American Idol: paying homage to the King, sort of

Last night’s episode of “American Idol” was mercifully 90 minutes instead of the usual 120, meaning the judges’ snarky comments and Ryan Seacrest’s annoying banter were kept to a manageable minimum. After Crystal led off, it all kind of was just, as Simon would suggest, like bad karaoke. Of course, they propped up a few that didn’t deserve it, but really, this is still Crystal’s competition to lose now. And the guest mentor? Adam Lambert. Remember him? Here is the recap:

THE REALLY GOOD

Crystal Bowersox did “Saved” and a rocking, Gospel-infused version of it and it blew me away, and I’m sure it blew everyone watching away. I wrote in my notes, “How the hell does anyone follow that?” and I was right. Randy said it was “dope” and like a young Bonnie Raitt….Ellen said it was fantastic….Kara said it was another solid performance…and Simon said he loved that it wasn’t an obvious song choice, but well suited for Crystal. He also said she didn’t fall into a “karaoke trap” like he suspected some of the others would. (prophetic, Simon!).

THE GOOD

Lee Dewyze took on “Little Less Conversation” and Adam gave him good advice to smile and be more animated. It was very good but not awesome like Crystal. Randy said Lee was in the zone and it was amazing….Ellen said Lee made the song current….Kara said she’s never seen Lee “go for it” vocally like he did last night and she loved it….and Simon said it was on the money and Lee nailed it. Okay, nicely done bro!

THE PRETTY GOOD

Big Michael Lynche was saved by the judges last week, and this time, at Siobhan’s suggestion, sang “In the Ghetto.” The soulfulness of this one was perfectly suited to Mike’s vocal and he really did a nice job. Randy said it was a “sleepy” performance but with hot vocals….Ellen said “I’m glad we saved you” (who didn’t see that comment coming?)….Kara said it is a beautiful song that Mike sang well….and Simon said it was one of his favorite’s of Mike’s. Again, nicely done bro!

THE MEDIOCRE

Tim Urban did a version of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” that didn’t veer a hell of a lot from the original version, and well, I’m sorry, he’s not that good! Still, it wasn’t awful. But the judges somehow were enamored with the performance. Randy said he liked it…Ellen said it was “beautiful” and that Tim has been an acquired taste like tequila….Kara said it was her favorite performance of Tim’s and authentic….and Simon said Tim went from zero to hero. Yikes! Really, Simon?

Aaron Kelly took on a song ten times his size with “Blue Suede Shoes,” and it was cheesy but not horrible. Randy said it started off weird but got better….Ellen said Aaron gets an “A” for effort but it was missing something…Kara said she liked that Aaron got out of his comfort zone…and Simon said he didn’t like it, that it was old fashioned and high-school-musical-ish. I kind of agree more with Simon.

Siobhan Magnus sang “Suspicious Minds” and she keeps bumming me out each week. When she doesn’t belt it out, she’s just so bland. So this was a poor choice for her. Randy said he likes that Siobhan takes risks and that it was great vocally…Ellen said she looked great and that the second half of the song was better than the first….Kara said she is getting confused by Siobhan’s performances week to week…and Simon said it was like a time machine, like seeing Siobhan 20 years from now. Ouch. That wasn’t meant to be nice. Siobhan then defended the song choice, which may have gotten her a few votes, but she needs to watch more tape of Crystal Bowersox.

Katie Stevens sang a song none of us knew, “Baby What Do You Want From Me?” and it wasn’t bad, and actually a good vocal. But there remains to me something missing from Katie’s act. Randy said it was sassy and entertaining with good vocals….Ellen said it was a horny song (literally, with lots of horns in the band!) and that Katie can sing well and proved it again….Kara said “You showed us judges!” whatever that meant….and Simon thought it was loud and a bit annoying, and he didn’t like the choice. I’m leaning more toward Simon on this one again.

Casey James ended the night with “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” and it was another “eh” performance from him. Not bad at all vocally, but just a so-so rating on the entertainment meter. Randy said Casey was in the zone and it was solid but not exactly different from the original….Ellen said she loves Casey’s voice and look but that the performance wasn’t that exciting…Kara said we know what Casey is capable of and that performance fell a bit short…and Simon said he felt Casey wasted an opportunity last night. Hmmm…but still, it wasn’t that bad.

THE NOT SO GOOD

Andrew Garcia had the distinction of following Crystal last night, and that made him look much worse than he probably was. Still, he sang “Hound Dog” and Adam Lambert said it all in the mentoring session, that he was bored with Andrew’s initial interpretation of the song. We then were all bored with the finished product. It wasn’t awful, but not at all star quality and easily the worst of the night. Randy said it was not good and like bad karaoke….Ellen said she liked it….Kara said Andrew didn’t own it, and it was weird how he was dragging the microphone around…and Simon said it was lazy and not at all a star performance, and also that all Andrew’s “coolness” has been sucked out. Wow. But not really far off.

Okay, so two contestants get voted off tonight since the judges used their save last week. I’m going with Andrew first, and second is a huge toss up between Tim, Michael, Katie, Aaron and Siobhan. In fact I’m going to just say it will be Aaron. Will Harris will be guest blogging the results tomorrow…thanks for reading and see you next week!

  

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