Though we've suffered through some pretty awful theme nights already on this season of American Idol, seldom are episodes more harrowing than the ones in which contestants are permitted to select whichever songs they like, irrespective of the genre. On last night's show, the nine remaining singers were tasked with performing any track, as long as it was a "popular download on iTunes." Sadly, none of them selected John Cage's "4'33"," although it certainly would've been a better choice than Bob Marley's "Turn Your Lights Down Low"!
Like us, very few of this year's finalists seem to understand exactly what it is that America likes about them. Anoop Desai, who scored points the past two weeks singing ballads and ignoring his R&B impulses, did a hatchet job on Usher's "Caught Up" that prompted Kara to compare him to a "frat boy on a dare" (cameras cut to a shot of booing frat boys). Matt Giraud, the competition's ostensible R&B singer, sang the Fray's mopey "You Found Me," forfeiting his front-runner status.
The overrated Lil Rounds sang Celine Dion's "Surrender" and bored even the judges, which caused panicked producers to send Ryan Seacrest into the audience to interview her two small children, ensuring she won't be sent home, sadly. And the generally loathsome Danny Gokey did Rascal Flatts's "What Hurts the Most," implicitly dedicating it to his deceased wife (have you heard? His wife is deceased).
But who was the worst? On any other episode, Adam Lambert's version of "Play That Funky Music," which managed the seemingly impossible feat of making the song even more atrocious, would've earned that distinction (though it was truthfully no worse than his "Satisfaction" or "Black or White," which probably means he's safe). But the top stinker came courtesy of Megan Joy, who will almost certainly be sent home tonight for doing this:
On a positive note, Scott MacIntyre totally won us over with the only salvageable two minutes of last night's episode, his solo piano version of Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are" (see below). All told, though, we're really looking forward to next week, when producers tell everybody what to sing again.