Wednesday, March 31, 2010

American Idol -- Top 10

I was immediately worried when I saw that Kara was sleeveless again, but since they are introduced as they walk out on to the stage now she doesn't usually give us that big languorous wave anymore (and we are thankful).

So this is our top ten. Hmm. If it makes you feel any better, Scott McIntyre, Lil Rounds, Michael Sarver and Megan Joy were all part of last year's top ten. It doesn't make me feel any better either.

I know very little about Usher, except that he's hot as hell. The dance moves from his video are pretty cool too.

Siobhan Magnus (Through the Fire) -- This is one of my favorite songs of all time. There are plenty of opportunities for vocal gymnastics here, so this should be a good song for her. Or not. That note about a minute or so in felt like someone jabbed a pen in my ear. She's got Paige Miles Syndrome tonight. (There is no cure... give if you can.) The whole thing started off mediocre and then fell apart from there. If she were anyone else but her (or Crystal -- who I don't think is capable of a performance this bad), I'd say she's going home. But that's virtually impossible. 4.5

I think is was bogus of the judges (except Simon) to go so easy on her. She was terrible. Ellen saying "I loved it" (which she then corrected to "I love you") is just ridiculous.

And then, when Simon actually told her the truth she argued and whined about it. Just take the criticism and move on.

Casey James (Hold On I'm Coming) -- I feel like his voice is just about perfect for this type of song. The funny thing about him to me is that he is like a statue. He barely even moves his lips when he sings. And he's clearly a very good guitar player, but even there he does it without any flourish -- almost without any movement at all. What I'm saying is, he looks like he should be terrible but he's the exact opposite of terrible. It's crazy. 8.4

My notes are a little sketchy here, but whatever Ellen said I wrote, "Ellen is a liability." I stand by that, even though I have no idea why I wrote it.

What is with Ryan having to dredge up that Kara/Casey bullcrap again? I thought he was the one that thought it was all inappropriate to begin with. Just let it die.

Michael Lynche (Ready for Love) -- At one point when he was talking during the pre-song clip, I shuddered. There is something about him I find creepy. Sitting down with the guitar is a giant step in the right direction. I don't think he's an accomplished guitarist, but he can't do those big arm flourishes if he's sitting down playing an instrument. I also like how he set himself up on the small stage behind the judges. It kept him contained. Once all of the potential distractions are gone, he's got a pretty good voice. This is his best week in quite a while. My lone complaint is about the cameraman's decision to show us those damn swaybots waving their arms, but not to any rhythm, just kind of randomly waving. 8

Didi Benami (What Becomes of the Broken Hearted) -- The arrangement here is not very good. It's draining most of the drama out of the song. I still love her voice though. And she looks great. 7.5

Wow. I have no idea what they want from her. I didn't think it was bad at all. I can't really believe the way the judges are reacting to her. And what was up with Ryan prodding at her like he was Barbara Walters trying to get her to explain that she was singing it for her dead friend. Sometimes he needs to back off.

Tim Urban (Sweet Love) -- Tim: He said some things I wouldn't have thought of. Me: That's because you are an idiot. I have no idea what possessed him to pick this song. I also have no idea how he made it into the top 24 (youtube Jermaine Purifory and tell me how this guy gets in and he doesn't). He looks like he's never had an emotion. And he's moving like a zombie in a bad Ed Wood horror film. I think he might be dead inside. Still, it's not as bad as last week. 5.5

Randy, of course it was flat and pedestrian. He's dead inside. Ellen went with "sneaking into a bedroom" -- also a good description of his moves. Kara, the reason he sucked the soul out of the song is because he's dead inside.

Simon went all cagey by not criticizing him, hoping that would mitigate the sympathy vote. We can only hope it might work.

Andrew Garcia (Forever) -- Hmm. This performance might be finally what gets Tim sent home. This is the guy I thought had a shot at getting to the finale way back when. This is, straight up, his best performance of the season. 8.2

For all the guff the judges take (from me as well as others) for their often vague and conflicting critiques, this is what they've been telling him to do for weeks. When they just take their own egos out of the equation and do what they've been told to do, good things often happen.

Ryan has been really weird and inappropriate tonight. I think he's been smoking crack backstage.

Katie Stevens (Chain of Fools) -- Chain of Fools could be this season's theme song. Even Ryan seemed concerned about her song choice when he introduced her. While it's not nearly the train wreck I expected (she seems mostly in tune), THIS is flat and pedestrian. Let's forget about how much presence Aretha has when she sings, Katie isn't even comparing favorably to Vonzell Solomon from season four. 6.9

Well, I certainly didn't get what the judges saw here. I'd say it must sound different, but it was her performance that I thought was bad rather than her voice. Simon's description -- robotic -- nailed it.

Lee Dewyze (Treat Her Like a Lady) -- The deer in headlights look seems to be gone for the first time since the second week of the semifinals. For the last few weeks, he seemed to be getting less comfortable on stage rather than more. This song was a great choice for him. He has much more energy and his vocal sounds fantastic. He just greatly increased his chances of being in the top three. 9.3

Crystal Bowersox (Midnight Train to Georgia) -- It's awfully brave to play the piano on stage if she hasn't played it in years. I'm glad she didn't stay at the piano the whole time because it looked like she was concentrating way too hard on hitting the right keys. I loved this. She went from being third on my list in the semis to the very top of it now. 9.4

Simon always has to be right. The only reason he's criticizing any of this is because he thinks she took Kara's advice.

Aaron Kelly (Ain't No Sunshine) -- Two words: Kris Allen. This is a stupid stupid song choice. Why did he style his hair like Ed Grimley? All I'm going to say about this (besides OUCH) is, he certainly didn't know his limitations tonight. 6

This was a really up and down night. Some great performances, some dreadful ones. Taking into account that the worst performances don't always get the fewest votes, I'm going to go with Didi Benami, Tim Urban and Aaron Kelly in the bottom three. At some point, Tim Urban has to go home, right? Right. So, I'm picking Tim Urban to finally sing his last song on Wednesday. Unless of course the judges think America was wrong and decide to use the save on him.

Comments? Questions? Criticisms? Suggestions?


  1. hi petr! i agree with most of your assessment - lee was really good, although he's still missing a daughtry/cook/allen factor. he needs to wrangle up a personality - soon.

    i thought crystal was good, but i think i would have preferred to see her at the piano the whole time without the background singers (ala brook white). i thought she looked really uncomfortable when she stood up, and i don't think it was because of the heels. if anyone needs to stay true to who they are, it's her.

    yes, ellen is a huge liability. i love her and i don't want to not love her anymore. maybe she could suddenly suffer from "exhaustion" and gracefully bow out to concentrate solely on her talk show?? please ellen, we want to keep loving you.

    i wish i could change font size for this, but i can't, so picture about a 96pt really bold red font here:


    whew, i feel better. the "yo, yo! check it out, dawg" grates on my nerves so bad that i have to keep myself from throwing things at the tv. i'll take kara and her armpits over him any day. that's not saying much, but still...

    and finally... yes, it's time for tim efron - i mean urban - to go home. i was laughing out loud in my office at the whole "dead inside" thing!! and that song choice? dear god, i was waiting for anita baker to come up from behind him and beat him with one of her stilettos. bye, bye timmy!!

  2. janet here -- if there are seven words that can strike a greater fear than, "next, tim urban takes on anita baker," i'd like to know what they are. definite bottom three. i have to disagree with you about didi last night. i thought it was dreadful. i agreed with the judges when they said she has lost her way. i have no idea what she is going for. and definitely a misstep from siobhan but she's not going anywhere anytime soon. lee was wonderful but if you watch it back, watch how relieved he is on that last note, so much so that he couldn't even give his guitar one more good, ending powerful strum. he has got to calm down. and if you will allow me to gloat just a bit -- i totally called it last week that a perfect song choice for crystal would be "midnight train to georgia!" i rule! now the next song i want to see done is simple minds' "don't you forget about me" sung by siobhan. why? because it occurred to me the other day when i heard it that (A) she'd sound fierce doing that "hey! hey! hey! heeeeey! ooooooh!" part and (B) she IS the ally sheedy character from the breakfast club six or seven years later and tearing it up on american idol.

  3. I have such a terrible memory (consciously at least). I was sitting there thinking, "Did I read somewhere that she was going to do Midnight Train?" Well, all I can say is I'm glad she reads the comments section as well as the regular blog posts. :-)