The Top 10 performed the Billy Joel Songbook last night on American Idol… and I had high hopes.
In my opinion, there arent many (if any?) ‘bad’ Billy Joel songs to sing. So even if the contestant suffers from ‘bad song choice’ syndrome, and many of them do, this week should suit everyone.
Every theme favours some singers over others… in this week, it was undeniably clear who the ‘cream’ of the crop was – they absolutely rose to the occassion. If I had one complaint about the show last night, it would be the ‘expert’ advice from Diddy (even J-Lo had a hard time deciding what to call him!), Jimmy and Tommy Hilfiger. Diddy was useless and recycled the same ‘mentor’ crap for each contestant. ‘You gotta FEEL it’ , ‘You gotta put more SWAG into it’ ‘don’t change the song, respect the song’. It was BAFFLING to me that they would have him sit in as a mentor on Billy Joel week… surely, there would be a better suited person who needed an extra 15 minutes of fame?
Most contestants felt the same way and disregarded all of his advice. Smartly.
Here’s how the Top 10 performed last night:
Joshua – Can sing ANYTHING… except maybe, Billy Joel. His VOICE was great, but the styling was strange, and he looked a bit uncomfortable. It striked me as od that he would choose a song to LEARN from SCRATCH instead of selecting a song that he knew already. You can’t tell me he didnt know ANY Billy Joel songs… impossible.
Elise Testone – Sang my absolute favourite Billy Joel song, Vienna. She had the perfect mix of blues, soul, rock and singer songwriter to NAIL the song to the floor. It’s liek she finally cared enough about a song to make it her own, and I hope that America votes for the performance… it was one of the tops of the night.
Colton –When I heard waht the theme of the night would be, instantly I said “Coltons gonna do Piano Man”. He had to. And he DID! A bright red piano, a single spotlight and a story. Colton had it all, and this was right in his wheelhouse to knock out of the park… it was certainly his night!
Deandre- I was worried about Deandre this week. ehn I think Billy Joel, I dont think Deandre. His voice is so specific, and I’m finding it hard to fit him into a genre that works perfectly with his unique talent. It isnt Billy Joel. He sang Only the Good Die Young, which was probably the best song he couldve chosen, but it did NOTHING for him in my opinion. He’s going to struggle with the themes… Country is coming up.
Skylar – Sang Shameless as a country song, which I thought was creative… but then I hear that both Garth Brooks and Brad Paisley have done that cover – so she already knew the song as a country record. I didnt really enjoy her version, I felt like she was yelling alot and the song didnt need it. But, you know exactly what you’re going to get from her week after week… down and dirty country no matter what the theme.
Erika Van Pelt – Got a WICKED hair cut and looks like a completely different gal. She took on the iconic, New York State of Mind and oversang it in my opinion. It’s a great tune, and her husky vocals really matched the bluesy New York smokey club nuances… but I wanted her so be soft and fluid using steady blues runs instead of vocal acrobatics. It was good, it just wasnt comparable tot he original.
Heejun – stumps me. Whenever I try to form an opinion about him as an artist and as a character… I get stuck. Is he funny? Yes. Does he mean to be? I dont know. Can he sing? Yes. Is he an artist? I dont know. I feel liek it could all be an act, and we’re the fools getting duped. I should focus on the singing… last night it was like friday night karaoke at a bar in Chinatown. I dont mean to be rude, but the background images, the lights, the jumping around, the dancing… hard to focus on the singing.
Hollie – The little girl with the bog voice pulled out another HUGE ballad to tackle, Honesty. Her vocals were great, she has some unbeleivable power, and like J-Lo said, she fearlessly takes on some pretty massive songs! I don’t think she’ll win, but she certainly deserves to be here in this company.
Jessica – Is a phenomenal talent. That’s unmistakeable. But I hope she doesnt resort to pageant -esque versions of big songs as a crutch. It’s hard to place her as an artist when she does that. LAst night, she sang a song about ‘dreams’, and it was such a ‘Star Search’ moment. Obviously, she’s taking the advice of the judges who told her to stay in her power ballad niche.
Philip –Was a guy I expected to have a good night, and he went far beyond my expectations! Him and his guitar and boring ‘grey’ shirt sang the stuffing out of Moving Out. He made it into an acoustic rock revamp, totally fresh and cool again! He was another standout performance for me, and his star is starting to RISE.
Best of the night?
Elise, Philip, Colton.