There’s hope that Jennifer Lopez will be a better guest mentor for the singers on American Idol than the last two, Tony Bennett and Gwen Stefani. Tony seemed unwilling to have any of the classics changed at all or even updated, and Gwen isn’t really a singer, but a performer, so didn’t really have much to offer in the way of advice. J-Lo appeared on Ellen last week, naming off the contestants she was most impressed with, and this was before she even worked with them. It gave me great hope.
J-Lo is a hit recording artist and has a successful movie career as well. She’s currently going back to her roots with a Spanish language album that has landed in the number one spot on the Billboard Latin charts. She greets the Idols with big hugs, and tells them they all have different types of vibes and styles, and thinks that’s great. She also wants them to know they should be really proud of themselves. The key to any Latin themed music, which is the theme for the night, is the passion, and J-Lo says it’s not who hits the high note, but who makes her feel good that gives her goose bumps. She has her favorites, but she won’t mention them now. That’s okay, as she already told Ellen it was LaKisha Jones.
Melinda Doolittle is the first one to meet privately with J-Lo, and she’ll be singing Sway, described here as a very old popular song. J-Lo says she recorded it in Spanish, and Melinda says she is very excited about her “Latin day.” As she sang it for J-Lo, she saw a quality in Melinda she hadn’t seen before, and that was a sultry, sexy thing she had going on. She thinks it’s nice to be able to feel a little bit of what’s going on inside of Melinda and feel that little sexy side of her. Melinda considers this her biggest challenge, as she’s “so not sexy,” but I disagree as I watch her sing tonight. I think her dedication and confidence when she sings can be very sexy. To me, she’s masterful once again, but her makeup job isn’t great, as her eyes totally disappear, until she opens them wide to hear the judges’ remarks.
Randy Jackson says the genres they do every week are kind of interesting, and he’s been waiting to see what Melinda was going to do, but he sees this as yet another solid performance that kind of echoed Celia Cruz. Paula Abdul calls Melinda’s performance very sultry and very smooth, and she says she looks lovely. It wasn’t one of the performances where she had to wow everyone, and it was just kind of subtle, sexy, and beautiful. Simon Cowell, however, says it was bound to happen with him and Melinda. He didn’t like it. The song is all about personality, and she appeared much older than she is. He found it very lounge/cabaret, although the ending was pretty good. At this stage, someone as good as Melinda needs to come out there every week and put out a wow performance. He saw it as a bit lazy and a little bit wooden. Melinda tells Ryan Seacrest she’s happy because she thinks he really wanted to say something bad, and she’s glad he got the chance. You have to love her for taking it all in stride this way.
LaKisha answers a viewer question saying she tried out for American Idol, because she wanted to provide a better life for her and her daughter, Brianne. God blessed her with talent, and she always wanted to share it with the world, and here she is. And I’m personally very happy about that. She’s singing Conga by Gloria Estefan tonight, and she asks J-Lo with help on saying “Conga” appropriately, and with moving properly. J-Lo shows her she doesn’t have to move that much, just kind of ride the rhythm, so that everything feels natural and fun. LaKisha starts out tonight on the catwalk and moves to the stage. It seems natural on her, despite the fact we don’t get those power notes, but at the end, there they are. She works in the power notes anyway, putting her own touch on it.
Randy says what he loved about it was that LaKisha came out having a good time, which was exactly what Simon was saying before that wasn’t happening with Melinda. LaKisha was having the best time having fun, and she made it her own, putting little runs in it. “That was hot, Baby.” Paula tells LaKisha she looks lovely, and we know there’s something bad coming now. She didn’t feel it as much as Randy did, and thought it was a real safe LaKisha performance. She feels like it’s now time to really bring out the very best as it’s getting down to the wire. Simon asks LaKisha if she agrees with Paula, and she replies she doesn’t know about being safe, as she feels she went outside her comfort zone, and even moved a little big, as she’s usually just standing in one place. Simon, though, agrees with Paula, saying it’s one of those songs that’s not a singer’s song, but a fun performance song. While she was having fun, he’s not sure everyone was at home. :wave: I was! Randy points out how LaKisha was dancing and moving, and Simon says it wasn’t very good, prompting Ryan to say he’d pay a lot to see Simon dance to that.