alycewilson (alycewilson) wrote,

American Idol Recap: American Classics Week

Sorry I'm just now posting last week's recap, but things got away from me this week. I would have posted it earlier today, but my husband broke his arm and I had to pick him up from the ER. Don't worry: he's fine and in good spirits.

This week on Season 14 of "American Idol," the contestants performed "American Classics." The songs had been chosen by an online vote.

• The first person to make it through this week was Tyanna Jones. She sang "Who Do Fools Fall in Love" by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. She started out a little rough but found her comfort zone on the chorus, standing at a mic and bopping on her toes, wearing a white silk jacket with banded collar, high-waisted black pants and with a big silver hair accessory. Keith Urban thought it was an interesting song choice and was surprised that America picked it. He thought her voice was lovely, but he wanted more edge. Jennifer Lopez said it was a taste of "the fun Tyanna" and felt that she's beginning to get into the groove. Harry Connick Jr. asked if she'd watched the Frankie Lymon performance on YouTube, and she admitted she hadn't. He thought she could have engaged people more, the way that Frankie did.
• Next up was Clark Beckham with "Superstitious" by Stevie Wonder. He started out by noodling around on a guitar before counting down the band. His hair was different: shaved shorter on the sides, perhaps to court an "edgier" look. He wore a button-down white shirt with black tie and black pants. But who was looking at his clothes, really? His bluesy delivery of the song, complete with scatting at the end, was exactly the way to take a classic and make it your own. Jennifer thought he was looking good, that he was beginning to look like a star. She called his performance funky and "amazing." Harry observed that he'd played a lot better tonight than he did last week and thought he couldn't have done the song any better. Keith liked the scatting and suggested that he moves his guitar down six inches to aid his performance.
• Then, Jax came to the stage to perform "Piece of My Heart" by Janis Joplin, wearing a hot pink fringed shawl over a black top with gold filigree, a wind machine blowing her hair and the fringe. She started far enough along in the song that she capitalized on the full energy of the chorus by getting to it quickly. Her version borrowed a lot from the original performance, adding a hard rock edge. Harry said he only knows two versions of the song, Janis's version and Irma Franklin's version, and hers was in between. He liked that she had great timing on the song. She was in the pocket. Keith said she sings well with a band. Jennifer thought she was in her element, getting to rock out. She said it was a tough song but "you did your thing on it."
• Nick Fradiani sang "American Girl" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, accompanying himself on guitar and wearing a denim shirt and darker jeans. His voice was pleasant, but he didn't add much to the song. Still, he was much more engaged than he has been. Keith thought it was the perfect song for him. Jennifer loved his growth. Harry said that he ought to go back to the hotel and remember the feeling of performing tonight, that it was dead on.
• Quentin Alexander sang "Are You Gonna Go My Way" by Lenny Kravitz, wearing a shimmery silver vest over a silver mesh shirt and shiny jeans. The song was a good fit for him, except that he shouted a lot of it and had some pitch problems. Energetic but not his best. Jennifer thought it was a perfect song for him and loved his outfit, but the pitch was all over the place. Harry said, "I love your artistry," but sometimes people can be captivated by the band more than your performance. This version was very similar to Lenny's version. He advised Quentin to "push them, don't let them push you." Keith liked the juxtaposition of him being laid back while the band was full on. Noticing that Quentin was upset about something, Ryan asked him what, and he called it "wack" that Joey Cook and Rayvon Owen were in the bottom two. Harry called him out on that, saying that it's a competition and he found it disrespectful that Quentin was complaining. Quentin then explained that he wasn't calling the competition "wack" but only the fact that his friends were in the bottom.
• Joey Cook sang "My Funny Valentine," doing it very much like a standard, in a black halter-top dress, with her violet hair smoothed down. Harry said he'd love to have a discussion with her about how to improve her performance, but he liked that she'd done her research and sang it appropriately. "I thought you did a damn good job." Keith said that sometimes her reach is beyond her grasp, but he loves that she goes outside her comfort zone. Jennifer proclaimed herself a fan, but "it didn't move me the way I thought it would." Maybe it was too languid, she said.
• Trayvon Owen must be getting used to being in the bottom two. He sang "Long Train Runnin'" by the Doobie Brothers. Blah blah blah. Bored now. He's got to be gone this week. Keith felt it was good but wanted more edge, more soul. Jennifer felt he'd really stepped it up. Harry called him handsome and said he has an amazing voice but has had a problem with song choice.
• For round two, Clark went first, singing "Moon River" crooner style and accompanying himself on piano, with his tie tightened and wearing a black coat. He sang directly into the camera for much of the song, which was probably very smart. Great control. Jennifer thought it was "smooth and creamy." If you closed your eyes, it felt like you were in a movie, she said. Harry told him, "You're an incredibly talented young man." He advised him to learn more chords. Keith felt it was "warm and fuzzy like an epidural." He joked with him about playing the piano down even further, then told him he did a good job. Ryan introduced Bill Medley from the Righteous Brothers, who'd played with Clark's father.
• Tyanna's second song was "Proud Mary" by Credence Clearwater Revival, wearing a shiny gold leopard print midriff top with matching pants and a black satin jacket. She did a Tina Turner version of the song, starting out slow and then kicking into an upbeat version, strutting across the stage and grabbing audience members' hands. She held a great high last note. Harry thought this was "as close to perfect as you can get." Keith was impressed by how good she is at 16. Jennifer liked that she got to "stretch and play" in the song.
• For his second song, Nick sang "Only the Good Die Young" by Billy Joel, taking all the meat out of it by slowing it down and sitting on a stool to perform it. At least he was trying something different. Not sure he really got the lyrics, and he was ahead of the band for much of it. Keith loved the arrangement, though, giving it 10 out of 10. Jennifer liked that he finally got up off the chair, and Nick admitted that he'd been planning on it. Harry thought he made this very self-involved, that he wasn't really singing to the girl.
• Getting a chance to redeem himself for the awkwardness earlier, Quentin sang "The Sound of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkle, wearing a long white jacket with black patterns on it. He gave it his own spin, playing with some of the melody and making it more like a torch song. Very dramatic and effective. Jennifer called it "dramatic and moody" and said he's in a sensitive mood this evening, and he has a good heart inside. She urged him to get control of his emotions (making a reference to what had happened earlier). Harry liked how he pays attention to the lyrics, but he needs to focus on pitch.
• Then it was time for a second shot of Jax. She sang "Beat It" by Michael Jackson, wearing a black message "T," fishnets on her arms, and black jeans. Her version of the song was heavy metal, and she worked the crowd, including kneeling on the second stage and leaning on the lead guitarist as a pink jet of steam rose up from the stage, making her hair stand up like a science experiment. Harry said he loved the static electricity in her hair. He loved seeing her run around the stage, "acting like a complete idiot and having fun." Keith liked that she'd shown two sides of herself in the two songs. Jennifer said that even though she was running around like an idiot, she made it look cool.
• For his final song, Rayvon sang "Always on My Mind" by Willie Nelson, while was breathy in places, taking away some of the impact. He must have been really off, because the band sounded off-key compared to him when there were some solo moments. Keith thought it was the right song. It gave Jennifer goosies. Harry said that he's really a ballad singer, calling it lovely.
• Joey sang "Somebody to Love" with roses in her hair, wearing a big A-line velvet dress and playing ukelele. So interesting and entertaining, even if it didn't make a lot of face. It sounded like the kind of song that would be in the soundtrack of an indie film, in the best possible way. Jennifer said that this gave us "all the colors of what Joey Cook is that we love." She loved the intensity. Harry observed that this song is hard for an audience to dance to, which is why it's so important for the artist to do something. He praised her inventiveness. Keith liked that she'd shown different sides of herself.
• The fans got one final chance to save either Rayvon or Joey via Twitter. Ryan prefaced the results by saying that the person who won got 52 percent of the vote: Rayvon. Get out of town. Please. Maybe next week, because he's virtually assured to be in the bottom two again, along with Quentin, who will land there because of his perceived whining (sorry, but history shows it's true).
Tags: american idol, music, television

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