Ryan reminds us that tonight’s theme is an “Idol favorite:” Songs from the year the contestants were born. The Show shares baby photos of the judges. They had to colorize Simon’s cuz Simon is old as ass as far as this show goes.
Danny Gokey "Stand By Me” from 1980
And already, the cheating begins. Cover songs from the year they were born. And from the eldest contestant no less! I can forgive cover songs when we eventually reach the crap-pop-fest of the 90s, but not in the 80s. The song has been Michael McDonaldized, all slow and with the Gokey rasp. Then it moves into an untempo “please welcome the bride and groom” vibe. With scatting. Honestly, I’m not a fan of this, as the soul and simplicity of the original “Stand By Me” is lost in the jazzy wedding singer arrangement. The arrangement is way cheesy, altho the vocals are OK. The judges all lie with fake-praise words like “unique” and “creative liberties” because The Show still likes Danny that much. Pass the crack pipe, y’all.
Kris Allen "All She Wants To Do Is Dance” from 1985
Kris gets couch time, because The Show may want to actually back him mid-season a la David Cook (but don’t hold them to that). Kris mentions taking the day off and doing “the cheesiest thing ever” by riding the ferris wheel. Ever, Kris? Let me remind you what show you are on, and we shall rank cheese-factor accordingly. Kris performs from the mosh pit, which seems all the rage this season. The song arrangement is switched up, and it’s OK, but it’s not altogether an improvement. It also doesn’t quite showcase Kris’ vocals. It’s a bit of a mish-mosh. Shockingly, Randy has the best insight by pointing out that the music overshadowed the vocals.
Lil Rounds "What’s Love Got To Do With It” from 1984
Lil is named after the first 3 letters of her grandmother, Lily. Dem black folks have the most fascinating baby name stories. Tina Turner is one of the lesser Diva dieties, but Diva (with capital) nonetheless. Lil’s version is a toothless, tame version of the sassy, strutting Tina. Once again, it’s vocally OK, but there’s no personality under the surface. Lil should have chosen a much lesser known song and owned it. Lil seems like a great person but girlfriend just ain’t getting it. The judges are underwhelmed, with Simon citing her performance as a “second or third rate Tina.” Lil Rounds? More like ‘Lil Tina.
Anoop Desai "True Colors” from 1986
Annop apologizes for his uncharacteristic “excuse me?” reaction to Kara last week. In Idol-speak, this is tantamount to a NSFW Sopranos-level obsenity-spew. Everyone over the age of 12 merely shrugged. It’s hard to separate this song from Cyndi Lauper’s awesome and unique bravura version. There are brief moments in the second half where it captures a contemporary R&B vibe, and it’s alllmost interesting. The vocals? Very good. Anoop! Done good this evening.
Scott MacIntyre "The Search Is Over” from 1985
Originally sung by the human dog-whistle known as Peter Cetera, Scott has a tough comparison ahead of him. He’s out from behind the piano, which I give him guts-points for, but the vocals? Not powerful enough, and some bad notes abound. Ultimately, it’s a bad choice for Scott, far beyond his reach. Scott gets one half-second rock-star moment as he releases the guita lick and the lights flash behind him. It’s fleeting, and Scott’s days are surely numbered. “We are done with your inspiration, blindy!” declares Show.
Allison Iraheta “I Can’t Make You Love Me” from 1992
First, a small exclamation point moment for Allison being born in 1992. “!” The performance is OK. Like Lil’s, it’s more or less a copycat performance, not reaching the grandeur of the original. The judges like her a lot, and cite her lack of “likeability” as being her “issue.” This, my friends and viewers, is a blatant attempt of The Show to keep Allison in the competition, as this season is woefully guy-heavy.
Matt Giraud “Part Time Lovers” from 1985
I like my Stevie Wonder, but peeps, I ain’t never liked this song. Matt gives it a jazzy arrangement. It’s OK, but it’s a little low register for a Stevie joint. Overall, I give Matt props for originality and pulling off an arrangement that works. The judges do a drive-by pressed-for-time judging but overall, they like. Also? How dare anyone trample into Our Lord And Savior Adam Lampert’s time?
Adam Lampert "Mad World” from 1983
Or, more accurately, from 2003. Adam sings the Gary Jules/Michael Andrews version popularized by the Donnie Darko soundtrack. Since my DVR cut out, I had to find it online. Bathed in blue pimp lights, The Show’s most favorite Idol emotes and broods in a COPYCAT performance of the 2003 version. It's vocally sound, but once again, there's been dozens of Idol performances on par with this. But what happens?
This, this, gets him a standing-effing-ovation from Simon Cowell. That thud you just heard was the fall of my respect for the show's most honest judge. Shameful. Voting is just a formality at this point. I can't recall a time when The Show pushed any contestant as hard as they are pushing Adam. Because we haven't had a great goth-poseur alt-singer since the giddy days of WDRE in its heyday? I hope America is ready for the Robert Smith tribute album.
So who’s going home? Scott, more than the search is over, my friend.