"Don't go changing to try and please me / You never let me down before."
Sigh--if only that were true. But you know that Idol has let us down plenty of times before, and last night was more of a let down than not. Beautiful songs should be handled with care, and it's always a crap shoot when the night's theme comes down to songs from an amazing songbook. True artists will respect the timelessness of a melody and lyric; wannabe legends will assume they have to deconstruct and make it their own. I guess that's inevitable given the mix of feedback from the judges. "Make it your own!" "Don't lose the melody!" "You did your thing!" "You lost me!"
So--high points and low points:
Deandre managed to sound and look like an Uptown Girl while singing "Only the Good Die Young." Honestly--I understand if the kids have never heard these songs before, but I assume they can read, right? And at some point, Deandre sat it an Egnlish class while some underpaid civil servant tried to make him understand poetry. There's a story in the lyric--the story of coaxing the virginity out of a reluctant girl. For goodness sake, stop jumping.
Erika--I'm so glad somebody finally put the weave out of its misery (we can only pray that Colton will someday have the same sense of compassion for the critter atop the hawk). She looked GORGEOUS!! What, did Tyra Banks and the ANTM Make-over Machine stop by? And, oh, oh, I love that song. She was one of the few artists who sounded like they were singing a Billy Joel song. Like there should be a tip jar on the piano.
Joshua--I admit, I listened to this from the kitchen while doing dishes, and hated it. So I hit "rewind," watched it, saw the choir, and hated it more. So, on Eric Clapton week, is he going to bust out the choir robes for his rendition of "You Look Wonderful Tonight?" Love him, but again--read the lyrics.
Skylar--sorry, I am just not a fan. Maybe if, just once, I could hear her sing something--ANYTHING--that didn't sound like everybody in the audience was holding a Red Solo Cup.
Elise--again, she gets Billy Joel. Understands the essence of the song, but she's just not American Idol. I would love to be in a smoky jazz club or hotel bar and listen to Elise. A fellow AI fan and I debated a bit on facebook, and I've re-watched her over and over. That last note is little and low and amazing. Poor girl doesn't stand a chance.
Phillip Phillips -- we have a lot in common, as I often make up aimless, tuneless, wandering melodies when I'm looking for my keys or something. Good luck moving up, 'cause I'm tuning out.
Hollie--so cute. Totally don't remember what she sang. Oh, yeah, "Honesty" (to be honest, I had to check the DVR). Not a good sign. I just want to hug her and reassure her that she'll be 40 soon enough. She looked like Shelley Hack. That's rarely a good thing. (I made a link for you youngsters)
Heejun's act has officially grown old. Now, I'm all for sarcasm (see above and, well, just about everything I've ever written in the facebook and blog-o-sphere), but there's a time when a joke sacrifices respect on the altar of humor. Yes, I chuckled when he said that Jessica Sanchez was his fashion icon, but then I just felt uncomfortable. And, obvioulsy, Auntie Steven was not amused, either. I must say, though, I did like the way he changed up the melody on the last chorus. If nothing else, it'll make a nice "sing for your life" song.
Ah, Jessica Sanchez, bathed in the golden light as she sings of her dream. So very, very Disney...
And, finally, "Piano Man." My friend Tina correctly predicted that Colton would sing this song--and I waited all show for this. Because I love him--skinny jeans, faux-hawk and all. But, really, pillars of light? Shiny red piano? Would it have killed the AI producers to give him--say, a soft spot and an overflowing ashtray? I mean, he looked like the mother ship was ready to beam him up--maybe that was just Tommy Hillfiger's way to resolve the hair issue, I dunno... I'm just grateful a choir didn't emerge to join him on "La-da-di-da-da-di-da-da..." Aw, but I love this kid, loved the song, and I too thought his choice of chords when his voice resolved was stunning. (Auntie Steven was on fire tonight!!)
So--what did y'all think? Leave a comment...I just want someone I can talk to.