I just wanted to comment on something that Joe mentioned in his review of the show. He noted that the contestants had a catalogue of 122 selections to choose from (note that there is a bit of sarcasm from Joe there), and that Simon should know better.
The truth is, I don’t think Simon actually knows or remembers (or, perhaps, cares). The two who would know the mechanics best are Simon Fuller and Nigel Lythgoe. Remember, at this point in time Simon is crossing the Atlantic twice weekly as he’s a judge on Britain’s Got Talent as well. And in 2011 he’ll be doing it again as he’ll have two versions of The X-Factor running simultaneously.
Regardless, I’m not sure if Joe was looking to make this point but the fact remains that with over 100 songs to choose from, the contestants should be able to choose at least 2 that they can really nail. And last week, they failed at it. I’m also wondering if the producers would try to secure rights to use a song if a contestant requests it. Because I refuse to believe that a song like “Angels” would’ve been done only once on the show if it was on a list, because heaven forbid that you can’t sing it better than Robbie… oh that’s right – Jessica Simpson couldn’t. And I doubt that “Virtual Insanity” was initially on anyone’s list for Idol songs.
This week’s theme takes us back to the UK with Lennon/McCartney songs. Next week, we’ll be heading back to Detroit with the songs of Kid Rock, Ted Nugent, Eminem and D12. But even though it’s Lennon//McCartney, we only get one solo song, which I’ll note in the individual recaps.
“Padawan” Aaron Kelly, “The Long and Winding Road”
Similar to Rolling Stones week, I didn’t expect much from the younglings, and Aaron did not disappoint (although Katie did), as he chose a slow Beatles song and didn’t really do much to improve on it – and as seen with Michael, it can be done. But Aaron doesn’t have the experience or perhaps the knowledge as to how to effect those changes. It’s probably gonna land him in the Bottom 3, but I just don’t see him going home yet.
Katie Stevens, “Let it Be”
Was it just me, or was Katie’s timing off throughout this song? Apart from that, this was great Idol formula singing – changing up a song with just the right amount of pop inflections, hitting the big note and projecting from the heart. I can’t really fault her for something that’s been done successfully for over 8 seasons. Mind you, she still had a bit of a vacant look while singing, but if you close your eyes you can FEEL her emotion.
Andrew Garcia, “Can’t Buy Me Love”
This Buddy Holly-meets-Tom Jones rendition failed for me. As the judges said, it was quite a corny performance, and I really didn’t get what he was trying to do here. Andrew had a lot of momentum going in, but clearly it was a one week wonder, and if he survives Andrew needs to go back to not overthinking things again.
Michael Lynche, “Eleanor Rigby”
I completely bought this as an R&B song from Michael. He really brought a different type of spookiness to the table here – almost a haunting Phantom style. Like Crystal and Siobhan, he’s got freedom to try out new things, and this was a win because he kept the integrity of the song while doing his own thing.
Crystal Bowersox, “Come Together”
The last time I saw a didgeridoo on broadcast television was the finale of Survivor: The Australian Outback. And frankly, I have no idea why Crystal needed a didgeridoo out there, but as the song implied, it came together naturally – makes sense, given that the Beatles were prone to experimenting. Anyway, is there something bad one can say about Crystal at this point? She’s consistently good – kind of like David Cook where you know what you’re going to get, and it’s never under-delivered.
“Teflon” Tim Urban, “All My Loving”
My first impression was that this was a standard coffee house rendition of the song. Then I thought my daughter was dancing to Tim’s singing. She wasn’t – as it turned out she’d stopped listening and was dancing to Dora’s “We Did It” song. And then the judges came out and praised Tim to the sky. I’m guessing that this is some reverse psychology to have people NOT vote for the guy, because rarely have we seen such a complete 180 on the judges opinion of a person this late in the game. The irony of this is that despite the pedestrian nature of Tim’s performance, it in fact WAS not bad.
Casey James, “Jealous Guy” (John Lennon)
I would’ve pegged Casey for “Live and Let Die” except he mentioned that he was going unplugged this week – and did one helluva job in doing so. Like the judges I thought it was the best performance of the night. Casey really put his heart into the singing and that really carried the song a long way since it’s not the upbeat music we’re used to hearing from him.
Siobhan Magnus, “Across the Universe”
I think that at this juncture, the judges have finally realized that they need to be more consistent with their “calling out” of contestants. It only took 8 and a half seasons, but they’ve done it. And it’s no better exemplified than with Siobhan, where they’ve been trying to get her to stop with her set format. Siobhan got away from the super big note at the end, and the result was a quite good but not great performance that essentially showed her range and control. But these are the things you can do when you’re at a very low risk of being voted out. Mind you, I wouldn’t have chosen this week to do this (as Lennon-McCartney has traditionally been a good week for all singers) but hey, I’m not on a reality competition, am I?
Lee Dewyze, “Hey Jude”
I don’t know what your favourite bagpipe moment is, but here’s mine (follow the link)
Anyway, the good here is that Lee did a good job singing and is showing some emotion out there. Even though he still seems shy offstage, he’s really turning it on when he’s got the camera on him, and that’s a very good thing. Unfortunately, there was some bad, as indeed the piper stole some of the spotlight, and the singalong was either an epic fail or poor audience mic’ing by the producers.
Predicted Bottom 3
Just a reminder, these are PREDICTIONS only. Neither Joe nor myself look at DialIdol or anywhere else to make our guesses. Which, by the way, are often wrong. But I think that with the convoluted way Idol voting sometimes works the people previously in danger are WORSE off with a good outing the following week, and that would mean that either Katie or Tim are doomed.