Motown Night was, well, underwhelming. Did you see how fast they were trying to rush through it to finish in an hour? After the opening packages to introduce the background band and the judges, they sped through everything else, save the Coca Cola moment near the end. At least this meant we didn’t get the campaign commercials for the contestants, each selling us on how great their families are, how much they love children, and how they want to share their gifts of music with the world.
In general, the band was too loud and overpowering for too many of the performers, but that’s not an excuse for the singers. Some still need to learn to speak up when they sing.
Camile Velasco, for example, was singing to herself on stage. It was her best performance so far, but that’s not saying much. She had moments where I actually liked her, too, like when she’d finally come out of her shell a little to belt something out. Otherwise, it was just “a’ight.” Still, better than last week. In the end, though, she’s just cannon fodder.
John Stevens is cannon fodder, too. Just sad last night. He had three or four moments when he hit a note and I thought he was back on track and it was going to be really cool. But it wasn’t. He’s lost up there. I think nerves are getting to him, too.
He’s also the first contestant this season who didn’t have the audience booing the judges when they rightfully criticized him. That’s not good. When you’ve lost a group of people who are so defensive that they’d probably boo a judge for throwing a singing serial killer in jail, you’re in trouble.
Jasmine Trias had the best performance of the night, I thought. She was energetic. She didn’t sing to herself. She showed a strong voice. Wonderful stuff, overshadowed perhaps by the sheer volume of the backup band.
Diana DeGarmo is the one I know I’ll have the unpopular opinion about, but here it goes: I hated it last night. Anyone could have sung that song to get the audience up on their feet. Her hair and makeup were awful. Her voice is too high pitched for the song. She clapped on her microphone and begged the crowd to “c’mon,” two things which annoy me. And she didn’t belt out the power notes the way she should have. It seemed blah to me, and hopefully the people at home will notice that more than the hyper-excited audience.
Amy Adams should have added more country to “Dancing In The Street.” One of the judges said she stuck too close to the original, and I agree. She had a little twang in one or two spots, but it wasn’t enough and it turned into one of those “safe” performances. This week, she added the head bob to her performance, that uncanny knack that I think only women possess, to move her head independently of her neck and shoulders.
George Huff was all right, but not as spectacular as he has been in the past. Didn’t Rickey Smith or Ruben Studdard use the towel prop last year? Huff should stay away from songs that switch to the high notes that quickly, though. He can’t hit them. Speaking of which:
Jon Peter Lewis can’t hit the high notes, and it hurt him last night. Bad song choice. Still, it was his best performance on AI3 thus far. He was just good enough to not inspire enough votes. I think he might be in the bottom 3 tonight.
Fantasia Barrino was good, but Motown is a natural fit for her voice. Didn’t like when she turned her back to the audience, though.
Jennifer Hudson was particularly good last night. I really liked the over-the-top performance. On a night when so many people played it safe or flat out stunk, she was entertaining and had a great voice for a great song.
La Toya London was great, even with a dead cat on top of her head. (I liked it.) I think she’s sung that song at weddings before, though. This is her fourth performance on AI3, and she’s been nothing but spectacular with every one of them. This is her competition to lose, but she hasn’t made a misstep yet.
My personal bottom three: John Stevens, Diana DeGarmo, Camile Velasco. Who do I think America might put in the bottom three? Camile, John, and somebody slightly more surprising, like Jon Peter Lewis.
I think you might seen John go this week. Yes, that would mean we’re stuck with Camile for another week, but it would still be a mercy killing.