March 10, 2009 07:10 PM by Candace Young
FOX’s American Idol begins with Ryan Seacrest announcing that they are live with the Top 13 contestants ready to perform! In the room of 500 screaming fans, the judges give a bit of advice for the performers, including, don’t let the big stage overwhelm you, and don’t forget the words! Ryan introduces the thirteen hopefuls. Simon Cowell tells them that the good news is that this year there are thirteen of them, the bad news? Two of them will go home tomorrow! Ryan says tonight’s theme is the music of Michael Jackson – Lil Rounds is up first!
First American Idol performer, Lil Rounds, is from Memphis Tennesee and is a mother of three. Her family once wound up living in a motel after a tornado ruined their home. Lil is singing The Way You Make Me Feel! She is wearing a soft pink bustier with one flounced sleeve, and white pants. She belts out the tune with attitude that raises cheers from the crowd. Randy Jackson says she just put a new spin on it and made the song new again! Kara says she hopes they get to hear Lil on the radio. Paula compliments her on her look, and says she’s a force to be reckoned with, and Simon says it was good, but may have been a lazy song choice. The audience erupts when Simon says to give him five minutes with Lil and he’ll sort her out!
Performer number two on Idol is Scott MacIntyre, the pride of Scottsdale, Arizona. His parents describe how devastating it was when they discovered he was visually impaired, but insist that nothing gets in Scott’s way! Scott chooses to sing Keep the Faith from the album Dangerous. In a gray peacoat, Scott plays the piano, and delivers the song with conviction and heart. Kara says she’s glad they’re getting to see him play the piano – he delivered a hopeful message, and was true to himself. Paula describes it as magical seeing him in his comfort zone. Simon Cowell says he hated the song because nobody knows it – it’s fine to be artistic, but not on this show. He says he likes Scott and he’s a good singer, but he didn’t like the song. Randy agrees, saying it felt very ‘safe’ for him.
Danny Gokey is the next up on American Idol 8. He says he’s really shocked that he’s gotten to this point. Danny is singing Pretty Young Thing for Michael Jackson night. In a tweed suit jacket and jeans, he gives a hip rendition of the tune with plenty of grooving around the stage. Paula goes out on a limb and says she thinks he’s on his way to the finals. Simon thought the vocals were brilliant, however, the dancing fell short. Danny admits that he has trouble putting the singing and dancing together. Randy says he loved it all – because the dancing wasn’t choreographed. Kara notes that he has joy when he steps onstage!
Oil-rigger, Michael Sarver, from Jasper Texas has come to his turn on Idol. Michael grew up without a dad, and therefore tries to be the best dad he can be. He will sing You Are Not Alone tonight. In a black suit jacket and jeans, Michael comes out and gets up close and personal with the crowd, crooning the sensitive song, and putting a lot of feeling into his performance. Simon begins by saying that he’s not the best singer in the competition, but he makes up for it with passion and heart, and by giving it 110%. Randy tells him he’s definitely one of the best in this so far. Kara says he proved tonight that he really can sing – he did a great job. Paula notes that Michael has a lot of great things going for him – he sounded really lovely tonight! Michael tells Ryan he’d much rather stand on that stage than an oil rig.
Ryan Seacrest next introduces Jasmine Murray, who explains that FOX’s glam squad takes them out shopping for clothes and makeup – and they get to keep it! Jasmine is from a close-knit Mississippi family. Jasmine is described as the life of the family. Tonight, Jasmine is singing I’ll Be There by Michael Jackson. Dressed in a pale silk baby doll dress, Jasmine gives a good effort and finishes with a big note. Randy says he remixed that song with Mariah Carey – and she did pretty good with it! Kara agrees, saying she sold it, and she has great stage presence. Paula notes that she has composure and poise on stage, and had some brilliant moments. Simon says she made a good attempt, but he’d like to see her lighten up a little bit.
Kris Allen, from Conway Arkansas, is set to perform next on American Idol. He is a newlywed, and admits that he and his wife have had to make sacrifices for this, but hopefully it will pay off! Kris’s song choice is Do You Remember the Time. In a plaid shirt and playing his guitar, Kris gives an edgy performance. Kara says the girls love Kris! She adds that when he plays his guitar it’s a whole other side to him. Paula says he’s engaging when he plays his guitar, and kind of adorable and sexy! Simon calls the performance interesting, but isn’t sure the song fit the guitar, which made it seem clumsy at times. Randy says very well done job, baby!
Allison Iraheta from a Salvadorian family, explains that she has been singing since she was five in La Curacao – a shopping complex! Dressed in a very edgy black outfit, Allison offers a raunchy, rock version of Give In To Me. The crowd goes wild! Paula calls her a rock star – keep doing what you’re doing! Simon says it was a good performance – at least they know who she is and what kind of artist she wants to be – very good! Randy says Allison can sing – nice! Kara tells her to keep being a rocker girl – she distinguishes herself – great job!
Next up on Idol, Ryan talks to Anoop Desai about the moment when he discovered he would be the thirteenth finalist. Anoop says he was already walking off the stage! Anoop’s family immigrated to South Carolina. Tonight, Anoop does Beat It. In a gray jacket with popped collar, Anoop delivers a performance complete with Michael Jackson-like gestures. Paula tells Anoop that in her opinion, that song is untouchable. Simon says he’ll go further – it was horrible – very lightweight and karaoke – like someone trying to be like Michael Jackson and failing. Randy agrees – it didn’t work for him. Kara says the biggest problem is that since he can sing – they didn’t get to see him do anything, and for the first time she felt disconnected from him.
Jorge Nunez from Puerto Rico, says he comes from a loud, happy family that loves to dance. He says him being on American Idol has helped keep his family together after the death of his grandfather. Jorge sings Never Can Say Goodbye, dressed in jeans and a gray blazer. His singing is amazing, although he doesn’t move around the stage much. Randy says the song was a bit old-fashioned for him – he would have chosen something that challenged him more. Kara also would have liked to see him do something more emotional. Paula asks what compelled him to choose that song – Jorge says he wasn’t about to do Bad. Simon says it was corny and the arrangement was horrendous. Paula reiterates that Jorge deserves to be there.
Megan Joy, from Utah is the next American Idol hopeful to perform. She is divorced, and is missing her young son, Ryder, very much as she competes on the show. Megan is singing Rockin’ Robin by the Jackson Five tonight. In a bright orange dress and a cute headband, Megan gives a good rockin’ version of the tune. Kara tells her she put her signature on the song – she injected her personality in it. Paula says she had a quirky and unique quality to her voice, but she wants America to know her vocals as well as her beauty. Simon says everyone liked her, but it was a stupid song choice and the dancing was ridiculous. Randy agrees that the song really didn’t allow her to be Megan.
Ryan introduces Adam Lambert next on Idol. He says being in Hollywood has given him a thicker skin. His parents want him to be happy with what he is doing. Adam is singing Black and White. In jeans and a blue leather blazer, Adam gives a very seasoned performance – very intense at times. Paula tells him in all of the seven previous seasons of Idol, they have never had anyone so at home on the stage – he’s got the whole package going on – she says he’ll be at the end. Simon offers up that Adam’s performance was in a totally different league than the others! Randy feels Adam could make a record right now and sail to the top of the charts. Kara says he hit notes she didn’t even know existed – she hopes Michael Jackson is watching tonight! Ryan says he makes it look seamless, and Adam says it took lots of rehearsal to get it how he wanted it.
Matt Giraud is the second last contestant on tonight’s American Idol. His parents say it’s a dream to see their son on television. Matt will also perform on the piano. He is wearing a tan leather jacket and sings Human Nature. He uses a lilting style and hits some high notes! Randy calls it a really good performance – he’s got that Justin Timberlake thing going on! Kara hopes to see him for many weeks. Paula agrees – he’s so talented. Simon says it was solid.
Last to perform on tonight’s Idol will be Alexis Grace, who grew up in Memphis, and has a blues influence. She says she can work hard at singing and accomplish her dream. Alexis has chosen to sing Dirty Diana. Alexis takes the stage dressed in a black dress and black tights. She gives a performance full of attitude and spunk! Kara says they’re so happy to have her back – she’s a naughty girl and she likes it! Paula says to watch the oversinging. Simon says it was a little over-the-top and probably not as good as she thought it was. Randy says he liked the attitude.
Ryan Seacrest announces that as of tomorrow night, they are making a change that alters the entire show, American Idol, as we know it. Simon hints that it has to do with the judges – but viewers will have to wait until tomorrow night to find out what it is!
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Photos Courtesy: FOX