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'American Idol Recap': Not Many Classics On Rock Night

April 4th, 2013 7:16am EDT | Andrew Payne By: Andrew Payne

Janelle Arthur performs on AMERICAN IDOL

Classic Rock Night could not be a worse theme for this show and particularly this group of contestants. Last night, they proved that with the song choices.

Not a whole lot is known about how vast a catalog the contestants have from which to choose – though it would seem anything can be cleared if this is a show with the ability to sing Beatles songs. If that’s the case, nothing is more confounding on a weekly basis than the songs these contestants choose and with a genre as rich and deep as classic rock – one bursting with such wonderful songs.

Even with that, the contestant manage to choose not only the worst songs of the genre, but veer away from songs meant for singers. That is, songs that can showcase their vocals and aren’t all about the backing track, guitar solos and everything else that detracts from a singers’ ability to flash their singing ability.

So, predictably, tonight was a bit of a raging dumpster fire fueled by bad song choices and the awkward performances that result. But it wasn’t all bad. Who overcame the theme? Read on to find out…

Burnell Taylor Sang “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi

Keith Said: I missed the old Burnell. Make it your own.

Nicki Said: If you do something outside your genre, still give us Burnell.

Randy Said: Ride that beat harder – everything was so far behind the beat.

The Verdict:

Our first horrible song choice. This song is a singer’s song only if you consider drunken and angry karaoke by a group of girls all dumped on the same night in a New Jersey bar to be the epitome of vocals. Then it’s still only mildly meant to showcase somebody’s vocal prowess.

As expected, Burnell does nothing here but sing along with the verve of somebody falling asleep and the interest of somebody learning about mitochondria in 7th grade. He couldn’t have been farther apart from this song or show more detest for it with his energy-suck of a performance.

The vocal itself is just plain. There’s nothing bad about it, but certainly nothing that showcases any talent. All you can really say about the vocal and performance was that he didn’t make a total fool of himself. Even if he tried to with the song choice.

Grade: D-

Prediction: It didn’t matter what he did: Burnell leading off the show means Burnell leaving the show tomorrow.

Kree Harrison Sang “Piece of My Heart” by Big Brother and the Holding Company

Keith Said: You just coasted through.

Nicki Said: That was Mag-Nificent.

Randy Said: (My cable cut out for a second, so I have no idea – Why couldn’t it have done it on Mariah?)

The Verdict:

As far as I can tell, this song has been sung every single season on ‘Idol’ and every season it’s done exactly like the record and always falls short. You can’t beat the original, so why not try to change it up a little bit? Just seems logical.

Kree tries, tries to put some sort of a Nashville spin on this track but it fades as quickly as her voice at the end of a run. In fact, the only real country that remains after the intro is the twang in Kree’s voice. And it just seems out of place against the rock band backing her up.

The vocal isn’t bad, but it’s boring. She’s just a good singer. A plain flat good singer. With a plain flat stage presence who relies on a pleasant enough voice but can’t ever take it to the next level.

She blamed her pinched nerve on her perceived lack of caring about this performance, but it seemed like typical Kree to me: Good, not great – but this was a notch below the norm even for that.

Grade: C-

Prediction: She went for sympathy with the pinched nerve, but she could be in trouble with a forgettable performance so early in the show.

Janelle Arthur Sang “You May Be Right” by Billy Joel

Keith Said: It wasn’t the best song for you, but it wasn’t the best song choice for you.

Nicki Said: The performance was exceptional and you feel like every girl’s best friend.

Randy Said: It fit you like a top. I felt like I was at Janelle’s concert.

The Verdict:

A garbage song choice that makes absolutely no sense and she essentially turns into a commercial jingle. It really sounded like she was singing a song for an East Texas Dodge dealer with “Crazy” prices on pickup trucks this week.

At least she seemed like she was among the living unlike her first two opponents. Though she seemed perhaps a bit too alive with her weirdly dramatic looks in the camera and a dance that seemed like an overexcited dog humping the air while rapping. Unclear what was going on there.

The vocal was typical Janelle. The little twang, the inability to hit any big notes, and a solid connection to the song. Though I doubt she had any idea what “The Combat Zone” or Bedford-Stuy is.

So while this was pretty much the ordinary for Janelle, the song choice still brings it down a few notches. It’s not even in the top ten Billy Joel songs she could have picked and she ended up selling us used cars instead of gassing up her vocal Ferrari.

Grade: C-

Prediction: She’s got her country fans locked down, so she’ll be safe.

Lazaro Arbos Sang “We Are The Champions” by Queen

Keith Said: You chose something that played to your dramatics in a good way.

Nicki Said: That was crack juice.

Randy Said: Dude, you did a good job.

The Verdict:

Oddly, this is not the worst song choice because Freddie Mercury could tear his lungs out and this is one of the most searing vocals he ever did.

Of course, this isn’t an ordinary contestant singing. This is Lazaro. This is the guy who makes even the best song sound like it’s being sung by somebody in a community theater production of “Man of La Mancha”.

No exception here. A boring and lazy vocal delivered like a salsa-dancing drag queen. And remarkably pitchy. Remarkably. If this were a contest for most times off-pitch, he’d be the champion. As it stands, it’s still for good singing so he’s really more of a loser.

And there’s no time for that.

Grade: F

Prediction: He’s not going to go home yet, because he’s not Burnell and actually, he might not even bottom three. Just for fun.

Candice Glover Sang “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones

Keith Said: Your voice is so freaking good.

Nicki Said: I fell asleep with that song choice.

Randy Said: I like that you brought that attitude to it. You put your thing in it.

The Verdict:

Another insanely bad song choice. There are plenty of soulful Rolling Stones songs available. Anything off ‘Exile on Main Street’ would have fit the bill, so you choose a song that’s based entirely on a riff? Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

This performance was exactly what it appeared it would be when the song choice was announced: A good singer singing a terribly wrong song for her. Her vocals were there. You can tell she can blow with the best of them as she unleashed all the runs big notes that have made her a top contender.

But it all felt out of place, it all felt forced, it all felt incredibly awkward. This isn’t the type of song she should be singing and she showed it.

Grade: C+

Prediction: She got sympathy with a broken toe and the performance was good enough on its own to carry her through.

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Photo Credits: Michael Becker / FOX