TIM URBAN’S ‘SWEET LOVE’ IS NOT USHER
”Have you ever been in love, man? Yeah? Well, make me that person,” Usher told Tim Urban while trying to coax more feeling out of his rendition of Anita Baker’s ”Sweet Love.” Alas, the smiling Texan with the impressive locks wasn’t quite feeling it, dawg. ”I was like, ‘Whoa. Um. Well…,”’ Tim explained to the cameras. ”I think some of the girls singing to Usher and picturing him as the love of their life would not necessarily be a big leap, but it was a little more difficult to picture that for me.” Alas, things didn’t get much better after Usher hid in a far corner of the room to let Tim try to get his lothario on. Imagination, 1; Tim, 0.
BIG MIKE LIFTS ALICIA KEYS
Poor Alicia Keys. Had the R&B diva known burly personal trainer Michael Lynche would add her to the list of people and things he’d felt compelled to grip/hoist, she could’ve issued a pre-tutorial warning: ”Do not manhandle the mentor!”
RANDY TRAVIS LAYS INTO ADAM LAMBERT
We already knew that Adam Lambert and country music went together about as well as Randy Jackson and a thesaurus. But we didn’t expect Adam’s meeting with country legend Randy Travis to be nearly as uncomfortable as it was. As soon as Travis heard that the contestant would be retooling Johnny Cash’s ”Ring of Fire” to include a sitar accompaniment, we could see the artist’s face melt into suppressed rage. Add to that his disapproving remark about Adam’s nail polish, and you’ve got one of the most awkward mentor moments of all time.
ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER GETS INTIMATE WITH DAVID COOK
We already knew that cougars loved Cook, but we had no idea the musical theater legend was also rather fond of him. While schooling David on how to enhance his performance of ”Music of the Night,” Webber told the contestant, ”You’re supposed to be singing to the most gorgeous girl that you’ve ever seen in your life. And regrettably, I am not that person. But you have to imagine that I am,” Webber cooed. ”I’m a gorgeous, 17-year-old girl from the chorus line.” Cook, in turn, laughed uncomfortably, and sagely reminded Webber that he was 25, so that might not be the most legal advice.
QUEEN DENIES ACE YOUNG
Poor Ace. Season 5’s lightweight heartthrob hardly screamed hard rock. But when he tried to change up the rhythm and sound of Queen’s iconic ”We Will Rock You” to fit his style, guitarist Brian May immediately rejected him by saying, ”No, that I can’t do. Not to my own song.” Ace must have felt rocked by the dismissal, since he backed off with an embarrassed, ”No? Okay” — and went on to deliver one heckuva weak performance.
SANJAYA BLANKS OUT ON GWEN STEFANI
For Gwen Stefani week, Sanjaya chose to sing one of No Doubt’s most difficult songs, ”Bathwater.” But his mentoring session with the singer felt more like ice water. The Season 6 contestant spaced on the lyrics in front of the singer, and Stefani essentially brushed him off by saying, ”It’s a hard song, and he chose it, so good luck for him.” And Sanjaya only made matters more awkward by butchering the song while wearing…a ponyhawk.
MELISSA McGHEE FORGETS THE LYRICS TO ”LATELY”
We had the strangest feeling Melissa would have problems with Stevie Wonder week. We’re not sure if it was her unfamiliarity with the legend’s songbook or just plain nerves, but something made Melissa forget the words to ”Lately” — right in front of Wonder himself. Stevie had no choice but to ask, ”What’s wrong with you, girl?” After failing to remember her lyrics again during her performance, Melissa was sent packing.
JORDIN MAKES BON JOVI FEEL OLD
Okay, so we shouldn’t have expected the 17-year-old Arizona native to be the biggest fan of an ’80s band from New Jersey. But there must have been a better way to greet the band than to tell them, ”Oh my gosh, my mom is going to flip out.” She did, however, save face by telling them that her mother got her into Bon Jovi. And it’s a good thing: Reminding your mentors how old they are could’ve given Jordin a really bad name.
LAKISHA CHOOSES TO IGNORE HER MENTORS
LaKisha admitted that she knew ”absolutely nothing” about British music during British Invasion week, so you think she would have listened extra hard to her mentor, the very charming Lulu. But after Lulu gave LaKisha an impassioned plea to sing ”You’re My World” instead of ”Diamonds are Forever,” the wannabe Idol went with the Bond song anyway. We nearly forgave her — ”Diamonds Are Forever” is a killer song — but just two weeks later, she chose to ignore her mentor’s advice again, when Tony Bennett suggested she hold a note longer during ”Stormy Weather.” So, how’d that work out for you, Kiki?
GWEN STEFANI GIVES HALEY SCARNATO THE DEATH STARE
As much as she tried to hide it, Gwen Stefani could not conceal her true feelings about Haley’s take on ”True Colors.” When Haley tried to bring something new to the Cyndi Lauper song, which happened to be one of Stefani’s favorites, the star directed a rage-filled smirk at Haley, and later told the camera, ”She started to do this other melody, which I think is so unnecessary for the song.” We have no doubt that Stefani turned the volume down while watching Haley’s pitchy, pageant-y live performance.
J. LO ASKS BLAKE TO HELP THE RHYTHM-DEFICIENT HALEY
Speaking of Haley, Season 6’s punching bag didn’t fare much better two weeks later during her session with surprisingly competent mentor Jennifer Lopez. The girl couldn’t quite find the difficult rhythm of ”Turn the Beat Around,” so Lopez called in another contestant, Blake, to offer Haley some assistance as a human beat box. It’s too bad Blake couldn’t perform on the main stage with Haley, who turned the song upside down — and not in a good way — and was sent packing the next day.
MELINDA DOOLITTLE CONFUSES BARRY GIBB
While Melinda practiced ”How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?” with Barry Gibb, the Bee Gees singer asked the contestant why she chose to change a lyric that originally read, ”How can a loser ever win?” Mindy Doo sheepishly confessed that she wanted to avoid a jinx, and Gibb responded with an amused, but befuddled, ”Oh wow. That’s fantastic.” He must’ve come around, because seconds later he admitted, ”If I was her, I’d probably want to leave that line out too.” After all, how can you argue with a good point?
ROD STEWART’S HUMOR BAFFLES KELLIE PICKLER
The bubbly contestant sure was bewildered when Rod Stewart made a joke while preparing her for her performance of ”Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” during standards week. Stewart’s bon mot about words and lyrics flew right over her head, and when the singer mentioned he had just made a joke, Kellie turned to him and replied, ”Huh?” We’re not too surprised — this is a girl who didn’t know how to pronounce ”salmon,” after all.