Thursday, March 10, 2011

American Idol Top 13 - Studio Versions

The Studio versions of the Top 13 performances went live on iTunes today. With the inclusion of top tier music producers this season, I am excepting some great recordings. I'm going to listen to them all and run down my opinions as I listen for the first time! (Click on the song titles to download and listen along with me! Or get them all with one click.)

Casey Abrams - With A Little Help From My Friends - I'm not sure what they did to his voice in the editing room, but the studio version lost all of the grit and growl that I love in Casey's live performances. I still like it, but I think they over produced him here.

Naima Adedapo - Umbrella  -This is a million times better than the live performance. This could be on the radio right now and may even trump Rihanna's version. The little reggae breakdown is a nice touch too. If only she could harness this energy and bring it to the stage.

Lauren Alaina - Any Man Of Mine -This is NOT Lauren's best, I think she can and will do better. I love Lauren, but the more I hear from her the less I love her. She's sounding more like Pickler than Underwood at this point. Not that that's a bad thing, but this is just not what I expected from her.

James Durbin - Maybe I'm Amazed - I'm amazed that I actually liked this performance. I went into this thing not liking James, but this song turned it around for me. I could see this doing well on the radio. The studio version is a little more reserved than his live performances. He's better when he doesn't scream so much, and there is not a lot of this in this song. James could be a rock star this summer if he keeps it up.

Ashthon Jones - When You Tell Me That You Love Me - I love this song and this version is actually pretty good. I don't think anyone can touch the Season 4 group song version, but this is pretty close for me. Some parts sound a bit rushed, but that might be because of the more uptempo arrangement of this performance. I think Ashthon really has potential to be a relevant recording artist.

Stefano Langone - Lately - The first minute or so into this has a real jazzy kind of sound, then around 1:10 the beat drops in and it gets a little weird. The vocals are not changed so much from the way we are used to hearing this song so the bumping beat feels kind of tacked on. With a little more tweaking and remixing I think this could become a cool club banger, but as it is right now I'm not quite feeling it.

Jacob Lusk - I Believe I Can Fly - I can't picture Jacob being on Top 40 radio. he's got a nice voice on the live shows, but I almost could not bear to finish listening to this song after the 1:30 mark. I think you need to see Jacob singing and get the full package to really get his music, it doesn't seem to translate well to the studio.

Scotty McCreery - The River - If you follow me on twitter you'll know that I don't like Scotty all that much. It's not that I think he's a BAD singer it's just that I don't like his kind of country music and I don't know much about it. I think he'll do very well on country radio no matter how far he makes it on Idol, which is why we should vote him off as soon as possible.

Paul McDonald - Come Pick Me Up - This was my favorite performance last night and it's probably going to be my favorite studio song of the week. Paul has a unique voice, there's never been anyone on Idol like him and that's why he deserves to win. This song is just what I expected from Paul on Idol and it did not disappoint.

Thia Megia - Smile - Thia seems like a nice girl, but this song is nothing sepcial. It sounds nice but I can't see myself (or anyone for that matter) ever listening to it more than once. The jazzy arrangement was pretty cool I guess, but I just don't get what she's trying to do. Not quite on the Thia train just yet.

Haley Reinhart - Blue - Until I heard this mp3, I didn't really think she had a chance, but I like this studio version a lot. Her voice is kind of charming and she's pretty good at those yodels. I'd keep an eye out on her to make it pretty far in the competition if she keeps recording songs that sound this good.

Karen Rodriguez - I Could Fall In Love - I think you can only sing in Spanish and pander to Jennifer Lopez so much before America will start to get sick of it. It was pretty cool when she did it the first time on Hero, but it's already kind of getting old. That being said, I think Karen has an amazing voice on this one. She could be right up there with J Lo, Celene Dion and the rest of them with the right songs.

Pia Toscano - All By Myself - I think Pia is the girl to beat this year. She's pretty much amazing with every song she sings. Even with everything nice I said about Karen, this song makes Karen's song sound like Paris Hilton's latest effort compared to Pia. Her vocals are perfect, I just wish she picked a better song.

Do you agree or disagree with my comments? Which was your favorite? Let me know on twitter @Idol360.