Most American Idol guest celebrity mentors are polite and boring and offer innocuous non-criticisms lest they accidentally tell a contestant to do something stupid and look dumb themselves. Most American Idol judges are not Quentin Tarantino. On last night’s episode, the director enthusiastically doled out advice, most of which was either completely disregarded or later proven iffy. In every case, his thumbs-up endorsement for a finalist meant they’d be savaged by the judges minutes later. All of which is to say that last night’s show was terrifically entertaining, and we hope they invite him back next year.
Allison Iraheta, “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”
Quentin the mentor: “When she first performed the song … it wasn’t quite at a performance level.” (He asked her to sing it again, but this time while he sat in a chair “to take some of the pressure off.”)
Results: Allison, the season’s most consistent, unflappable singer, gave another typically excellent performance that seems to have been in no way affected by Tarantino’s sitting or standing during rehearsal.
Anoop Desai, “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”
Quentin the mentor: “The only thing I would say is, rough it up a little.” [Makes wild swinging arm gestures and loud, strange guttural noises.]
Results: Anoop completely ignored his advice, sang softly, and turned in what was probably the night’s best vocal.
Adam Lambert, “Born to Be Wild”
Quentin the mentor: “I still don’t know what he’s going to do — he only gave me a small taste of it. But I really enjoyed the taste.”
Results: Adam performed a screechy, terrifying version of “Born to Be Wild” that probably only further endeared him to the tone-deaf, crazy people who vote for him every week (see below).
Matt Giraud, “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?”
Quentin the mentor: “Do the gravelly thing. Do the soul thing. But don’t lose the enunciation of the lyrics … I think this will be one of his top three performances.”
Results: Things started okay, but during the bridge Matt’s voice cracked and he sang a bunch of wrong notes. He did not lose the enunciation or the lyrics, though. “It wasn’t one of your best performances,” noted Randy Jackson.
Danny Gokey, “Endless Love”
Quentin the mentor: “Let me just see you do it one more time with your hands in your pockets — no hand gestures.”
Results: Danny sang with hands out of pockets. Simon wasn’t crazy about the arrangement, but seemed untroubled by the hand gestures.
Kris Allen, “Falling Slowly”
Quentin the mentor: “Have you thought about playing an instrument? Think about it. But either way it’s going to be great … Truthfully, [of all the contestants] I actually think Kris lived up to the spirit of the competition the most … He’s playing with the casino’s money. It’s going to be great one way or the other.”
Results: Kris sang flat for two whole minutes, delivering what was unquestionably the episode’s worst performance. According to DialIdol, he received the lowest number of votes last night.
Lil Rounds, “The Rose”
Quentin the mentor: “Thrilling … You do a nice switch where you take it more gospel. When you’re just doing it straight, commit to that even more. Commit to the first part as much as the second part and it should be awesome.”
Results: Lil was, once again, boring. Simon offered this critique: “Lil … I think you’re getting this completely wrong. You had some nice moments in there, but there’s no excuses anymore. I’m getting frustrated.” Then Lil shouted back at him until our DVR cut off.
Here’s Adam Lambert’s performance, which we guess is nobody’s fault but Adam’s: