My first impression of this season after all of the terrific Hollywood Week performances is that everyone takes a crap in their brains when it comes to picking their first song for the first week. I’d call myself a student of the show, and I have some hard and fast rules that I’d abide by if I had the pipes to make it on the show. Call me a “Thursday Morning Critic-back.”
- Whatever you do, don’t sing a slow song. You want the crowd on their feet and raising the energy level.
- If your name isn’t Celine or Leona, don’t sing one of their songs. You just can’t compete. Period. Celine is Celine because she can hit those notes with a full-on blast of pure musical wonder.
- Avoid the top singer-songs that people identify with because of the artist who made it popular. Stick to a selection of band songs where it’s the music more than the vocal to avoid comparisons with the original artist. Again, you can’t compete. Caveat: see below…
- Unless you change the music in a “relevant” way. It must show that you can sing, compose, and be original in a way that doesn’t draw comparisons with the original artist. This can backfire if everyone likes the original more.
- If possible (able to be pulled off without gender-bending), choose a song performed by the opposite sex. It’s quite simply one of the easiest ways to avoid comparisons to the artist, but don’t be creepy about it. This could also backfire, so be brilliant.
Let’s go over the songs from the week:
Paige Miles – “All Right Now” by Free
Ashley Rodriguez – “Happy” by Leona Lewis
Janell Wheeler – “What About Love” by Heart
Lilly Scott – “Fixing A Hole” by The Beatles
Katelyn Epperly – “Oh Darling” by The Beatles
Haeley Vaughn – “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles
Lacey Brown – “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac
Michelle Delamor – “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys
Didi Benami – “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson
Siobhan Magnus – “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak
Crystal Bowersox – “Hand In My Pocket” by Alanis Morrisette
Katie Stevens – “Feeling Good” by Michael Bublé
Todrick Hall – “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson
Aaron Kelly – “Here Comes Goodbye” by Rascal Flatts
Jermaine Sellers – “Get Here” by Oleta Adams
Tim Urban – “Apologize” by OneRepublic
Joe Muñoz – “You And I Both” by Jason Mraz
Tyler Grady – “American Woman” by The Guess Who/Lenny Kravitz
Lee Dewyze – “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
John Park – “God Bless The Child” by Billie Holiday
Michael Lynche – “This Love” by Maroon 5
Alex Lambert – “Wonderful World” by James Morrison
Casey James – “Heaven” by Bryan Adams
Andrew Garcia – “Sugar, We’re Going Down” by Fall Out Boy
Oh, my! Some of these girls need to go home. Now! Haeley Vaughn, I’m talking to you! That rendition and performance were painful. Just watch/listen to it to get on my bus. “Happy” by Ashley Rodriguez was a typical dud when attempting a Leona Lewis song (see my rules above).
From the guys, there were definitely two stand-out sit-downs who need to go home: Jermaine Sellers and John Park. They both broke the slow song rule and bored me to death. Unless they have some fan base for looks or personality, they’re goners.
There were some people who already seemed natural on stage, and I can’t wait to see how they improve over the season. Paige Miles, Lilly Scott, Didi Benami, Crystal Bowersox, and Katie Stevens all rocked out. I have to disagree with all four judges’ opinions of Todrick Hall, because I thought he was pretty darn good, especially for the first number of the night. Tim Urban, Joe Muñoz, Casey James, and Aaron Kelly were all on top of their game and made good choices.
Two fashion tips: Alex Lambert, lose the mullet; Katelyn Epperly, don’t do 80’s hooker again.