Can I just say how extremely excited I was about this week’s theme? I have to admit; I’m not a huge pop music fan, and am mostly a rock fan, as well as some alternative if it crosses over to rock. And I’m old enough that I was a year out of high school when I heard my first Bon Jovi song, Runaway, and I was completely taken. I was driving a ’77 orange Toyota Corolla with an 8-track player, and had a doo-hickey that would allow me to play cassettes in it. I loved driving and blasting Bon Jovi. He was a rock God to us, both with his music and looks. And while that hair is long gone, there is no mistaking a Bon Jovi tune whether he’s with the rest of the band or going solo.
Anyway, about American Idol. Ryan Seacrest opened the show with a huge thank you for the fans, as last week, their Idol Gives Back special between the donations and corporate sponsors, raises almost $70 million … and it’s still counting. He gives big shoutouts, too, to all the celebs that popped in to help.
Jon Bon Jovi and the keyboardist from the band met with the Idols this week, and he waltzes right into the room, and says, “I’m Jon.” Even with short hair, the guy’s still got it. Anyway, he tells the Idols that he knows they’ve heard it a million times, but … “my kids love this show.” He believes each of the Idols wants this bad and thinks what the singers have to bring from hereon out is a sincerity in their delivery. If he was going to make one broad statement, it would be to make the songs their own. All these songs told stories to a lot of people and now the Idols need to tell the stories.
As Phil Stacey prepares to sing Blaze of Glory that Jon did for the film Young Guns, he says, “Holy moley. I’m jamming with Bon Jovi!” Jon says Phil just knocked it out of the park. He was very confident and had obviously sung it before. Phil explains when he was a kid he sang this song in the mirror with a comb in his hand (Hard to imagine Phil needing a comb), so he’s really been practicing the song for fifteen years. When he’s done, Jon says, he loved it and that he got chills. He thinks he nailed every single note just like on the record. He has a big voice around a big song. Phil’s glad Jon liked it and thinks he still enjoyed the experience much more than Jon.
As he starts singing the song from the audience, Phil does really great with this, just like during country week. He needs songs like this to not be boring. He walks by the judges’ table and pounds fists with Randy. It may sound odd but when Phil does well his eyebrows appear normal, and when he doesn’t they appear like pieces of felt slapped up on that smooth dome, like a muppet. Randy Jackson is happy for Phil for a lot of reasons, and as Paula feigns sleep, Randy says he actually recorded that song for Bon Jovi. Randy also thinks it’s his best outside country week, and makes an analogy that it sounded like Steve Perry (from Journey) on a Bon Jovi song.
Paula Abdul tells Phil this is a year out of his life that he will never forget. She thinks it’s the best opening they’ve had all season. Simon Cowell calls this okay, and tells the boo birds to give him five seconds. He didn’t hear any authenticity, and thought in the middle it was like a bad actor playing a role. If there were an audition for a rock singer, he doesn’t think Phil would pass, and he doesn’t think it’s enough for Phil to last another week. Phil says he still loves the judges, even though they’re not the ones keeping him there.
It’s departed Idol Gina Glocksen sitting in the audience, and Ryan mentions it must be killing her to be missing rock week. She is definitely a sight for sore eyes and is missed in this competition.
Jordin Sparks tells us that to say she is nervous is an understatement of how she was walking into this thing. She tells Jon her mom is going to flip out as she got her into him. Her mom “grew up” on Bon Jovi so she’s heard it from birth. She did not just say that to him, did she? That her mom grew up on his music? Being that he’s just two years older than I am, I’m suddenly feeling a little geriatric. He says that Jordin chose to sing Living On a Prayer, and he acknowledges it’s a very difficult one to sing. He tells her to just change the note if it’s too low for her, and she says his songs are hard to sing. Jon says they worked on the melodies for her, although he acknowledges she’s 17, and he couldn’t sing half that good at that age. Well, his debut came out when he was 21. It’s not that much older. He advises her to practice, practice, practice, and she says she really hopes she makes him proud.
As Jordin takes the stage tonight, she has quite the wild hair. She’s trying with the song, but it’s still a miss. She tries to put in some runs and they don’t work with this type of music the way she’s trying to do it. My son noted here that she seemed to not be able to do the key change very well. Randy says it was an interesting one for him, and Jordin says it was for her too. He tells her she’s definitely not a rock girl, and while she hit the big notes in the chorus, those verses were a little rough, and she admits they were. He tells her that by the first low note he knew that she at least knew it wasn’t working.