I went into Michael Jackson-theme night with high hopes because whatever you may think of him as a person, the guy’s had tons of good catchy hit songs. But does that mean the contestants chose those good songs? No. Some of them chose such dreary, obscure ones that I was sure Barry Manilow wrote Scott MacIntyre’s selection, “Keep the Faith.” But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s break it down.
- Lil Rounds, aka Loud Rounds, started the night with “The Way You Make Me Feel.” I like the energy and the song but every note was sung exactly the same way—loudly. The way she made me feel was to turn down the volume. It’s too much of a good thing. The girl’s got pipes for sure but some moderation and variety would be nice.
- Scott MacIntyre accompanied himself on piano while singing “Keep the Faith.” Which? Yeah, I didn’t know it, either. That’s because it was never released as a single and there’s good reason—it’s utterly forgettable. If you offered me a new Buick to hum it right now, I couldn’t. It’s awesome how well Scott can play piano and overcome his visual impairment but I realized tonight that every performance will probably be exactly the same because it’s not as if he could do an uptempo song and dance around. He could still have a career as an Elton John-type of artist but he’s not the kind of “package” performer the producers are looking for.
- Danny Gokey. Ooh, I was scared when he did those slow runs at the start of “P.Y.T.” I thought, “Please, no, don’t put me to sleep.” But then he ripped the mike off the stand and funked it up! He sang the crap out of that song! The dance moves made him look like a spastic chicken but I didn’t mind because he looked like he was having buckets o’ fun.
- Michael Sarver went next, showing his sensitive side with “You Are Not Alone.” Well, I can’t be alone in thinking the performance was completely vanilla, right? He’s got a solid voice and seems like a stand-up guy (reminded me of Josh Gracin from season 2) but has no star quality.
- Jasmine Murray. That girl sure is pretty and her sisters are gorgeous, too, but her cover of “I’ll Be There” was safe and unspectacular. I was just thinking how she came off a little Stepford-ish when Simon said, “You’re a little robotic” and I freaked. Simon’s inside my head! Jasmine needs to show me more of her personality before I can get more excited about her.
- Kris Allen. I like this kid with his guitar! Makes him so much more interesting to watch. “Remember the Time” is not the most riveting song but he made it more fun by John Mayering it up.
- Allison Iraheta, doing another obscure song, “Give In to Me.” She’s got such a great, gravelly voice, though, that she managed to rock it out. That little girl’s a powerhouse! But she’s got to stop making those goofy, awkward faces while listening to the judges’ feedback. Put on a game face and own it, girl!
- Anoop Desai, bravely taking on “Beat It.” I was excited when he announced this song choice but oops, what happened? The vocals weren’t great. That song needs a whole lotta ‘tude and Anoop didn’t quite bring it. I dig the makeover, though, and still want him around for next week.
- Jorge Nunez sang “Never Can Say Good-bye” in a cheesy, ’70s-style arrangement. But his vocals are consistently passionate and if you close your eyes, he sounds just like Marc Anthony in places. My favorite comment of the night came when Jorge said he wasn’t going to sing “Bad” and Simon retorted, “You sort of did.” Ha!
- Megan Joy Corkrey. She sang “Rockin’ Robin,” which is a really quirky choice but perfect for her persona. She’s so wacky and fun and retro and Duffy-ish with the funky dance moves and I love her. Not the best singer but my favorite entertainer. And her mom is stunning! No wonder Megan’s gorgeous.
- The Hellmouth aka Adam Lambert tackling “Black or White” in a bombastic, seizure-inducing manner. He’s got an impressive falsetto but I can’t deal with his shrieky style. He’s never met a note he didn’t want to kill, and I don’t mean that in a cool, slangy way. Judges loved him. Even Simon betrayed me. Sadness.
- Matt Giraud, playing the piano and singing “Human Nature.” It’s an underwhelming performance but the song is underwhelming. The guy is talented; I think it was just a matter of bad song choice here.
- Alexis Grace. Her baby said, “Seacrest. Out” in the video package! Cutest. Thing. Ever. (The baby, not the catchphrase.) I thought Alexis shredded “Dirty Diana.” She was a little bit dirty and a lot hot mama as she slinked across that stage in her shorts jumper and high heels and confidently belted out the song. I was completely confused by why the judges thought she oversang it when they praised Adam Lambert for being over the top.
Random thought apropos of nothing: Did Paula have some kind of plastic surgery gone wrong? Her face looked different tonight, like a younger Joan Rivers on bronzer. Something was too sharp or too tight or something.
Anyway, I voted for Megan, Anoop, Danny and Alexis. I think bottom two will be Michael Sarver and Jasmine Murray.
Who’d you vote for? Who’s saying buh-bye tomorrow? Discuss!