BWW Recaps: IDOL's Top 13 Hit Some Bad Notes
There have been a number of noticeable improvements to Season XIII of AMERICAN IDOL, including the inclusion of the best judge in the show's history, Harry Connick Jr., and the Boot Camp featuring Idol-made stars Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry. On the other hand, the new Rush Week was all kinds of disappointment; from Randy Jackson's not-so-triumphant return as the show's new mentor to the contestants having to sprint from their holding chamber to the stage to perform (mostly poorly) just moments after having their fates announced. Unfortunately, that unevenness reared its ugly head again in this week's Top-13 show.
Tonight's theme "This is Me" was a welcome change from the well-worn "Motown" and "Year You Were Born" weeks. The contestants picked a song that accurately explained who they are as individuals and artists. I almost fell out of my chair when I heard that the season's first theme was actually going to be a logical and helpful one. That is so not an IDOL thing to do.
However, what was not logical, nor helpful, as Harry pointed out there appeared to be some technical issues between the band and the singers. Nearly no one started on pitch, and only the best of the bunch were able to right their ship. Was it a function of being uncomfortable with the new in-ear monitors, or is the group just not that good? I have my opinion, tell me yours in the comments below.
Despite the fact that IDOL has a far better track record of producing superstars, comparing this week's first finalists episode to THE VOICE's first two blind auditions shows why NBC's hit is quickly taking the singing competition mantel.
I also think that the IDOL judges (or producers) might have overthought their top-13 selections. To me, it seems like they were afraid that the indie artists in the top-30 couldn't win, so they cut them early in favor of less talented, but more mainstream singers. Unfortunately, that seems to have backfired, as I'm not sure how many of tonight's performances would have gotten a chair-turn on THE VOICE; three, maybe four at best?
Anyway, here's the performances as I saw them:
"Aw Naw" by Chris Young
Three-Word Review: Where's the fun?
This performance was a sign of things to come the rest of the night. Craig seemed like he started the song a half-step too low, and he never really recovered. His performance wasn't terrible, but for someone who said that he wanted to show his fun side, this song didn't really accomplish that goal.
"Runaway Baby" by Bruno Mars
Three-Word Review: Slow down girl
While she has demonstrated some impressive natural ability in previous weeks, I'm not sure that this song really showed her talent. It was so fast and in such a small vocal range that it just seemed like she was talking really fast, or even rapping. It also didn't help that she had some "intonation" issues (which has replaced Randy's favorite word "pitchy").
"Beautiful Disaster" by Kelly Clarkson
Three-Word Review: Don't sing Kelly
Look, there are four female artists that I do not believe should ever be attempted on any singing show, unless you know you are that good, or you want to go home; Whitney, Mariah, Celine, and Kelly. Coming off a wildcard save, Kristen looked great, but sounded a little weird. She needs to move her sound more towards the front of her mouth; it seems like she is swallowing all of her notes, especially the lower ones, and it just made for an odd performance.
"Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash
Three-Word Review: Running the Line
Lots of props to Ben for singing this song, but it made his voice sound thin and tinny. Also, as Keith said, it was extremely fast, which hurt Ben's ability to hold onto notes and showcase his voice. He is unquestionably one of the best singers and performers in the competition, but he will need to pick better songs to stand out in future weeks.
"Radio" by Darius Rucker
Three-Word Review: Don't trust Randy!
Before C.J. performed, Randy said that they took the song up a half-step to better fit his voice, and man was that a mistake. Despite being a crowd favorite, C.J. did not make the most of his wildcard save from last week. There didn't seem to be any melody to the song, and unfortunately that might prove to be his final performance on the show.