|The “live” performances (live because so far everything has been pre-recorded) started last week in the semi-finals of American Idol 10, and so far it’s an exciting season. Tonight it’ll step up a notch as it gets just a little more serious with the finals. The Idols are being thrown into the fire somewhat, as in the past, they’d have a few weeks of semi-finals to get their feet wet, but last week they had just one shot, and now have to bring it every week. The title refers to James Durbin. He delivered Judas Priest last week, can he deliver something else this week?
For the theme tonight, each of the thirteen idols were asked to choose a song by one of their personal idols. Additionally, they got to work with the Chairman of Interscope Jimmy Iovine for the first time, as well as a producer. He previously judged the contestants and gave them some quick advice when they were singing Beatles tunes in Las Vegas.
Lauren Alaina is up first. She’s picking Shania Twain as her idol, because she’s a country legend and the first female artist to mix pop and country together into one musical style. Lauren is singing Any Man of Mine, and working with producer Don Was. She feels comfortable with him as he cares how she feels about the song. Jimmy thinks Lauren will have a big career someday, and Don thinks she’s a real star. It’s hard to believe this girl is only 16. The song fits her well.
Steven Tyler tells Lauren she knows how much he loves her voice. He doesn’t think anyone would be up there if it wasn’t for the fact of a good song. He loves that song, but he wishes it would have been a little more kickass. Jennifer Lopez feels Lauren is so amazing and doesn’t have to even try, but now they expect her to really kick it into high gear. She has an amazing voice and she’s super-comfortable up there, but the competition starts today.
Randy Jackson loves Shania, and believes Lauren sang it well, but they’re hoping for the girl that they first saw. Her voice is so big, he doesn’t even think she realizes how talented she is. He doesn’t think the song quite showed that. Lauren tells Ryan she didn’t want to do a ballad, as that’s what everyone does. She also apologizes to Steven, but he tells her not to, as he loves the way she sings.
Casey Abrams is inspired by Joe Cocker and singing With a Little Help From My Friends. The first time he heard it he was about 5 and watching Wonder Years. It really stuck in his head. Jimmy advises him that when he sings the opening words, “What would you do if I sang out of tune …” he needs to look right at the judges. Joe Cocker has that growl in his voice and doesn’t look that hot either, so Casey thinks that inspires the same in him. Jimmy explains when Joe sings the song, there isn’t one inch of his body that isn’t feeling it. Casey knows you feel Joe singing the song, and that’s what he wants, to be felt. As he sings it tonight, it’s a little mellow in the beginning, then he totally kicks it in.
Since Casey wants to be felt, J-Lo tells him she goes by what she feels, and there was one point where she grabbed Randy and had to ask what she was watching. She knows she’s watching somebody important. It blew her away. Randy calls it Idol Season 10 Remix. Every time Casey comes up, it’s always exciting to see what he’s going to do and how he’s going to do it. He is so unbelievable and so exciting he hits all the notes always. Steven tells Casey he’s a rainbow of talent and never ceases to amaze him. He is a plethora of passion as everyone in the house felt everything he did. Casey tells Ryan he thinks Joe Cocker embodied him for a second.
Ashton Jones was compared to Diana Ross last week, and this week will be singing one of her songs, When You Tell Me That You Love Me. She’s working with producer Rodney Jerkins, who has worked with Mariah Carey, Ke$ha, and Monica. He has her go higher with the song, which she’s never done, but is glad she’s being taken to a place she’s never been. Jimmy was a little nervous about her range, but was so inspired, he invited Berry Gordy to hear it. I think it’s a mistake to give her the Ross label, as she’s missing it a little. She also has to slide into that note, not able to hit it dead on.
Randy admits he liked it and also points out Berry Gordy in the audience, who he calls the greatest ever. He also admits he was worried with the song choice, as it sounded like it was a safe move, but he felt she grew a little bit. She pulled it back when she started gong sharp or flat. Steven agrees and thinks there’s a lot more in there than she’s showing them. He’s got confidence in her. J-Lo calls Ashton elegant, and believes they’re already seeing what a professional she is. Now she wants her to start singing songs we can all sing along with her. Ashton tells Ryan she wants people to see the soft side when they look at her, not just the edginess.
Paul McDonald calls Ryan Adams his idol. That’ s Ryan with an R. He’s a brilliant songwriter, and lyrically he just likes what he does. He’s also the kind of artist he looks up to and admires and wants to be like. Paul is singing Come Pick Me Up. His rehearsals with Don Was went well, with Paul thinking they clicked immediately. Jimmy advises him to just nail the chorus. He likes Paul’s understated powerful rasp. It’s a really interesting song, and he gives another quirky performance like last week.