Personal note: I’m hoping to recap The X-Factor for you, the intrepid Pulse TV reader, in the fall, however my wife and I are expecting our second child in September, and that will probably play havoc with little things such as watching television (which in the fall usually consists of football, Amazing Race, Chuck (if it survives) and Survivor)and such. Wish me luck.
As you may have seen in Murtz’ article, this week was SUPPOSED to be Teen Idols, but was changed to Billboard #1s. No reason why, but I suspect that there were too many requests for Jonas Brothers and none for Ricky Nelson. Or maybe no one could agree what, exactly, constitutes a “teen idol”.
Regardless, Lacey was eliminated on Wednesday, the fairly pointless Judge’s Save is back, but at least the Idol has the option of choosing their potential exit song instead of the one that put them in this position to begin with.
Let’s get to the songs.
Lee Dewyze, “The Letter” (The Boxtops)
The choice of song seems consistent with Lee’s previous selections, so I’ve no problem with that. He also sang the song pretty well, so again, no issues there. I’m still not fully feeling the connection with the audience, but Lee is definitely trying, without going too far over the edge. Let’s hope that he stays, and that the lack of guitar continues`.
Paige Miles, “Against All Odds” (Phil Collins)
I love it when the singers try to tackle this song, because it is deceptively difficult, and invariably trips them up. I think Paige tried to go more the Mariah Carey/Westlife route with this song, to no avail. Debra Byrd should be allowed some leeway here and just tell the contestants “no, you’re not singing this” to their song selection. Combined with last week, I think Paige is in danger of going, as I don’t believe that she has the fanbase needed to keep her here much longer.
Tim Urban, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (Queen)
One thing was very clear here – Miley Cyrus didn’t know how to tell Tim that he sucked. But when your best comment is “I didn’t think he had zero personality”, warning signs should be blaring in the viewer’s head. And Tim did not disappoint. I daresay he was impressive in giving us two distinct performances at once. The first was his usual uninspired, underwhelming vocal performance. The second was his slightly more energetic, better thought out physical performance that managed to be contrary to the way he was singing. I’m not sure why people are voting for him (other than the usual VFTW reasons) but if Tim doesn’t go then the Tour will have a definite bathroom break time.
At this point I discovered that, because of the quality of Paige and Tim’s performances (that is, quite bad), I’d completely forgotten whether Lee’s was good or not, and I had to watch it again on the West Coast feed.
David ArchuletaAaron Kelly, “Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” (Aerosmith)
Aaron did more of a country-style rendition, which is fine – Diane Warren songs can probably be done credibly as polka – but my problem is that in the past two seasons we’ve heard excellent renditions from David Cook and Alison Iraheta. Still, I felt that Aaron performed well and he’s gaining confidence as he goes forward in this competition. And Ryan obviously was kidding when he said Archuelta, but there are a lot of obvious comparisons between David and Archie – although truth be told, I am thus far much less annoyed with Aaron than I was with Archie.
Crystal Bowersox, “Me and Bobby McGee” (Janis Joplin)
This was simply great. Crystal promised to ditch the Guitar next week, so I got nothing to say here. But I’m hoping that losing the guitar is not a bad thing for Crystal. I also hope that she does not try to dance. To be honest, none of this group should really try to dance, as they’re about as good at it as Scott McIntyre.
Michael Lynche, “When A Man Loves a Woman” (Percy Sledge)
Lynche did a great rendition of a song that had been previously tortured by Michael Bolton… and me, during a drunken karaoke session when we were all trying to do our best (worst?) Michael Bolton parody. So I feel that I must apologize to Mr. Sledge for that. Anyway, I would agree with Kara and Simon’s assessment that Michael actually oversang things a bit with all the runs and riffs he was pulling out. I realize that runs and riffs are an integral part of today’s R&B music (to the point where we’re getting audibly Auto-Tuned runs and riffs) but in a singing competition, I really feel that it needs to be toned down, and this is part of the reason that you see singers who do a million runs get rejected during the audition phase.
Anyway, I’m done here. Michael’s still a top three singer this season, and thus far nothing has changed this.
Andrew Garcia, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (Marvin Gaye)
I said last week that Andrew had given up, and this week did nothing to change my point of view. Andrew should be singing this with a lot more passion, and I wasn’t feeling it. It wasn’t anything as bad as, say, Scott Savol or Meagan Joy Corkley, but still, Andrew isn’t projecting the joy he should have in singing on stage. He’s simply going through the motions, and my hope is that voters are taking note of this. They usually do at this point.
Katie Stevens, “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (Fergie)
Is it possible to sing a Fergie song worse than Fergie? Will Katie Stevens ever sing well? If Martika and Fergie were on the same stage together, would anyone born after 1980 understand the significance? These are questions that pop into my mind, and fortunately I can answer the first two. Unfortunately for Katie, the answers are “Katie did it” and “maybe in about 4 years”. Katie was impressively sharp the entire way through the song and sang with the lack of desperation that only a teenager can do. So yeah, I wasn’t a fan of this, but if Katie is learning from this whole experience, good on her.
Casey James, “The Power of Love” (Huey Lewis and the News)
I really feel that if you do this song and don’t give it enough oomph for the judges to make the “I’m afraid you’re just too darn loud” joke, you’ve failed. Thus, this failed. It’s not that Casey didn’t sing the song well – he just didn’t give it the power (no pun intended) it needed. I’m sure that he’ll go back in time when he sees this on TV later.
Didi Benami, “You’re No Good” (Linda Ronstadt)
Judges were right on in saying that Didi did a musical-worthy performance. In fact, it reminded me a lot of Steffi D from Canadian Idol season 3. Probably Didi could’ve picked a better song but I understand that she feels that she’s not a front-runner and is changing things up to try and pick up more votes. But still, I feel that with the large library the contestants are given here, that she could’ve chosen a much better song to show what she can do.
Siobhan Magnus, “Superstition” (Stevie Wonder)
Siobhan is a bit of a nerd, isn’t she? Anyway, it was another great performance from her, although Simon is correct in saying that she’s becoming a bit predictable – build and build and build until she finally hits that big note. The thing is that even though Siobhan was predictable in execution, it was still done better than almost everyone in the competition, so it’s a case of the judges pushing her to do more, knowing that she’ll be back next week.
That’s it for this week. Don’t forget, see Murtz at Wizard World Toronto!
Tags: American Idol, Ellen, Fox, Kara, Kevin Wong, Randy Jackson, reality TV, Simon Cowell