Wednesday, April 14, 2010

American Idol -- Top 9 Redux

If I were really willing to follow the will of the universe, I'd probably just skip this week and move on. Just about everything is directing me that way:

First, they saved Big Mike last week. Even though I understood rationally why they did it, it's bothered me more and more as the week has worn on. Not only because I don't want to have to watch him gesticulating all over the stage one more time, but because I feel like in a season where only two or three people have even a remote chance of becoming a star you should not waste it saving someone that realistically should finish 6th or 7th.

Last week, I wrote about how it boosts the morale of the group to have a week where no one goes home -- and I'm not discounting that not -- but I think I've decided that the save rule needs to be changed (or thrown out, preferably). Henceforth (proclamations always sound better with a henceforth), the save should only be available when the person being eliminated has at least once previously been in the top two of the voting for a week. Then, it would truly be correcting the mistake of sending home a Jennifer Hudson or a Michael Johns simply because people felt sorry for a John Stevens or a Kristy Lee Cook.

If that wasn't enough to let me know I could use a week without this group for whom auto tune was invented, my friend that I watch the show with was running over an hour late. When we were finally able to sit down and start the show, we discovered that his DVR didn't record the show because it was already full. By this time it was 9:30pm PDT and my only option was waiting for my back up copy to download. Since I'm on a wireless connection, that is a several hour process (it's not my modem or router so I'm not about to fiddle with the settings to try to improve my download speed).

Then there was the subject of the mentor. In a perfect gay world, I would adore both Adam Lambert and Glee. In truth, I have tried really hard to love Adam's post-Idol career but he leaves me cold. I'm not only lukewarm to his songs, but his demeanor, persona and attitude annoy me. As for Glee, I gave up after the second episode of the season and have never been able to rejoin the Gleek Squad. I did really enjoy the Vogue video however.

Finally, Elvis Presley? Again. There have been about four performances of Elvis songs that haven't sucked in nine seasons. Here are some suggestions for themes that we haven't seen or haven't seen in a while: James Taylor/Carly Simon songbook, the music of Holland/Dozier/Holland, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Elton John, Cher, The Bee Gees, Cyndi Lauper, Beyonce/Destiny's Child. I could go on and on. Elvis Presley was amazing, but it wasn't necessarily because of the songs. There are a few that are classics, but most are just Elvis classics.

OK. enough. Let's get started.

So, I'll say this about Adam. He knew why he was here. And he had his American Idol personality on -- smart, gracious, engaging. This Adam I'm OK with. And he showed great restraint when Ryan made the remark about Adam's tongue being more talented than his. There were so many directions he could have gone. To his credit, he didn't go anywhere with it.

Crystal Bowersox (Saved) -- Crystal may not always be unpredictable with regard to who she is, but she's at least different from anyone that's been on the show previously. Even when her song choices have been called predictable, they've mostly never been performed on the show before. And with Elvis, that's a definite plus. Going first is a little bit of disadvantage, but it shouldn't really cost her. She looked really comfortable with the electric guitar and, as usual, she sounded great. If the show continues in this vein, I may not hate it after all. 8.5

Wow, even the judges didn't irritate me. What a perfect start to the show.

Andrew Garcia (Hound Dog) -- I'm worried about this. Andrew has the cheese factor to begin with and this song can really come off corny. Adam called him out for being boring, but I'm not sure he has the capacity to be really interesting. Using the Randy rating scale, I'd have to say this is a typical Andrew performance. I never really like the mid-tempo rearrangements because they almost always sound lounge-y (as this does). He did keep from being super corny and he seemed to hit a lot of the notes, but it was mediocre at best. 7.0

I think Randy got it wrong saying it was karaoke because he clearly changed up the melody, but Kara pretty much nailed it with her comments.

Tim Urban (Can't Help Falling in Love) -- They should always let Tim go after Andrew. This way expectations are lowered and he might be at least able to trip over the bar instead of smacking his face into it. When he started off he was in his narrow window of talent again this week, but then he got to the middle of the song. He doesn't ever sound good when he tries to go louder and more powerful. He starts to bleat. Fortunately for him, he pulled it back in and ended the song fairly well. And he does definitely look less like a mechanical deer in headlights when he has the guitar in his hands. 7.25

Did Ellen just essentially say that she's punch drunk from his performances and she gives up? I think they went a little overboard with their praise. I can only guess that they've decided to just praise him and hope people get bored. Good week or not, it's time for him to go home.

Lee DeWyze (A Little Less Conversation) -- Chris Daughtry went home the week he performed this. I'm very superstitious. I always think it's a bad idea to do a song that sent someone good home. On a different note, Adam is giving some very good advice tonight. I like that Lee brought himself down closer to the audience. It probably is a little less intimidating to not be up on the giant stage so far removed from everyone. I like him more every week. He may not technically be the best singer, but I really like the tone of his voice. I was diggin' this performance. 8.25

I agreed with Ellen that he made it sound current. I might download that song.

Aaron Kelly (Blue Suede Shoes) -- I was all set to rip his song choice to shreds (because I'm not sure anyone should try to make this song current), but then he owned the fact that the song was completely wrong for him. So, I decided to give him a pass on that. And I think I have to agree with something Adam said. I underestimated Aaron tonight. This is the first time all season that I can understand why he's here. It wasn't at the level of Crystal or Lee, but it might be enough to keep him here this week. 7.25

I'm not surprised by the mixed reviews, but I thought this was one of his better weeks.

Siobhan Magnus (Suspicious Minds) -- I love this song, but both the people that have done this song on the show went home when they did it. This was the other song Daughtry did the week he was eliminated. I suppose I can understand the comparison to Lambert with regard to her outfits and her scream, but she doesn't own the stage anything like he did. In fact, she always looks a little stilted up there. However, I loved this. I thought she sounded as good as she has all season and I think she got the balance between the big and the smaller notes right for a change. 8.0

Wow. Well, I heard something completely different from what they heard. I guess you all can tell me whether you heard what I heard or what they heard.

Michael Lynche (In the Ghetto) -- This is the first time tonight I think Adam was way off base. Do NOT tell Michael to find the actor inside him. He'll be doing an interpretive dance up there. Fortunately, he didn't take that advice. He used the time-honored American Idol tool of stripping the song down to a voice and guitar. As long as there isn't a big backlash about him being saved last week (a lot of people were angry it seemed), this should keep him here for next week. 8.0

Katie Stevens (Baby What You Want Me to Do) -- Well, she's lucky she's going 8th tonight, because with two people going home this week she'll need all the help she can get. I'm not really sure about the song though. Her voice sounded as good as it has, but she has this idea that if she just stands there and does the little head roll while she's singing, that's emotion. It good enough, but I'd be surprised if this was anyone but her father's favorite performance of the night. 7.6

I have to say I'm with Simon on this one.

Casey James (Lawdy, Miss Clawdy) -- It's traditionally been a bad idea to do the song from that small side stage surrounded by the swooning girls. After last week, he had a lot to live up to. I'm not sure he did that, but since he went last she should be OK. This was one of my least favorite Casey performances though. 7.5

It's going to be an interesting results night. I think anything can happen. But I will predict a standard bottom three. I think it will be Andrew Garcia, Tim Urban and Katie Stevens. Unfortunately for the girls, another one will be going home I'm afraid. I suspect we'll say goodbye to Andrew and Katie.

What do you think is going to happen?


  1. I'm totally over Garcia! And I'm surprised you don't like Big Mike. I actually think he's among the better of those who are left!

  2. janet here -- i think you are right. it's the end of the line tonight for andrew and katie. and your observation about the morale boost of the save week coms with awful reality the next week that two people go home. this must be a heckuva scary week for them so i wonder if the save week is worth it. crystal was dynamite as usual and so were lee. they are now my absolutely two favorites. i'm not sure what is up with siobhan right now. i found that version a little dull and i worry that despite her inspirational little speech about just loving to sing and not needing to stick to one type of thing, that in reality simon is dead on. no matter what you have to show us the artist you will be post-idol. i thought siobhan had a clear vision of that but the last few weeks have made me rethink it. simon was right when he said in a catalog that big you can pick a song that represents what you might record on an album (or something like that). you don't just go for your favorite. i thought adam lambert did a great job as the mentor because he was absolutely honest about not liking something. i think in a surprise tonight, it could be casey in the bottom three but ultimately he will be safe.

  3. boy, was i typing fast! "so were lee"???? and of course the save week "comes" with "the" awful reality...

  4. boy, was i typing fast! "so were lee"???? and of course the save week "comes" with "the" awful reality...

  5. I have not been following as closely as last year, so I am even more grateful for your recaps! I am glad you recognized Adam. I thought he gave some really good constructive advice. "Give the audience something to look at, listen to, and feel" is great advice! Also, re: the judges...I find myself looking forward to Kara's comments the most. Whether I agree or not, she has really come into her own. Where as I find that Randy and Simon come across as schtick and catchphrases, she is rather constructive. This season I find I am watching out of loyalty, but thus far this is the first year when none of the contestants stand out enough for me to want to buy anything from any of them and I don't think I have sat through a complete group number before hitting the FF button. It seems like an long painful limp to the final three which will be Crystal, Casey, and Lee. I kinda wish they would get rid of two next week too - Miss ya!