American Idol 10: The contestants sing Sir Elton

Ah, American Idol. You’re like water in the desert in the middle of this long week. I mean it’s only Wednesday and I’m exhausted.

But I am a little scared of hearing some of these contestants (i.e. Scotty and Naema) sing Elton John songs. Here’s how it went down:

Scotty McCreery “Country Comfort”
• He picked it because it had the word “country” in it. We’ll see how that works out for him, I guess.
• I don’t know how to say this, but Scotty takes all of the well-known “country” things people do with their voices and does them all. All at once. Too much. Comfort isn’t about a sound, particularly. It’s about honesty and real life. Three chords and the truth, as the quote goes.
• Points for having steel guitar. I love me a good crying steel guitar.
• I want to like Scotty, but it feels a little like he’s doing all the gimmicks and the facial expressions really have to stop.
• The judges love him, though, so maybe it’s just me.

Naema Adepado “I’m Still Standing” in reggae style
• Why did she have to put on a fake Jamaican accent? Strange. . . And know she’s doing the “don’t you know” thing. I just do not get this or like it.
• When she gets to the chorus, she is indeed off pitch and never quite gets on top of the “I’m” note in “I’m still standing.”
• The girl knows how to perform and work a stage, but it’s just not good. In my opinion. You’re welcome to your own.
• Judges seem a little non-plused by the performance. Except for Steven. He’s got a little Paula going on apparently.

Paul McDonald “Rocket Man”
• I used to get this song stuck in my head a lot. I really liked it when I discovered it in my senior year of high school.
• Ooh, he’s wearing his Manuel suit!
• If you think about this song, it’s kind of a weird song. But Paul brought some emotion to it for me. I feel like he IS the rocket man and he really feels the pain of leaving. Loved it, but he’s my kind of singer.
• Judges think he’s holding back a bit and challenge him to go “all the way there.”

Pia Toscano “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”
• Seriously, I was talking about this being Elton John week with a friend last night and he asked, who do you think will do “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” I definitely didn’t think Pia, because she’s about to kill me with her endless ballad choices. Don’t get me wrong: girl can sing and she’s beautiful. She just needs to have a little more VARIETY!
• She’s always on and hits her notes. There were just a few places in the chorus where I felt like she over-singing a bit and maybe just a little bit sharp. Her big note in the last 1/3 of the song was beautiful, but I didn’t like the ending. It just felt flat to me.
• Judges love it.

Stefano Langone “Tiny Dancer”
• OK, I really like the song “Tiny Dancer.” I have an Elton version and Ben Fold’s version on my iPod. He better do this well. . .
• Beginning is good, and I like how he makes the phrases his own, holding out the words differently than Elton did.
• I do NOT like the way he sometimes makes “dancer” a three syllable word, but overall it’s a really good performance. This guy can sing and his voice is just so pleasing and pure.
• Judges like that he connected with the audience and said it was “very nice.”

Lauren Alaina “Candle in the Wind”
• I’m in love with this red grand piano they’re using tonight. I want one!
• Parts of the beginning aren’t pitch perfect, but I like that Lauren is being vulnerable.
• It’s a nice performance, but it really doesn’t go much of anywhere. There’s not a crisis point or climax in the performance. Which is fine, I guess.
• But as I watch it more and think about, I love that it’s vulnerable and fragile and good. It’s becoming on of my favorite performances of the night!
• Judges like it.

James Durbin “Saturday Night’s Alright”
• James says he wants to do an arena rock feel. And he fights Jimmy to do what he wants.
• I feel like he’s singing in the weird screamy part of his voice at the beginning of the song, but seriously it’s one of the best performances of the season so far.
• I actually think the performance and the antics may have overshadowed the actual vocals and it was weird seeing James sing this while he was dressed as a younger, slightly more hipster-y Springsteen.
• Judges love it.

Thia Megia “Daniel”
• Hey, that girl with the cool quality in her voice is back! Where did boring, diva Thia go?
• She’s not exactly on every note, but it’s good. But like Lauren Alaina’s performance, I also feel like this is one that doesn’t really go anywhere. There’s a moment I think was supposed to be the big moment, but it’s not big enough.
• The ending is perfect, emotional, and beautiful.
• Judges compliment the performance

Casey Abrams “Your Song”
• Who’s a fan of Moulin Rouge? I am. And this song. And I want Casey to rock this.
• Casey doesn’t have what I’d call a technically good voice. But there’s something honest in it. There’s just joy in him when he sings. I loved the way his voice broke on some of the tender moments and like the emotional intensity he added toward the end, in a kind of Glen Hansard style.
• I wish he hadn’t sang the whole song sitting on that stool.
• Not my FAVORITE of his performances, but he connected with the crowd and it was nice and understated and worthy of last week’s save.
• Judges are really happy with this performance.

Jacob Lusk “Sorry Seems to be the hardest word”
• I don’t know this song. . .
• Jimmy warned against over dramatizing. . . and for me it’s overly dramatic from the beginning with the solo spot and Jacob alone on the stage.
• I honestly just don’t get the Jacob thing. His voice just isn’t pleasing to me. The beginning seems pitchy and there’s just so much vibrato.
• Props for holding that last note out for SO long.
• Judges praise the singing, performance, and arrangement.

Haley Reinhart “Benny and the Jets”
• Oh, sheesh! She starts on top of the piano. Ack.
• Beginning is almost unintelligible and I still think she uses way too many vocal tricks when she sings. The growly. The stylized way she enunciates (which makes the words more dificult to understand.) She’s really screamy through a large portion of this song and I HATE the way she hots out the s on Jets for way too long, but that could just be the choir girl in my screaming to be heard. For me, it’s good. I can see that. . . but I just don’t like her.
• Judges call it the best performance of the night.

This week is difficult! So many good performances!

May be in trouble: Scotty (deserves to be, probably won’t be b/c of teen girl vote), Naema, maybe Thia, maybe Stefano, even though I loved that performance

Safe: Pia, James, Casey (?), Jacob, Haley

Best: Paul, Lauren Alaina

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