Brooke White owned last season. Randy T. says she doesn’t need to change anything. Alexis’ bluesy take on it is different from Brooke’s folksy version but it’s pretty good, aside from some bad high notes in the middle. Most of the judges thought it was underwhelming but Paula liked that she did something different.
Danny Gokey is singing “Jesus Take the Wheel.” I can’t even be objective because I hate this song and all the articles this week about how fundies are voting for Danny because he’s a fundie have totally grossed me out. He may be a great guy and I like his voice, but keep the proselytizing out of my cheesy reality TV. He gets a virtual tonguebath from Paula and Simon but Kara and Randy thought the first part was weak.
Anoop Desai is singing “You Were Always On My Mind.” Randy T. says he had doubts at first but they went away when he heard Anoop. Anoop is determined to prove Simon wrong about his worthiness. I don’t know about Simon but he wins me over. His vocals are stellar. Paula says Anoop is back and Simon says he went from “zero to hero” and calls it one of his favorite performances of the night. Randy and Kara were equally impressed.
Megan Corkrey is singing “I Go Walking After Midnight.” Randy T. thinks there’s no way to make it unique but he changes his mind when he hears her. Megan brings the quirkiness and she makes the song her own. She’s got a Duffy-esque sound to her voice and doesn’t hit every note but her style is so captivating it doesn’t matter. We learn that Megan’s been in the hospital with the flu and can’t stop coughing while the judges talk. They all agree she was terrific and a trooper for pushing through her illness.
Matt Giraud is singing “So Small.” Again, Randy T. isn’t sure of the choice but is won over by the arrangement. Matt’s on the piano and his voice sounds soulful and lovely. He’s also done great things with the arrangement, which builds to a stirring crescendo then fades away. All the judges love him and Simon says Matt outsang Danny.
Come back tomorrow night for a recap of the results show! Who do you think will be going home? I think Michael Sarver is in the most danger, but Alison Iraheta, Kris Allen or Scott MacIntyre could also be in danger.