American Idol Episode 9-34 Recap

This week’s bizzare singing clip is the fault of George Lopez – a duet between Lin Yu Chun (the Taiwanese singing kid) and William Shatner (potentially the next Governor-General of Canada), singing Bonnie Tyler:

I don’t recall exactly when Shatner became a living parody of himself, but I still get a kick out of it. Come to think of it, it could’ve been at this point:

After reverting back to his poor singing ways of the earlier rounds, Tim Urban was given the boot, and sadly, one week before he could’ve sang “Man! I Feel Like a Woman”, as this week features the music of Shania Twain (who, like Shatner, is also Canadian. Continuity!). Most of Twain’s hits can easily venture into the karaoke territory, and somehow the contestants all managed to avoid it. In fact, I’d say that this was the first week that there were no truly weak performances. I’d credit this in part to Ms. Twain’s effort to offer (gasp) USEFUL critiques of the contestants. Now I realize that she only gets 15 minutes or so with each contestant, but I really felt that she got where the contestant was trying to go with a song and offered advice that went further than the “yeah, it’ll work itself out” advice that previous mentors would go with.

I’d also give props to the contestants for tweaking the songs to fit into their own individual styles. I actually didn’t think that anyone had a truly weak performance, so full credit to the Final 6. So I suppose I will spend the recap talking about WHY the song worked for the individual contestant.

Lee Dewyze, “You’re Still the One”
Lee worked this out by really turning up the growl in his voice, which made it more manly than the original. My main fear with Lee is that he’s plateaued, but he’s come so far from his first few performances that he’s clearly the “most improved” performer of the contestants.

Michael Lynche, “It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing”
Michael goes back to the sensitive giant man routine. It’s a really good job and it’s somewhat smart to do a song that most people haven’t heard, but the thing is that both Mike and Aaron have gone to the ballads a LOT, and it’s gotten to the point where maybe Idol should’ve tried to impose some limits between ballad and upbeat songs. I don’t know how you enforce it, but if you set up something similar to the Roadblock rule in The Amazing Race (each teammate can do a finite number of Roadblocks) then you force the contestants to stretch themselves a bit more.

Casey James, “Don’t!”
Casey has suddenly developed a need to sing songs with “Don’t” in the title. There was a little less rock in this performance from Casey, but he really seems like a rock-country-blues kinda singer so it works here for him. And it comes at the right time since Casey is arguably in the most danger this week after being Bottom 2 last week. I don’t think that it will keep him out of the Bottom 3, but it could keep him safe.

Crystal Bowersox, “No One Needs To Know”
This is classic Crystal, taking a song and moving it into more of a folksy direction. You know she’s good, you know she SHOULD win this competition, I’m gonna move on now.

Aaron Kelly, “You’ve Got A Way”
Aaron sang this for his mom, who was apparently drafted to Smackdown on Monday. Not sure how she feels about that – the tapings conflict with the Idol shows.

So, yeah, another ballad from Aaron, and it was arguably better than his last few (since country is his wheelhouse per the judges), but like Big Mike it’s ballad ballad ballad, so I think that’s coming back to hurt him this week. I’ll be honest, I’m glad that Aaron is the Last Minor Standing and it’s deserved, but the kid has so much more to learn and to work on, and I’m not sure that he can mature any further on this competition, so it’s best that he goes.

Siobhan Magnus, “Any Man of Mine”
To be honest I’m a bit confused about the judges critique of Siobhan, but I think they were a bit enraptured with the end portion of the song, where Siobhan had not one, but two separate Star Search moments (tm Canadian Idol). The beginning part was a little off, as Shania requested that Siobhan give a little more in the beginning, and I really did feel that she could hit the notes a bit harder. HOWEVER, you know that people are going to remember the moments. Simon’s always harping on the singers to have those “moments”, and Siobhan is this season’s Queen of the Moment. It wasn’t her greatest performance, but she had those moments, and that will get her to next week.

Kevin’s Rankings:

Predicted Bottom 3
Big Mike

Predicted Bottom 2

Predicted Elimination:

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