AMERICAN IDOL Recap: Double Your Pleasure?

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Last night, the Idols got two shots at the mic for the first time this season.
With so many performances, there’s no time to waste. Let’s get to the performances!

Tyanna Jones Sang “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” by Frankie Lymon
Keith Said: I don’t know if that’s the greatest song to show off your vocals.
J-Lo Said: I feel like you’re beginning to get back into your groove.
Harry Said: I would have loved to have seen you move around.
The Verdict:
Tyanna took a weird left turn on this performance. For the entire run of the show, she’s just been a very good karaoke singer from 2015. With this performance of an old teen idol song, she seemed more like a character out of that show “American Dreams” with Brittany Snow. A total out-of-date soda shop teen idol from the fifties with no relevance in today’s scene.
As always, the vocal was solid, but nothing spectacular. Tyanna’s very steady but never amazes. Here, she just confounded.
Grade: C

Clark Beckham Sang “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder
Keith Said: It was really cool.
J-Lo Said: It’s starting to feel like a star.
Harry Said: I thought that was about as good as you could have done that song.
The Verdict:
Clark defies criticism at this point. He’s not competing on this show anymore. He’s past everybody else. It’s just two minutes of the Clark Beckham concert every time he takes the stage.
This time, he added some weird scat jamming to the open and close of this song and it all made sense. It’s almost like he’s toying with everybody else.
I would have liked to see him go with something a bit more original in terms of arrangement here, but I just don’t see this guy giving a bad performance ever.
Grade: B+

Jax Sang “Piece of My Heart” by Big Brother and Holding Company
Keith Said: You sing really well with a band.
J-Lo Said: It was a really strong performance for you. This is your element.
Harry Said: You have great time and great rhythm.
The Verdict:
After an oddly bad performance last week, Jax is clearly back with this riff on Janis Joplin that showed a cool rock edge to Jax’s unique voice and another gear for her confidence. She absolutely owned the stage in a way that nobody has so far this year outside of Quentin. Pure raw emotion as she stalked the stage like a panther, ripping into this song like she knew she had to make up for last week. Or at least try to contend with Clark.
It’s good to have Jax back. Maybe somebody can actually pose a challenge.
Grade: B+

Nick Fradiani Sang “American Girl” by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Keith Said: Great great job, Nick!
J-Lo Said: You have a really radio-ready voice.
Harry Said: Try to remember that feeling. This is precisely what you need to do.
The Verdict:
This is a very strange performance from Nick. Technically, there was really nothing wrong with it at all. He sounded great, played well and brought good energy to the stage. He did everything he needed to do.
Except it sucked. It absolutely sucked. It was the equivalent of that awful Kid Rock song where he manages to destroy both “Werewolves of London” and “Sweet Home Alabama” in four minutes of aural torture. Nick just absolutely sucked the life out of this song, turning into a wedding band version or bad cover that just makes you long for the original.
Again, nothing technically wrong with it, I just hated the sum of the parts.
Grade: C-

Quentin Alexander Sang “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz
Keith Said: I thought you held your own.
J-Lo Said: The whole entire thing just worked.
Harry Said: People can be captivated by the band more than your performance.
The Verdict:
Not only am I finished with Quentin, I think Quentin’s finished with Quentin. Who was once a truly unique guy who did really cool new versions of songs has given way to a dude who sings a Lenny Kravitz song right on the record and dresses just like the original artist.
It was like a crappy Lenny Kravitz tribute band took the stage for a minute except with a frontman who couldn’t sing and whose only talent was that he was able to raid Kravitz’s wardrobe. And really, emphasis on the couldn’t sing. From an intonation standpoint he was even wilder than chain mail wardrobe.
At least he caused the weakest controversy in the history of television by saying it was “wack” that his friends might have to go home and Harry wildly misinterpreting that. He actually gets bonus points for that.
Grade: D+

Joey Cook Sang “My Funny Valentine” by Mitzi Green
Keith Said: I don’t think that was perfectly executed.
J-Lo Said: It didn’t move me the way I thought it would.
Harry Said: I thought you did a damn good job.
The Verdict:
So Joey’s always been an over-stylized throwback with her jazz tone that overwhelms her true vocal ability. She appears to have totally embraced that in the last few weeks, going further and further into lounge territory with her arrangements and really dove in headfirst here by simply singing a song from the 30s and saying the hell with it.
I’d respect that if she hadn’t given such an incredibly dull performance. Maybe she was shell-shocked by being in the bottom two. Maybe by Quentin’s little outburst. Whatever the case, there was something lifeless about this performance. That coupled with the fact that from a vocal standpoint it was fair-to-middling version of a performance you can see in about 2,000 burlesque clubs across the country tonight make this one very forgettable.
Grade: D+

Rayvon Owen Sang “Long Train Runnin” by The Doobie Brothers
Keith Said: I wanted to feel something a little bit more.
J-Lo Said: You keep fighting with those great vocals.
Harry Said: When you get the perfect song, you will shut the room down. I don’t think that was it.
The Verdict:
First of all, I only want to see Clark sing the Doobies on this show. Only he is allowed to make my AM Radio dreams come true. Second, if somebody’s going to sing this song I’d prefer they not make it an Up With People-meets-Soul Train fever dream that seemed like it came out of a laughable throwback Youtube video from 30 years ago.
Speaking of, we can all agree the Sizzler video is fake, right?
Grade: C-

Clark Beckham Sang “Moon River” by Andy Williams
Keith Said: It was warm and fuzzy like an epidural.
J-Lo Said: I was thinking to myself, “smooth and creamy.”
Harry Said: Learn more chords. Challenge yourself.
The Verdict:
Because there’s no point in critiquing the utter perfection that is Clark anymore, let’s just remember this classic Simpsons bit:

Grade: A
Tyanna Jones Sang “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Keith Said: Your improvement is going to be astronomical.
J-Lo Said: That’s where you wow the audience.
Harry Said: That was as close to perfect as you can go.
The Verdict:
Tyanna does her karaoke thing again. Just straight up karaoke. Nothing new to see here. Move along. It’s the record like you’ve heard it 15,000 times. She even did the slow start followed by the fast arrangement that Tina Turner’s been doing for forty years.
Yes, the girl can sing. In fact, vocally, this may have been her most impressive performance as she flashed a few new vocal moves she hadn’t shown off yet. There’s just nothing at all original about her. She may as well be animatronic at this point.
Grade: B-

Nick Fradiani Sang “Only the Good Die Young” by Billy Joel
Keith Said: That song was amazing done like that. 10 out of 10.
J-Lo Said: It was great. I’m glad you stood up.
Harry Said: It sounded a little bit self-involved.
The Verdict:
I really enjoyed Nick’s audition for the touring company of “Movin’ Out”. I hope he gets the part.
Grade: B-

Quentin Alexander Sang “The Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel
Keith Said: You’re really really unique. I love what you’re going for.
J-Lo Said: Always put your heart out there first. That was a nice performance.
Harry Said: Try to focus on pitch.
The Verdict:
I don’t want to just shock and overwhelm anybody, but Quentin sang this song standing perfectly still, wearing really big clothes, having dry ice rise around his feet, and horribly out of tune.
It’s really a shame he was so off-pitch too because the arrangement was absolutely gorgeous on this song. There was a strange level of intensity added to this little folk/pop song that made me want to hear somebody who can carry a tune sing it.
So much wasted opportunity with this one. Kind of like Quentin’s slow descent into drudgery.
Grade: C-

Jax Sang “Beat It” by Michael Jackson
Keith Said: It was contagious.
J-Lo Said: You made it look cool.
Harry Said: I’ve been waiting to see you do that and it was really really fun.
The Verdict:
Jax was so brilliantly in-the-pocket on this performance and totally lost it here. It was almost like she was racing with the band to see who could finish the song first in a super-frenzied manic performance that didn’t allow her time to create any vocal moments at all.
It was like Hayley Williams on speed got into a fistfight with Joan Jett. In other words, I kind of dug it quite a bit for all the reasons that it wasn’t good.
Grade: B

Rayvon Owen Sang “Always on My Mind” by Rayvon Owen
Keith Said: That was the right song. It was beautiful.
J-Lo Said: I had the goosies everywhere.
Harry Said: You’re a ballad singer. That puts you right up there with anybody.
The Verdict:
Harry said after Rayvon’s first performance that Rayvon would shut down the room with the right song. Well, seems Rayvon found the right song at the right time here and he did indeed shut the room down.
Rayvon’s always had an issue with just being a happy-smiley guy singing like he was trying to entertain kids at a party. He’s always had a great voice, but never really delivered on it. Here, he poured emotion into his performance and absolutely owned his full potential in two glorious minutes that, by all rights, should keep him out of the bottom two next week.
We can only hope.
Grade: A-

Joey Cook Sang “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane
Keith Said: You really showed both sides tonight.
J-Lo Said: That gave us all the colors of what Joey Cook is.
Harry Said: You impressed me with your inventiveness.
The Verdict:
Before she went on the stage, Scott said that Joey had a career no matter what. With this ukulele-rock performance, I’ve got her job: Fronting the new band Manic Pixie Dream Girls! It will have everything. Dyed hair! Sundresses! Over-stylized vocals! Occasional lounge songs! Dueling uke solos!
This band is truly her destiny. And if this performance proved one thing, she just might be able to make it work. This was everything good about Joey with very little of the bad. I think if she focuses on performances like that, maybe we’ll actually have a shot at seeing her again now that she’s left the show.
Grade: B

Prediction:
If there’s one thing that’s held true for years and years on this show it’s that if you talk back to the judges, you’re likely going home.

Quentin, you talked back to the judges, I think you’re going home. That, and the fact that Quentin can’t sing, should have him in the bottom two next week where he’ll joined by…

…Oh I don’t know…Rayvon?

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  • I agree with every point save one: Tyanna. She is so much better than Payne gives her credit for. I think is is the finest vocalist the show has ever produced. Listen to how she finishes each note. Most singers just sort of end a note and move on. She sings through to the very last millisecond, putting a gorgeous shine on every note. She reminds me of Sinatra or Ella.