American Idol 8: Top 13 Perform, Live Thoughts (Page 1/4)
Why, hello, everyone.  It is once again that time of year, the time of year when American Idol becomes exciting, when viewers start to form their rooting interests, trends begin to emerge, singers get comfortable and put on great performances, instruments are used and the theme weeks commence.  I can't help it - I am legitimately excited for tonight's two-hour performance episode, especially because the theme is Michael Jackson.  How much of the MJ songbook will be available remains to be seen, but considering Jackson's reported financial troubles, it's possible that everything is there for the taking, from "Rock With You" to "Black or White."  Having to choose an MJ song is an intriguing task for our Top 13, and definitely gives some contestants an advantage (Anoop Desai, Lil Rounds), while it could baffle some others (Scott MacIntyre, Megan Corkrey).  It should be a lot of fun.

If you want to get a little more invested in American Idol this season, we've set up an awesome new Idol Fantasy League which you can read about and sign up for here.

As always, I will be here throughout the live broadcast of the performance show, attempting to corrupt the youth of America with my live thoughts.  Follow along, comment in the comment section below, ruthlessly mock my opinions - just enjoy.  It'll be good times.

American Idol 8: Top 13 Performance Rankings
American Idol 8: Top 13 Perform - Episode in Review

And here we go.  Ryan Seacrest stands above the contestants, lording over them like an all-powerful elf.  The singers all look a little nervous.  The judges are announced by some movie-voiceover guy, and walk from the stage to their table.  That was weird - don't remember ever seeing that before.  And the crowd is going wild!  Ryan looks like he spent a few hours under the tanning bed last night.  Seacrest says the judges' entrance was Simon's idea.  This is probably true.  The stage is looking good this season.  Seacrest goes all hyperbolic.  Randy says the singers have to "bring it hard" and that everyone in the thirteen has a chance to win it all.  This is not true, dawg.  Paula has some random feathers on one of her shoulders.  It looks like a pigeon flew into her at high velocity.  Simon says that you can't forget the words. 

Ryan introduces the Top 13.  Who will get the pimp spot?  Oh, now - it's Alexis Grace who will finish off tonight's show.  Simon drops the bad news -


Well, that makes thing pretty interesting.  We get video of Michael Jackson's career.

Lil Rounds - “The Way You Make Me Feel”

Lil Rounds will be the first to sing tonight.  Idol believes that she's such a front-runner that they feel like they can let her lead off the show and she'll be all right.  Lil, her husband and their three kids look to be a functioning, happy family.  Which is nice.

I don't think this song fits her terribly well, which means that Lil will struggle with uptempo songs throughout the season.  She sounds a little nasally at the begin.  Her outfit is terrible.  But, you know – Lil can sing.  She sings in tune, throws in some attitude, and is comfortable on stage.  I'm sure the judges will really enjoy the performance.

Randy thinks that Lil made the song new again.  I don't really agree, Randy.  Kara thinks that everyone else is really going to have to step up now.  Kara – let's lay off the grand statements.  It's early in the season.  Paula, of course, compliments Lil's outfits.  “It's like angels singing,” Paula says.  Simon was a bit disappointed, thought it was a lazy song choice, the second half was better than the first.  He closes with “I hate what you're wearing.” 

Scott MacIntyre - "Keep the Faith"

I'm going to not talk about the video "packages" anymore, if it's all the same to you.  Scott plays the piano, as was expected.  He can play just fine, but his voice still leaves a lot to be desired.  He's sucking all of the soul out of this song, turning it into a nerdy ballad.  Not that this was a particularly great song in the first place.  His piano playing is drowned out by the band for most of the song.  He does hit a nice, big falsetto note near the end of the song, which helped.  I just don't really enjoy the tone of his voice - it's too, I don't know, proper.

Kara asks Scott if he learned that on piano this week.  Of course he did.  Kara liked the song choice, and likes Scott's message of hope.  Paula called it a “lovely performance.”  HAHA – right after Paula points out that the lady who wrote the song is actually in the building, Simon says that he hated the song.  That's a man with balls.  Randy called it “safe.”  All right, this is good – we've established that the male judges will criticize Scott in an honest manner.

Danny Gokey - "P.Y.T."

Danny is from Wisconsin, and he apparently has about 1,000 family members.  I love this song, but Danny has slowed it way, way down at the beginning, but kicks it into gear quickly.  Danny is singing just fine, but it's a little flat, energy wise in the first verse.  He growl yells the chorus.  I kind of like it.  His dancing is really white, but damn it if he doesn't have a great voice.  He sings in tune all the way through, and hit some plain nasty high notes.  Danny kind of annoys me personally, but he's quite good.

Paula rambles, on the verge of tears.  Paula is high as a kite.  Simon thought the vocals were incredible, but that the dancing was hideous.  Agreed. And, to his credit, Danny agreed as well.  Randy loved it too.  Oh, by the way – Paula predicted that he would make it to the finals.  Paula, just...stop.  Please, stop.

Michael Sarver - “You Are Not Alone”

Michael is not going to look very good after Danny's performance there.  And, just as I predicted, Michael is going the Extreme Cornball route tonight.  He begins the song by sitting on the steps.  He sings OK, but Michael doesn't have much range.  That being the case, Sarver made a pretty great song choice, I think.  This performance, unmemorable as it might have been, could be enough to get him to next week. 

Simon thought the vocals were OK, but he made up for it with passion and heart.  Randy thought it was one of the best of the night.  Kara said that tonight proved Michael can sing.  I have to agree - this was a lot better than what I expected from Michael.  Paula's feathers are preposterous.  I can barely even look at her anymore.

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