It was Motown night on “American Idol,” with Smokey Robinson as the contestants’ guest mentor.
Matt “Sheena’s Mama’s Favorite” Giraud went first, singing “Let’s Get It On.” I was worried it would be cheesy, but it was really cool. Robinson said Marvin Gaye would’ve loved his performance. Randy said: It was a great start to the night and he’s one of the top guys in the competition. Kara said: He’s coming out of his shell. It was a great performance but he should’ve pushed it a little more. Paula said: She’s glad he’s comfortable performing without his piano. Simon said: There were a few “corny” bits but it was a brilliant song choice and his voice suits Motown music. He’s now a front-runner in the competition.
Kris Allen was next, singing “How Sweet It Is.” It was really terrific. Robinson said “Kris blew me away.” Kara said: She loved his performance. “You didn’t do James Taylor, you didn’t do Marvin Gaye, you did Kris.” Paula said: He came into his own and she’s proud of him. Simon said: It was a smart song choice and he did his own version, but he needs more confidence. Randy said: He’s a very consistent performer.
Scott MacIntyre sang “You Can’t Hurry Love.” It felt kinda cheesy to me. Robinson said Scott was really good. Paula said: He brought new life into the song. Simon said: It wasn’t a great performance and it was the wrong song. Randy said: “It was a hotel kind of performance.” Scott needs to take some risks. Kara said: She liked that the song was upbeat but he needed to do more with the song.
Megan Corkrey sang “For Once in My Life.” I thought his was going to be good, but it was just all kinda strange. Robinson told her she’s an original artist. Randy said: “That was a train wreck for me.” Kara said: “This was all over the place.” Paula said: Wrong song choice. Simon said: “It was horrible” and she could be in “serious trouble.”
Anoop Desai sang “Ohh Baby Baby,” and it was really pretty. Robinson (who wrote the song) said Anoop blew him away. Kara said: He did a pretty good job, considering it’s a very difficult song to sing. Paula said: Anoop is “doing a good job.” Simon said: It was a great vocal but Anoop “looked half asleep.” It was kind of like a musical. Randy said: He needs to do something upbeat next week.
Michael Sarver sang “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” Ah, I’m sorry, I just don’t care much for Michael… Robinson told Michael to focus on the song’s lyrics. Paula said: It was a “Las Vegas lounge-y” performance. Simon said: His performance was shouty and he has no chance of winning with that type of performance. Randy said: The song was too big for him. Kara said: They’re looking for artists and she has no idea what kind of artist he’d be.
Lil Rounds sang “(Love is Like a) Heat Wave.” It should’ve been good, but it just felt rushed. Robinson said she should perform it like she did in practice and she’d be great. Randy said: It wasn’t the right song. Kara said: Wrong song choice, and it was screamy in a few parts. Paula said: She was a throwback to classic Motown. Simon said: She should’ve chosen another song but she’s one of the best singers in the competition.
Adam Lambert was next, singing “The Tracks of my Tears.” For once, by George, I loved Adam Lambert. It was a really beautiful, heartfelt performance. He looked really cool too, with a sleek, Elvis-inspired throwback look. Robinson said he loved his interpretation, and after Adam’s performance, he actually led the audience in giving him a standing ovation. Kara said: She never gives a standing ovation, but she gave him one – one of the best performances of the night. Paula said: “You are exciting.” Simon said: The best performance of the night. “Tonight you have emerged as a star.” Randy said: “Unbelivably hot.”
Danny Gokey followed with “Get Ready.” Eh, it was Danny being Danny…I wasn’t in love with it. Robinson suggested Gokey sing the back-up singer’s parts (you know, likes like “you’re outta sight.”) Gokey did not follow his advice. Paula said: He’s a reliable performer. Simon said: It was “clumsy and amateurish.” Randy said: It wasn’t his best performance. Kara said: She loved his personality and it was good, not great.
Allison Iraheta closed the show with “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” She was terrific. Robinson’s only advice was that she should listen to the lyrics. Randy said: She’s “one of the dopest singers” in the competition. Kara said: “You were in the bottom three last week?” Paula said: She was amazing. Simon said: She’s one of the best performers in the show.
OK, Scenesters – who did you vote for? Who did you love? Who did you hate?