American Idol Season 8- Motown Performance Wrap-up

Before we talk about the past, let’s look to the future with anticipation.  Smokey Robinson and Joss Stone, Reuben Studdard and Stevie Wonder, American Idol tomorrow night could be “blazin hot”, “dope” and “da bomb” all rolled into one.

I must say that tonight’s American Idol performances were more disappointing than exciting for me.  See our live thoughts at the Motown live blog. There were more bad performances than any show since the Wild Card, there were two great performances and I had two major shockers.  To the shockers first:

  • Matt Giraud, we have been promoting you as a Christian music artist and, based on what I have read, you are quite open about your faith.  What are you doing singing “Let’s Get It On”? I am disappointed in your judgement.
  • Lil Rounds, you may be able to sing the phone book but evidently you cannot sing “Heatwave”.   I never, ever thought I would hear Lil Rounds struggle singing a song.  I am flabbergasted.

I guess these Motown songs are harder to sing than they sound on the surface.  Several of the American Idol singers struggled to live up to the originals.  Is anyone surprised that no one sang “Midnight Train to Georgia” or “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”?

It was cool having Smokey Robinson as the mentor.  I am not sure how much he helped.  We would have all appreciated him throwing his body in front of Meagan Joy to stop her.  Danny Gokey ignored Smokey’s advice.  It was cool that Lil Rounds understood the Motown’s place in the civil rights movement and expressed her gratitude for the trails that have been blazed for her.

Now to the performance ratings:

  1. Allison Iraheta tore down the house.  She has no business singing a song with as much emotional depth as “Pappa Was A Rolling Stone”.  Not only did she sing it, she drove it down to the Stax Studios in Memphis, dipped it in a little Aretha Franklin brew, turned up the smoke and even threw in a little mid song rap.  And the note she hit at the end.  Forget the night, I think this was the best performance of the season.
  2. Adam Lambert really did a masterful job tonight. His interpretation of Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks of My tears” was outstanding.  The singing was almost perfect. with a beautiful falsetto.  His interpretation of the song was revelatory without destroying the song.  He updated the song yet still left room for the beautiful, innocent message of that song.
  3. Danny Gokey delivered another brilliant, fun performance, even though he did not implement Smokey Robinson’s suggestion that would have made it even better. Great phrasing, wonderful arrangement and the dancing.  Oh, my. Once again Danny Gokey stands at or near the top.
  4. Kris Allen continues to assert himself as a contender.  He sang Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet It Is”.  He delivered a cool, smooth vocal, but he once again demonstrated stellar interpretative skills.  The judges were right when they said he created a new version of the song.The performances really drop off after this so I had to put a space here.

  5. Matt Giraud delivered a wonderful performance of a song he had no business performing.  His arrangment was stellar.  The change of pace brought the song to life.  His pacing brought uniqueness to the song.  His falsetto was outstanding.
  6. Anoop Desai’s interpretation of Smokey Robinson’s “Oh Baby Baby”  showed-off his skills as a singer.  It also showed that he is not as good a singer as Smokey.  Anoop just did not bring anything to the song.  It was boring.
  7. Boring is better than Lil Rounds did with Martha Reeve’s “Heatwave”.  Lil’s Achilles heal is that she does not possess the music background to create interesting arrangements, but I never thought I would hear her sing badly.  What has happened to her?  It seems that the last two weeks she was overwhelmed by the import of the institutions she would be representing.  Just sing Lil.  That will bring honor to the Grand Ole’ Opry and to Motown.
  8. Michael Sarver is beginning to fall behind the competitions, but I do love this guy.  After being absolutely filleted by the judges he expressed gratitude for being in the Top10.  I would like to be Michael’s friend.  I thought Simon’s body language was amazing tonight.  Simon looked truly pained to deliver his bad news to Michael, but his performance of The Temptation’s “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” just was not up to par.  Randy was right.  Michael wants to be an R&B singer and he doesn’t  really have R&B chops.
  9. Scott MacIntyre tried to sing “Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes and it was pretty bad. His tempo was rushed, he missed a lot of notes and the song did not seem to fit him.  The thing is, I don’t want Scott to be a pop singer.  I want to listen to him play some jazz piano.  I would have liked a jazz arrangement of this song better than what we heard tonight.
  10. Meagan Joy brought me no joy tonight.  Her version of Stevie Wonder’s “Once In My Life” was just awful.  She needs to quit trying to squeeze every song into her quirky style.  I suspect that she could have done this song straight up and performed it better.  It was off key, off rhythm, off everything.  She tried to make it unique and she made me want to forget it.

Overall I was disappointed in the night.  I think Meagan, Michael and Lil could have done better with different songs.  While Danny and Kris were great, I was hoping for more.  Here are my predictions:

Bottom Three: Meagan Joy. Scott MacIntyre and Michael Sarver.

Voted off: Michael Sarver

I don’t see any surprises from the top 7 in my performance rankings making into the Bottom 3.  If Allison Iraheta’s performance tonight does not keep her out of the Bottom 3, I will be outraged. I think the judges could use their “save” if Allison is voted off tonight.

Meagan Joy should have enough votes from Vote for The Worst to make it back another week and I think Scot MacIntyre has enough of a fan base to survive one more week.   I will be disappointed to see Michael go.

I will also be disappointed to miss the results show live tomorrow night.  Is DVR the greatest inventions since television? I am taking my wife to see Linda Eder, so my analysis of the results show will be late.

Don’t forget to download all of the American Idol performances at iTunes:

Apple iTunes


  1. I’m not able to watch the show live tonight either. I think Matt chose a song he knew he could nail over a song that matched his convictions. If he was already married I wouldn’t have minded it..Phil stacey sang some hot songs for his wife.

  2. coffee says:

    the phrase “the wrong song” should be forbidden, it’s such a cop-out answer seriously. all the judges have to say is “Sorry, you fail because…” (thank you Simon for being the only original one)


  1. [...] American Idol Season 8- Motown Performance Wrap-up [...]

Speak Your Mind