Chris Richardson is singing Smooth, the Santana/Rob Thomas duet. J-Lo corrects his pronunciation of a key Spanish word in the song, and also thinks it’s too low for him, having him bring it up a half step. This happens to be a song I adore, and while I don’t like the beginning of it at all, Chris hits his stride with it in the chorus. By the end, I’ve decided, it’s one I have to download off americanidol.com this week. I want to hear his full version of it. He appears to be having a red/black 80s flashback with his clothing choices. Randy says he was wondering how Chris was going to do with that song, because Rob Thomas and Carlos Santana laid it out when they did it, but he feels Chris did a really good job with it, to the point of finding himself at the end with some added runs. Randy thinks it was really cool.
Paula calls this a hot, hot performance, and asks what she’s supposed to say. She finally lets out she thought it was sexy, and Chris looks down at the ground and appears to be blushing. Simon says it wasn’t the best vocal he’s ever heard, but he preferred it to the first two performances of the night, as it felt more contemporary. His issue with the first two was that they sounded more hotel cabaret. It was a good performance, Simon thinks. Chris admits to Ryan he’s always worried about what the judges will say, and for good reason. Everyone should be!
Haley Scarnato is singing Turn the Beat Around, sung previously on American Idol by Carmen Rasmussen and Diana DeGarmo. If you’re taking a well-known song, and one that has been done very well by two past Idols, you have to do something really terrific with it. J-Lo tells her it’s a difficult song to sing because it’s all about rhythm. She also advises here to bite all the words. When she struggles, J-Lo decides they need a drummer, and brings in Blake to beatbox in the background. Coming onstage tonight, Haley is once again wearing hot pants. Two out of three weeks wearing them, and the third week wearing a short tight dress, it’s obvious she knows she can’t win with her voice. She also goes back to the catwalk and does a boob shake for the camera. As for the vocal, both Carmen and Diana were much better.
Just keeping it honest and real, as usual, Randy says for him it was really karaoke. He didn’t get it at all, and realizes he could have been anywhere in any bar hearing that. Paula says this song is also not a “singer song,” but a fun song. She believes Haley had a lot of fun up there. Simon lays it on the line, saying he thinks Haley has a very good tactic, to wear the least amount of clothing as possible, as she realizes she can’t do well based on her voice, as there are much better singers here. All she can do is have fun. He agrees with Randy, and says the vocals were so rushed towards the end, he couldn’t understand most of what she was saying. Haley responds saying she appreciates all the judges, as they are here for all the Idols and she appreciates it. She had fun with a great song, and she got the audience going.
Phil Stacey will be singing Maria, Maria by Santana, and as he sings it for J-Lo, he says he keeps glancing over, and “it’s like Jennifer Lopez is watching me or something,” and he realizes it really is her. She asks him to think about something in particular while he sings and really get into it. He does, and she says, “That’s what I’m talking ’bout.” J-Lo says you can’t buy the goose pimples she now has on her arm. Listening to him tonight, he has such an awesome voice, and it is so meant for this, but it is still kind of boring. Chris Richardson brings the excitement, but not the voice, and Phil brings the voice, but not the excitement. I wish the two could combine their talents.
Randy doesn’t know if it’s Phil’s best performance, but for him, Jennifer was right. Phil didn’t quite connect for him. There should be a passion in the song, and he found most of it boring with a huge crack, although he’s still great in his upper range. It just didn’t come all together for him. Paula says vocally, with the exception of the crack at the end, it was a real good vocal. Simon tells Phil he’s a nice guy and chose a good song, but to be honest, there was no originality in the performance. It was all a bit lifeless and a bit flat. He also notes the voice crack, and says there was nothing he could get positive or excited about. Phil then wants to be sure it’s noted that his daughter has a stuffed cow she is now calling Simon Cow. Imagine what is going through this little girl’s head seeing her daddy on TV every week, getting dissed by Simon Cow.
Jordin Sparks takes in a viewer question and says if she were in charge and could choose next week’s theme, it would be 80s music, despite the fact she wasn’t even born until December of 1989. J-Lo says Jordin has such a sweet voice as she sings Rhythm Is Going to Get You, and it reminds her somewhat of Michael Jackson. She likes the way Jordin made it her own adding a little bit of soul, and advises her to put some of Michael Jackson’s sway in it as she lets the rhythm of her body move her, as she’s doing it all with her voice, so doesn’t need exciting physical moves. More and more each week, I see Jordin becoming a caricature of Jordin Sparks. Now she’s not even focusing on her vocal anymore, seeming to want to show this big production of moves and personality. I found her vocal severely lacking here. I think she’s listening way too much to what she reads about herself. She’s getting the Sanjaya disease. It’s catchy.