Sharyn Jackson is your American Idol host for season eight. This week: the Top 10!
It feels like months have gone by since I last watched Idol. That’s because we were pre-empted Tuesday for one reason or another. It’s all a bit disorienting when they do that. Then the surrealism truly kicks in when Ryan’s giant, disembodied head welcomes us to Motown week. He rubs in Alexis’s premature departure last week. Paula, who’s looking clean and pure as ever, then asks Ryan what he’s doing after (zzz). (By the way, John Stamos was on Ellen today, and we got to see photos of him and Paula when they were dating–in like, the ’80s. Stamos went on and on about how famous Paula used to be and how he mooched off her fame for a minute. Class act, that one.)
We get a history lesson on Motown and the Civil Rights movement. The finalists visit Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy (“founder of Motown”) in Hitsville, USA (Detroit) where they were “greeted by screaming fans”–appearing to be about six or seven of them. Lil cries and says something lofty about “this moment.” Smokey–who has written over 4,000 songs(!!!)–coaches the kids on “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” which I’m guessing will be part of tonight’s group sing. Wait, what day is it?
In a musical genre this guy is well suited for, he opens the night with “Let’s Get It On.” He starts out at the piano, and then–right when he has to look into our eyes and convince us he’s sexy–he gets up and walks toward the audience to sing the title lyric. He bops around for the rest of the number. Randy tries to proclaim Matt the winner. Kara’s horny, again. Paula says he’s tasteful. Simon says the walk forward was corny, but he says it was a good fit.
Ryan says that last week we saw Kris’s sensitive side. We did? Can’t remember. He’s singing “How Sweet It Is” on guitar in a totally poppy way. Smokey tells him it’s perfect–but I wonder how genuine he is. Don’t people who are that famous just have to live in a positivity bubble? Anyway, there’s something about Kris that’s perfect… and it’s his face. Beautiful boy. Paula’s dancing like a mofo, but Kris ruins the good vibes at the end with a superfluous high note. Kara says he did everything right. Paula calls the high note brilliant. Simon tells Kris to pick up a swagger.
Scott (with a new haircut?) defends his constant use of the piano, and then informs us that he’s single and looking. He Billy Joel-ifies “You Can’t Hurry Love.” It’s one of Scott’s better performances but his voice is still subpar. The best part? The three swinging ladies behind the piano singing backup are fresh out of a drag show. Paula says those “ladies” brought new life to his performance. Simon calls it cheap. Randy says it was hotel. Kara appreciates the tempo. Scott says he chose this song over “Reach Out and Touch” and I’m so thankful he left the inspirational one by the wayside and went for pure cheese. At least it’s different.
Ugh. Her Smokey video is excruciating! My ears are offended! Smokey’s definitely oblivious, because he tells her to keep doing “For Once in My Life” the way she’s doing it. Oh my god, this is outrageously bad. And she tries to sing lyrics right to Simon, which is just embarrassing. Oh no, I actually feel bad for her. Randy tells her to sing slow stuff. Kara shamelessly pipes in with “My Guy.” Paula says Megan’s beautiful but she didn’t find “the pocket.” Simon tells her to fire whoever is advising her. That would be Smokey Robinson?
Anoop’s going for a “sensual” rendition of “Ooh Baby Baby.” “I would not change a thing,” says Smokey. Useless! He starts out okay, but there are some pitch problems on his falsetto. And the sound does not go with the look–he’s yet again in a Hoboken frat-boy outfit. Kara loves the song, but not so much when it comes out of Anoop’s mouth. Well, she likes it a little. Paula says it was good. Simon says the vocal was good but boring. Randy says it’s a duel to the finish. But it’s only the third week!
Oh, him. Smokey tells him to “lay it out on the line” for “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” I think he’s singing too low. And he didn’t really take Smokey’s advice–it’s kind of lifeless. But after Anoop’s snoozer, Michael’s performance gives off the illusion of energy. Michael coughs at the end, to inform us that he, too, is afflicted by the disease that buys you another week on the show. Paula calls it Vegasy. Simon says Michael has no chance of winning. Randy tells him he’s not an R&B dude. Kara also sends Michael home.
She’s singing “Heatwave.” Yes yes yes. But first she tells Smokey about her emotional experience in Detroit. Heartwarming! Lil says she’s singing tonight for Diana Ross. Her hair is awesome! Her performance is effortless, and she looks like she just walked off the set of “Dreamgirls.” Randy says it was torture! Kara looks pissed. And she agrees with Randy. She says this was supposed to be Lil’s week… why’s that, Kara? Paula’s on my side. Lil looks upset, though. Simon didn’t think the song was a good choice. Lil talks diplomatically yet unintelligibly, and shouts out to Obama. That’s enough to buy my vote.
He takes it slow and soulful for “Tracks of My Tears.” Smokey says he’s never heard it done like this. That seems to be a common sentiment from the guest coaches with Adam. ‘Mo is very dapper! Silver suit and hair slicked back–for all Adam didn’t sound like Johnny Cash last week, tonight he’s got the man’s look. Except for the three earrings. There are some beautiful, quiet notes that Adam has complete control over. Smokey gives him a standing ovation. So does Paula and so does Kara, who says he showed artistry. Paula says he’s handsome. We see an audience shot of a cute boy clapping and I’m hoping that’s Adam’s BF. Simon congratulates Adam, calling him a star. Eeeeeee!
Smokey Robinson is so dreamy. Danny was going to cut lyrics from “Get Ready,” but Smokey advises against it, and instead Danny has the backup singers do it. Danny does some cruise dance moves, arm roll and thumbs up kind of thing. Noooo. Paula says it was first class. Simon says it was clumsy and amateurish. Randy liked the energy. Kara says it was good, not great. I’m gonna stress the “not great” part of that.
She picks “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” to show her “fuck side”? That’s what I heard, anyway. Paula’s already standing, and the song hasn’t begun yet. I’m kind of disturbed that a voice like Allison’s is coming out of a 16-year-old. No offense to the scores of 16-year-olds reading this… just sayin’. But she sounds like she’s been alive a lot longer than that–and through some shitty times. Maybe she really did intend to show her “fuck side.” Kara’s on her feet! She tells Allison she sings like she’s been singing for 400 years. Paula’s got a mustache. Simon calls her a survivor. Keep on surviving, Allison!
Who should go home this week:
None other than the inimitable Megan Joy. But since it has to be a guy, my guess is Michael Sarver. The judges pretty much packed his bags for him.
See you later for my live-blog of the results!