Last night on American Idol, the Top 13 were singing songs by their musical idols. Each contestant was mentored by a music producer from in-house mentor Jimmy Iovine’s team.
Kicking off the show was Lauren Alaina, who worked with producer Don Was, was singing Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine.” My first thought was that she was going to be able to show loads of personality and in the words of Randy Jackson, “Blow it out the box.” That was definitely not the case.
Don’t get me wrong, Lauren sounded fantastic. But her performance was boring. She really needs to learn how to move around the stage and really work her song. She hardly infused any personality into her performance, which I think is going to be her downfall in the competition. The judges keep talking about having the full package, she’s got the voice, but she needs more self-confidence.
Casey Abrams worked with Jimmy Iovine on The Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends.” For me, this was the best Casey has sounded since the Hollywood rounds. He reined in his growl, which presented a more controlled vocal performance. He hit a light falsetto note, which I also thought was pretty nice.
This week Casey needed to prove that there is a voice behind the growling and the scatting, and he pulled his performance off really well. As far as I'm concerned, he's the real deal and he can sing.
Working with Rodney Jerkins this week was Ashthon Jones, who sang Diana Ross’ “When You Say You Love Me.” The judges told her last week that they viewed her as more of a Diana Ross-type of singer, so she picks a ballad, which was pure karaoke. Ashton needs to step away from the ballads. We get it, you can sing. But, last night’s performance is exactly why she was not originally put through to the Top 13. She’s picks songs that are not familiar to the audience and proceeds to put on a boring and forgettable performance. If she makes it through to the Top 12, she needs to re-think her game plan, because as far as I can tell, it’s not working.