This week’s theme was “Songs from the year you were born,” meaning I’m going to feel really old by the time this show is over.
Naema “What’s love got to do with it?” by Tina Turner (1984)
• If you’re going to do Tina, you better do it better than her (which isn’t possible) or completely different. Naema isn’t either.
• PITCH PROBLEMS
• She’s picked a range that’s more shouting than singing
• Ending doesn’t really go with the rest of the song
Paul McDonald “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues” by Elton John (1984)
• He’s so Nashville. Those pants are TIGHT!
• Voice sounds good tonight.
• Technically a very good performance, maybe not his best, but I enjoy him SO SO much. And then he smiled and my heart pitter-pattered.
Thia Megia “Colors of the Wind” by Vanessa Williams (1995)
• Oh, she dressed like Pocahontas!
• Her voice is beautiful, but she ALWAYS picks this same style of song and performs it in this same boring, too-old-for-her style.
• I’m not sure she’s an artist. . . as my friend Mindy said “What are you going to do other than cover songs of divas?”
(Randy says it’s pageant-y [it was] and Steven asks if this is the song that really says who she is [such a great question that she needs to consider!])
James Durbin “I’ll Be There for You” by Bon Jovi (1989)
• Oh, dang it! His hair is out of control again. (Hey, Kate Hudson is there tonight! Cool!)
• The beginning seems a little rough for me and his “tail” is back. Sigh.
• I’ve seen Bon Jovi in concert and James does this song justice. I felt like the scream/modulation was a little weird and the ending was kind of shouty, but otherwise a fun performance.
Haley Reinhart “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston (1990)
• I don’t know how to explain how I feel about this performance. Except to say I was confused and I HATED the beginning.
• Something in Haley’s voice grates on me. She can do the growly thing, but I think she overuses it.
• I like that she shows range and her ability to do a lot of things with her voice on this song.
• It’s way better than last week. I’m still just not sure about her.
(Randy points out that Haley’s song choices are all over the place and all over various genres. His criticism is that she doesn’t really know who she is. . .and I think that critique is warranted.)
Stefano Langone “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” by Simply Red (1989)
• I’m not going to lie: I really, really like that song. He better do a good job.
• Beginning is spot on. Stefano rarely misses his notes, and he knows when to make his voice tender and when to make it rough.
• Stefano walks around A LOT when he’s on stage. It’s a bit distracting. I do like that Stefano seems to pick songs he really emotionally connects with and it shows in his performance. Even if the very end of his last note was kind of iffy.
(I agree with Randy: this was the best performance of the night so far. Check out the video here.)
Pia Toscano “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” by Whitney Houston (1988)
• What is she wearing? A weird white, pleated, ruched, and cuffed jumpsuit? I. Do. Not. Understand.
• Otherwise, she’s nearly perfect as far as vocals go. I like that she took a Whitney standard and changed it up enough to make it her own but still stay true to the original.
• It’s not show-stopping for me, but it’s very, very good. And girl can SING!
Scotty McCreary “Can I Trust You with my Heart?” by Travis Tritt (1993)
• I had kind of gotten tired of Scotty, but he starts this song off really well.
• But he’s got to stop with the comical facial expressions. And sometimes (like in the first part of the chorus) when he goes up into his higher range, he’s just got some pitch problems).
• By the end of the song, he’s doing a great job and the ending is very, very nice. One os Scotty’s best performances and one of the better performances of the night. And I never thought I’d say that about Scotty.
(BTW, a friend on Facebook said Scotty looks like Alfred E. Neuman. Which is so spot on that I can’t look at hm and not think about MAD magazine.)
Karen Rodriguez “Love Will Lead You Back” by Taylor Dane (1989)
• What is up with her hair? I mean, check it out.
• This is better than all the diva songs and personas she’s been trying on these last few times, but she’s also one of those people I don’t like to watch sing because she makes such painful facial expressions when she sings.
• The modulation was really, really nice. Overall, a nice performance, beautiful vocals, but not very current. She’s good, but I’m not sure she’s performed her best yet. And she’s a wee bit boring. There, I said it.
Casey Abrams “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana (1991)
• Oh, boy. He’s doing Nirvana. That’s going to be VERY interesting. . . . at least he likes to try risky things. I guess!
• Love that he’s playing the guitar. . . .but this is a bit strange. This song is so known for its performance and the beginning, until he gets to the really screamy part is kind of rough around the edges.
• I really don’t know how to review this performance. It was great AND it was terrible. And it made me like Casey more. I don’t understand it at all. Just go watch it yourself.
(Randy names drops a lot of bands, then says that it wasn’t Casey’s best performance, but he was fearless. Which is true. And maybe what I liked about this performance and Casey, in general.)
Lauren Alaina “I’m the Only One” by Melissa Etheridge (1994)
• Her daddy told her he loved her on national TV. I heart him.
• Vocals are good and this outfit is better than last week, except for the fringed boots. Yuck.
• This is such a good song choice, and I like most of the minor changes to melody that shes made. There are a few pitch problems, but I feel like the Lauren who tried out in Nashville and was phenomenal is back.
Jacob Lusk “Alone” by Heart (1987)
• This is my favorite Heart song. . . and if he screws it up, I will detest him forever.
• I’m not in love at the beginning. He’s got so much vibrato and it annoys me. What works in this song for Heart is how pure Anne’s voice is in the beginning, contrasted with the power notes and passion of the chorus. He’s got passion in the chorus, but he’s also got pitch issues.
• I’m not really sure what to think. It’s good, but I just don’t like his style much. Just go watch it here.
The best of the night:
Stefano Langone, in my opinion
Paul McDonald, Lauren Alain, James Durbin, Pia Toscano, Haley Reinhart, Scotty McCreary, Casey Abrams, Jacob Lusk
Who’s in trouble:
Naema, Thia Megia, Karen Rodriguez (she did well/better, but she’s boring)