AI8 – Round of 9 – Downloadable Week

This week’s theme had something to do with downloadable iTunes songs.  I’m afraid I was only half paying attention to it, but it seemed like this was the producers’ way to get the contestants to sing more “current” songs.

Three did.  I recognized none of them. Thanks, Idol, for reminding me why I don’t listen to the radio. Ick.  Is THAT was Top 40 has come down to?

Anoop did his best Usher impression.  And while his vocals weren’t bad, I’m still not sure there was a song underneath all that screaming and preening for the audience. I’m sure it’s good karaoke, if you’re a fan of that kind of thing.  Going first won’t help him, either.

Megan Joy is, to put it mildly, in trouble.  I think she’ll be everyone’s guess to go home this week.  She’s just not working out the way we had all hoped.  She has a decent voice with a unique sound.  She’s squandered that sound, and even goes off-key during hideously boring songs.  This is also another great example of the trouble contestants get into when they choose a song because they “really really like” it.  UGH

And is this the first time she’s worn pants on stage? Danny Gokey did well.  He went with Idol favorites, Rascal Flatts, who will now have to show up on the Finale Night again to sing this song with him. The judges loved him.  I didn’t like the song, but thought he sang it well. He did smart by going country, the week after potential country favorite Michael Sarver left the show.  He pulled a bold political move to go after Sarver’s fans there, and it paid off.

Allison went with No Doubt.  Can you believe that song is more than ten years old now.  Probably closer to 15, eh?  The judges focused on what she was wearing — which was ridiculous — but the girl still has pipes.  She did what she could with that song and with that arrangement.  Not showing great range, but strong and memorable enough (again, if only for the outfit) to carry through.

Scott did a Billy Joel song.  If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know how big a Billy Joel fan I am.  However, I’m also sick to death of this song.  (As is Billy Joel, by the way.)  For me, Scott didn’t do much, but I’m an ardent Billy Joel fan.  Just doing up your hair to look like Joel did in 1978 isn’t enough for me.  He did some things with the song, particularly in the second half, to make it different, but the overall impression wasn’t strong for me.  I caught pitch problems the judges ignored while slobbering over how “brilliant” he was.  So, yeah, not my thing, dawg.  But the judges loved him.

The question is, will that coax his faithful fans to vote for him, or make them rest on Simon’s laurels, costing him the competition?

Matt Giraud picked some annoying modern song I’ve never heard before.  Eh.  I think the best comment was the comparison his Cold Play performance, which was similarly awful.  There are other better singer who can play the piano, Matt.  You’re in deep trouble.

Lil Rounds didn’t go with “All By Myself,” which might have been cool. She did “I Surrender,” another song I’d love to hear LaToya London sing.  Lil works best when she can shout through a song, and this is another example of that.  I hate to say it, but I think her stock is falling week to week, even when she shows a strong vocal like this.  After last week’s “Heat Wave,” it all starts sounding alike.

Adam Lambert is on this show for a reason.  You just never know what you’re going to get from him next, and the look of befuddlement on Simon’s face afterwards is worth the price of admission.  No matter what he does, it’s going to be different.  And crazy.  And bad.  And awesome.  Sometimes, that all happens in the same verse. “Play That Funky Music?”  Really?!?

This week, I finally realized who he should duet with:Sam Harris. Hey, Harris has roots in “Star Search,” so it all makes perfect sense.

Kris Allen didn’t have an Idol Moment, per se, but did a very good job with his mix on “Ain’t No Sunshine.”  He did a good job on the synthesizer — when did that become a recurring instrument on Idol? — and riffed around the song perfectly.  If we’re charting contestant progress along a line chart, Kris’ line is heading up at a very steep angle.  He’s coming on strong when it counts.

I think the bottom three will be Megan, Matt, and Anoop.  Anoop gets saved first, though I’m happy that someone else other than me pointed out the frat boy part tonight.

I’m going to guess Megan goes home.

Update: Two other things:

Contendor for Favorite Moment of the Night: Simon mouthing a correction to Kara after she referenced “Studio 57.” Kara’s not old enough to have ever been there.  Perhaps she shouldn’t reference it?

And who is Paula’s script writer?  I know they were pressed for time last night — after all, they did two singers between commercial breaks at one point — but many of her comments were clearly pre-planned and memorized or read from notes.