Sometimes you’ve got to appreciate different. Too much of the same old, same old just gets to be a bit redundant and downright boring. “American Idol” presented its top 12 guys Tuesday evening and that’s exactly what it looked like was going to happen — boring (or even passably good) covers of popular hit songs. It took four songs — one really good cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” two forgettable performances by Tim Halperin and Jovany Barreto, and one karaoke dregs rendition of Usher’s “OMG” by Jordan Dorsey — before the “American Idol” audience got a taste of throwback originality from young Brett Loewenstern’s “Light My Fire.”
It might seem strange to call a cover of the Doors’ “Light My Fire” “original,” but given the 17-year-old’s rendition of the classic ’60s song, it would seem fitting, at least with regard to his vocal stylings. In a song that is dominated by the powerful deepness of Jim Morrison’s voice, it was at first a bit disconcerting hearing the song performed in a higher range. The beat seemed the same but the way Brett Loewenstern sung the song was more laid back, with a quasi- Rod Stewart feel to it. Seeming to reinforce the hippie vibe he throws off, the 17-year-old Florida boy sang “Light My Fire” while prowling the Hollywood stage, dancing, tossing his hair (an audience member later said he did it 14 times), reminiscent somewhat of a younger, more effeminate Robert Plant.
And it worked.
Oddly enough, the raspy voice and the strange elocution at the end of some of his lines only made the tune that much more engaging. The “American Idol” live audience roared their approval.
The judges’ panel seemed to dig the boy’s chops as well, especially Jennifer Lopez, who seemed to be having a blast flipping her hair like contestant.
Steven Tyler said, “Brett, you did it again. You brought it home, man. You are on fire. And nice going.”
Jennifer Lopez, shaking head and flipping her hair, said, “All of that? There was like more hair tossing than me and Beyonce put together in the past ten years. You need a fan. You need a video.” After a laugh, she continue, “Seriously, I like your performance. I like that you are who you are.”
Judge Randy Jackson admitted having an audience member count the hair flips (they said 14, but it seemed somewhat higher). Brett said he wasn’t consciously aware that he was doing it. Jackson said skeptically, “Ah, come on,” but dropped it.
Jackson didn’t say he liked Loewenstern’s performance, but he didn’t pan it, either. Telling the teenager that he had some pitch problems at first, but he got it together towards the end. “The thing that was cool about that is that you’re definitely fun and definitely bold, and you’re gonna do whatever you want to do when you wanna do it. So, I appreciated that. You know what I’m sayin’?”
It is doubtful that anyone really knew what Randy was saying, but it was fairly obvious he was trying to give young Brett some feedback without coming off like he didn’t like Loewenstern’s performance.
But in the end, besides his one Wild Card pick during Thursday night’s show, it really isn’t up to Randy Jackson — or Jennifer Lopez — or Steven Tyler. It’s up to the “American Idol” voters. Did Brett Loewenstern light enough fires to open the doors (the author begs forgiveness for the band-related metaphor but just couldn’t resist) for his own place in the Top 10? Or will he be left hoping for that Wild Card slot (and hoping his final chance isn’t with Randy Jackson)?
He has good reason to worry. After his performance, at least five of the seven may have given what could be considered better performances, especially James Durbin, Jacob Lusk, and Casey Abrams. And with Scotty McCreery pulling at people’s heartstrings with his sentimental country ballad about lonely troops overseas…
Five of the Top 12 guys will be chosen by popular vote for the Top 10. Those guys will be revealed on Thursday’s results show. They will be joined by five girls who receive the highest number of votes after their Top 12 performances on Wednesday evening. Three contestants will be saved via a judge Wild Card (each has one). And the Top 13 will move toward the Season 10 finale…
“American Idol,” Fox Television
American Idol, “Brett Loewenstern — Top 24 — Light My Fire — American Idol Season 10 Episode 13 — Top 12 Boy Part 5,” YouTube.com