You know those moments when you think all is right with the world?
But then America just lets you down?
Well, this past week’s episode of American Idol was proving to be one of those very moments. Until (thank the Lord above) those three AI angels swooped in to give us all a little peace.
This week, in “Movie Week,” each contestant sang a song from, well, a movie. I had way too much fun predicting who was going to sing what, but for the most part, each one was pretty unpredictable. Overall, there were three (maybe four) stellar performances – and they each came from the more obscure or unpredictable choices. This is where I’ll begin.
JOEY hit another one out of the park! She showed us her beautifully melancholy and emotional side with a gorgeous rendition of “Mad World” from Donnie Darko. First, she turned some heads with her officially American Idol stylized new look – a short straight bob (still dyed blue), a frilly red plaid dress with knee high stockings, and a subtle homage to her signature red lipstick. Still very “Joey” but a fresh and mature look nonetheless. She abandoned her usual squeezebox or ukelele for a softer seated and hand held mic approach. Just her, her voice, and the band. It was the first breathtaking performance of the night – and all the judges agree. She is so far the most untouchable (girl) of the competition. And for some reason, I’m surprised by her every week – her choices are bold but she never fails to impress. And last night she proved she’s more than just a quirky personality with a killer voice. She’s no dummy – she definitely gets it.
CLARK came in with a beautifully strong “Sunday Morning” (by Maroon 5, but apparently from the movie Cheaper by the Dozen 2). This was by far my favorite of the night. And let me tell you why. Not only is it my favorite Maroon 5 song, but it was also my favorite Kara’s Flowers song (Adam Levine, et al. before they were Maroon 5). I had many a Saturday night in high school swooning over this band called Kara’s Flowers when they would play right after my friends bands at the Whiskey and the Roxy on Sunset Blvd. I felt so special when I got a studio demo including this beautiful song called “Sunday Morning” – soft, tender, acoustic sounding. It was never released on a Kara’s Flowers album, but was later featured on Maroon 5’s first big one. And it sounded so very different – still good – but so very different. Needless to say, “Sunday Morning” and I have some history. To hear someone like Clark sing it in the way closest to how I remember it was, well, music to my ears. This man is by far the most untouchable (guy) of the competition. And he always makes smart choices that reflect his insane musicianship and artistry, yet remind us that he is young and contemporary. And with those dreamy eyes, he’s not leaving us anytime soon.
JAX just tugged at my romcom loving heartstrings with perhaps one of the sweetest, most romantic movie song scenes of all time: “I Wanna Grow Old with You” from The Wedding Singer. It’s so good, that I’ve provided you with the link to see the actual movie scene. Adam Sandler at his most lovable. And, perhaps Jax at her most lovable too. For anyone who loves this movie, this was the performance of the night – not only because she is so good at doing her thang, but because this was such an unexpected but brilliant song choice. She definitely redeemed herself this week, and negated any bad comments from the last.
The fourth performance that may deserve a top spot on the list from this week (only due, once again, to nostalgia) is QUENTIN with “You’re the One that I Want” from
the one and only Grease. The reason he deserves a spot here is because I was initially blown away by this performance. I wanted him to stare deep into my eyes and sing this one to me. But it was during the judges comments when Keith referenced hearing this version before that I lost a little respect for it – especially because Harry scolded him for being out of tune. Upon further investigation, this iconic upbeat song was rearranged for a Chanel No. 5 commercial or “short film” by none other than Baz Luhrmann. Just when we thought Quentin was reinventing this song with his pure originality, we were sorely mistaken. Also, he may or may not have ever actuallyseen the movie Grease. So, there’s that.
Now onto the less enthusiastic parts of the evening. Hopefully, I will be briefer here.
NICK FRADIANI is still snoozeville. So, excuse me while I take a 3 minute nap…
DANIEL SEAVEY. Why is he still here!!! Every week he is voted through, and every week Harry is less and less impressed. Keith is the only one speaking on behalf of all the prepubescent girls who are voting for him all day. Maybe Keith is a prepubescent girl too – he fawns over Daniel. Meanwhile, JLo is just JLo – always lookin good. Here’s the only thing I’m going to say about his performance of Adam Levine’s “Lost Stars” from Begin Again. He didn’t do a terrible job. But also, this is a pretty great song, with perhaps one of the most heartbreaking movie song moments. You can watch it here – but don’t if you haven’t seen the movie.
MADDIE WALKER has seen better days. Yes – she had one great performance on Hollywood Week, and obviously her audition was good enough for the judges to fall in love with her. But pu-leaze. She’s old news, and way too young for this game. If she sings out of tune one more time and still gets voted through… I swear.
And then we have QAASIM for the save!!
Just when you think the world is crumbling – Maddie’s through, Daniel’s through, Nick is through, and Clark, Jax, and Qaasim are still without a pass – Clark is called up, Jax is called up, and Qaasim is left in the lurch. How is this guy going home!?! I knew when it got down to the bottom four that the judges would likely use their one and only save on any of them. So I wasn’t surprised, though quite relieved, when they did bestow their veto power on this horrific AI near loss. Was this all a big game, you guys?! Cuz I’m breathing now, but it was touch and go for a minute there. Qaasim may not be the best singer of the competition, but he’s one sexy master of the stage and surely deserves to be there as long or longer as about half of the other contestants. It’s still early – way too soon to let him go.
For Next Week:
Who do I think is going home: Maddie Walker
Who do I want to go home: Nick Fradiani