Project ‘Idol’ Tuesday: Glambert mentors Top 9

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After last week’s judge’s save of Michael Lynch, the Top 9 got do-overs of sorts Tuesday on “American Idol,” with mentor Adam Lambert and the songs of Elvis Presley.

I should probably also note that “Idol” guru Collin Kelley is off touring his novel around the countryside this time around, so I’m happily sitting in for Tuesday only. As a Project Q principal, I’m the resident reality recap guy for all but “Idol,” so I hope to make Collin as proud as he makes us each week.

So, after a cast trip to Vegas to see Cirque’s “Viva Elvis!,” Glambert promised to be honest and constructive as the first previous contestant to play mentor on the show. He also said they needed some energy and to bring Elvis’ famous showmanship to the contest.

Showmanship. That’d be a new one on most of this season’s bunch.

Seacrest took a good natured potshot at Adam before the performances, turning a question about which Elvis song he would do into “My tongue is not as talented as yours.” Miss Seacrest wishes.

imageCrystal Bowersox: Hands-down frontrunner MamaSox got the show off to a good start with the up-tempo, gospel-inspired “Saved.” Turning to the electric guitar and finally letting that golden voice rip all the way, she delivered not just a usual solid performance, but in fact, showmanship even Glambert could be proud of.

Andrew Garcia: Collin’s right. The glasses and the neck tattoo do get bigger every week. True to his promise, Glambert’s critique even before the performance was that Andrew’s “Hound Dog” was boring and that he needed to bring his game up. Andrew switched it up, but I was ready to switch it off after two bars. True to my duty, I suffered through the whole thing and resisted the urge to fast-forward the DVR. Go home, Andrew. No really.

imageTim Urban: Hair, Smile & Abs took on “I Can’t Help Falling in Love” with an acoustic guitar in tow. He’s learning to sing easier melodies as the tweens keep him around each week, and like last week, at least it wasn’t excruciating. It also wasn’t brilliant. T’Urban ended in an almost-falsetto with the requisite hair swish and smile. He’s growing on the judges, or maybe they have given in to the cute factor in the voting. To be nicer, it was the most I’ve enjoyed his singing since I started praying to the sweet baby Jesus in the manger to kick Tim’s cute little ass off the show.

Lee DeWyze: Adam told Dweezie to serve face during “A Little Less Conversation,” but apparently the contestant thought he meant Taylor Hicks face. It was OK, though. Lee is tapping into his inner Springsteen and showing more confidence. For this questionable season of “Idol,” he’s doing well. The judges came a little. He’s safe.

Aaron Kelly: Glambert asked for commitment and aggressiveness from Archuletta Junior, and “Blue Suede Shoes” was—finally—an upbeat, energetic performance from Aaron. He can definitely sing, but milqutoast doesn’t exactly go down easily with the grit of the song. Simon hated it. I was left iffy, but Aaron did better than I expected.

imageSiobhan Mangus: Predictably, last year’s and this year’s freak factors mixed well during the mentor session, but Siobhan’s “Suspicious Minds” was a little expected and didn’t really take off until the second half of the song. That said, bitch has got pipes—the most diverse set of the bunch. I heart Siobhan and see her as a contender despite this one less-than-stellar night.

Michael Lynch: After a surprise fall from grace, Big Mike turned it out last week for the save and hoped to channel that story-telling energy with “In the Ghetto.” This should have been his element, but Randy called it: sleepy. He stripped it down with an acoustic version, and the judges liked it—even Simon. I wasn’t feeling the magic.

Katie Stevens: Pageant Stank gets no love from me. Maybe when Buffy Buckhead grows up, her personality can grow into the soul-pop place her voice can go. Right now, she just can’t sell it. Simon said “annoying,” and that’s where I come down. As Collin has said, Middle America eats Katie’s brand of shit on crackers, so she’s probably safe.

imageCasey James: Cougar Bait’s got exactly what Katie is missing: grit, sex appeal, natural ease and a sense of self. “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” fit his bluesy rock vibe like a glove. So much so that it was a safe choice. Nothing new to see here, but I lingered anyway for the eye candy.

With the save in play, “Idol” won’t slow its roll Wednesday. A double elimination is in store to even things out as Glambert takes the stage. Who’s on the chopping block? Andrew for sure. My choices are rarely America’s choices, so tune in to see what mistakes voters make for the other spot in the bottom two.

Mike for Collin. Out.

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