American Idol – Episode 9-20 Recap

Part of the fun of having 8 singers in one hour is that we get no “personal time”, Ryan desperately trying to manage the time and the judges doing their best to screw that up for Ryan.

But the incredible part of Wednesday night was that no singer was outright horrible. At the same time, I felt that perhaps only one person truly solidified their position in the Top 12. This was possibly due to 5/8ths of the singers felling that it was the right night to play acoustic guitar.

Lee Dewyze, “Fireflies” (Owl City)
Lee had a good performance here, and I think that his strength is that he has a confidence about who he is as a musician and that is really carrying him even when it isn’t his Best Performance Ever.

Alex Lambert, “Trouble” (Ray LaMontagne)
Probably the worst thing I can say is that I didn’t remember this performance at all, and part of the problem was that Alex was number 2 of five consecutive guys who played a song with an acoustic guitar. On the plus side, Alex’s mullet has hit the junior hockey level. On the negative side, the threat of Randy in a bikini. Better idea, get Kara in a bikini. Or bring in Lindsey Clubine. Or bring back Bikini Girl.

Tim Urban, “Hallelujah” (Jeff Buckley cover)
I think that, if you’re a contestant singing this song, the best thing you can do is not mess with anything and just SING it. And that’s what Tim did here. The question the voters have to ask, then, is whether he should be credited for not messing with the song or marked for a song that, relatively speaking, has a low degree of difficulty.

Andrew Garcia, “Genie In A Bottle” (Christina Aguilera)
Andrew is this year’s Danny Gokey. Gokey also came in with a good story, and started strong but faded as the show wore on. Andrew hasn’t made it as far as Danny, and like Danny has been good to great but not excellent, but he’s not going to top “Straight Up” and he probably should stop trying to if he goes forward, especially given that the semifinal weeks gave singers a giant library of song choices. He’s caught up in recreating that moment, and it’s not going to happen again. Three weeks ago, Andrew’s spot was all but assured. Now, we have to see if the voters will give him another chance.

Casey James, “You’ll Think Of Me” (Keith Urban)
Casey decided to play it safe, I think. Which is fine given that he had two performances that were quite good already. Not much else to say, except thank goodness he was the last of the acoustic guitar players last night.

Aaron Kelly, “I’m Already There” (Lonestar)
This was the worst performance of the night. I agree with the judges that Aaron gives his all on stage, but sometimes it isn’t enough, and Aaron was going to have a bad night at some point. If he stays, he’s gonna need to bounce back from this disappointment, and I’m sure that he will, and not just because the judges are pulling for him.

Todrick Hall, “Somebody to Love” (Queen)
If I were to make a sports analogy, I would say that Todrick is a power hitter who probably strikes out more often than he hits home runs – but if he hits that homer, it’s always impressive. The analogy should probably stop there since I doubt Todrick takes steriods or would do the acting equivalent of fighting a 7 foot tall Korean.

OK, one more. If Todrick is the power hitter you want, then Tim is the one you don’t, because he’s the power hitter who doesn’t hit for power. In other words, he’s Alex Rios.

Back on topic, Todrick hit a home run here after some impressive duds over the past two weeks. The man is entertaining, and that is not up for debate, but his track record is showing that he’s going to give us more misses than hits so I don’t know that he should advance in favour of someone who will be, on average, better than Todrick.

On the other hand, Todrick has a clear idea of who he is as a performer, and he has not deviated from that. I have to respect that he’s developed an identity where others are simply trying to survive one more round.

Michael Lynche, “This Woman’s Work” (Maxwell cover)
Yeah, this was a damn good performance. Michael is clearly in it to win it, and this time around he showed some versatility in hitting falsettos, and throwing out the big notes. And as Randy puts it, “Really”? This is a freaking Kate Bush song. Lynche shouldn’t be doing a Kate Bush song this well. But he did, and there you go – we’ve got two frontrunners in Crystal and Michael.

Rankings:
Michael
Todrick
Tim
Lee
Andrew
Alex
Aaron

Eliminated:
Tim
Alex

And thankfully for me, that’s it for the Idol double ups. Don’t forget, see Murtz at Wizard World Toronto, and I’ll be back on Monday with the Celebrity Apprentice recap!

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