“American Idol’s” Lucky Thirteen performed during Michael Jackson night on Tuesday, March 10, 2009, and there are definitely a few performers who are at risk. Two contestants are to be cut on Wednesday night’s show, and judging from the reactions of Paula, Kara, Randy and Simon those who may be leaving include Anoop Desai, who performed “Beat It” and was universally dissed.
Jorge Nunez is also not safe, after singing “Never Can Say Goodbye.” He had a few off-key moments and Randy pronounced his performance”a little old-fashioned” and commented on “a couple of pitch points.” In trying to defend his performance, Jorge said, “I was not going to sing ‘Bad’ by Michael Jackson,” opening himself up to one of Simon’s typically cutting and blunt critiques when Simon said, “Well, you sort of did.” Simon added, for good measure, “I couldn’t wait for it to end. The arrangement was terrible.” [Yikes!] Jorge cried out of sheer emotion on one recent show, and it seemed to help; maybe he can try that again?
For me, Jasmine Murray was just “okay,” as usual. A beautiful girl from Columbus, Mississippi (a correction of my misreporting of Missouri on a prior article), but her version of “I’ll Be There” was off-key and the comment was that she seemed “a little bit like a little girl trying to be a grown-up.”
So, who was good this night?
As usual, Adam Lambert blew away the competition performing “Black and White” with a great deal of sincerity. His choice of this song that decries prejudice based on color made me feel as though he might be trying to speak to the homophobic prejudice that surrounds the pictures of Adam kissing another male. So far, in eight seasons the country has not selected an openly gay “American Idol,” although we certainly can argue that Clay Aiken came close, but was still in the closet. Danny Gokey was also very good this night, although his moves are far more amateurish than those of the Broadway veteran (Adam) to the point that he actually asked for dancing instruction, hoping that some would be forthcoming. Other boys who did well on Tuesday were Matt Giraud, Kris Allen (who revealed that he has been married for five or six months), Scott McIntyre, the blind contestant who sang a song no one has heard about conquering mountains from behind the piano, and—much less successfully for me—Michael Sarver, the oil rig worker.
Among the girls, the standouts remained the same: Lil Rounds, Alexis Grace and Allison Iraheto (in no particular order). Lil Rounds of Memphis took some heat from Simon about her outfit, as Simon also commented that it was :a lazy song choice” when Lil sang “The Way You Make Me Feel’ and added, “The last half was better than the first half, and I hate what you’re wearing.” (Tell us what you really think, Simon.) Lil had a soft pink top on, but the tight white jean-like pants were very unflattering.
Megan Corkrey did not have a good night, either, as she sang “Rockin’ Robin,” an odd song choice. Simon called her performance “Clumsy and awkward” and pronounced the song “a bad song choice.” Randy was slightly kinder, saying, “That song didn’t allow you to be Megan” but the phrase “That song choice was stupid” rang in the audience’s ears. However, given the high esteem in which Simon holds Megan, and how cute she looked in her red dress, I would bet that the two packing their bags will come from the trio of Anoop, Jasmine or Jorge. The rest of the contestants really didn’t stumble coming out of the gate too badly, although Simon had to remind Paula, who was, as usual, completely over the moon for Adam Lambert, “Just to be clear, there are another ten weeks to go.” Paula’s remarks regarding Adam included, “You’re so comfortable and so seasoned. (I’m blown away by) your innate ability to know who you are as an artist. I believe with all my heart that we’ll be seeing you in the finals.” Simon agreed that the vocals were “terrific” and that Adam is “in a league by yourself.” Randy pronounced Adam “the most current, the most right now. If you got it, you got it, and, baby, you got it.” Kara said, “You hit notes I didn’t even know existed” and wondered why Adam Lambert had not already been signed by some label, given his incredible talent. (A good question.)
Stay tuned for the results on Wednesday night’s show, March 11th.