Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Top 7 (Part II) - If I Can't Have You
I'd seen a few spoilers as I couldn't help myself, and from his look, I guessed he was probably going to do a slow number but I didn't want to be correct because that would make him predictable.
The song started off softly with some very vulnerable tender notes, kind of like silken chocolate melting in your mouth. He sang a verse and then broke into the chorus and the way he built up to the high notes was beautiful. The melody was heartbreaking. There was a single note that I didn't like though, which I felt was a little too harsh and out of place, and that was the highest note - the 'if'. If I were to nit-pick, I would say that he over-enunciated some of the words rather than sing them - perhaps that's what they mean by 'theatrical'. The song seemed to end very quickly after that. I wasn't all that keen on the lighting and camera work as his face was in darkness much of the time, and the camera could have done with less movement and long shots.
*UPDATE*: On seeing the performance on TV for the first time rather than through the internet, the high note didn't sound nearly as harsh and his chest voice was much richer, full and resonant. I want to hear more of it!
Once again, I loved Adam - his look, his vocals and his stage presence but I couldn't help but feel a tinge underwhelmed by the performance for a number of reasons. The biggest reason was the length of the performance. It all seemed a bit too rushed and abrupt for my liking, as if it was a quickie without foreplay. I wanted to see more of Adam sing. There weren't enough verses to reel me into his world and build up the emotion before wrenching at my heart in the chorus and finish. As a result, the song's climax didn't have the impact it should have done.
Another reason is because it was ever so slightly predictable, perhaps even 'safe' by his standards. I can't blame him for this, but rather my pre-performance over-analysis and scrutiny which may have spoiled it. If I weren't so obsessed with him then perhaps I would have expected an uptempo disco number and it would have come as a surprise. Maybe it's because I knew he would go with one of two options rather than just watch with an open mind. Still, I don't want him to fall into a predictable see-saw pattern throughout the weeks. Unlike last week, his performance didn't stand out way above the rest of the pack. There were various song interpretations but a large number of contestants also chose to balladise disco. I think the others are growing and learning from him, giving more of their own spin on their performances.
*UPDATE*: On seeing the show again on TV, I noticed that the other contestants were being much more ambitious with their final note runs but it was painfully obvious that Adam's were in a totally different league. They all measured up so poorly to Adam's final note on Born To Be Wild, which completely blew me away.
My enjoyment of the performance was also heavily hampered by the fact that I was watching it streamed online since I am in the UK. My need for an Adam fix wouldn't allow me to wait a whole two days before he is aired on proper TV. I'm thinking now that perhaps I do need to be patient so I can fully enjoy the Adam Lambert Experience without jerky pixellated visuals and noise-filled audio.
After Adam finished his performance, he wasn't beaming as usual, but seemed a little apprehensive as to what the judges would say. Perhaps it was the emotion or the pressure beginning to affect him. The comments were very positive, but didn't seem to provide useful feedback. He further endeared himself to me by giving credit to the person who helped with the arrangement.
During his confessional, he revealed that he took notes from the judges' comments and was trying to appeal to the masses. I see the performance as being a result of that. He was happy, relaxed and upbeat in it, but it did trouble me that he might end up playing it safe by not going for 'left-field' performances in the future. The appeal and the edge that Adam has is his fearless risk-taking and if he were to tone it down to get more votes, I feel he would compromise his artistic inclinations too much.
Yes, I do have rather unreasonable expectations of Adam now, which are adding to the increasing pressure. Perhaps the best thing I can do is to stop obsessing and picking apart every detail. But Adam means much more than a singer to me. He is an Idol, one who is bold and unapologetic about who he is and I want him to dare to push the envelope out that little bit more. To me, 'Ring of Fire' was a seminal moment and I'd hate for him to allow a single person's comments (Simon's - which I think were exceptionally influential on this occasion because people just didn't know what to think) to make him cautious about venturing into risky territory again. I think in time, people will get to appreciate it more - they just weren't quite ready for it and if he takes a risk like that again, maybe it would be better received. It's an extremely difficult balancing act to undertake -- being true to himself, trying to satisfy his whole spectrum of fans and getting the votes all at the same time.