Breaking It Down: American Idol Top 10 night went well except for the Hollywood ending

The insanity that was the last five minutes of the show aside, it was a pretty good night.

Our Fab Five – Quentin Alexander, Clark Beckham, Joey Cook, Jax and Tyanna Jones – continue to be the contestants to beat, but don’t count out Nick Fradiani just yet.

I’m genuinely impressed with the talent on this season. Even after those contestants, Adanna Duru has made strides and while she’d be a top contender most years this year she’s on the outside looking in. Even a guy like Rayvon Owen, who’s still settling into his groove, has no chance and he’s better than most everyone who was on Season 12 and 13.

With such a tremendous amount of talent, something is bound to go wrong and last night’s decision to use the save on Qaasim Middleton is only going to compound that fact. There’s a decent chance the person who should have won American Idol gets eliminated in the next four weeks and don’t get saved so we can have the guy who should have been on So You Think You Can Dance.

Since the only rule on American Idol is there are no rules – let’s be honest; they make them up as they go – they should come out and say there’s a “Super Fan Save” where fans can vote after the show if the judges should be allowed another save. Does that make any sense? Nope, but neither did using the only save last night.

On to the recaps

THE TOP 10 11

Adanna Duru
“Love You I Do,” Jennifer Hudson

The poise and improvement on Adanna was tremendous. She’s doing exactly what you’re supposed to do – improve each week.

Unfortunately for her, the song choice wasn’t going to get it done. She sang the hell out of it, but if you’re going to go on Idol, you can’t pick the No. 2 or 3 song from a movie that white people only said they saw so they didn’t sound racist. If you’re not singing “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” – which you shouldn’t because it’s been overdone – you’re not singing anything from that soundtrack.

Adanna should have chosen a classic. Just some absolute classic from the 60s that would normally be sung on Motown Week (think “The Big Chill” soundtrack, which is the whitest of the white people movies but has a terrific soundtrack). That would have made her a little more noticeable and helped her be a little more recognizable coming out of the one hole.

I don’t think she deserves it, but the combination of booting two plus leading off plus singing a song that really isn’t that poplar is putting her at risk next week.
IN or BOTTOM 3: Bottom 3

Daniel Seavey
“Lost Stars,” Adam Levine

Nothing like a 15-year old singing about getting drunk on love with his voice cracking like my butt out of jeans when I bend over.

This was a make or break week, because Danjaya (copyright Lyndsey Parker) can’t last too long on this show with the way the elite contenders are performing. This performance was just a disaster and it’s too bad, because after last week I was kinda hoping he was going to start banging out monsters and turning into David Archuleta 2.0.

His survival is going to be based on the myth of the teenage girls. The younger crowd carried Idol’s ratings a decade ago, but with those numbers down I’m curious as to how many tweens are actually watching and voting. Must be enough, because if you’re 18-plus and you vote for him you’re a moron.
IN or BOTTOM 3: Bottom 3

Rayvon Owen
“Stayin’ Alive,” Bee Gees

If you’re going to claim to “deliver the song in a Prince-like way,” you need to a) ditch the Heisenberg hat b) act like you’re the baddest man on the planet and c) wear purple. Common sense on all of those, actually.

I don’t buy Rayvon as a badass, so the performance fell a little flat except for the fact I fucking love dudes who bang out songs in falsetto, provided they don’t make bold claims to try and be like the coolest guy on Earth. If Prince sang a song the way Rayvon did he’d slap himself in the face and go and purify himself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka.

Let’s applaud the effort though. Rayvon knows he has to be an original, he just sucks at picking songs. Don’t change a thing except find songs that don’t blow.

Oh, and don’t ever, ever, ever say you’re going to do something like Prince.
IN or BOTTOM 3: Bottom 3

Nick Fradiani
“Danger Zone,” Kenny Loggins

Loggins is the balls, so you’re not hearing me say a bad thing about the song choice, but Nick could have done a different arrangement and impregnated everybody.

Like Harry said, lyrically the song is crap and written only because Loggins was trying to save the world from an alien attack. Don’t believe me?

But if Nick sat on a stool with his guitar and played a slow, coffeehouse rendition, panties would have dropped everywhere. Dudes would have loved it because dudes love when bro songs come on and get played slow and chicks would have melted because Nick is so fucking hot and I’m pretty sure he banged J-Lo after the show.

(SIDENOTE: When they were showing his intro and the flashed the letters, the last letter up was a C. It immediately hit me if this was Nik Fradiani instead of Nick, he’d be 10 times more douchey and therefore a horrible contestant. Give it up to his parents for spelling his name normal and for anyone who is thinking about taking a normal name and spelling it differently so your child stands out, don’t)

Being a superhunk has its advantages, because every housewife in America is voting for him even if they say they aren’t or just lie to their husbands and say he isn’t even attractive. Last night wasn’t Nick’s best, but it wasn’t bad and right now being good is good enough.

Oh, and PS, fuck him for eating ice cream. He’s that guy who eats whatever he wants, doesn’t work out and complains he’s fat when his six-pack disappears when he sits down. Meanwhile, I smell pizza and boom, I’m up a belt size.
IN or BOTTOM 3: In

Joey Cook
“Mad World,” Tears for Fears (that’s who originally sang the song, that’s who SHOULD get the credit, not like that BS Idol pulled last night)

I was extremely concerned for this selection because if you’re going to do a cover of a cover, you need to do it better than the cover but it’s really hard to do it when the most popular Idol in the history of the damn show did it so well that everyone just assumes it’s his song. Plus, Glamberts don’t fuck around.

I’m not going to say this was in Adam Lambert’s ballpark. She might be in the parking lot, but she ain’t getting a seat. Lambert’s rendition was one of the best damn performances in the history of the show. Joey’s going to have to accept hers was just really, really damn good. Legend status can wait.

My infatuation with Joey boggles my mind. The dress she had on tonight gave her a Lena Dunham vibe and I can’t think of anyone I despise more than Lena fucking Dunham (I watch Girls and hate myself for it; strangely, I watch Looking – which is basically Girls except starring gay dudes – and it’s so much better but doesn’t have the quirky girl whose unafraid to be naked 24/7). When Joey is on stage I’m transfixed on everything she does.

Tonight she brought it all together. It was nice to see her not be the quirky hipster and instead just sing a song. Don’t get me wrong; I love the hipster shit because she’s pulling it off so well but it was cool to see her stray from that and do what she did.

She’s safe this week, but here’s a prediction I hope to god doesn’t come true: in the next four weeks, she’s going to do something weird that people won’t like and she’s gone. The judges won’t be able to save her because they’re idiots and I’m going to have to buy a new laptop after smashing it in disgust.
IN or BOTTOM 3: In

Tyanna Jones
“The Circle Of Life,” Elton John

How good are you when you screw up for the first time and it’s still good?

I think Miss Jones may have gotten a little caught up in herself and tried to make this her moment. She whiffed, badly. She was trying to pull a Hudson and while she’s pretty damn good, she’s not quite Hudson.

Her start to the performance was off. I don’t know if it was nerves or what, but it wasn’t good. She got it back toward the end and really brought the performance home, but she wasn’t what we’d seen to this point.

She should be safe, but with how harsh Harry was – shocker – there could be some concern for Miss Jones, but I doubt it with what she’s put in to this point.
IN or BOTTOM 3: In

Jennifer Lopez
“Feel the Light,” Jennifer Lopez

Just thought I’d throw this in for good measure.

J-Lo was awesome. It was good to see her on stage and singing, unlike that crap she pulled last year or two years ago when she did that horrible performance with Pitbull and faked the whole thing in the most ironic thing to ever happen on American Idol.

And if you think I’m not seeing that movie, you don’t know how Daddy Day Care goes. Me, the two kids, popcorn and 90-minutes where I don’t have to worry about a thing.

Plus, it gives me an excuse to post this again

Quentin Alexander
“You’re The One That I Want,” John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John

So when Adanna, Seavey and Rayvon opened the show, I was convinced Q was about to get boned because I didn’t think America had the balls to not put Qaasim through.

This performance was brilliant. If I redo the Top 30 list, it very well might sneak in there. He took a happy, goofy song about falling in love and turned it into the dark, deep soulful version about misplaced love, almost from the point where it sounded like a stalker singing to their stalkee.

It was a cover of a cover, and here’s the commercial Keith was referencing, which you should watch because Gisele:

Quentin’s was a little darker and that’s what made it so good. There was zero emotion on his face and that resonates deep in your soul. He was staring right into my heart and it scared the bejesus out of me. I don’t know how the judges could say anything bad. I don’t know how anyone could say anything bad. I got some tweets from people saying “all he does is sing deary songs.” Well, yeah. That’s his thing. It works. If he strays from it and it goes wrong – like we saw in the semifinals – he’s done.

But he ain’t going anywhere for a while.
IN or BOTTOM 3: In

Maddie Walker
“Let’s Hear It For The Boy,” Deniece Williams

This was so close to being so good and because it wasn’t quite where it needed to be, Maddie might be going home next week.

Stupid 80s pop songs are so cheesy and it is not hard to put a country twang on them in the least. She could have turned this into a country interpretation and people would have gone bananas.

Maddie’s problem is, as Harry said, she doesn’t know what she wants to be. Last night she looked like she wanted to be a pop star. Two weeks ago, she looked like she wanted to be a country star. Maybe when you die and come back to life your musical tastes change, but if Maddie survives she needs to buckle down and go all-in on the country thing because those votes will carry her through this competition.

I wasn’t a big fan of Harry saying it wasn’t good because it was far superior to Seavey and Qaasim, who didn’t even sing to close the show. I think the judges know what type of damage a country singer can do and they’re going to go out of their way to deep six her quick.
IN or BOTTOM 3: Bottom 3

Kenny Loggins
“Footloose,” Kenny Loggins

Awesome. Thank god Jimmy Buffet kidnapped him and made him write that song for Hollywood.

Clark Beckham
“Sunday Morning,” Adam Levine

So who’s coming in second?

This was a brilliant performance. I bet Nick Fradiani was STEAMING he didn’t think to do it (good thing he didn’t because pregnancy everywhere).

Clark is too balanced for the rest of the contestants. He crushed out McDonald and the Doobies last week and then comes in and does a pretty popular pop song in the coffeehouse style that does really, really well on Idol.

He’s the guy you’re paying to watch. He’s the guy you can’t wait to see what he’s going to do next. He’s good looking, but not so good-looking that you want to punch him, but because he’s so quiet and laid-back if you don’t like him you are horrible at life.

The performance won’t end up being as memorable as Quentin’s or Joey’s, but that doesn’t take away from it one bit. My guess is we’re just seeing him go through the motions and the good stuff is coming when it matters.
IN or BOTTOM 3: In

Jax
“Grow Old With You,” Adam Sandler

Great comeback for Jax, who slipped a little last week. While her and Qaasim were the final two, I don’t think Jax was one of the bottom two in votes. I felt fairly confident about her getting through. Had she not, I would have been all for the save because unlike Qaasim, I think Jax has a chance at winning this thing.

What made this performance work was Jax looking hot and taking a cheesy, silly song and legitimizing it. If that version was on the radio now, it would be the first dance song at weddings for the next five or six years. She sang it with such innocence in her voice and her little Jaxy accent that if my wife and kids were around, I would have cried. Thank god it was 9:45 and the kids were sleeping and my wife wasn’t home yet.

Jax is back and it’s going to be a hell of a competition if she keeps bringing performances like that. The crazy thing is I’m not putting it Top 3 on the night (mainly because of my Clark Beckham crush), but that’s how good the night was.
IN or BOTTOM 3: In

Qaasim Middleton
“Come Together,” The Beatles

First off, former Idol contestant Emmanuel Zidor won Twitter last night with this, intentionally funny or not:

Now if you want to know how I felt about the judges using the save, read THIS. I’m using this space to talk about the performance, because anyone with half a brain knows the judges screwed up.

I think I’ve figured out Qaasim. He picks songs the way I pick karaoke songs. He picks songs where vocals are completely meaningless. He’s just picking stuff he can act out and dance and act crazy and people eat of the palm of his hand.

You know what I sing? “Strokin,” by Clarence Carter. Why? Because I’m every bit as good on stage as Qaasim. I have an entire routine and every single time I’ve done it – my wedding, for example – I’ve brought the house down.

That’s the end of repertoire. Why? Because I can’t sing a lick. I can act soulful and yell lyrics, but sing a note? No fucking thank you (although I did attempt Purple Rain a couple times and it was bad).

This was Qaasim’s best performance to date, but it wasn’t good. I mean, he deserves to be in over some of the others, but it no way was it the type of performance where I’d say “uh, use the save because this kid can win.”

Vocally, he’s the worst in the Top 10. Did you hear the last note? There’s the proof.

He performs better than anyone, but good god – this is still a singing show, right?

What does it mean for next week? I think he’ll get a bump in votes for being in last place this week and being last to perform. It’s natural.

My concern with that is we’re going to see someone who can win get booted, but the ones who can – Clark, Jax, Tyanna, Joey and even maybe Nick – should be good.
IN or BOTTOM 3: In

This is the hard part because now we have to kick two people off next week. Double-elimination nights rarely go as planned and they didn’t announce whether or not they’d be totaling this week’s votes to next week’s results. That’s a game changer, especially with Idol not telling us who is in the Bottom 2 or 3.

If I’m picking my personal Bottom 3, it’s Seavey, Qaasim and I have no idea. Maddie? Maddie stays, the other two go, boom done.

I don’t think America’s doing this. I have a sneaking suspicion Qaasim will end up being safe, totally making what the judges did last night worthless.

America’s voting Adanna – the lead-off spot+average performance is bad news – Seavey and Maddie in the Bottom 3 with Seavey and Adanna saying goodbye, all thanks to Qaasim Middleton. Next week is gonna suuuuck.

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