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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

American Idol 8, April 14 – Quentin Tarantino and the Night of Ballads


This is my night, if I may be so bold. It’s songs from the movies as the theme, and I love soundtracks. It’s honestly my favorite genre, as for one you get a mixture of other genres within that one, and for another, I like the way it can tell a story. Pulled out of the rest of the soundtrack, it might not be the same tonight, but I’m still looking forward to it. And the best part of all, is that Quentin Tarantino is the mentor. It’s especially cool, knowing that he’s such a big fan. He was a guest judge in season three even.

Quentin introduces the show. The judges are seated once again without the dramatic entrance, but the band is on the stage, and Ricky Minor is rocking a suit. Randy Jackson looks like he’s wearing an Amazing Race route marker on his shirt, Kara DioGuardi is called provocative, and Paula Abdul is referred to as “hot” and wearing something expensive. The man seated next to her is legendary, Higness, Majesty, Sir Simon Cowell. He wouldn’t call tonight historic, but calls it unfortunate, since the girls talked too much last week. Tonight only two judges will comment each time. Can I just say without all this banter about it, we might have had the time for all the comments tonight?

Stevie Van Zandt in the audience!

Quentin met with the Idols, taking time away from filming a WWII action film with Brad Pitt in Berlin, in the Fox movie lot at the Alfred Newman Scoring Stage. He says he’s a director, so his goal here is to direct the Idols. He calls a couple of the people here pretty exciting.

Allison Iraheta is up first, singing I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing by Aerosmith, and Quentin says while she did a good job with it at first, it wasn’t quite at a performance level. He goes and gets a chair and sits down directly in front of her, telling her to just deliver it. She felt like she was auditioning, but felt it was awesome. He thinks tonight she’s going to belt it out and do a good job. She starts it off very softly, but I really want to hear this girl belt it. We know she can. Here it comes. I like it, but this song has been done so much on the show, I just don’t see it as being that much different, until she hits the chord change. Now the girl is really belting it. That’s what it needed.

Paula tells Allison that she has championed Adam Lambert since the beginning, but what she’s noticed tonight more than ever, is that she possesses the same special sauce that he does, and that’s authenticity that she won’t compromise. Paula doesn’t care if she’s 16; Allison is one remarkable, talented lady. Simon thinks it was more like BBQ sauce, hot and spicy. He thinks she is the girls’ only hope in the competition right now. She’s getting stronger, more confident, and he hasn’t really ever heard a girl sing this song so well. He thinks she now believes in herself more, and he could see her all the way to the end.

Anoop Desai is singing (Everything I Do) I Do It For You by Bryan Adams, and I can’t believe he’s doing another ballad. Quentin is concerned, wanting him to rough it up and really kill it with a big, big vocal. He’s even giving him choreography and thinks Anoop’s last note was fantastic doing it that way. Okay, he is singing a ballad, but the guy sings a good ballad. I have to admit, too, that he does put his own spin on it. He takes Quentin’s singing and choreography advice and puts it to effect, and even waits for a dramatic pause in the song. I could have done with tout the pointing at the audience at the end, though.

Mr. TAR Route Marker tells Anoop Dawg he thought this song was going to be rough for him since it’s a big, big song, but the last couple weeks for him he has definitely found his zone and is rocking the house. It was a fun tune, and he had emotion jumping off in it. Kara tells Anoop he definitely found his place. It’s pop songs and adding his soul to it. That’s where he really stands out. She thinks it was one of his best vocals. When he made the changes to the melody, he was right, and they were coming from his heart. She felt connected to him singing, and she was starting to miss that. Simon looks pissed he wasn’t allowed to comment. Anoop refuses to elaborate on who he was thinking of when singing the song. Could be you!

Adam Lambert is definitely a guy for Quentin. He’s singing Born to Be Wild from Easy Rider. He wants to give it an electronic element, and Quentin admits he likes seeing what Adam’s version is going to be each week. Adam jokes he looks forward to it too. For a competition looking for rock stars, Quentin thinks Adam the real deal. He still hasn’t seen what Adam’s going to do, as he’s only gotten a taste of it, so he’s looking for the whole thing. Adam is in full rock regalia with black leather and gyrating hips. This is back to his days of doing things like Satisfaction. He totally rocks it out with Ricky MInor. This is back to me seeing Adam as more of a character than a singer. To use Simon’s favorite word, I find it a little indulgent. This song shouldn’t be so electronic.

Paula gives Adam a standing ovation and tells him to take it all in, meaning the cheers and screams. The reason he is shaking up the whole competition is that he dares to dance in the path of greatness, and fortune rewards the brave, with him being one of the bravest contestants she’s ever witnessed. Simon jokes Adam needs to learn how to express himself a little. Vocally it was incredible, yet the downside is it was almost like watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show in parts, which of course Adam says he loves. Simon knows there will be a side that absolutely loves it, and another side that absolutely hates it. He doesn’t think it will be as popular as his performance from last week.

Ryan sits down for some stool chat with Matt Giraud, He asks him where his confidence is at with the judges liking some things and not the others. He thinks his confidence falls in the middle, saying sometimes he knows exactly what he’s going to do, other weeks not. This week he picked a song that he loves and thinks should work. He calls working with Quentin awesome, as he has a lot of musical direction in him.

Matt is back at the piano singing Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman from Don Juan DeMarco, and Quentin thinks he did a really good job with it. and gave it a different flavor. He warns him not to lose the energy of the lyrics, do the gravelly thing and the soul thing. Matt wants to really try to have an emotional connection and get something across. Quentin thinks it could be a top performance for him. Matt’s at the keys tonight, and I understand what Quentin meant about the enunciation, but it’s still amazing. It’s like a totally different song. He totally rocks it out at the bridge, even hitting his falsetto, but his best moments are the soulful ones just him and the ivories.

For Randy it was interesting as it started kind of cool, but when he hit the bridge it hit a little rough patch, and he and Kara weren’t too sure about it. But the thing for him, Matt can really sing, but with a beautiful simple melody, he can’t do all that stuff with it, because you’re going to fall down somewhere, and he fell down more places than he wanted tonight. Kara tells Matt that the scope of it is that he goes back and forth between rock and soul, Some weeks he nails the song choice, but tonight she appreciates that he twisted it and tried to put his soul in it to make it R&B, but in doing so, he took out some of the great melody. The whole time Simon is doing the weirdest thing with his mouth.


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