So last night the Top 9 performed songs from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and it was interesting to say the least. Since this was a wide open category with too many songs and artists to even consider, I didn't really try to guess which songs the contestants would choose. I did have songs that I hoped no one would attempt/ butcher; Elvis' Love Me Tender, Johnny Cash's I Walk the Line, and John Lennon's Imagine were the three that I really didn't want to hear from these guys. I am happy to report that they were not used this time around. I figured that James would do While My Guitar Gently Weeps and I was hoping that it wouldn't happen but wasn't surprised when Scotty covered Elvis. At least he chose a song that isn't used as much on Idol. I thought that someone would cover MJ and hoped that someone would cover Credence Clearwater Revival. All in all, they did a pretty good job. Here's what I thought of the show.
First off, let's just get these two things out of the way and not mention them again.
1. Let's not ever have Gwen Stefani style the girls again. All three of these young ladies are beautiful and know how to present themselves. They don't need a platinum blond in weird clothes to tell them what to do with their hair or to choose their clothes for them. They have looked just fine until tonight. Lauren, please go back to being you. Pia, you are a pro at this already and Haley, even though your singing is not my style, you are absolutely beautiful. Please don't listen to anyone who says that y'all should change.
2. Please, Idol producers, we have had enough of will.i.am. Period. NO MAS. Nada. While Jimmy has a grating personality, Will just sounded plain dumb and confusing. Three weeks of this man is enough. Thank you.
Jacob- I am so happy with Jacob for sticking to his morals and knowing when to say NO, I will not sing that. Good for you Jacob. You may not be my favorite singer in this competition but you gained many points with me and America by saying no to something you didn't want to sing about. Take a page from David Archuleta and sing lyrics that will present positive messages not sex. Michael Jackson's Man In The Mirror was a great choice for him this week. I actually like this performance, as long as I wasn't looking at the TV. Sorry Jacob, I can't watch you sing. But you sounded good this week.
Haley- Girl, I really want to see what the judges are seeing but it just isn't happening for me. Janis Joplin was a icon here in Austin, Tx and I know her music well. I have never thought that you sound like Janis and I still don't. Piece of My Heart was just too screamy, too growly for me.
Casey- I love CCR and Have You Ever Seen The Rain and I am so happy that it was Casey who tackled this song. Simple acoustic accompaniment, upright bass and was that a mandolin?, for a beautiful song. Little expertly place growls and sneers worked into the song. Very nice job. Not all rock and roll needs to be screamed.
Lauren- Aretha Franklin's Natural Woman is not an easy song but you did pretty good with it. I thought that you could have gone a little more over the top, a little more power here and there. But how could you possibly go wrong following will.i.am's stellar advise: country + soul = countrol.
James- After he interview where you said that you want to sing this song, I knew that this was coming; George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps. I thought the beginning was a little rough but it was easy to see your passion for this song and that made up for any imperfections that might have been there. I could have done without the Idol string section, but at least they are not as bad as the Idol choir.
Scotty- I hoped that Elvis would be avoided but somehow I knew that Scotty would need to cover him. I'm so glad that it was not Love Me Tender but instead That's Alright Mama. It sounded good but Scotty, don't make weird facial expressions when you sing. And why are you holding the mic like that?
That was cute when the girls ran up on the stage to hug him but it shouldn't happen again. Fun song.
Pia- Tina Turner's River Deep, Mountain High was a gutsy choice. I thought it started out too soft but the power finally kicked in. I have no questions about your singing ability but you really need to loosen up on the stage. You still looked scared. You need to relax more and not be so stiff. I know it has to be incredibly nerve racking to be on that stage, but find a way to calm yourself. Oh, and please don't let them use flash pots with your songs again.
Stefano- Percy Sledges' When A Man Loves A Woman was not what I would have liked to hear from you but I still think you did a good job. I wished for something more like Santana's Black Magic Woman or Elvis's Suspicious Minds or even Simon and Garfunkle's Bridge Over Troubled Water . This was a nice song, tender, passionate, and powerful. You did a good job even though it looked like Will and Jimmy wasted your time with their terrible mentoring. I guess that Ryan Tedder helped more. Too bad we didn't get to see more of his time with you.
Paul- Of all of the songs in the world, I would never have picked Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues. In their true mentor style, Will and Jimmy said just be crazy with it. Johnny Cash might have been bigger than life and out of control at times but I don't ever remember hearing anyone refer to his music as crazy, unless they said it was crazy good. Sorry Paul, I didn't like this song at all. Paul made it sound like whinny Johnny. And this a singing competition, not a guitar pros jam, so why is there this long guitar interlude in the middle of the song. Sorry, I didn't like it at all.
So, here is my non-scientific order of finish for the night. Just so you know, I have not read any of the reviews from last night to see what others think about the performances. This is just my thoughts.