|It wasn’t too surprising to see Ashton Jones leave last week. She was only a finalist because the judges put her through as a wild card, and she didn’t seem to improve any last week. It appears that the guys could be set in stone for the next few weeks while the gals group gets pared down some. Yet, all it’s going to take are a couple of bad performances by the guys to shake that up a little.
Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson, and Ryan Seacrest open up the show discussing the devastating events in Japan. They’re offering their help, or our help really. After the show finishes tonight, we can download the performances from iTunes, with the profits going to the Red Cross’ efforts in Japan. Tomorrow night during the results show, they’ll let us know how we can text in our donations.
Once the judges are seated and the top 12 introduced, Ryan mentions that the finalists worked with Jimmy Iovine and his producers again on this week’s theme, songs from the year the contestants were born.
Starting off the night is Naima Adedapo, who was born in 1984. Music was all around her as she grew up, as her mother was a jazz vocalist, and Naima would get carried onto the stage with her. She still remembers the lullaby her mom used to sing to her. Tonight she’s singing Tina Turner’s What’s Love Got to Do With It, and producer Rodney Jenkins tried to figure out how to modernize the song. She tells Jimmy that the hardest part of the competition is being away from her children, and he’d like her to channel that emotion. This is the perfect type of song for Naima, meaning her producer did his job, although she does have a hard time finding her pitch.
Steven tells Naima she opened up a can of something, but it’s unclear what he says. She has a sorcerer’s grasp of the melody. He also wants to know what she’s doing wearing his shirt. Jennifer feels Naima brings specific flavor to everything, and she gave her a pass on the pitchiness before, but now she’s seeing that Naima is consistently pitchy. That’s hurting her and making J-Lo worry how her performances will hold up against the others.
Randy is glad Jennifer brought that up, as he noticed that last week when he watched the show back, thinking it really wasn’t good at all. Still tonight, Naima is under the pitch, but has energy and looks hot. Rodney did well with the track, but the vocals were all over the place. Naima feels like the emotions sometimes mess up her pitch.
It’s 1984 again, this time with Paul McDonald. His mom claims he was always the entertainer and used to dress as a cowboy with his little guitar. Paul would like it in an adult size. Paul’s dad used to be the lead singer in a band back in 7th grade. Tonight Paul is singing Elton John’s I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues. Jimmy tells him he’s born to sing his own music or Elton John’s. Paul has been ill this past week, yet has that patented Paul dancing going on. It’s not my favorite song on him, but I do like it. He, too, gets a little pitchy in a few places.
Jennifer tells Paul she feels him and knows he felt like he was struggling, but it sounded good, and he has so much soul and star quality, and overcame that. It happens when singers get sick or have sinus problems, but they have to make it happen anyway, and he did. Randy differs with her a little bit, and won’t give Paul a pass because he has a cold, as every singer has to deal with that, but while some of the song was pitchy, but he’s this new style of singer like Ray Motagne. He put the Paul spin on it. Steven agrees with Randy and thinks Paul defines a “cool dude in a loose mood.” His swagger is like listening to records with a distinctive voice, and that’s what he’s turning into.
We’re skipping ahead a decade to 1995 when Thia Megia was born. Her mom would sing her the lullaby from Dumbo. Thia wrote her first song when she was 6 and believes singing will be what she’s doing the rest of her life. She’s singing Vanessa Williams’ Colors of the Wind. Jimmy tells her she brings something different than the country, rock, pop/rock, and gospel. He wants her to bring what the song means to her tonight. I’m tired of the ballads already this season, but I think this is the most perfect song for Thia.
Randy tells Thia he thinks the vocals were okay, but the problem that he’s having is that she’s been singing ballads every week, and it was boring and made him feel like he was at a pageant. She has the talent, so he wants her to dig deeper next time, as it was too safe. Steven thinks she sang it beautifully, but he wonders if this is who Thia thinks she is. She replies it’s what she thinks is going on in the world today. She thought it was the best song out of the choices she had, but she gets what Randy is saying.