Thursday, May 5, 2011

Trainwreck Idol – Top 5

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

As I start this article, it’s Saturday night, and I watched the American Idol Top 6 elimination show before coming to work. The week of Top 12 eliminations, I attempted to call the rest of the season, saying that I would discuss it week of Top 6 if nothing drastic happened, and then drastic things happened, so I discussed it. Now seeing the Top 6, I can say that I was two thirds right about whom, but I’ve not been very right about when. I was wrong about Thia and Pia. Thia was probably wishful thinking on my part, and Pia was just a surprise.

Casey was eliminated from Top 6. As far as my call for bottom three, he’s the only one I can say for sure I was right about, because they did some sort of random thing. I did say the following though, “This means that if Haley didn’t fuck up too bad this week and doesn’t fuck up too bad anytime soon, I think that everyone else, other than James, is struggling to keep up right now.” Note who the only two people they immediately called as safe were. I guess we’re left to presume that the bottom was Casey, Scotty, and Lauren, but who knows?

This got me wondering about the judge’s save. Would it have been better used on Pia rather than Casey, or would she have still gone home eventually? Curious about the effectiveness of the judges save, I looked it up and read an article on MTV’s website They’ve had the save for three years now. Matt Giraud was probably the least notable, going on for only two weeks after the save and getting eliminated in Top 5. Michael Lynch made it to the highest position at Top 4, lasting five weeks after the elimination. And that’s what Casey lasted, five weeks, but only making it to Top 6.

The question is whether Pia’s elimination was indicative of a bigger problem for her, or would the save have made a difference? The article I read questioned whether it was at all possible for a contestant to win after a near elimination countered by the save. It’s an interesting question, but maybe not all that important of a question, because only one person can win each year. Better phrased, can a contestant who has received the judges save make it to Top 3, or even Top 2, much less win? And if they can’t do at least that good, is it worth saving them? Casey Abrams will be better remembered than Stephanie Edwards or Michael Johns in all likelihood, but how much better remembered? Like with everyone else on that show, winner or not, they still have to build a career for themselves once the show is over.

And now on Thursday morning, I continue after watching the Top 5. They each did two songs. One song was contemporary, and one song was from either the 60s or 70s. I’ll go in order starting with the contemporary songs.

James did 30 Seconds to Mars and it was great. There isn’t much to say. He was in his right range and his right genre, and he was fantastic.

Jacob sanf “No Air” by Jordin Sparks. There was talk that it was odd, and Randy was the most vocal about that. I think what may be the issue is that he stayed in the same range the whole song, and it’s not his natural range. I think it was good. It might have just been arranged badly for Jacob to perform.

Lauren was awesome. She sang a Carrie Underwood song, and the change ups in the melody were pulled off flawlessly. I think this might have been her best of the year.

Scotty did some country song or another, and he has a good country voice. Further, he did a very good performance. He seems to be becoming comfortable with the stage.

Haley did an unreleased Lady Gaga song. I’m very split about it. I give her total props for busting out something obscure, the way Blake Lewis did with The Bee Gees’ “This Is Where I Came In.” But like with Blake, I think the problem is that you have to do an unknown song better than you do a known song, and I’m not sure Haley did it. Interestingly enough, Sheryl Crow was the guest mentor, and Haley and Sheryl Crow share the same issue for me. They both have a voice I like and a voice I don’t like, and they both tend to use the one I don’t like more often than the one I do like.

James did “Without You” by Harry Nilsson. And he cried. It was good. They made a big deal about the emotion that he had trouble controlling during the vocals. That part was good, but he did have trouble holding it together.

Jacob did “Love Hurts” by Nazareth. I think it would have been more interesting if he did “Hair of the Dog.” Sheryl Crow was like, “This is not in his genre,” because Nazareth is a rock band, but… It’s a ballad. It’s totally in his genre. And the performance showed that. It was basically good, but it’s one of the few times I’ve not been happy with one of his performances.

Lauren did “Unchained Melody,” and amazing, amazing. She was the one person who I think was fantastic both songs. Oddly, I was going to talk about my pleasure that the judges weren’t crying for the “big notes” this week after her first song. I would rather her sound great in her range than just good in a range that pushes it. But she did some amazing range work on this song.

Scotty did Elvis’s “Always on My Mind.” He has a good country voice.

Haley redeemed herself with “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals. Ms. Crow suggested that she open the song without music, and that was a great call.

Since they seem to not be announcing the bottom three anymore, I won’t put too much thought into it. I’ll just go from my point of view from best to worst of the evening.

Lauren was the best. She did a great job on both songs.

James was next best. He brought two great performances, and only went off the mark a little on the second song.

Scotty was next best. There was nothing wrong with his performance, the first was actually pretty entertaining, but he was Scotty.

Next was Haley. If she had not done “House of the Rising Sun” so well, she would be the worst for me, but I liked her second song.

That leaves Jacob at the bottom for me, which does surprise me, but I think he picked the wrong songs this week. I think it might hurt him.

I wish I had some sort of indication as to how well Scotty actually did last week. They said it was random what order they went in, but was he and Casey the bottom two, and was Jacob three? If so, it may be a tough call between Jacob going or Scotty going.

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