We’re down to the final 9 on “American Idol” and the competition is really beginning to heat up. In fact, if you take into consideration the entire season, the judges’ comments, and the performances last night, most of which were pretty good, it’s near impossible to predict who might be going home this week. And as always, I agreed with the judges wholeheartedly on some, and not at all on others. The songs were from the great songbook of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, meaning they could sing Beatles songs or Lennon or McCartney solo stuff. Paul McCartney delivered a good luck message by video before the show, but thankfully they didn’t (and I’m sure couldn’t afford to) bring him in to mentor the contestants. With that, here we go….
THE REALLY GOOD
Crystal Bowersox continues to be in a class by herself and is not looking in the rear view mirror, because there is no one close to her anyway. She sang “Come Together,” a curious choice that has been covered by everyone and their mother, but she found a way to make it awesome. Randy said it wasn’t her best, but that it was another solid performance and he loved the groove….Ellen said she can’t find new ways to say how great Crystal is….Kara said it was one of her favorites of Crystal’s and that she made the song her own and fun….and Simon said he could hear it on the radio and that it “just worked.” Of course, it was made weird by the fact that she brought in a man to play a didgeridoo, an Australian wind instrument that looks like a snake and sounds like a cow in heat. Nice.
Michael Lynche took on “Eleanor Rigby” and it was a nice arrangement and pretty powerful. Randy said parts of it worked and parts of it didn’t, but that Michael performs everything with the same flair and emotion….Ellen said Mike can sing anything and there are so many sides to him…Kara said it was fiery, amazing and dramatic and that Mike sold the story of the song (why does Kara focus on the damn lyrics so much?)…..and Simon said he didn’t love it, that it was like part of a musical. I disagree with Simon….it was one of Big Mike’s best as far as I’m concerned, but he is and always will be slightly cheesy.
Casey James sang John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” and while it was at times boring, it was also at times awesome. This was good for Casey, since he played guitar but scaled back and didn’t do a balls-out rocker this time. Instead, he really showcased his range. Randy loved the change up, and was impressed at the leap from last week….Ellen said it felt authentic and was Casey’s best performance so far…..Kara said she liked that Casey showed vulnerability (one of Kara’s favorite words) and that it was tasteful…and Simon said it was the best performance of the night so far (Casey went seventh) and that he was very impressed. Okay, then.
Lee Dewyze closed out the show with “Hey Jude,” complete with a dude playing bagpipes. Really? Yes, and it was one of those WTF moments that just made us all laugh. But behind all that, Lee really sounded great. Randy said “that guy was funny,” meaning the bagpipes player, but he also said it was “another hot one”…..Ellen said Lee looked confident and did a great job…Kara said he looks more comfortable, and while there were some off moments, he still had great tone…and Simon said he wouldn’t have chosen that song or the bagpipes.
THE IN BETWEEN
Aaron Kelly kicked off the show with “The Long and Winding Road,” and again managed to make it sound country. It wasn’t bad, and was mostly on pitch, but this kid still doesn’t have any wow factor whatsoever. Randy said he liked it but didn’t love the arrangement, that it was too close to the original….Ellen said it was a big song to take on and too “long and winding” for her taste….Kara said some of it worked, but some of it was not great, and that there is a sameness about Aaron’s performances from week to week…Simon asked Aaron why he chose the song, because he thought it was too old-fashioned and boring, and that the kid needs to start acting younger. For once, the judges called him out on not being star quality, and it might cost him, especially since he had the opening slot.
Katie Stevens was all dressed up and did a heartfelt version of “Let It Be,” and for my money it was good, but not great. If any of you remember Brooke White’s stunning version of this a couple years ago, Katie’s version was like a little sister rendition of that, and nowhere near as good. The judges, however, propped Katie up as if they had an agenda. And they probably did. Randy said it was Katie’s best showing yet….Ellen said she changed the song just enough and that there is no way she’ll be in the Bottom 3 again….Kara said that Katie makes no excuses for her flaws and that she has a good attitude and seems confident….and Simon said tonight Katie “got it right” and showed more country twang (say what?). Whatever, she was just aight.
Andrew Garcia strapped on the guitar again and sang “Can’t Buy Me Love” and it was a cool version done well, but it was also straight ahead in spots. Randy said it was solid and an interesting arrangement, but that it came off as a bit corny….Ellen said it was a good choice and she loved it…Kara said she wanted to love it, but that it was nothing new from Andrew and he could have done more with the song….Simon said it was like a wedding band performance, and the fact that the band overpowered Andrew and his guitar made it come off as corny and old-fashioned. Not totally wrong, but he wasn’t nearly as bad as most of the judges let on. I think they want Andrew booted off.
Siobhan Magnus looked like she was wearing a fluffy comforter and sang “Across the Universe,” and it wasn’t all that impressive, but at least she did a subdued song this week with no Adam Lambert screams. Randy said he loves watching Siobhan each week because she is so interesting and different, but that this performance was a bit sleepy….Ellen said Siobhan marches to the beat of her own drum and is special….Kara said Siobhan hits the high notes with control, but was almost too restrained and polite last night…and Simon said that it was much better than last week. She’s probably safe, but needs to find that spark again if she wants to think about challenging Crystal.
THE NOT SO GOOD
By default, Tim Urban was the worst of the night. He played guitar and sang “All My Loving,” and while it started off okay, when the band kicked in it was boring and karaoke-ish. Randy said Tim is in his own category and that it was much better than his last two performances….Ellen said it was a good choice and Tim’s second-best performance….Kara said that Tim takes the judges’ bashing well and that tonight he took their advice and did a much better job…and Simon agreed, saying Tim did really well, that there were no gimmicks, and that he takes the judges’ constant criticism like a man. Whatever….if you look back at all of them last night, Tim was at the bottom of the heap. This was just more of the judges wanting Tim to hang around more than Andrew.
So there you go….for the Bottom 3, I’m picking Tim, Aaron and Andrew, with Katie a possibility despite what Ellen said. Actually I think the only ones who are completely safe this week are Crystal and Casey.
What do you think? Let me know in the space below and see you all tomorrow with the results!