2 'Idols' Leap Out Of Their Comfort Zones
MSNBC.COM - It was an interesting week on "American Idol" as the headlines were stolen by the risk takers and the sick.
Casey Abrams and Jacob Lusk were the singers who went outside of their comfort zones when picking songs from their birth year. Abrams went with Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and proved what's obvious — he's not a grunge singer. I give him credit for trying something new, but it was screamy and pitchy, and in general not his best work. Not that he has to worry about being voted off, but he probably shouldn't plan on moving to Seattle to get that band back together.
Lusk chose to cover Heart's "Alone," a popular choice ever since Carrie Underwood knocked it out of the park on the way to winning season four. Like with Abrams, Lusk's effort was notable mainly because of its newness and because of his willingness to experiment, but don't look for that to become his new comfort zone or anything.
Both men should be safe this week without much of a sweat. Obviously, not everyone can say the same.
Again, it was mostly the women who put themselves in danger, starting with Haley Reinhart. Reinhart is the classic "Idol" contestant who doesn't find her comfort zone right away and flails around trying to figure out who she is as an artist. As judge Steven Tyler pointed out after she performed "I'm Your Baby Tonight," she'd gone from Alicia Keys to LeAnn Rimes to Whitney Houston in successive weeks, which doesn't help a singer trying to establish her own brand.
Naima Adedapo went from being a wild-card entry into the finals to the hit of the show last week, but played it a little too safe when she opened the show with Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do With It." She has the stage presence and the confidence of a star, but was not close to having those kind of vocals this week.
Karen Rodriguez told mentor Jimmy Iovine she didn't want to be typecast as the girl who sang in both English and Spanish, but he seemingly convinced her to do it again on Taylor Dayne's "Love Will Lead You Back." The Spanish didn't work so well there and seemed like a parlor trick instead of an artistic wrinkle, but it beat what she managed a w
Lauren Alaina was also sick, but did a lot better and recaptured some of the mojo she lost a week ago. Her personality's a big asset for her as well, as she made fun of her contagiousness by bringing host Ryan Seacrest a mask to wear during their pre-performance interview.
Iovine seems determined to get Scotty McCreery to try something different, as if he has a side bet going with the judges. That's not happening. McCreery stuck to country with Travis Tritt's "Can I Trust You With My Heart," and anyone who likes country music was a fan of that. And those who aren't ... well, McCreery is hoping there are too few of you to make a difference.
James Durbin stepped perhaps a tiny bit outside his comfort zone, but only as far as Bon Jovi's "I'll Be There For You." Pia Toscano also tried something a little fresher when she went up-tempo with Whitney Houston's "Where Do Broken Hearts Go." On this night, both performances were good enough to make them sound like stars.
And Stefano Langone earned raves for his Simply Red impression, a performance that Randy Jackson likened to the Olympics. That was appropriate, since a lot of Langone's appeal was similar to that of a skater who takes the ice after the first five athletes crashed on their triple axels. He did well by not doing poorly on "If You Don't Know Me By Now.
What Simon would say?
The new "Idol" judges are doing fine, apart from a reluctance to be negative. J.Lo and Tyler are definitely adding a new energy to the proceedings, and a sense of humor that was lacking in previous years. But it's hard not to hear some of the finalists sing and predict the feedback Simon would have offered.
Thia Megia, for example, would have driven him up the wall. She's a 16-year-old who sings ballads and tries to sound like she's 10 years older. That was always a pet peeve of the acerbic Brit, and she should be grateful he's working on his new show instead of sticking around to compare her with Alaina. Alaina acts her age, which adds to her likability in a way that Megia hasn't been able to match.
Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>
SPOKANE, Wash. - Two families are still left shocked after they say someone sprayed their dogs with pepper spray. This happened on Saturday night around 9 p.m. near Hays Park. Eric Eitzman says he was inside his home when he heard his dog and his neighbor’s dogs start barking. He opened the door and his dog ran inside. That’s when his daughter grabbed the dog and said she smelled.>>
ROSALIA, Wash. - Washington State Patrol reports one person is dead after a crash on Highway 195 Saturday night. It happened around 10:30 p.m. about one mile south of Rosalia. Troopers say a 2002 Chevrolet Blazer driven by 36-year-old Joshua J.Kenyon was northbound on 195 and a 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe, driven 37-year-old Angela C. Pressnal, was headed southbound on the highway.>>
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A former Spokane County Sheriff's deputy has been convicted of lying to fraudulently obtain federal assistance. The Spokesman-Review reports that a jury on Friday found former Spokane County Sheriff's jailer Donald B. Henderson guilty of stealing roughly $650,000 from the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veteran Affairs for more than a decade.>>
PARK COUNTY, Colo. - Mountain climbers came together on social media to help rescue a dog stuck atop a 14,177-foot mountain in Colorado. A group dedicated to climbing so-called 14ers (mountains with elevations of at least 14,000 feet) worked together to find a dog stranded on Mt. Bross.>>
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - Crews are removing 31 mangled rail cars and more than 3,500 tons (3,175 metric tons) of coal along a 200-foot (61-meter) section of riverbank on the Cabinet Gorge Reservoir in northwestern Montana. The Missoulian reports the cars, each carrying about 122 tons (111 metric tons) of coal, derailed Aug. 13 and dumped much of their contents on the south side of the reservoir.>>
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say an inmate has been killed and several others were stabbed in a large riot at a prison on California's central coast. Corrections officials say the melee involving more than 160 inmates broke out around midday Sunday in the yard at California Men's Colony near San Luis Obispo.>>