March 23rd, 2011
08:01 PM ET
9:51 p.m. – Hey Jennifer Beals. I love the random folks who show up in the "Idol" audience.
James takes on "Living for the City," and I don't think it was his best performance. It's interesting how Scotty is able to stay in the country mode, while James can't quite always keep it rock 'n' roll. He ventures out a bit.
His strongest asset is his great range, and he shows that off at the end of the song. Still, I think he could and has done better. James should be fine this week though.
9:39 p.m. – Ryan points out that Randy has not at all used the word "pitchy" tonight - yet.
And on that note, we have Naima. She sings "Dancing in the Street," and I am worried. Love Naima the chick; Naima the singer, not so much.
Not that she is horrible. It's just that this season is so strong and to me, she's not nearly on the level of some of the other singers. She does, however, get points for making it look fun.
Naima takes the "dancing" part literally and busts some African dance moves accompanied by a group of drummers. Jennifer says it gave her goose bumps, and I sense that Ms. Lopez also gave her extra points for the moves.
That was pretty coolio, and Nigel Lythgoe was clearly having flashbacks to his "So You Think You Can Dance" days.
9:30 p.m. – Who was that poor little child that Seacrest made play along for the cameras and where are her parents?
Paul takes up his guitar and performs "Tracks of My Tears," and his voice is so light I feel like he is whispering to me. What's that you said Paul?
He's a happy dude. So mellow. So sweet. I'm torn here because part of me wants to type at this point "so boring," but I just love his individuality. His voice is unique, and his teeth are so very white.
Paul makes me smile.
9:17 p.m. – I'm a big fan of Pia.
She sings "All in Love Is Fair," and of course she looks effortlessly stunning, but even more impressive is the way the notes just seem to float out of her mouth. J-Lo tells her that she "could have a career like Celine Dion," but she needs to be more dynamic. I feel her on that because it starts to get sleepy after a little while with her just standing there and blowing.
Lots of folks think she may be the one to beat, and I am starting to see that. Steven Tyler thinks she is the closest thing to a star right now in the season.
Well done, Lady P.
9:06 p.m. – I really want to move into the "Idol" mansion, 'cause that house is hot.
Scotty took the words out of my mouth when he said he worried about coming off like a lounge singer while performing "For Once in My Life." Of course, he makes it a country song. Because, well, Scotty is country. I really like his voice, but I need someone to work with him on his stage presence because he has a tendency to come off looking a little bit like a rooster prancing across the stage.
But maybe it's just not for me because the girls in the audience are going crazy. I think it's those crazy low notes. I, too, am a sucker for a deep voice.
8:55 p.m. – Did Gordon Ramsay diss Stefano's mama's cooking?
Good to see Otis Williams, one of the founding members of The Temptations, in the audience. Haley sings "You Really Got a Hold on Me," and for some reason it reminds me of when those kiddie singers perform a tune that is way too old for them.
She's doing all types of runs and strutting, but I just didn't love it. I'm not sure what it is that is off for me about her. I just don't get it.
(Side note - I wish Randy would stop calling women "Yo." It annoys me. That is all.)
8:43 p.m. – "Hello?"
Stefano takes on the classic by Lionel Richie, and I can't help thinking about the recent poster campaign. But back to the song: Stefano's phrasing sounded a little strange to me. He seemed like he was focused so much on trying to keep his eyes open like Rodney Jerkins told him to do.
Jennifer started with him as she always does by saying "Baby" and letting him know that she needs to feel more emotion from him. Technically he was on point, but he isn't connecting with the emotion of the song. But J-Lo is still feeling him cause he really is super adorable with a great voice.
8:35 p.m. - "You Keep Me Hanging On" is one of my favorite songs by the Supremes and little Miss Lauren brings that diva attitude.
Not in a stank way, but completely poised and funky with it. She's very soulful and she owned the stage and the song. Great job and I agree with Randy that Lauren got her swagger on.
Work it girl!
8:25 p.m. - So little Ms. Thia admitted that she forgot the words a little bit. Tsk, tsk.
On to Jacob, who sings "You're All I Need to Get By." Like Casey, he's also been warned to pull back a bit. Less runs, and high notes.
And he works it out! He sings the song like he was born to do it. Utterly amazing. The judges are on their feet for a standing ovation and Steven Tyler runs up on the stage after wards.
And his grandma gets a hug and a kiss. She has a right to be proud. Funny moment when the entire front row comes up to hug Jacob. So cute!
8:16 p.m. - Sometimes I seriously forget that Thia is only 16 years old.
Her voice is so much older and she showcases that maturity with "Heatwave." Last week Randy urged her to step away from the ballads and perform an up tempo song and she works it out. She struts the stage and sings on pitch. Much more confidence this time around and it worked for her.
The judges want her to "dig deeper" and I wonder how much a girl her age can really dig, but I guess we will see what happens. Steven doesn't judge much, just goes with a "I'm good with it" comment which makes me wonder if he doesn't love Thia as much as Randy and Jennifer.
8:08 p.m. – My goodness how much hair gel does Casey have in that head to tame that 'do?
He's looking a little "Teen Wolf," but sounding in fine form doing "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," though in some parts it starts to sound a little tribute-band like. He's been warned that he needs to harness all of that energy, and I see he is struggling not to go overboard.
Steven Tyler praises him for his "crazy-ass, out-of-control ego," which he says is very necessary for music stars today. I guess ...
Anywhoo, I kind of dug it. Not a bad way to start the show.
8:05 p.m. - Let's have a fashion break: J-Lo is looking very retro with her sparkly pink dress and green eye shadow.
And there's Liv Tyler in the audience supporting her papa Steve. She's a cutie.
8:02 p.m. - Mr. Berry Gordy remains youthful looking.
We get a little retrospective on Motown music, and wow what a list of acts - from Marvin Gaye to the Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder. Hit after hit after hit. The "Idol" gang better do those tunes justice.
8 p.m. - Are you ready for some Motown? I am.
Love that the show started in black and white. Way to throw it back to the Motown era!
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