I'm going to warn you, I am going to disagree with the American Idol judges today. Hard. So very hard.
I realize you may not like it because you may be rooting for sweet-faced hipster-haired youngsters. But, I am not related to said youngsters and don't feel the need to support anyone who decides that the way to get back in the fucking game is to sing the Jeff Buckley version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." Producers, take it off the damn song list and TV watchers, go Google it and listen to it so you won't be so awestruck after last night. Save a few select exceptions, Buckley and Cohen are the only performers I ever want to hear perform this song again...and even then, rarely. Moratorium, people. Look it up. Abide.
So, Tim Urban from Duncanville, Ellen may have told you it was "fantastic" and run over to give you a hug, but remember she's grilled you for a couple of weeks. I'm wanting to believe she was just relieved you finally hit most of the notes. Randy thought it was "pretty good" and that's fine, because you did do a good, soulless high school dinner show rendition of a classic (and I've been in enough of those to recognize). Kara thought it was honest, which doesn't really tackle good or bad, just that you emoted. And Simon felt it was your best performance yet--which I can't deny--so there you go. Go be happy or something. But do us all a favor and promise that someday you'll regret that song choice, not only because it's over done, but because when you sang it you were so affected with your camera gazes, and so fake-squeaky-clean, that it felt like you weren't performing, but, rather, campaigning for votes. And when it comes to "Hallelujah," that's just sacrilegious.
Alex Lambert (North Richland Hills) came back with even more confidence and strength this week. He showed off his husky tenor with Ray LaMontagne's "Trouble" and it worked fairly well--not only because I was thinking of that awesome commercial where the dog tries to secure his prized chewbone in a safe deposit box, but also because Lambert just seemed to finally get into his song.
Randy liked it but wasn't wowed and Ellen warned him that after all the improvements he better not get too cocky. Kara urged him on saying, "Be you. Let go," and Simon concurred saying he needed to just relax lest he get in the way of his own progress. Fair statements the panel-wide.
Fort Worth's blond bar boy, Casey James, took the stool and handed in a reasonable acoustic assessment of Keith Urban's "You'll Think of Me." Best thing about James' voice is his natural vibrato--it's a fresh break from the put-upon warbles and runs of others trying to show off tone and skill. But overall, the song, while comfortable, wasn't memorable (the bum last note was, though).
And Simon agreed saying it was only his second best performance of three. Randy said it needed to be "edgier" and Ellen thought it was great, because she seems to be a sucker for a sweet song. Kara admitted she was "kinda back on the Casey train" but thought the performance lacked a "spark." Blah, blah, blah.
Leave it to Todrick Hall from Arlington to save the day with a little Queen-gone-gospel via "Somebody to Love." You'll remember last week, after Hall was slammed for changing up songs beyond all recognition, that he promised to just sing like he would in church. And sing he did. And so did those back-up singers. It was a slightly dramatic, but who gives a shit? He nailed it. He hit every note (which isn't easy in Freddie Mercury territory) and worked the stage. And everyone knew what song he was singing the entire time. And better yet? It wasn't boring! Yay, first not boring song of the night!
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Randy called it the best vocal of the night and past weeks while Ellen called him brave for choosing the song. Kara thought some moments were a little Godspell but couldn't deny the ace vocal performance. Simon suspected the song saved Hall, and offered that he'd finally shown his true colors...as a Broadway performer. Not much of a stretch considering his dance background, but it's all good. You can decide for yourself using this video:
Frankly, I'm guessing they're all four safe yet again, because their competition was tragically on the shitty side, save the one, the only, Big Mike. And it's funny, because just last week, our own Pete Freedman and I were lamenting the lack of Kate Bush songs on American Idol...as well as joking about how bizarre it would be to see a 16-year-old take on "Running Up That Hill." Florida's Mike Lynche didn't bust out "Running" but he did own Maxwell's version of "This Woman's Work." Kara cried, and yeah, that was weird, but damn, he closed out the show with serious skill.
I still love Todrick and Alex is growing on me, but Big Mike is the guy to beat. Results tomorrow.