Wednesday’s episode was, actually, kinda eventful. None of thte Bottom 3 were going to win, and (un)luckily for Paige she will not waste her summer break singing and dancing, but rather prepping for the 2010-11 school year.
But this was not the eventful part. No, what was good here was that Simon all but acknowledged that the Judges’ Save is a useless gimmick by saying Paige was gone regardless of how she sang. Obviously, they will use the Save if one of the Top 3 are in danger of elimination, but more likely, one of Aaron, Lee or Casey will be the beneficiary of the Save. But for the rest, I’m with Simon and I don’t see the point in having them sing for 2 minutes to delay the inevitable – they’re either gonna get the boot or they’ll be saved. Period.
This week, we get Motown/R&B as the theme and the mentor is Usher Raymond, who was more critical than Miley but this was not difficult. Shania Twain was harsher than Miley. All the same, not too much information from Usher.
Also, I don’t know if this is new, but we got some backstage clips PLUS Ryan is being a bit more proactive this season in trying to draw information out of the judges to help the singers as they continue into the competition.
Siobhan Magnus, “Through the Fire” (Chaka Khan)
I suppose that everyone gets a mulligan and if so then Siobhan’s would be exercised here. It wasn’t the worst performance of the night but it was definitely in the bottom half, and for Siobhan, it was a spectacular fail. Siobhan will probably need to change things up a bit next week as she’s fallen into a predictable pattern in her singing, and we now see that if she gets off the rails, it can end badly.
Casey James, “Hold On, I’m Comin'” (Sam and Dave)
I now see that Casey really isn’t a power singer, which makes choosing Huey Lewis last week even more confusing. And this song perhaps more so, but bear in mind that I’ve never heard the original – only a cover done by Aretha Franklin. But from what I’ve seen here, Casey is hitting that Kris Allen zone where he’s not the best singer in the competition, but he’s consistent and it will keep him around for a while.
Michael Lynche, “Ready For Love” (India.Arie)
I won’t deny that Michael sang this well, and I appreciate that the big guy wants to show his sensitive side, but I’m not a huge India.Arie fan, and I actually found this to be rather boring. This will make no difference one way or the other as Lynche will be around for another week, but I feel that he needs to give a dynamic performance to remind voters of his immense talent.
Didi Benami, “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” (Jimmy Ruffin)
Didi continues down her path to Broadway here as we get a very pedestrian performance that is not likely to be remembered. And I’m not sure where Kara’s singer-songwriter thing comes from. It might be because Didi has a vocal resemblence to Carly Simon, but a singer-songwriter that does not make.
“Teflon” Tim Urban, “Sweet Love” (Anita Baker)
Credit where credit is due – this was done on key. And that’s about all I can credit Tim for, because otherwise, this was creepy and overdone. At this point I can’t tell if Tim is actually trying or if he’s just going along for the ride, because he’s clearly not listening to anything the judges say, and that’s pretty much murder for any potential music aspirations he has in the future.
Andrew Garcia, “Forever” (Chris Brown)
Apparently Andrew finally got it through his head that he shouldn’t be trying to reproduce his Hollywood week moment, because we got a good, honest performance from Andrew, where he just let it out and ended up with an emotional connection with the audience. I don’t know that it’s enough to save him, because it may only be a one time thing, but if he’s around it should be interesting to see if he can keep this momentum.
Katie Stevens, “Chain of Fools” (Aretha Franklin)
This is a song that only a 16-year old would tackle because they don’t understand that they can’t sing it even close to the level that Aretha Franklin could. I would argue that had Katie and Siobhan switched songs they would’ve both profited. But Siobhan has already sang Aretha and hindsight is, of course, 20-20. Like Tim, Katie was on key, so I’ve no issues there. The problem is, as usual with Katie, she doesn’t understand how to have an emotional attachment to a song, and this detachment does not serve her well in this competition. Outside, the emotional detachment it might be fine in a recording career – witness the success of Jessica Simpson – but it’s not gonna help her for much longer.
Lee Dewyze, “Treat Her Like A Lady” (Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose)
I really appreciate Lee for plucking songs off the beaten path and making them his own. This performance showed that Lee can, in fact, look like he’s having fun and connect with the audience while singing. His only problem now is that he has no real personality when he’s NOT singing, but I would guess that Idol has a coach for that sort of thing and it’s been helping Lee a lot.
Crystal Bowersox, “Midnight Train to Georgia” (Gladys Knight and the Pips)
Crystal decided to change things up by wearing heels, playing the piano, and then just singing. And she did these things all fairly well, although it was clear she felt somewhat naked without the guitar. But as this is a SINGING competition, she had to show that she could do things without the guitar, and now that she has, she can go back to using it. I disagree with Simon in that doing the song in the manner that Crystal did compromised her “identity” in any way, but this doesn’t mean that I think that she shouldn’t go back to the guitar.
Aaron Kelly, “Ain’t No Sunshine” (Bill Withers)
I’ll be honest, I remember that this performance was good, but that’s about all. Aaron will still be around, nothing to worry about here.
That’s it for this week.
Tags: American Idol, Ellen DeGeneres, Fox, Kara, Randy Jackson, reality TV, Ryan Seacrest, Simon Cowell