'American Idol''s Top Eight Sings Songs from the Year They Were Born
"American Idol'' is down to the final eight competitors, and this week the contestants performed songs from the year they were born.
Danny Gokey launched the night with his own interpretation of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me." Judge Randy Jackson admitted, "When you first came out, I didn't love the arrangement. Here's the thing, I love you and you made me love it. This is a vocal show and you have talent." Kara DioGuardi agreed, adding, "I, too, was: What kind of arrangement is that? But at the end, you just killed it. You turned it on its head. You made it your own." Paula simply said, "Wow! Danny, you opened the show setting the bar so high everyone is going to have to run to catch up." Simon commented, "I thought the beginning was good; the middle was lazy and the end was terrific. Overall, great."
Born in 1985, Kris Allen's song choice was "All She Wants to Do is Dance," made famous by Don Henley. Kara critiqued him: "I was excited you picked an up-tempo song. I wanted you to sing up-tempo. [But the arrangement] kind of lost a lot of its youth. You are a really good singer. Still a fan." Paula added, "You took one of the most melodically same-note songs and you did change it up to make it uniquely your own. You are likeable." Simon told Kris: "Likeable yes, but it was indulgent, boring and forgettable. Where I got disappointed was that you came over as a guitarist who wants to sing, rather than a singer who plays the guitar. It was a stupid song choice." Randy felt the arrangement was a little self-indulgent. "I lost you. I was listening more to the music and the band. The competition is about you, not the song."
Lil Rounds performed the legendary Tina Turner classic, "What's Love Got to Do With It?" Paula stated, "You look hot tonight. This was the week, I thought you would take your own liberties, go outside the box and prove that you know exactly who you are as an artist. You are a brilliant vocalist, but that gets you only so far. If you are not able to take the reigns … you needed to lead Rickey Minor and the band to create your own niche in a song that is so classic. I don't feel that you did that." Simon was more harsh, saying, "We are not looking for a second or third-rate version of Tina Turner, even to the point you were copying the way she walks. It is literally like we have lost you. I have no idea who you are. You are not making the impact you should." Randy added, "We all love you. You are mad talented. What the two just said is real. We say each week, 'You remind us of….' It is like you are not listening to us. Tina is not you. It is not happening." Kara agreed, pointing out, "It is about making that leap from a singer to an artist. When you are up there performing, your lower range really suffers. You need to find your power there."
From 1982, Anoop Desai selected Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors." Randy complimented him, saying, "You pulled it back. I am always impressed by you. Dude, that was a very nice vocal. Props to you." Kara pointed out, "You controlled the song; you did not let it control you. You showed you could take a pop song [and make it yours]." And Simon said, "Last week, you were abysmal. This week, you took a song and made it your version. I don't think it was fantastic, but good."
Scott MacIntyre stepped out from behind the piano and picked up a guitar for Survivor's "The Search is Over." Kara told him, "I have to commend you coming out there and playing the guitar. I am not sure I would have picked that song for you as a power ballad. You had some good moments; but you had some bad moments." Paula said, "I give you credit for stepping away from the comfort zone of the piano. I had no idea you played guitar. I think maybe reaching for some of those high notes came across screechy, but overall, bravo." Simon commented, "I would suggest you go back to the piano next week. That is where you are comfortable. The song was horrible, if I am being honest, and the guitar wasn't that much better. The two didn't go together. This was you trying to be somebody else, and it didn't work." Randy thought the song was just okay. "The vocals were okay, but it didn't show you as a star," he said."
From 1992, Allison Iraheta picked "I Can't Make You Love Me." Paula enthused, "You know what is so great about having you in this competition? You hear one note and it is undeniably Allison. That is a gift you can't put a price tag on. I loved that you had some tenderness to a song that is so gut-wrenching. It had the same arrangement as the original, but you made it your own." Simon told her, "I thought that was very good. I really do. I think we have just got to sort you out a bit and make you more likeable. I don't think your personality is coming over. I still don't know much about you. That, in a competition like this, is so important." Randy pointed out, "There was a girl who won the first season of this [competition] that you remind me so much of. She talked so much that she was hoarse half the time. She could sing her face off and so can you." Kara complimented, "To take adult content and make it believable and you is talent. Whatever they said, 'Let's go make a record.'"
Time was running out when Matt Giraud took the stage to perform Stevie Wonder's "Part Time Lover." So the judges kept it short and sweet. Randy complimented, "Vocally, one of the best of the night." Kara added, "Incredible on every level. Unbelievable." Paula had two kind words: "Standing O." And Simon said, "Better than last week. Well done."
Last, but by no means least was Adam Lambert, who impressed with the quiet ballad, "Mad World." With no time left, Simon told him, "Adam, the bad news is we are running out of time; the good news is I am the only one going to be talking. I want to give you a standing ovation!"
Tune in to "American Idol" Wednesday night at 9 on FOX to find out who will be going home. http://www.etonline.com/news/2009/04/72599/index.html