Pop & Hiss

The L.A. Times music blog

« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

'American Idol': Five lessons Beyonce should have taught the finalists

May 19, 2011 |  4:47 pm

BEYONCE_OPRAH

The “American Idol” kids have gotten very spoiled in these final weeks of the competition.

After being mentored by Lady Gaga last week, the Top Three got advice from another platnium-heeled diva: Beyoncé.

Before the singer premiered the video to her new single, “Run the World (Girls),” she doled out advice for the three remaining contestants.

Always the consummate performer, Beyoncé, much like Gaga, has become known for her live shows. So,  it was a bit surprising to see the singer focus solely on the technical workings of contestants' vocals. 

She praised Haley Reinhart’s "warm tone" and "risky" song choices, told young 'un Scotty McCreery that she was interested in seeing him reach into the higher notes of his baritone, and reminded Lauren Alaina that she created alter-ego Sasha Fierce strictly to help her nerves and help her believe that she’s “strong … fearless … and ... a diva.”

Maybe she didn’t want to give them all her secrets, but with only two divas-in-training left (and a reminder that a female hasn’t won since 2007), here are five things we wished Bey would have taught the finalists, especially the girls:

1. How to fall with grace. By now, we all know (or read) that Reinhart took a spill during her performance, in front of her guitar strumming papa nonetheless. But as "Idol" judge Jennifer Lopez reminded her, sometimes you fall, but the key is how to make it seamless. Lopez made her tumble work, and even Gaga has taken a nasty dive, but Beyoncé’s face plant down a flight of steps should be the textbook example of making it work. She flung her hair around as if nothing had happened and hit all the notes. Reinhart was taken aback, missed a note but offered a sweet chuckle and awkward dance step to follow.




2. Working the stage solo. “American Idol” has made some strides in its visual aesthetics this season. Before being ousted, James Durbin used pyro and marching bands to fill in his sets, and Naima Adedapo frequently added choreography to her numbers, but ultimately, the finalists are front and center without the flashiness of backup dancers. Beyoncé knows a little about both, having been in a group, and now solo. Take a look at this performance from the BET Awards, where she (rarely) did a number without a small army of dancers.



3. The art of the hair toss. If you’re a contestant with two left feet (we aren’t singling any of the girls out), using your tresses as a prop always works. Whether it’s with the use of a wind machine (see Reinhart’s take on Stevie Nicks’ "Rhiannon") or the good old fashioned way, Beyoncé whips her mane like the rent is due. Reinhart could have checked out her interpolation of Alanis Morrisette's "You Oughta Know" into her performance at the 2010 Grammy’s for a quick lesson (skip to the 4:45 mark).



4. Mike tricks. McCreery gets a lot of flack for holding his microphone in an awkward position reminiscent of a flute. But there are other ways to turn the little guy and its stand into a prop. Last week, Gaga told him to pretend it was his girlfriend; here Beyoncé uses it as a knife and here she uses it as support for some steamy hip work.

5. If all of the above fail. Just do any of this. Or this. Or, of course, try this.

RELATED:

'American Idol': Lady Gaga steals the show without being present, thanks to Jimmy Iovine

'American Idol': Contestants open up about 'big balancing act' of juggling producers' opinions

'American Idol': Songs from the 21st century? With help from the Billboard Hot 100, we offer our picks

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
twitter.com/GerrickKennedy

Photo: Beyoncé performs during the taping of the third to last episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in Chicago on Tuesday. Credit: Peter Wynn Thompson / AFP / Getty Images

Comments 

Advertisement










Video