This season, more than ever, it seems like the American Idol judges are placing a tremendous amount of attention on sculpting the artistic and commercial identities of the crop of contestants, and I think that many of the hopefuls are beginning to blossom. Here’s a rundown of my first impressions from the Top Downloads theme week.
Anoop (“Caught Up” by Usher) – I like Anoop’s confidence and the fact that he knows he wants to sing R&B, but his reactions to the judges’ critiques may cause some non-fans to think that he’s flirting with cockiness – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Megan (“Turn Your Lights Down” by Lauren Hill and Bob Marley) – I’m relieved to see that Megan changed her swaying up this week, but like Kara, there were moments during this performance where I could imagine her doing a decent cover of Adele’s “Chasing Pavements”. Perhaps it has something to do with Megan’s distinct way of pronouncing certain syllables when she sings.
Danny (“What Hurts The Most” by Rascal Flatts) – This song is the reason why I purchased a Rascal Flatts album two years ago. Danny lured us in with his restrained vocals during the opening verse, but he took us to another plain when he bombastically tackled the track’s chorus and bridge – all the time remaining in control of both his voice and his microphone stand.
Allison (“Don’t Speak” by No Doubt) – Allison brought a thickness to this track, and I wasn’t as offended by her ensemble as the judges were. After all, pop artists are wearing wild things right about now – Lady Gaga, anyone?
Scott (“Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel) – Way to make a rebound with a new look. Scott proved that even if he stays behind his piano, his chops can still make us sit up in our seats!
Matt (“You Found Me” by The Fray) – I, too, think that he could’ve slayed One Republic’s R&B/pop hit “Apologize” had he chosen that over this more rock/pop selection. I did, however, enjoy the staging of this number.
Lil (“I Surrender” by Celine Dion) – Lil is trying ardently to please the judges, and it seems like the only way to do it might be to give them a Keisha Cole or Mariah performance. I dig you either way Lil!
Adam (“Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry) – I respect Adam’s guts. He’s not my favorite contestant, but when I get past his hysterics, I can appreciate how comfortable he seems on the stage. He’s good for the competition.
Kris (“Aint No Sunshine” by Bill Withers) – I was afraid that Kris’ shine would be marred after following Adam, but talk about a rejuvenating arrangement! We’ve heard this song played and lip-synced several times – including once during an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – but Rickey Minor really put his touch on this one.
Who took the night’s crown for you?