The American Idol Top 10 were set to groove to Motown Wednesday night in Hollywood. And they should have been set. They were actually flown to Detroit, where Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy, their mentors for Motown Week, showed them around where the Motown Sound originated. Then it was back to Hollywood to pick a song and get Smokey Robinson’s help in making the song into a memorable performance.
First up: Matt Giraud. Smokey Robinson said about Matt’s rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” “Marvin would have loved that.” And he just might have. Matt Giraud put his own soulful twist on the song. He began his performance on piano and then moved to center stage to sing the audience. Simon Cowell told him it was brilliant. Randy Jackson said that Matt had set the tone for the night. Kara DioGuardi said that all the girls now wanted to “get it on” with Matt and Paula Abdul said that Matt had a cool, sex vibe.
After Matt Giraud’s performance, Kris Allen stepped sang “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You).” (And how many of you thought that that was a James Taylor song?) With his acoustic guitar as prop, Kris Allen did a better-than-average job with a mediocre song. The male judges’ remarks bordered on the cliché, more advice than criticism, but Kara DioGuardi liked Kris’ rendition, stating that he had put his own mark on the song. Paula Abdul said he was “infectious.” The women in the audience certainly were infected by him…
Scott MacIntyre sang the one song he should not have, except for maybe “Stop! In The Name Of Love.” His hokey version of “You Can’t Hurry Love” was downright awful. Not only was it a terrible song choice, it was a terrible performance. You would think he had never heard Phil Collins’ version of the tune. When Simon Cowell said that his piano-playing sounded honky-tonk-ish, he was spot on. It made a light, carefree song sound clunky. Simon also told Scott it was a poor song performance. Randy Jackson agreed, saying it was a “hotel” kind of performance. While Paula Abdul attempted to give her critique, Simon kept muttering in the background, prompting Paula to say, “I’ve got something for you.” She went under the table, causing suggestive looks from Simon and Ryan to say, “We can’t show that on camera.” Paula finally surfaced with a box of crayons and two coloring books, saying that Simon was acting like a child. Simon burst out laughing.
A good thing the American Idol judges were in a good mood, because the next performance was simply atrocious. In fact, Megan Joy Corkrey’s total annihilation of her Motown song choice was so godawful, this writer will leave it for the end…
After two bad performances in a row, Anoop Desai stepped forward to put the night back on the groove line. He sang Smokey Robinson’s “Ooh, Baby, Baby.” Although all the judges thought it was an overall good song choice and performance, they told him they wanted to see more from him. Randy Jackson told him to turn it up for next week.
Michael Sarver came out next and proved that he’s a good ole boy that has absolutely no business singing Motown songs. His version of The Temptations’ “Ain’t To Proud To Beg” was country karaoke (and if everyone remembers correctly, Michael Sarver’s country performances haven’t been anything other than karaoke country, either). Lucky for him this week, Megan Corkrey’s performance was so terrible, he shouldn’t have to beg, but more on that later. Paula Abdul told him it was “too Vegas” for her, although she danced all the way through his performance. Kara said he needed to show some “artistry.” Randy said the song was too big for him. Simon simply told him he could not wait for the song to end and that Sarver would never win the competition. Although Simon will undoubtedly be proven correct, sometimes his honesty is crushingly brutal.
Then came Lil Rounds. Anticipation was up for this R&B singer with the big voice. And when Smokey Robinson said she could “sing the phone book,” you just knew she was going to rule the night. But it was not to be. Her version of “Heatwave,” by Martha and the Vandellas, bordered on the atrocious. She seemed to be rushing her lyrics, shouting them. It was way overdone. And completely disappointing. The judges thought so as well. Judge Randy Jackson was nice about it, saying that it wasn’t his favorite performance. Kara said that Lil Rounds was screaming in parts and she didn’t need to do that. Paula seems to have gone deaf from the screaming and tells Rounds that she thought she nailed it. And Simon told her that if she had chosen a different song, she could have had her “moment.” On a good note, everyone agreed that she certainly looked nice, looked the part. Still…
Adam Lambert then performed Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks Of My Tears,” arguably the best performance of the night. With his high falsetto, Lambert was able to capture the song. Smokey Robinson said that in all the years since he had written the song, he had never heard the song done the way Adam Lambert sang it. He enjoyed it. So did the judges. And the audience. Adam Lambert received a standing ovation. Paula said she loved his new look, all dressed up and no nail polish (a little Elvis flash in his shiny suit). Kara said it was one of the best performances of the night. Simon said he disagreed with Kara, that it was by far the best performance of the night. Randy Jackson said he had an indie rocker thing going on.
Danny Gokey was next and he was a little disappointing as well. Singing The Temptations’ “Get Ready,” he showed he could give a lively performance but it just wasn’t his best. However, his little dance maneuver with the backup singers was priceless. Simon told him his performance was “clumsy” and “amateurish.” Randy said he had a “dope voice” and lots of energy, but it just wasn’t his best. Kara didn’t think it was all that great, either.
Allison Iraheta pulled down the anchor position for the night, singing The Temptations’ “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.” And her dynamic performance is the reason why this writer stated that Adam Lambert’s “Tracks of My Tears” was arguably the best. The 16-year-old contestant simply owned the song and the stage, her vocals powering through. Randy Jackson said it was “blazin’ hot.” Kara called on the American audience to vote for Allison because her talent comes “from god.” In the meantime, Simon had drawn a crayon moustache on Paula Abdul and, when she started her critique, Allison began giggling. Covering up, Paula says that the girl is “incredible.” Simon, who is laughing aloud, tells her she’s a “survivor.” One thing is certain: Unless America is deaf, Allison Iraheta won’t be in the bottom three this week.
Now, back to Megan Joy Corkrey, who, if you remember, we left stranded back at contestant #4. There was good reason to leave her until the end. Witness:
Megan Joy Corkrey sang Stevie Wonder’s “For Once In My Life.” The amazing thing about marginally talented people who are given a chance to prove themselves is that they always exceed their marginality. And apparently Megan Corkrey has never watched American Idol before, because only a few contestants have ever done Stevie Wonder justice. In other words, Stevie Wonder tunes should be avoided. However, those who think far more of their abilities than they should seem to always attempt a Stevie Wonder song. When Smokey Robinson spoke in the cutaway where the mentor always comments on what they think of that particular contestant, Smokey said that Megan Corkrey might be one of the most unique contestants ever on American Idol. Say what you will, Smokey Robinson was being extremely diplomatic by using the word “unique.”
The only thing good about her performance was the band’s arrangement. Period. In fact, Megan Corkrey’s may have been the worst performance ever put in by a Top 10 finalist on American Idol. She was flat, then she was pitchy, then flat again. Add her quirky little movements and that rictus smile. It was ridiculously bad. Even the judges abandoned her this week. Randy Jackson flat out called it a “trainwreck.” (He was trying to be nice.) Kara DioGuardi suggested that maybe a song like “My Guy” would have been more suited to her. Simon Cowell told her it was “awful” performance and she might be in trouble this week.
To be totally honest, Megan Corkrey’s performance was so terrible she should have to apologize to Stevie Wonder and be the only one brought to center stage on the results show. No bottom three. Just Megan Joy Corkrey being told she is headed home…
Spoiler Alert: Megan Corkrey deserves to get the boot far more than any other contestant on American Idol. Unfortunately, this is where I believe that the judges will use their one and only Save and bring her back for one more week. If that happens, America has got to get rid of her and Michael Sarver next week.
So that was American Idol’s Top 10. Hopefully, the American voting audience will do the right thing and vote Megan Corkrey off the show. And hopefully, Simon and the other judges will not vote to save her.
The results show airs Thursday night. Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder are scheduled to perform along with Reuben Studdard, American Idol Season 2 winner.
“American Idol,” Fox Television