AMERICAN IDOL RECAP: Carole King Week Leaves Us Demanding a Better Voice


The last time I wrote about American Idol, I was on a plane to NY, about to embark on a 12 day family vacation. I was going to weigh in with my thoughts on the previous night’s performance episode, but after having endured yet another week of softball critiques from the judges, I decided to place my attention on Steven, Jennifer, and Randy. I posted “10 Things the ‘American Idol’ Judges Might As Well Be Judging Instead,” and much to my surprise, the post went pretty viral. I think that’s because most viewers are getting fed up with the same useless praise week after week. Is there anything Steven Tyler doesn’t find “Beautiful. Just beautiful.” Is there any performer that Jennifer Lopez doesn’t think should loosen up on stage and keep “pushing harder?” And is there any contestant who Randy doesn’t think is “IN IT TO WIN IT!!!!”?

There was a part of me in my heart of hearts that hoped my little post would have gone viral enough to reach the producers of American Idol and perhaps inspire them to tell their judges to change it up a bit. Sadly though, when I watched last night’s episode (I missed last week entirely), I realized that things were still the same. But to make matters worse: now we had to listen to ninety minutes of Carole King songs. I might as well lock myself in a Starbuck for ninety minutes instead.

Look, it’s no disrespect to Ms. King — she is a legend and quite accomplished — but her music is boring. There was a time and a place for it (ie. the ’70s), but nowadays, it’s just… dated. Of course, I like to believe that even the most dated songs can be reinvented to sound new and current, but don’t look to American Idol to pull off those feats. As a result we got a half dozen performances that felt like part of a Carole King musical revue. Oh, and there were some duets in there, but considering that all the pairings had about zero chemistry (still nothing tops Adam Lambert and Alison Iraheta), we won’t discuss them.

Here’s a quick rundown:

Jacob Lusk — I’m officially over Ms. Jacob. Sure he moved his feet this week, and sure he was quite colorful in his ensemble, but his song was annoying and so was his voice. Bottom three, pls.

Lauren Alaina — Not bad. Nothing memorable though. The best part of Lauren’s performance was when she sat with some random nineteen year old dude on the stage and swayed with him. It was surprisingly sweet and enough to earn her a spot next week, I believe.

Scotty McCreery — People love “You’ve Got a Friend.” I’ve always loathed the song. So perhaps I’m a bit biased on this front, but I didn’t love Scotty this week. Well, I never love him, and his shtick is starting to wear thin on me. But I’m sure country fans love the kid; so what do I know?

James Durbin — Confession: I fell asleep during James’s performance, but before I yawned off, I remember thinking that I really liked it. I was too lazy to go back and watch it again this morning, but I seem to remember Randy hugging him? Weird. Either way, even in a semi-unconscious state of mind, I could tell he was the best of the night. (Excluding his horrific duet with Jacob Lusk)

Casey Abrams — Once I again I scratch my head about the judges saving Casey. Jazzy and growling, I don’t feel like Casey is the “authentic” old soul he’s portraying himself to be. He’s just a wannabe. He knows how to sound like one, but he doesn’t know how to inhabit the role. I would lose no sleep if he went home.

Haley Reinhart — I actually liked Haley quite a bit this week. I didn’t love her, and her performance was boring at time, but she ended strongly. If anyone had a great song to modernize, it was she. And yet the arrangement was still stuck in the seventies. Why, Idol, why? Aren’t we supposed to be finding the next great pop star?

The Voice — Okay, not a contestant, but a distinct competitor. Because I’ve been busy with non-blog stuff, I only got to watch the first half an hour, but it wasn’t that bad. What did you think about it? Better than Idol or just a crappy also-ran? And who did you like this week on Idol?

2 replies on “AMERICAN IDOL RECAP: Carole King Week Leaves Us Demanding a Better Voice”

  1. I just love, love, love James. Hopefully Jacob will be on his way out the door tonight.

    As for The Voice, I thought it was great. We’ll have to see how it plays out but right now it’s a nice change from Idol.

  2. Thanks, B-side, for recapping American Idol. I’ve never been able to get through watching an entire episode myself. Your reviews keep me assured that I’ll have no regrets. There is no shortage young people who dream of forcing other people to listen to them sing, so the annual expeditions to the provinces them will always yield more.

    The show reminds me of ANTM — where the contestants are led through a painful-to-watch, barely-relevant series of antics that don’t prepare them for the future other than raise their Q score. But as laughable and pointless ANTM is, it doesn’t stoop to begging for audience votes. It’s as if by voting for our favorites each week, we can end a nationwide melisma shortage.

    It’s not that I feel I’m above AI – I’m there watching the trashiest stuff cable has to offer. I guess I’m just not the “singer” type. I thank you for condensing AI into digestible chunks even I can stand.

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