American Idol, Episode 9-17 Recap

Not much to say. I’m running late due to dinner with the in-laws last night, so here’s what I thought of the singers.

Crystal Bowersox, “Long As I Can See the Light” (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
Bottom line here is that Crystal performed, so she was likely getting a free pass this week regardless of performance. Fortunately, her performance was really, really good – you’d never know that she was hospitalized the day before. She gave this song a great vibe and got away from being a busker and went to being Crystal. I dunno about giving her the Kelly Clarkson comparison, but well, she kicked butt and there’s no denying that.

Haeley Vaughn, “The Climb” (Miley Cyrus)
A 16-year old singing Miley Cyrus? I’m SHOCKED. “The Climb” is a deceptively difficult song, and so you know the drill – song choice, song choice, song choice. Looking at Haeley’s face, she knew that this song went way off the rails, and full credit to her for trying to fight through it, but really, this was not good. Haeley arguably went from contender to pretender with this one song, and it’s sad because she DOES have a good voice. But again, I think it’s the inexperience of youth that hurts her in a competition like this.

Lacey Brown, “Kiss Me”, (Sixpence None the Richer)
This was a fun performance, but I’m wondering if the degree of difficulty was not enough to please the voters. It was a good song choice, but as Randy put it, it wasn’t really special outside of Lacey’s country twang. I do feel that she connected somewhat with the audience – or at least the human eclipse that is Michael Lynche – so that’s a good thing for her.

Katie Stevens, “Put Your Records On” (Corrine Bailey Rae)
This was definitely an improvement over last week, but still, it felt really karaoke-ish, and there really wasn’t anything special with the song. I guess my problem with this is that when you have a song like this, you need to really nail it, and I didn’t feel that she did. Again, I’m not sure that, being 17, she’s not choosing the right song.

Didi Benami, “Lean On Me” (Bill Wither)
This was slow, plodding, not soulful and overall, not good. I’m mot sure what drove Didi to choose this song, but with the changes and such, I really wasn’t feeling this. Didi might have a good voice but it didn’t show here. Worst of all, this was forgettable and Didi could be in trouble.

Michelle Delamor, “With Arms Wide Open” (Creed)
You really have to be good to impress me when you sing a crap song like “With Arms Wide Open”, and Michelle didn’t do it. I think that she really could’ve powered this song out – and really it’s designed for that (since I’m not sure Scott Stapp knows how to do subtle) – but Michelle sang this maybe two levels short of that. And it’s really frustrating because Michelle gave us hints that she could, in fact, blast this song and it never happened.

Lilly Scott, “A Change is Gonna Come” (Sam Cooke)
Lilly came across as genuine (well, as genuine as you can get when you have platinum hair) last week and did the same this week. I think you could argue that she and Crystal are the only two girls that have really “found” themselves thus far. I really enjoyed this performance simply because of Lilly being Lilly more than anything about the song itself. I would be very surprised if she was eliminated.

Katelyn Epperly, “The Scientist” (Coldplay)
“The Scientist” is really a great song and I’ve heard some pretty good covers of it (Natasha Bedingfield’s comes to mind). But I hadn’t heard it done in such a way that makes it really focus on the voice (and not in a craptastic Jessica Simpson way) until now. And I’m still not sure how I feel about it. On one hand Katelyn did a great job of showcasing her voice and giving us some honesty in the performance. On the other, I don’t know if one needed to mess with a song that is great as it is. Bottom line is that we probably understand what type of singer Katelyn is and it’s up to the voters to decide if they like a woman who sings more old fashioned (as opposed to a guy who does that – we know what happened to Tyler).

Paige Miles, “Walk Away” (Kelly Clarkson)
For a song talking about walking, Paige really stayed rooted in one spot, until the end. I’d guess that’s a confidence thing, but this competition can end for someone really quickly if they take a minute to get warmed up. Singing was perfectly acceptable in my book, but the reality is that, like most of the other singers, she really needs to step it up.

Siobhan Magnus, “Think” (Aretha Franklin)
By contrast, I think Siobhan hit all the right notes with this song. She doesn’t sound like Aretha, and so she didn’t do the song exactly like Aretha. This was pretty much what the judges have been harping on with some of the struggling contestants – leave it all out on the floor, have fun, and Good Things happen. Probably more than anyone else on this night, I felt that Siobhan connected with the audience. Like the other girls I have ranked this week as my top 4, I think she’s figured out who she wants to be, who she needs to be, and that’s gonna carry her into the Top 12.

Of course, bear in mind that I implied that about Tyler last week.

Rankings:
Crystal
Lilly
Siobhan
Katelyn
Lacey
Paige
Katie
Michelle
Didi
Haeley

Going Home:
Michelle
Didi

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