The top 11 gave the first group performance of the season on American Idol tonight, singing “Get Lucky” with music legend Nile Rodgers, who mentored the contestants this week. But as Ryan Seacrest put it, only ten singers could get lucky tonight, as the end of the road came for one Idol hopeful.
Idol celebrated the big screen tonight, with the top 10 singing music from movies. To kick things off, Adanna Duru sang “Love You I Do” from Dreamgirls. The song was just in the top of her range, but she demonstrated more vocal control than we’ve seen from her. Jennifer Lopez critiqued Duru’s lack of emotional layers in her performance, but overall it was a strong start for the night.
Daniel Seavey advanced next, singing “Lost Stars” by Adam Levine from Begin Again. After advice from Rodgers, he decided to accompany himself on the guitar instead of the piano so that he could connect more with the audience. He went higher than usual with his voice, but his falsetto wasn’t quite strong enough for the song. He changed parts of the melody to play to his strengths, but it wasn’t his best performance. At this point, Seavey might be coasting by on the cute factor.
Singing “Stayin’ Alive” from Saturday Night Fever, Rayvon Owen’s biggest challenge was taking a very recognizable hit and making it his own. He sang a slightly slowed-down version of the song, staying mostly in his falsetto for a distinctly 1980s sound. Despite the interesting arrangement, it was an underwhelming performance. Owen has had a consistently strong voice, but he lacks any special quality that makes him stand out.
The same could be said of Nick Fradiani, who sang “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins from Top Gun. Again, it’s a highly popular song, so making it his own is crucial. Fradiani showed more personality in this performance than in the past few weeks, but he still didn’t do anything to make him seem like he has real superstar potential. Every week, he looks a little more comfortable, so there’s still room for growth if America decides to keep him around.
Joey Cook, on the other hand, has shown superstar potential for a few weeks now. Tonight was no exception, as she took on “Mad World” from Donnie Darko. Idol fans might remember when Adam Lambert sang the song back in season eight. Though she didn’t quite reach the same level as Lambert did with his memorable performance, she showed a very different side of her artistry, to huge success.
Another contestant with huge star power is Tyanna Jones, who sang “Circle of Life” from Lion King tonight. Though not as stellar as last week’s performance of “Tightrope,” it showcased the strengths of her vocals. For the first time ever, she had some pitch issues, but she belongs in this competition.
The show took a break from the contestants to let Lopez debut her song “Feel the Light” from the upcoming film Home. She gave a great performance, but the highlight was definitely the galactic images and film scenes projected onto her white dress. Lopez literally turned into the center of the universe.
Next, Quentin Alexander sang an interesting rendition of “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease, turning the iconic song into a ballad. Much like Cook, Alexander’s artistry always shows in his powerhouse performances. The judges had some issues with tonight’s performance, but Alexander is a contestant who improves every week and has a distinct personality and voice that gives him an edge over some of the competition.
Maddie Walker doesn’t quite have that edge. Tonight, she sang “Let’s Hear It For the Boy” from Footloose. As a song without much depth to it, it didn’t give her a chance to really give a layered or emotional performance. “It felt really pageanty to me,” Harry Connick Jr. said.
Also a contestant who hasn’t done much to surprise yet, Clark Beckham advanced next. He sang “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5 from Cheaper By The Dozen 2. It was his personal best performance, and the arrangement suited his voice. This could be the sign that Beckham is finally stepping up his game.
Jax Cole sang “Grow Old With You” from The Wedding Singer, and the performance was a lot more consistent with her image than her performance of “Blank Space” last week. The arrangement was gorgeous, and the judges loved it.
As the contestant with the least amount of votes after last week, Qaasim Middleton had to sing for the one save the judges have for the season. He sang “Come Together” from Across The Universe. Middleton gave the performance his all, clearly understanding the stakes. He brought the house down with his frenetic stage presence. “That was arguably the best performance of the night,” Connick said. In fact, it was enough to warrant the save.
The judges used their save up pretty early in the competition, but given Middleton’s consistently strong performances, this was a good call. Do you agree? Next episode, two contestants will be eliminated, so be sure to vote for your favorites.