It’s Rat Pack night and the Top 5 contestants got to be ‘standard’. Primarily, they sang songs from the songbooks of the so-called Rat Pack – Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford. Obviously, no one is expected to be that ‘standard’ since as we all know, they need to be more of who they are, to be original and contemporary and not do a copy cat, karaoke performance. I expected very nice, more subdued performances that anybody could swoon over and we got it in general, except for Adam and Danny who obviously did scream their hearts out tonight.
Kris Allen – The Way You Look Tonight The Way You Look Tonight was first featured in the film Swing Time with Fred Astaire and won an Academy Award for best song in 1936. It was popularly performed by Frank Sinatra and a host of other great singers covered it. Lately, the most popular cover is that of Michael Buble and from which Kris Allen’s performance of the song can be best compared with. As ever, it was very Kris Allen and not Buble-ish. I particularly like how he changed the tempo right after the first half of it. That part is very Kris. Overall, it was the best opening performance for the whole season. I don’t know what came with Simon (maybe he was comparing it Buble) when he said the performance was “wet” (omg, I have dirty thoughts on that!). But I have to completely agree with Paula – it was nearly IMPECCABLE – and that came with the way Kris looked tonight. I love the falsetto finish.
Allison Iraheta – Someone To Watch Over Me One of the best songs ever and one of my favorites. This Gershwin song is a jazz standard that has been performed by many artists including Jean Louisa Kelly in 1996 movie Mr. Holland’s Opus. After that performance in the said movie, I could never forget that song. I admire Allison for trying to be faithful to the original and playing everything down. But there is something lacking in the performance – the innocent longing for a knight in shining armor – that which would draw men worthy to shepherd an innocent and lost lamb. She looked 16 (just turned 17 actually) with her ‘prom dress’ but she still ‘rock’-ed the song a little bit. She may be the last woman standing and I think it will be her last performance on the show tomorrow night.
Matt Giraud – My Funny Valentine Oh my! Melinda Doolittle owns this song on Idol (I miss her on the Idol stage!). It is originally a Broadway show tune (Babes in Arms, 1937) and has become a jazz standard. This song was Melinda’s ticket to stardom. But I find it funny to incorporate R&B falsettos to the singing, just like Matt did. Melinda played it straight but with more soul which made the interpretation in its grandest awesome-ness. With all due credit, however, this was the best performance of Matt for the season. It was controlled, well-enunciated and full-voiced performance. Thanks to Jamie Foxx for suggesting the key downgrading for Matt. But! But! But! As it is, Matt is a likely candidate in the bottom 2.
Danny Gokey – Come Rain or Come Shine Another show tune original (St. Louis Woman, 1946), recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1961 and was performed by Katharine McPhee in Season 5. While Kat leaned more on the more pleasant jazz, Danny’s version bordered on screaming. I thought the opening verse was brilliant – soft, more contemporary – not until towards the finish. We know the vocal prowess of Danny. It has been established and he does not have to compete with Adam in the scream category. Overall, it was Danny’s best, he has the standard swag but I actually hated the ending chorus for his shouting.
Adam Lambert – Feeling Good The song is often credited to Nina Simone but it was actually from the 1965 Broadway musical The Roar of the Greasepaint—the Smell of the Crowd and went on to be covered by Sammy Davis Jr and Michael Buble in the more recent years, among other notable singers (Pussycat Dolls did this song also). But Adam’s version is that of Muse, a British alternative rock band. So he screeeaaaammmmmed! I’m tired of listening to it. I did not feel good actually. He has the vocal chops and he doesn’t have to show it off every time. Not all songs are worthy of that “scream”. And yes, the performance was too theatrical – from the all-white suit, his descent from the grand staircase to the play of lights. Nevertheless, he’s the front runner of Idol this season and you know what it means – him and the others. Pimp spot again, eh?
I have to be more objective this time, so my ranking follows:
1. Danny Gokey
2. Adam Lambert
3. Kris Allen
4. Matt Giraud
5. Allison Iraheta
I want an all-male top 4, so Allison should go home tomorrow, before the rock theme favors her next week. But Matt is in very grave danger of being eliminated. Mind him – no more save.
By the way, Jamie Foxx was a good mentor to the Idols.