American Idol Episode 9-32 Recap

Last week I somehow forgot to present to you perhaps the best cover of “A Little Less Conversation” ever. There is singing. There is dancing. There is a drum solo. There is one punch ice breaking. And there is Dolph Lundgren:

Sorry Lee, your performance just didn’t measure up (even if it was best of the night). Maybe you should’ve brought back the piper.

It’s Idol Gives Back week, but not giving back are Adnrew Garcia and Katie Stevens, who were victims of the Elvis Week double boot. Also not giving back after this season will be Rickey Minor, who is leaving for the unfunny, fake laughing pastures of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (v2). Should >Idol return in 2011 (and I still have my doubts), I’d try and get Paul Mirkovich, the former musical director from Rock Star. If you’ve seen the show, you know he did a bang up job there, and could probably do the same here. We’ve seen Rafael Moreira on Idol before, so it wouldn’t be a stretch.

In another interesting Rock Star connection, I’ve read interviews that have both Adam Lambert and Alison Iraheta giving credit to Dilana (from Rock Star: Supernova – she was the scary looking woman) – Adam for modifying Dilana’s arrangement of “Ring of Fire” and Alison for covering a Dilana song on her album. Nothing huge, just interesting.

Another thought I had was that it is the 10th season of Idol, and having an “All-Star” or “Comeback” season would be an interesting take on the concept. Probably, the latter would be more viable than the former (think you’re getting Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood sequestered for 13 weeks again? Or Jennifer Hudson, who at this point thinks she’s a lot better than she actually is.) but you’ve got a bunch of former contestants who could use another kick at the can. Throw Taylor Hicks, Kim Locke, every pink-haired chick they’ve had on this show, Blake Lewis on the show and have them fight it out again. You’d probably have to squeeze Boston Rob in there somehow as well (I think it’s a rule). It’d mean you’d have to do away with the audition phase, but I could live with that.

The mentor this week was the beautiful and talented Alicia Keys. Thankfully she sings much, much better than she mentors. The theme this week, as it is every “Idol Gives Back” week, is Songs That Are Indulgant Choices. In theory, it should be Songs That Inspire, but usually the choices are sappy numbers that don’t really do much to make people care either way. If this were just one season, I’d say that it was a coincidence, but it’s happened for three years, and maybe if they bring this back next time the producers should make it clear to CHOOSE GOOD SONGS, AND NOT ONES YOU LIKE. And if you’re gonna go for the sappy stuff, try this 80’s staple:

Or, you know, someone could give “Angels” another go. Just don’t destroy the song like Jessica Simpson did, y’know?

Casey James, “Don’t Stop” (Fleetwood Mac)
Full credit to Casey for not choosing a sugary ballad, but that doesn’t mean it was good. I think everyone by now senses that something is preventing Casey from hitting that next level, and that something is Casey’s seeming inability to let go of his inhibitions and just rock it out. He really hasn’t done that at any point in this competition, and it just seems that he’s too caught up in the “feel good” moments (insert 4-20 joke here) to really step it up further.

Lee Dewyze, “The Boxer” (Simon and Garfunkel)
Nice to see Lee is still doing what he does, but layering in that emotion that is especially important to this week. Lee chose a song he could sing, that fit the theme, but was still challenging enough that the judges wouldn’t call him out for playing things safe. I’d be VERY surprised if he was Bottom 3.

“Teflon” Tim Urban, “Better Days” (Goo Goo Dolls)
Well, Buffalo, you win some you lose some. You won because we’re getting a crappy Bears game at the SkyDome this year, and not the Patriots as the game progression would seem to indicate. Look, I’m a Texans fan, but I’d be fooling myself if I thought that people would’ve wanted to see Bills-Texans at the Dome last year. I don’t think anyone in Toronto really cares about the Bears so far as playing the Bills go. So yeah, I’m glad I only got the 3-ticket game package as opposed to the full 8-game one. But I digress.

The city lost because Tim destroyed a pretty song from one of Buffalo’s own in the Goo Goo Dolls. I mean, the arrangement was good. No doubt about that. But the singing is back to the Tim crap we know and dislike. I don’t think he actually sang on tune at any point.

“Padawan” Aaron Kelly, “I Believe I Can Fly” (Monica/R. Kelly)
I like Monica’s version much better than R. Kelly’s, but that’s really just personal preference. I’m sure Aaron liked R. Kelly’s better, because he looks like the kind of kid who has watched Space Jam (willingly or not) about 30 times. That and the last name. Anyways, it was pretty much the same as all of Aaron’s ballads – it has the yearning, some bad notes, the boy band arm motions. I don’t know that this really did him any favours among the Katie or Andrew votes he could’ve picked up, so we’ll see if he can survive another week.

Siobhan Magnus, “When You Believe” (Randy’s Dream Duo)
OK, you know Siobhan was gonna get called out on this, and my general rule of thumb is that when you sing songs from true pop divas, you should be. Siobhan only went so far as to have fake butterflies in her hair. Not nearly enough. She needed to have real butterflies clipped there, doves released while she was singing, and a dais supported by four guys with a woman serving her water with lemon and gold leaf. She does all that, and maybe then I would consider it a performance worthy of Whitney or Mariah. But you know, the song was done well in “vintage” Siobhan style, so par for the course.

Michael Lynche, “Hero” (Chad Kroeger and Josey Scott)
OK, you’re big Michael Lynche, guitar playing R&B/pop-style singer. Your voice appears to be a smooth tenor. You look like you could beat up Michael Clarke Duncan (but perhaps not Dolph). It is not Rock Week. WHY ARE YOU SINGING CHAD KROEGER? This did not suit Michael at all, but as Randy said, he managed to work it out – to the point where it was OK, and perhaps that was a triumph in itself. But with a different song Big Mike could’ve been so much better.

Crystal Bowersox, “People Get Ready” (The Impressions)
Awesome. Crystal got what this week was about. I can’t believe she was ready to quit.

So apart from Lee and Crystal I was again very much annoyed by “Idol Gives Back” week. There really wasn’t much stepping up from those that really needed to step up, and performances were thus subpar.

My rankings and predictions are based on the assumption that someone will be sent home. There’s a chance that they might not and do another double elimination next week, which if this is the case I’ll predict Tim and Aaron right now.

Kevin’s Rankings:

Predicted Bottom 3

Predicted Elimination:

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