Final 11 Perform

Motown tonight. This theme might seem tired, but it always brings out the best in the contestants. This week is maybe the biggest week this side of the finale, because everyone who survives tomorrow night, even if it’s by the skin of their teeth, gets to go on the Idol Tour this summer. I don’t have a problem with any of them making it, but I hope that Haley brings it tonight and survives. She’s come from a far place to get here, and she’s been consistently good all season. She deserves better than missing by a single spot.

The singers, the songs:

Casey- “Heard it Through the Grapevine”

Casey was in tune on the melody (and it was a cool melody), but there were some wonky notes in there when he overdid it. He reined it in a LOT, but he might need to rein it in even more if he can’t hit all of the notes. Does he know that girl that he was singing to? If not, she obviously wants to be introduced.

Judges: Loved it. Jen commented on his uniqueness. The girl is a friend; apparently a really good friend. She licked his face.

Thia- “Heat Wave”. Uh oh…… Has anyone ever been good on this song?

Her voice sounded fine and she was doing ok for awhile, but she got lost halfway through the song and spent the rest of the performance trying to smile through the confusion. If I was her manager I would tell her to go back and practice for another week. Her presentation wasn’t nearly ready for the stage. Actually I would just tell her to pick another song. “Heat Wave” is Idol kryptonite. It’s just too rangy and rhythmically complicated.

Judges: They were really easy on her this week. Maybe they felt guilty about last week?

Jacob– “You’re all I need to get by”

Commanding performance, as always. Pitchy and inconsistent, as always. Stefano isn’t the only singer who needs to watch his intonation. What a dynamic range, though. He can hit 3 full octaves, and his voice is as rich and creamy as a strawberry milkshake.

Judges: Steven came up on stage and called him “Baby Luther”. Randy called it his best. I won’t call it a “moment” because of too many missed notes, but the judges thought it was.

Lauren- “You Keep Me Hanging On”

She was fantastic, in tune and dynamic the whole way through the song. She looked stunning, and more importantly she looked confident. She commanded the stage, and she commanded the song. There were a few bare spots here and there, but none that ruined the mood. It wasn’t quite an A performance, but it was a high B.

Judges: Gushed.

Stefano– “Hello”. I thought that Paul might take this one on last week. Stefano’s Mom has really bright eyes, doesn’t she?

Beautiful performance; maybe not as dynamic as I would hope for but he hit the notes and showed off what he can do to a melody. There were some weird inflections early in the song that I hadn’t heard from Stefano before.

Judges: Surprisingly they hit on what I sort of felt. Stefano sings more like a vocal gymnast than a performer. While the notes were all cool, it didn’t really move me.

Haley: “You Really Got a Hold on Me”

She didn’t leave anything on the table. She pulled it all out, hit all the notes and went to her signature growl over and over. The song fit her style well, but maybe she tried a bit TOO hard at times. I liked the performance, but her desperation seemed to be seeping out her pores.

Judges: Gushed like crazy. It seems like the producers really want her to make the tour. Fine with me.

Scotty– “For Once in my Life”

Wow, he pulled it off!! It was very cool, taking a Stevie Wonder song and making it into a country cover. There were a few raw spots here and there, but he hit the high notes and he commanded the stage. Now that he’s been able to get away from the Josh Turner thing, he’s showing that he can take any song and turn it into his own signature style. What used to be a weakness is now a major strength.

Judges: Mostly gushed, but they said that it wasn’t his strongest performance. I thought it was, actually.

Pia– “All in Love is Fair”

Pia finally had her Moment. If you didn’t see the show, go to YouTube and look Pia’s performance up. Her voice is so thick and so rich, and she effortlessly nailed a couple of huge jumps and brought the hairs on the back of my neck to attention. Just an amazing performance. I still have chills, just thinking about it.

Judges: Jen wants her to get off the ballad train and branch out into more dynamic rhythms; because she is sold that she is going to have a big career. The judges didn’t just gush, for the same reason that I don’t gush over JD. They see big things coming, and they want her to keep working to get even better.

Paul– “Tracks of My Tears”. Is Paul aware that Adam made a moment out of this song a couple of years ago?

Very nice, and very different from Adam’s version. Everything Paul sings sounds like early Rod Stewart, and this performance was in line with that. I was entertained. Paul brought out his guitar and spared us the spasmodic dance moves.

Judges: Gushed articulately.

Naima– “Dancing in the Street”

Vocals, nice. Dance moves, coolmazing. Naima has a strong lower register, and it came out really well until she tired late in the song, and got a little bit moosy. The dance moves were by FAR the coolest thing about the performance. Her vocal was fairly boring, but I’ll watch this one again for fun.

Judges: We got a “good lookin’ out” from Randy, which is always a good sign. The judges were all gushing.

James- “Living For the City”. This was the song that turned Siobhan into Sha-Von last year, so you know I love it.

JD’s voice is so amazing that I enjoyed the performance, but it was really fairly tame and lacking in dynamics. He rarely misses a note, but this was the second week in a row that his ending note was harshly out of tune. Still, JD seems incapable of being less than very good. You can’t teach that kind of vocal power and range. He pulled out some cool dance moves, and he really milked the crowd.

Judges: Gushing.

——————————————–

Grades-

Casey- B-

Thia- D

Jacob- B+

Lauren- B+

Stefano- B-

Haley- B-

Scotty- B

Pia- A

Paul- B-

Naima- B-

James- B

What a terrific show!!! We got our first moment from Pia, and good performances from everyone but Thia, who forgot the words and got lost in the middle of what was shaping up to be a good performance as well. It’s going to be very hard tomorrow night, because someone that is feeling really good tonight is going to be feeling really bad at the end.

Safe to in danger:

Locks- Pia

Scotty

James

Casey

Lauren

Jacob

Stefano

In danger-

Paul

Thia

Naima

Haley

If tonight’s performance was the only criteria Thia would be gone, but that’s not how it works. Naima and Haley, despite very strong performances, are the ones who will most likely be on the bubble. Even though the judges like both of them I would be amazed if they used the save this early. DialIdol shows Casey as the lowest votegetter, but they have been consistently low on Casey so I’m not worried about it. Hell, DialIdol hasn’t been anywhere close all year. Right? RIGHT???

I’m not going to do full results night reviews again until the latter stages of the competition. There just ain’t that much to say. I will post a short one, though, with the results and a quick power ranking. Keep your fingers crossed for your favorite dark horse.