Thoughts on American Idol Season 10 (so far)

I haven’t blogged on the new season of American Idol, as I’ve been on the road a lot, and haven’t been able to watch most episodes until several days after their showing. By the point I had seen the show, it was old news.

In any case, The Wife and I finally caught up over the weekend, and I wanted to share my thoughts on the season so far.

I didn’t expect much from the new judges, but I’ve been very pleasantly surprised. I like the more positive tone than we saw from Simon Cowell (especially the last few seasons). But they still give useful, albeit hard, advice at times.

Sure, there’s still some of the conflicting advice (when is it ok to make a song your own, and do you not dare touch it?), and it does seem like they’re listening to a different performance than we are, but it’s a big step up from Simon, Kara, and Ellen.

And I’m enjoying the way Steve Tyler can flip back and forth between sage industry advice (don’t make it too pop) and something that’s funny, but makes not sense (such as his phrase about a duck).

It seems like all the input from producers is helping. The performances to date have been very solid, on average.

And I like the looser themes. Don’t force the contestants to perform too far outside their wheelhouse.

Ok, on to my thoughts on the contestants.

James Durbin
I didn’t like James at first. I thought he was whiny, and tended to make excuses for his failings in life.

But the boy can rock!

He’s quite possibly the most ready to record an album. He’s certainly the most comfortable on stage. He interacts with the audience very well, and really seems to belong there.

He’s becoming one of the obvious favorites to win.

Lauren Alaina
Perhaps my favorite voice this season, but her lack of age and experience may yet catch up with her. She’s very lucky she didn’t go home after picking a Shania Twain song.

Stick with the blues! Your songs can lean towards country, but they’d better have a bluesy feel.

Casey Abrams
Probably the most musically talented of the bunch. He can sing anything.

He take real risks, and so far, they’ve all paid off.

At this point, I’d say Lauren, James and Casey are my three favorites.

Jacob Lusk
What a huge voice! And his performance of God Bless the Child in the earlier rounds is my favorite of the season. I wish he could have recorded it.

He’s got to watch his song choices and figure out who he wants to be as an artist. The only reason I don’t put him in my top three is that what may be his musical wheelhouse (American Standards) is not one that is likely to win American Idol.

I’d buy an album of American Standards from Jacob, however.

Paul McDonald
Very strange dude, but I love his voice. His choice of Maggie May was brilliant.

I worry his songs will start to all sound the same, however. I liked Megan Joy at first as well.

Pia Toscano
She looks at least half a decade older than she is, but that’s ok when you’re 22-years-old. Beautiful girl.

And a great voice. I really liked her performance of All By Myself. I question whether she can do it week in and week out, however.

Haley Reinhart
When she’s on, she’s great. Her performance of Blue was brilliant.

But when she’s off, it’s a train wreck. See her version of I’m Your Baby Tonight, for example.

Thia Megia
Another great voice, but her performances have been just ok for me.

Naima Adedapo
She’s clearly got talent, but she has yet to blow me away. That may be because she hasn’t picked a song that I like yet.

Sefano Langone
I find Stefano a bit boring. His Stevie Wonder song was horrible. If You Don’t Know Me by Now was better, but not great.

Scotty McCreery
He’s got a decent voice, but something about him really annoys me. It may be that he’s not nearly as good as he thinks he is.

Of the contestants that are left, he is the one I’d most like to see go away.

Karen Rodriguez
Damn… I was really disappointed when she was voted off last week. She was not going to win, so the judges were right in not using their save, but I expected her to make it into the top five or six.

I love her voice, and the way she mixes Spanish into her songs.

Hopefully, JoLo will help her get signed.

Ashthon Jones
Ashthon never impressed me. She was the weakest of the Top 13, and I was glad to see her go.

Of course, after praising the producers for not forcing restraining themes, they’ve returned to form. For the Top 11, they’ve chosen a theme of Motown. At least this gives a wide range of potential songs, but I expect we’ll get some scary choices.

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