As I sit here and wonder what this new twist on the scoring is going to be (and nervous that the judges might have some input over and above their comments -- haven't they manipulated the process enough?) it's time to get to last night's performances. Overall, I was happy. I thought MJ would be a very difficult week, especially right out of the shoot. But they did well, overall. Here is my rundown:
Lil: Her performance was okay, but I thought it was too safe. Her outfit was terrible.
Scott: Not too bad. Scott seems like an accomplished musician; I just don't think he's a very interesting singer. And we've heard enough inspirational ballads.
RDJ: Great! But I think he blew the start after the intro. I rewatched, but never was sure. Even if he did though, he nailed the rest of it. I was nervous when he started out PYT slowly, but liked the arrangment. (And they managed an entire episode without mentioning his dead wife.)
Michael: Big surprise. I thought he nailed this one. But I think he probably benefited from low expectations. He also had the best line of the night. When Simon said, sarcastically, I wish we knew what you did for a living, he said, "hopefully this."
Jasmine: She struggled with "I'll Be There." She was neither MJ nor Mariah, as she messed up the words at the beginning, had weird diction (phrasing?), and was flat on a lot of her notes. She just never got to some of the higher notes (Paula called it "under" whatever that is). The kiss of death here: Randy said, "She surprised me ... it wasn't that bad."
Kris: Kris was awesome on "Rembember the Time." I'm not a huge fan of that song, but thought he was great. At first, I thought, "is that guitar even on" and then I wondered what it was for. But other than that, I loved it. To me, he's this season's Jason Castro (who also was not featured at all until the semi-final rounds last year) only a little more upbeat. I really liked the two folks that weren't featured at all prior to the semi-finals, Kris and Allison.
Allison: Speaking of Allison, I wondered after her dead-on performance of Heart last week if she was a one-trick-pony. She's not. I didn't know her song ("Give Into Me"), didn't like her song, and don't like her kind of music, but still thought she was great.
Anoop: His "Beat It" was just good karaoke. But I'm a Terps fan.
Jorge: Jorge tried "Never Can Say Goodbye." Unfortunately, he'll get the chance to test that theory tonight, unless Puerto Rico is a lot bigger than I think it is. Second best line of the night was when he said to Paula, "I didn't want to sing MJ's "Bad."" To which Simon countered with, "you kinda did."
Megan: Here I totally disagreed with the Judges. Her "Rockin' Robin" was the perfect song choice for her. In what would have been a tough week for her (I assumed) she did great. She even wandered around the stage some, which wasn't great but was a little surprising.
Adam: The judges loved Adam, but I thought the performance was like a deep massage. It's supposed to be great, but is mostly just painful. There is no question this dude can sing, and he's probably the best singer in the bunch. He just seems a little too earnest to me. His stuff is too busy. He needs to give us something stripped down to really show off his voice. The judges said he's contemporary, but I don't agree. He could be, but he's mostly just shown me that he should be touring with Journey instead of the Fillipino YouTube guy.
Matt: Matt was my favorite going in. I have a soft spot for good piano bar singers. (When in Vegas, check out the guys at the Napoleon Lounge in the Paris Hotel; they're awesome, and from Ohio.) Matt was the only guy that really tried to sing Michael. It was a little over the top, but as Simon said, you need to be when doing MJ. The nice falsetto run at the end of "Human Nature" was exactly what no one else had the guts to try. And he pulled it off, although it was not perfect.
Alexis: I thought "Dirty Diana" played right into her ongoing thing with Kara that has bordered on inappropriate since Kara told her in the audition round to go home and have sex with her fiance. Kara capped it off by calling her nasty last night. Anyway, the performance was kind of yelly for me. I thought she missed some notes and I was generally disappointed. She won't see the pimp spot again.
Anyway, I think Jorge's in trouble. If they vote off two tonight (which they'll have to do at some point) I think Jasmine is gone, as well. As far as my top three: RDJ, Kris, and Allison, with Megan and Matt in the running. America's top three: RDJ, Adam, and Michael.
Mike Mussina, Hall of Famer
3 weeks ago