It was certainly a huge success.
The Big Dome was filled to the rafters and the wildly appreciative crowd lapped up almost everything that the Idols served up. The applause and shrieks came non-stop throughout the 100-minute show, even during questionable song choices and during performances that weren’t really special.
By questionable I mean of the literal “what song is that?” type, including the opening number (probably entitled “Sing It For The World”), the Skylar-Hollie duet (probably a Carrie Underwood song), and Erika’s lone solo number (I knew it was Pink’s “Glitter in the Air” but I doubt many in the audience did).
This also includes the “why that song?” variety that’s often mentioned by the judges in the show. Deandre sang “Master Blaster”, one of his best reviewed songs during the competition, but since this was his only solo number in the concert it should’ve showcased his trademark falsetto more.
Heejun’s spot number was even more baffling. His performance of John Legend’s uptempo “Ready To Go” showcased neither his balladeering gift nor his knack for comedy, although it did show off his rapping skills.
Speaking of ballads, Jessica performed the minor Alicia Keys hit “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore”. Which begs the question, how come not one of her indelible big ballads from the competition?
The concert had several group numbers. And like their counterparts on the TV show, they were mostly perfunctory.
The biggest shortcoming of the concert was its lack of fluidity, both musically and thematically. There was no discernible rhyme or rhythm to the order of performances and the song selections.
It did not help that everything onstage (the band, the lights, the video wall) came to a complete stop after every song, giving the entire thing a halting, stop-and-start motion and the air and feel of a sophomoric production.
Good thing these Idols are such strong performers and had real moment moments during the competition which translated well on the concert stage.
Now, for the individual reviews based on the order of their appearance on the show:
DEANDRE BRACKENSICK. His trademark falsetto was little heard on his solo number but his equally trademark long, bulky curly locks and his athletic dance moves were on full display. For playing back-up to some of the other idols in several numbers, he wins the award for Best Supporting Male.
ERIKA VAN PELT. The now pink-haired belter’s gorgeous, soulful cover of Pink’s ballad “Glitter in the Air” was the first real musical moment of the concert and one if its biggest highlights overall. Wins the award for Best Supporting Female.
HEEJUN HAN. Stumbled in his solo number where he had difficulty hitting the high notes with his falsetto. He also did not clown it up enough during the group number with Jessica and Deandre, which was a headscratcher considering that the song was LMFAO’s “Party Rock”.
ELISE TESTONE. Her “Whole Lotta Lovin’” was as rivetting in the concert as it was on the show and was the set’s one real classic rock moment. She then sang a surprising cover of Adele’s “Rumor Has It” which, to borrow from the judges, she made her own with her rock edge. A one-two punch that scored the artistic knockout in the concert.
COLTON DIXON. One of the biggest crowd favorites, he got loud shrieks everytime he performed. And he didn’t only look the part of an idol, he sounded it as well. He doesn’t have the fullest, most robust voice, but he projected it well enough. He also performed with such urgency and in-the-zone commitment that it was hard not to be taken in even when he was singing unfamiliar songs, like his new single “Never Gone”, which he noted would be available on iTunes in three days.
JESSICA SANCHEZ. Her three-song solo set was composed of Beyonce’s “Best Thing I Never Had”, Alicia Keys’ “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore”, and her reprise of her “Proud Mary” number from the competition, with help from the very game Deandre and Joshua.
No “I Will Always Love You”, “Everybody Has A Dream”, “And I Am Telling You”, or “Sweet Dreams”. Probably the musical director and the concert producers were aftaid that she’d steal the show if she sang any of her big ballads from the competition. Disappointing, but the girl herself did not disappoint.
SKYLAR LAINE. She sang with as much power and conviction as she did during the competition but her performance of “Gunpowder & Lead” was a bit lacking in feet-stomping energy. Maybe it was the additional weight that she had obviously packed on that weighed her down. But still a stunner nonetheless.
HOLLIE CAVANAUGH. Looked and sounded like the early Christina Aguilera with her reprise of “Rolling In The Deep” from the competition and her second song, the ballad “Give Your Heart a Break”. Big, soaring vocals, but scant emotional heat.
JOSHUA LEDET. As though making up for Hollie’s shortcomings in the soul and drama department, Joshua took to the stage with soul and drama to spare as he did every work on the show. He did Bruno Mars’ “Runaway”, during which he ran around the stage like crazy, James Brown’s “A Man’s Man’s Man’s World”, at the end of which he was down on his knees, and Aretha Franklin and George Micheal’s “I Knew You Were Waiting” with Jessica, which was the concert’s best non-solo number.
PHILLIP PHILLIPS. The reigning Idol winner took to the stage only during the second half of the show, probably leading many in the audience to wonder if he was a no-show. So understandly he was the most cheered performer. (Sorry, Jessica).
His five-song set included all his greatest hits from the show – ”Superstition”, “U Got It Bad”, “Somebody That I Used To Know” with Elise, “Volcano” with Jessica, and his coronation song, “Home”.
The big surprise was that he was the chattiest among all the performers, asking the crowd if they were having a good time not just once but twice. At one point he admitted he was nervous, and at another he shared how everyone had been treating them nicely in the country.
It was the only moment during the entire show where any one of the Idols had that kind of intimate interaction with the audience. For that alone, the show did save the best for last.