April 13, 2011

MUSIC: American Idol 2010: Movie songs

After the year's obligatory shocking departure -- we'll miss you, Pia -- we return for a night of songs from the movies, continuing (as promised) the year's series of theme nights that leave plenty of room for everyone to find something appropriate.

The rundown:

Paul, "Old Time Rock and Roll" -- I still don't like his voice, and I wish he would stop bounding about the stage like an anorexic hobbit in a Nudie suit. But lord knows he's got personality to burn, and he's having so much fun that it's hard to completely hate him.

Lauren, "The Climb" -- She's learning fast, isn't she? Smart song selection that falls right into her stylistic strike zone, and a good solid performance; she also seems to be more relaxed on stage every week. Not a goosebump moment, but I'm now at the point where I wouldn't be surprised to get one from her eventually.

Stefano, "End of the Road" -- Pretty enough voice, but the boy's got all the star quality of a brick.

Scotty, "I Cross My Heart" -- I  wish he'd stuck with "Everybody's Talkin';" that would at least have had the potential to be surprising. This isn't much of a song, and Scotty doesn't do much to elevate it. It's an adequate performance, but there's nothing interesting about it.

Casey, "Nature Boy" -- Casey at his most eccentric, both in song choice and performance. The vocal is more oddly mannered than usual, with lots of distracting "ah" puffs at the end-ah of every phrase-ah. Pitch was a bit wobbly in spots. I'm not sure that performance gets many votes from the tween girls who dominate the voting.

Haley, "Call Me" -- We're four or five words into the song before she's even close to the right pitches, and even once she settles into the notes, it's not pretty. It's another of Haley's bad-cabaret performances. I still don't think we know (or that she knows) who Haley really is as a performer; all of her songs feel like the work of a bad actor playing a role.

Jacob, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" -- Oddly lifeless; given this combination of singer and song, there should have been goosebumps on goosebumps by the end of it. That sustained climb on the last three notes was quite nicely done, though.

James, "Heavy Metal" -- Well, it's not my thing and I won't be rushing out to buy his record, but it was very well done, and certainly the most energetic and passionate performance of the night.

The top half of the field remains very tightly bunched, with Lauren moving up a bit; Scotty continues his slow slide into the back half of the pack, and Paul finally escapes the basement.

For the night: Lauren, James, Jacob, Paul, Casey, Scotty, Stefano, Haley.

For the season: Jacob, Casey, Lauren, James, Scotty, Stefano, Paul, Haley.

Let's send home: It ought to be Haley, and given the "let's send all the women home first" trend of the season, that wouldn't be a surprising outcome. But I'd also be worried if I were Jacob, because we're entering the part of the season beyond which black men tend not to survive, or Casey, because I don't think Idol voters respond well to weird.

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