I haven’t been posting American Idol recaps this year because I haven’t been home most nights the show is on. Finally found myself with a little free time yesterday evening so I tuned in, though I wasn’t thrilled about the theme being Elton John songs. He and Bernie Taupin have written some great tunes but their catalog is ballad-heavy and I just wasn’t in the mood. I wish we could have Springsteen or U2 night. Hell, I’d take Bryan Adams, Eagles, Bob Seger. We need some rock ‘n’ roll and I don’t mean what James Durbin is doing.
This isn’t a full recap, just the highlights. Let’s jump straight to the surprising best performance of the evening: Haley covering “Bennie and the Jets.” I’ve liked her husky voice in the past but she always picks the wrong songs and tries too hard to be vampy on stage. I thought it was going to be more of the same when she started out reclining seductively on the piano but man, she burned it up. Though she still does that throat-clearing type of singing too often for my taste, the song allowed her to growl, belt, and slink through different octaves, opening up my eyes and making me say “Yowza.” Check out the clip below if you missed it.
Elsewhere, Casey did a nice job with “Your Song” but he’s had better performances. Pia was pitch-perfect as usual but still lacked a warmth of feeling. The best singers are also the best interpreters, taking lyrics beyond words and into emotional territory. For some reason, Pia hasn’t learned to do that yet. Plus, her song, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” is a drag.
Lauren had a personal best with “Candle in the Wind” though I’d be thrilled if I never hear that overexposed saccharine ballad again. The judges were too harsh on Naima because I liked her groovy reggae version of “I’m Still Standing.” Jacob was good but wasn’t in the top 3 for me. I still dig Paul‘s funkiness; Steven Tyler said it perfectly when he told Paul if he started hitting all the notes, he’d become boring. I fast-forwarded through Scotty‘s performance as I normally do because he’s just too corny for me. “I love you, Grandma!” in the middle of the song? Puh-leeze.
Who stood out and who are you rooting for?