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Idol Worship: Best To Worst Of Michael Jackson Night

We called it last week, and to our delight, there will be a double elimination in the Top 13. And while we didn't expect it so soon, in a way, Michael Jackson was a fitting choice for season 8's official opening night, making it all the easier to weed out weaker contenders — you know, the ones who can't handle the King of Pop's falsetto or can't re-imagine such classic songs or simply pick the wrong ones (ahem, Anoop Desai). That said, there were a few bright spots on Tuesday night, chief among them: Matt Giraud, Allison Iraheta, Alexis Grace, and, as much as it pains us to admit it, Adam Lambert. But between the new non-sex line phone number, the awkward judges' entrance and the fact that nobody — nobody! — attempted "Rock With You," we were thoroughly befuddled.  Who should stay and who should go? Our best to worst Top 13 ranking below...

Alexis-grace 1. Alexis Grace - "Dirty Diana"
One week in and Alexis is clearly the female front-runner. It's why producers gave her the screwy 5736 number. Had it been assigned to someone else it might be seen (or argued) as a handicap. But not in Alexis' case and for good reason: there's more talent in that tiny little body than half of the season 8 graduating class. Alexis delivered edge and unparalleled sex appeal with her take on "Dirty Diana," wowing the judges and no doubt leaving a lasting impression on millions of TV viewers with an end-of-show bow (the Idol equivalent of Tyra Banks pulling your photo first on an America's Next Top Model elimination). We've said it before and we'll say it again: Alexis could very well be our next American Idol.  

2. Matt Giraud - "Human Nature"
We haven't exactly been shy about our worship of all things Matt Giraud, and for that reason, we felt completely vindicated this week. Not only was Matt the only contestant that bothered to go into falsetto, he also proved that he is by far the most competent all-around musician in the bunch. In fact, we've decided that Matt's previous snafus (namely, Coldplay's "Viva La Vida") can be blamed on the fact that he was standing up and not seated at the piano. Because it's at the keys, which Matt navigates effortlessly, that this soul comes alive. Bring on some Keane for Brit night, and we'll be in Idol heaven.

3. Adam Lambert - "Black and White"
Let's put it this way: had we been in the studio audience last night, even our jaded ass would get off the seat and down to some serious boogieing. There's no arguing, Adam Lambert is entertaining and can command an audience. Hell, he's been practicing for it all his life. But when you get down to brass tacks, if we may use an outdated phrase, the vocals just weren't that strong. Adam simply played to what the judges have long responded to: he got in their face. If it's style over substance that wins this competition, then the rest of the group might as well forfeit. But if it's about finding a truly undiscovered voice, let's give someone else a chance.

4. Lil Rounds - "The Way You Make Me Feel"
No surprises here, this girl can sing. Lil Rounds delivered a flawless performance and commanded the stage with gusto. Fantasia comparisons notwithstanding, especially in light of Lil's own rags-to-(hopefully)-riches story, we see Lil on the level of Jennifer Hudson — oozing soul with every breath. There's no doubt she's going through this week, and for many more.

5. Allison Iraheta - "Give In To Me"
We don't want to harp on Allison's age, but for 16 — or any age, for that matter — her voice is insane. To her credit, she injected a much needed rock boost into what was becoming a night of pop overload, but she did so with confidence and ease. Does this girl not get nervous? Well, showmanship is a big element in the Idol equation, and Allison has that part down. But can she go all the way or are with looking at Carly Smithson, the sequel?

6. Danny Gokey - "P.Y.T."
First off, what optometrist is working overtime outfitting Danny Gokey with new glasses every week? Man, if only we could have that luxury: a bespectastylist! But aside from looking like an Appleby's waiter this week, Danny "P.Y.T." was a decent journeyman's version of what should be a very sexy track. Throw in his moves, and you had enough to titillate, but not enough to offend. It all falls in line with his church-going ways, but will that naiveté be his downfall in the end? Something to ponder in the pew...

7. Kris Allen - "Do You Remember The Time?"
One thing we know about Kris Allen: what he lacks in range and a natural ability to riff, he more than makes up for in the looks department, which should keep him in the competition for a nice, long run. But there's no doubt his take on Michael Jackson — the second in as many weeks — was distinct. By infusing the song with John Mayer and Jason Mraz vibes, Kris offered a modern spin so desperately needed on this season. Here's hoping he has more time to develop. 

8.  Michael Sarver - "You Are Not Alone"
There's no doubt this roughneck has a lot of heart, but unless he's got some ace up his sleeve, sweet and saccharine performances like the one he delivered last night will not take him far. We hate to say this, since we rarely welcome the sight of burly white men dancing, but Michael needs some moves. This whole meandering around the stage thing just makes him seem lost in this competition.

9. Jorge Nunez - "Never Can Say Goodbye"
While we have to commend the valiant effort by Puerto Rico's shining hope, there's no way to ignore Jorge's persistent pitch problems all over the place. Still, he has that certain charm, and we don't think "Never Can Say Goodbye" was a terrible choice (though we have to confess: we loved the Communards'  1987 version, which served as the soundtrack to many a USY dance). But Jorge's clearly in the danger zone after this performance, and may be bidding adiôs sooner rather than later.

10. Megan Joy Corkrey - "Rockin' Robin"
We've observed this before: there's a side to Megan Corkrey that's very Elaine from Seinfeld, and we're not just talking about her awkward dance moves and the fact that she cawed at the end of the song. Everyone says she's kooky, and they mean that in an endearing way, but we got a distinct Sanjaya vibe from Megan's "Rockin' Robin" performance lat night, and that's not something we care to take part in willingly. Still, we think she'll squeak on by in this round and maybe a few more, but please Idol gods, never make us sit through that chirping again.

11. Jasmine Murray - "I'll Be There"
Age aside, Jasmine suffered the unfortunate fate of picking a song that was simply too big for her. Furthermore, it was good of Randy to mention that he had recorded "I'll Be There" with Mariah Carey, because we imagine even she had a hard time tracking the vocals. Still, the judges took it easy on Jasmine — and who wouldn't, she's only 17! — but we have a harder time forgiving some very serious pitch and sustain issues. It may be time to let her loose... again.

12. Scott MacInytre - "Keep The Faith"
It pains us to say this, and we feel so bad even writing it, but Scotty's gotta go. Sure, his voice is pleasant enough and the guy plays a mean piano, but all of his song choices so far have made us feel like we're trapped in grandma's car with a radio that only picks up the AM easy listening station. It's snoozy, and cheesy, and any number of other descriptives ending with "zzzz...." Simon called it right, as usual, but judging from Idol Twitter chatter, Scott's still got plenty of fans.

13. Anoop Desai - "Beat It"
He may have gotten the first ever Top 13 stay of execution, but talk about a major miscalculation. Anoop Dogg thought he would score points for choosing one of The Gloved One's biggest hits, but in doing something so true to the original, he didn't bring any of himself into the song, and just ended up getting lost in it. The judges called it karaoke for a reason, while we were simply reminded of our embarrassing first exploration into Guitar Hero: World Tour, on which "Beat It" appears. That's why we're waving bye bye, Mr. Anoop Desai.

March 11, 2009 in American Idol | Permalink


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I loved Kris. He made the show fun to watch. I love his dancing and singing.


Posted by: Sadie | Mar 13, 2009 5:08:16 AM

I think they've completely murdered every Michael Jackson songs. Just like the Beatles songs, those songs are only meant for one singer---Michael Jackson.

Despite this though, I think we all amused ourselves listening to them. It was not that much of a waste of time.

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