The Music of Motown

My first reaction of the night-what is Paula wearing?! Hmmm.

So anyway, we have the contestants singing motown this week. Their mentors were Smokey Robinson and…(what’s his name? I completely forget!) Berry Gordan.

The one’s that could do really well, IMO, are Lil Rounds and Danny Gokey. I also think that Kris Allen, Matt Giraud, and possibly Anoop. We’ll see how they do.

‘Kicking it off’, according to Ryan, is Matt Giraud with “Let’s Get It On”. He’s sticking to what he does best, once again on the ivory keys. Wait-I spoke too fast. He’s thrown us a twist by leaving his customary seat and is now touring the stage. I have to admit, not my favorite of his performances. But I believe he did a fine job with the song.

Randy thought Matt “set this off to the tone tonight!” and loved his run at the end of the song, commenting on Matt’s strong falsetto; “You’re challenging [the other guys] for the front spot”.
Kara liked the departure from the piano, and also Matt’s vocal interpretations, calling it a “solid performance”.
Paula commented on how comfortable Matt seemed behind piano as well as out from it. “You showed a cool, sexy vibe. You’re tasteful, classy, spot on, and respectful of the melody. It’s like wearing a great pair of worn jeans”.
Simon thought the piano departure corny, but said that Matt’s voice “absolutely suits that type of song. You are one of the front runners in this competition”.

Kris Allen, unfortunately, is performing second tonight. He is performing “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You”; Smokey said Kris ‘blew [him] away’, also commenting on how talented Kris is to sing and play guitar like that. Kris started the song off accapella; I really like his interpretation. I would buy this song from Itunes definitely! Towards the middle/end of the song, I really loved the husky tone to his voice. Something we don’t hear often from him.

Kara loved that Kris “didn’t do James Taylor or Marvin Gay, you did Kris. You made your mark on that song. You did everything right on that performance!”
Paula thought it was really nice seeing Kris “come into [his] own”, calling his personality ‘infectious’; and marveling that the “note at the end was brilliant. You keep growing and growing every week!”
Simon said that Kris is having a good competition so far. But wants to see Kris “start believing in [himself]”. This I don’t get, Simon thinks you have to be conceited to be a star? His advice to Kris: “Start acting like me”. No way! Kris’ response: “I’ll take everything else, but the conceit? No.” And Ryan backed him. Kudos, Kris, for showing some back bone and standing up for who you are and what you believe!
Randy declared that Kris has “hit your zone; You ain’t doing nothing wrong!”

Scott MacIntyre is singing “You Can’t Hurry Love”. Once again, he appears behind his piano; and I think he made a fabulous choice in remaining there! He has put his own twist on the song as well; and I really like it. I’m not sure his vocals are right on all the time, the sound a bit weak at times, but this is a million times better than last week.

Paula loved having the back-up singers around the piano; as well as “the beginning, with the chord changes in the rabatto(?) section”.
Simon thought the “piano was terrible, the back up singers were a mess. This was the wrong song for you. I thought it was cheap. And I think you’re better than that. You are choosing the wrong songs”. I have to agree with Simon in that Scott could pick much better songs for himself, and I think he is better than what we’ve seen so far.
Randy doesn’t agree with Simon often, but did tonight, calling it “a very hotel performance”. He told Scott to start taking some risks; “You’re a better singer than that, take bigger challenges”.
Kara disagrees with the guys on this one, saying “I love the up-tempo”. But she cautioned Scott; “When you take liberties like you did with the melody, you have to nail it. You had good ideas, the execution just wasn’t perfect”.
And at the end of it all, Paula pulls out a box of crayons for Simon. Hmm. Those two are a mess always!

Megan Joy is singing “For Once In My Life”. Smokey was right in that it does sound like she totally made this her own through her unique voice.

Randy said “the song was a trainwreck”, calling it “bizarre”. His advice was to have slowed it “back a little. It was too rushed and hectic”.
Kara agreed with Randy. She recommended ‘My Guy’, calling it more like Megan. “You didn’t dominate the song, the song was dominating you”.
Paula complimented Megan on her appearance, calling her “stunningly beautiful. The camera loves you”; but she agreed that the song wasn’t right for Megan. “I don’t feel you found your pocket”.
Simon was abrupt: “The good news is you look good. The bad news is that it was horrible. A horrible arrangement; atrocious song, the vocals were all over the place”.

Anoop Desai chose “Ooh, Baby, Baby”, and my initial thought is-‘really?’. But I was surprised. It was better than I thought it would be given the song choice, but not as good as I’d hoped for Anoop tonight. It turned out a little bland to me.

Kara said that was one of the most beautiful songs ever written and probably one of the hardest to sing. “Overall”, she said, “that song is very hard to do you and you did a pretty good job. You’re showing us that you can sing; you have a skill set”; but asked to see Anoop become “a little more creative with the melodies”.
Paula loves Anoops’ new-found confidence but wants to see more. “Your delivery was spot on, not only that but sweet”.
Simon called it a “great vocal”; but said Anoop looked half asleep. “You gotta find that balance, that showmanship. But you’ve had two good weeks in a row”.
Randy liked seeing the “serious Anoop-dog”, next week wants him to “turn it back up. Was nice to hear you croon and swoon; but get back and bring it next week!”

In the sixth performance spot is Michael Sarver, singing “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”. Can Michael bring it? Can he, as Smokey said, lay it all out on the line? My verdict: YES! Michael brought it tonight; solid, and fun performance!

Paula: “for me this was a tough performance; it felt old Las Vegas loungy for me”. She told him “you really need to dominate and drive that song, not the reverse”.
Simon actually couldn’t wait for it to end. “You were screaming and shouting that song”. Simon went a step further, telling Michael “you have no chance of winning this competition based on that performance. In the real world it just really isn’t good enough. That was below half”.
Randy said the song was just a little too big for Michael tonight. “You were trying to do too much with it”. Remember folks, both Michael and Megan have had the flu…
Kara was the only one, in my opinion, that gave Michael any constructive criticism; saying “at this point it’s not about singing, it’s about artistry. That’s what we need from you. And that’s what I didn’t feel this week”.

Lil Rounds picked “Heat Wave”…Honestly, this is nowhere near what I expected from Lil this week.

Randy mentioned her crazy vocals, but said “the front was a little bit torture, not the right song for you. Felt like you were rushing a bit. Not the best performance from you”.
Kara said Lil looked great. “You were the diva that everyone was waiting to hear. I don’t think this was the right song. If you had melodies that breathe more you could have interpreted more; you have the voice for that”.
Paula disagreed with the above two. “It’s what you do vocally that feels fresh and takes a classic song and makes it new”.
Simon thought Lil was giving an “authentic tribute to the sound of Motown. But the song didn’t give you a moment. It was too fast. You could have had a moment”. He reminded us that Lil is “one of the best singers we have in this competition”; and said he’s waiting for her to blow everyone away again like she did in the first week…but said she can’t do it with that song.

We have three contestants left; Adam, Allison, and Danny. What will they bring?

Adam Lambert is next, singing “Tracks Of My Tears”. I’m really surprised by this choice. Is he going to change it like he did with “Ring of Fire”? Is he trying to look like Elvis? I do have to say that I’m SO glad that he chose to tone everything down this week and show us his pure vocals. I admit freely that Adam has amazing talent in his voice. I don’t think he’s miles ahead of the other contestants, but he does have one of the best voices here. Adam is getting a standing ovation from Paula, Kara, and Smokey! Nice job, Adam!

Kara called it one of the best performances of the night; loving his artistry!
Paula said he was completely in his own league. And loved the clean look, “you look classy. You are exciting.”
Simon disagreed with Kara; saying it was THE best performance of the night! He said Adam summed up originality, choosing the right song, and being a relevant recording artist, as the judges had talked about earlier. Adam was lauded with emerging as a star tonight. Good for you, Adam!
Randy said Adam has the range to do anything; he loved the “tender moments; the falsetto”, and said Adam used everything in his arsenal.

My favorite, Danny Gokey, is up, singing “Get Ready”. I think this was a great choice! He’s been working on the dancing…I love the energy he’s showing. Not his best vocal performance, but still quite good. I enjoyed the ambience in his voice.

Paula called Danny undeniable and identifiable, saying he brings a “first class performance every week”.
Simon thought it clumsy and amateur.
Randy said it wasn’t the best performance from Danny, but loved the energy and feel of it.
Kara loved the energy as well, saying she “thought it was good, not great”, but declared herself “still a big fan!”

Allison Iraheta closes the night with “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”. Allison is bringing everything up to claim the top female spot in this competition, and she’s doing a tremendous job of it! She didn’t work the stage much, but she brought it with the vocals. Awesome!

Randy called Allison “one of the dopest singers in this whole season. Blazing hot!”
Kara was blown away, saying it was “amazing! You sing like you’ve been singing for 400 years!”
Paula said she was awesome; “You belong in the competition. Beautiful!”
Simon called her “a survivor. One of your best performances. Well done!”

Hearing everything back once more, I would place Megan, Michael, and Scott in the bottom three. And actually, in Megan’s re-run, she sounded a little off pitch. Based on the three individual performances, I wouldn’t hesitate in calling them the bottom, and would actually call Megan off.

Outstanding performances tonight were from Adam, Allison, and Kris; with Danny coming in close behind.

So, what do you think?

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