Top of the evenin' to ya, guv. This week, the British invade for a second
time as Peter Noone and Lulu mentor the top 11 in the music of the 60s that came
from our friends overseas... First, though, a history capsule...
It all started with four young lads from Liverpool. When Flight 101 from
England landed at Kennedy Airport in New York, music would never be the same.
The Beatles were so popular that any band from England had a fighting chance to
conquer America. Among those bands... the Searchers, the Foremost, the Rolling
Stones, the Dave Clark Five, the Zombies, the Who, Cilla Black, Shirley Bassey,
and of course, this week's mentors Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits, and Lulu.
For more info, try wiki'ing "British Invasion".
Peter works with the guys, while Lulu takes on the ladies. "These 11 people
have the same kind of enthusiasm as the Beatles at Shea Stadium."
First on the Idol stage is Haley Scarnato, who sings "Tell Him" (Billie
Davis, 1963). Lulu advises to make it more staccato. Will she comply, or is
Haley going to slip into big voice mode?
What they say: Randy says she was hot tonight. "That had the yo factor all
over." Paula called her on a great song choice. Simon... "You naughty little
thing." It was fun, young, and a bit shrieky.
What we say: Let's see... she looks hot... that's a good thing. But the
breathiness is not attune to this song, and all of the troubles that have kept
Haley from achieving greatness, from being too big a voice to being too pitchy
to tripping up the rhythm, have come home to roost.
Next, this girl crying. Stay tuned... this is relevant. And also relevant, a
scary-looking Peter Noone lookalike... oh way, that's just Nigel. Hi, Nigel.
Next, Chris Richardson meets Peter, thinking about "finally nailing a song."
He sings "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" (Gerry & The Pacemakers, 1964).
Peter wants him to watch out for the vibrato. "You got to stick with the melody
What they say: Randy called it another great performance, thinking it was
another side. One of his best. Paula says it's all about being smart with
choices. The arrangement was very "sexy and charming." Simon: "That was your
best performance so far." He didn't make the song sound old-fashioned.
What we say: a stripped down version is always a big winner. Chris strips it
down, lets the melody be the star, and ... finally nails it.
Stephanie Edwards is next. Today on Ask an Idol: What's the hardest part
about getting ready each week? She says picking the song. Different energy this
week? Everyone's focused. Next... "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" (Dusty
Springfield, 1966). Lulu tells her she reminds her of Beyonce. We could've told
What they say: Randy says it was a good choice, but a little pitchy. Paula
likes the clothes, but she needs to start having fun. Simon says she's beginning
to lose her edge.
What we say: What's the main problem with doing something with your own
flavor when your own flavor is someone else's? That's right.... it doesn't sound
genuine. And that's the problem here. Stephanie doesn't sound genuine. And the
tonality of it is proof positive.
Next, Blake Lewis scats his way into "Time of the Season" (The Zombies,
1968). Peter warns him not to let the business get in the way of the song.
What they say: Randy calls it cool, edgy, and "really current". Paula thinks
this season is for Blake and gives the ultimate compliment: "You could release
that as a record." Simon thought it was a million times better than last week.
What we say: Blake missteps a bit, but you know what... who cares? The rest
of the song makes up for it. He brings it into the here and now, and that's
gonna get him the numbers...
And Ryan's dancing and singing... Not hot.
LaKisha Jones is next. Her history with British music... nonexistent. She
nailed it to two songs, one of which is Shirley Bassey's "Diamonds Are Forever"
(1971). The second was "You're My World"... Lulu likes the second one so much,
she interrupts her confessional to talk KiKi into doing it. So which song does
LaKisha end up singing? Hint: she's wearing $1 million in diamonds.
What they say: It's not Randy's favorite performance, and he didn't feel "LaKisha"
in it until the end. Paula begs to differ. That was the right song for her.
"You're a very smart girl." Simon: "This was LaKisha in 50 years time. It wasn't
my favorite performance. Everything combined together was too old."
What we say: Props to LaKisha from putting one foot in her R&B roots and her
other foot into something a bit more challenging. And the good thing is, it
doesn't even remotely come off as pretentious. I believe that is what killed
last season's "favorite" Mandisa...
Phil Stacey sings "Tobacco Road" (The Nashville Teens cover, 1964). He just
says that it was fun and that a lot of people covered it.
What they say: Randy says to watch the upper register. Paula thought some
parts were pitchy, but enjoyed Phil's emotion. Simon... wasn't crazy. "It was
kind of what I called a third-division bar band performance."
What we say: Yeah, that was a pretty piss poor choice of song. The pitch was
off. And Simon's right, you really needed huevos to carry that song, and Phil
didn't have it.
Jordin Sparks is readying herself. Ask an Idol: name a song that describes
you best. "I'm So Excited" by the Pointer Sisters. Obviously, she can't do THAT
song. But she can do "I (Who Have Nothing)" (Shirley Bassey, 1963). She's so
What they say: Randy called it a tall order. "Very controlled, great
performance. One of the best I'm gonna see tonight." Paula says a good singer is
a good singer. Simon thought it was beautiful, but it was "sooooo depressing. I
felt like jumping over a bridge."
What we say: That was the money shot. Jordin took that song where she wanted
it to go, and it showed.
There's Nigel again... no, wait, that's Peter Noone. His biggest advice: "1)
Stick with the melody, and 2) Remember, this is not just a singing competition,
it's a voting competition." That said... here comes Sanjaya! He has no idea what
he's going to sing, until he gets to the piano and thinks about "You Really Got
Me" (The Kinks, 1964). Peter says what we've all been thinking. "He doesn't have
a lot of experience to sell what he's got." He ALMOST sang "(Something Tells Me)
I'm Into Something Good".
What they say: Randy's shocked. That was his best. Paula was waiting for this
performance. Simon, pointing to a girl named Ashley in the crowd, says "I think
the little girl's face says it all."
What we say: Remember what Peter said about selling it? So true. Sanjaya has
ZERO stage presence, less of a voice, and he makes little girls cry.
Gina Glocksen's next. She's so psyched herself. Ask an Idol: do you think
being on AI made you stronger? In so many words... yes. She sings "Paint It
Black" (The Rolling Stones, 1966). Lulu suggests a half-step up. Better. She
also suggests wringing it for all the drama.
What they say: Randy likes the edge, but the vocal was a little pitchy. Paula
thought it was miles better than last week. Simon thought it was style over
content, citing the bridge. "Vocally, not good enough."
What we say: The song choice... spot on. But it seems like she's selling more
of an image than a song. Too much of that and you're going to have Simon calling
you "a sheep in wolf's clothing."
Chris Sligh did his homework on Peter Noone. He remembers his father singing
"Henry VIII." He chose "She's Not There" (The Zombies, 1964). He needs to figure
out what the song is about, and if he can, he can sell it.
What they say: Randy likes that everyone's performing tonight. "It started
off a little off the beat, but it wound up good." Paula thought it was a little
ahead of the pocket. Chris tells Simon that he would've been more personable
with the audience, but the song was about a girl who's not there. But he thought
it was fun, albeit not the best.
What we say: Did that sign say "Bringing Chubby Back"? It looks like he
figured out what the song was about. And it is a good song for Chris to sing.
The breath control is still an issue, but other than that... not too bad.
One more song, and then we call it a night. Here comes Melinda Doolittle! "Oh
sweet Lord Jesus, what am I gonna do?" She eventually decides, divinely or not,
on a "torch song" as Lulu calls it. "She found herself in that song."
Tonight's closer by Melinda is... "As Long As He Needs Me" (Shirley Bassey,
What they say: Randy thought they saved the best for last. "You have great
relative pitch. You are a pro up there." Paula thought she told the story.
Simon... "Are you really as nice as you seem?" She is. It started boring, but it
ended sensational and impeccable.
What we say: Echo, echo, echo.
Okay, we're done with British music of the 60s. Let's go to what we think...
Hopped the Pond: Chris R., Blake, LaKisha, Jordin, Melinda
Hopped Back: Haley, Gina, Chris S.
Drowned: Stephanie, Phil, Sanjaya
Find out in 23 if this is an accurate portrayal of your votes...