IDOL WATCH: Top 6 Duet to Carole King
After ten years of FOX dominating mid-week television ratings, NBC has finally responded to mega-hit ‘American Idol' with its own vocal competition- ‘The Voice.' It took them long enough! Premiering just last night, music stars Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, and Blake Shelton took a turn judging America's talent, seated in oversized revolving thrones that made Idol's panel look like a picnic table.
Though the show is without a doubt in direct competition with Idol, airing in their old Tuesday night time slot, ‘The Voice' is surprisingly different from the format to which we've become so accustomed. This series is more like Idol on speed, with judges choosing which contestants they want to mentor, and the singers deciding which team they want to be on, yadda, yadda, yadda. I'm decidedly sticking with good ole ‘American Idol,' though I admittedly can't wait to see what cataclysmic event happens when the X-Factor debuts next year and America has potentially three almost identical singing competitions to watch!
Moving on- this week on ‘American Idol' contestants got two chances to impress by singing Carole King songs- solos and duets. The vast repertoire isn't exactly my cup of tea, but I'll try to keep an open mind.
Kicking off tonight's festivities was Jacob, singing "Oh No, Not My Baby." When I heard about tonight's theme, the first thought that came to my head was ‘What on earth will Jacob do with that?' -but I surprisingly enjoyed his performance, from the Motown spin he brought to the song to his polished but retro outfit. Steven liked that he brought his personality back to the song and JLo agreed. Randy pointed out his pitchiness, but gave him props for singing it well. It was good, but it wasn't great- and can good get him out of his bottom three slump? I think not.
Lauren took the stage next singing "Where You Lead" (or the theme to the Gilmore Girls as I know it- embarrassing). Determined to conquer her fear of belting out the high notes, she took the judges notes from last wekk and pushed her limits vocally. I'd like to think that Pia would be proud. Randy recognized that she is in it to win it and Steven and JLo loved that her courage brought out a new character to her voice.
Lovebirds Haley and Casey then duetted for the first time in the evening, and sang "I Feel the the Earth Move." It was the perfect storm of growling awesomeness, just like the last time that they sang ‘Moanin' a few results shows ago. Steven affectionately called Casey ‘Weird Beard' and commented that there was nothing about the performance that he didn't like. Agreed- and I'm so happy that I now have a crazy new nickname for my favorite bearded Idol friend.
Scotty performed "You've Got a Friend" ala Country- at least he sticks with what he's good at. I'm sure the combination of the fog machine and his gentle, almost hypnotic glances at the camera had 14-year olds everywhere squealing. And I can't say that they'd be in the wrong- the performance gave me chills, following last week's lukewarm performance. Randy loved that he showed off a whole new range, and Steven thought the song was ‘just right.' JLo commented that his strength is in his storytelling, and he ‘told the story perfectly.'
Next up was James, who took a stab at "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow." For just one night, he traded in his scarf tail (tear) for a simple guitar and sang the hell out of a Carole King song. Who would have thunk? I love when James shows his versatility with songs like these- ‘Maybe I'm Amazed' anyone? Steven pointed out that the song was playing the first time he made out... with a girl. Are you trying to tell us something, Steven? JLo called it magical, and Randy thought that it proved that he wasn't just a great rock singer but a great singer. I agree all around.
Lauren and Scotty then duetted together for the third time with "Up on the Roof." Again, the pairing was a perfect fit- that is if Scotty could hold a harmony part on his own. That's unfortunate. It could have been better. JLo gave Lauren props for ‘singing her butt off.'
Casey sang ‘Hi De Ho' made popular by Blood Sweat & Tears. The performance seemed very natural, and organic, with Casey dabbling with the piano at the beginning, and jamming with the rest of the musicians on the stage. It wasn't my favorite Casey performance but it was oozing with creativity, and therefore awesome. Randy loved that he always brings something different to the stage, and Steven commented that it was so good that it made his scalp itch. JLo recommended that he tries to loosen up a little bit next week.
In attempt to top her stellar Adele performance last week, Haley sang "Beautiful." The performance was solid, and her intricate riffs at the end were particularly impressive, but it was otherwise underwhelming. Steven commented that he both heard and saw God in her voice, and Randy liked the end but not the beginning. JLo thought that she has the most beautiful voice in the competition.
Jacob and James took the pimp spot singing "I'm Into Something Good." What an interesting pairing. Steven was confused by the performance, commenting "I'm not sure where you were going with all of that. I can't help but agree- the abundance of high notes at the end was a hot mess.
My official consensus of the week: James gave the best performance of the evening, and if I had my way, Jacob would be sent home tomorrow night.