American Idol: second chances abound

Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but a few of last night’s second performances on “American Idol” were far better than the first ones. For those who missed it, the contestants each sang two songs–a current one and one “from the past.” Originally it was supposed to be a song from the ’60’s, but they probably realized that with five very young finalists (Jacob is the elder Idol at 23!), it was best to just make it a “song from the past.” Good move. Also, Sheryl Crow helped Jimmy Iovine mentor the contestants this week. Anyway, here is how it went down in order of performance:

JAMES DURBIN
Take 1: James did 30 Seconds to Mars’ “Closer to the Edge” and while it was very good vocally, it wasn’t his best. James also spent a lot of time high-fiving his fans which took his eye off the ball at times. I thought this was just pretty good. But Steven said James kicked the song’s ass; J-Lo said America is feeling James and it’s his competition to take; and Randy said James has shown what type of artist he can be. Okay.

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American Idol: no save this time

I think with that title, you already know the outcome, but I’m going to recap last night’s “American Idol” results show anyway. Heck, at this stage, every elimination will be sort of shocking, because anyone left can win the whole thing.

The show began a Carole King medley that, well, I forwarded through. Then last season’s runner-up, Crystal Bowersox, sang her new single and it was decent but, to be honest, she would have no business being among this season’s Top 6.

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American Idol: hail to the (Carole) king

Last night’s episode of “American Idol” was a special one, because they were celebrating the songs of the great Carole King, one of the greatest American songwriters of all-time, and easily among the top five living songwriters. Couple that with the fact that Jimmy Iovine brought in Kenneth Babyface Edmunds to mentor the contestants this week, and you have the recipe for some amazing performances.

But then, the awesome has become the status quo this season and anything south of awesome is fodder for elimination. And last night most of the performances were really good, including the duets the remaining six did. Let’s recap, shall we?

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American Idol: what a field of 13

Well, almost. Randy Jackson made reference to the fact that, “Hey, these 13 are here because we picked them.” And he would be correct. I think this is one of the best jobs of judging to get us a field of great singers to choose from ever on “American Idol.” And I credit the exit of Simon Cowell for that. I loved the guy, but he always had that “who can be a star?” question in his head rather than judging who the best vocalists were. This batch of judges is looking for that best singer first and foremost. Which brings us to last night’s performances. The Top 13 chose songs by their own idols, and had the help of Jimmy Iovine and producers such as Don Was to help them with arrangements. Some of them were beyond good, even beyond great. A few were just okay, and just okay in this field will get you sent home fast. Let’s go to the videotape, as it were…..

THE REALLY, REALLY GOOD
Casey Abrams sang Joe Cocker’s version of “A Little Help From My Friends,” and this guy is tailor made to take on Cocker’s music. But he took it up a notch, and showed why he is already a strong contender to win this thing. J-Lo said at one point, she grabbed Randy and said “Wow,” Randy said he’s always excited to watch Casey sing and that it was unbelievable, and Steven said Casey is a “rainbow of talent.” Indeed.

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