During Kidd Kraddick’s interview this morning with Adam Lambert, Kellie Rasberry asked the question that’s been foremost in my mind during this season of American Idol. “Why are the contestants having such trouble picking songs that most suit their talent and give them the best chance to win?” (Or something like that.) Adam said that part of the problem is that contestants can only choose from songs that have been properly licensed and cleared for performance. Then there’s the added pressure from producers who want songs that will resonate with viewers. Whatever the reason, the songs from the last few weeks have been so mediocre that Season 9 may go down as the worst ever on American Idol. 5 of the last 11 contestants have no chance of winning, and there is not a break-out star in the bunch. Last night’s theme was Billboard Hot 100 #1’s. Here are the performances in chronological order with my take on ‘em:
I found it ironic that Lee Dewyze performed The Box Tops’ classic “The Letter” just one week after their lead singer died. Alex Chilton was only 16 when he sang “The Letter”, and he passed away March 17th at the age of 59. Chilton is regarded my many artists as one of America’s most influential rock musicians. Dewyze is no Chilton, but at least he didn’t have that deer-in-the-headlights look as bad as he had in previous weeks.
Paige Miles is one of those suffering from bad song choices. I still think she’s having problems with her voice, but that still doesn’t excuse her horrendous performance of “Against All Odds”. “Pitchy” doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Would somebody please tell me why Tim Urban is still on this show? His performance of Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” was like watching one of those horribly contrived Brady Bunch musical numbers. Come to think of it, with that hairdo, Urban is a dead ringer for Bobby Brady!
With each week Aaron Kelly keeps getting better and better. Even with a touch of laryngitis, his version of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” was one of the best performances of the evening.
Crystal Bowersox is the one contestant that has consistently picked songs that are perfect for her. Kris Kristofferson’s masterpiece “Me And Bobby McGee” never sounded better. Janis Joplin would’ve been proud. The only thing she lacks is charisma. Where Janis was raw emotion, Crystal is yeoman workmanship.
I don’t completely agree with the judges on their assessment of Michael Lynche’s rendition of Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman.” It may have been a tad loungey, but I liked how he pulled back and didn’t belt it out like it’s usually done. Remember Michael Bolton wailing all the way through his version? I’d take Lynche’s more delicate approach any day.
Andrew Garcia is gone sooner or later. He sang “Heard It Through The Grapevine” in military cadence. “Don’t—You—Know—I—Heard—It—Through—The—Grape—Vine—Hup—Two—Three—Four”. Abominable.
The innate talent that I thought Katie Stevens had doesn’t appear as if it’s going to materialize. She shows none of the power she exhibited in her audition, and she seems like a fish out of water. She sounded like she was singing “Big Girls Don’t Cry” at a school assembly. She’ll be gone soon.
With just a little more animation Casey James could have a chance to win this thing. He’s got the whole package—good voice, great looks, killer guitar licks—but he looks like he’s having about as much fun as he would at the dentist’s office. His performance of Huey Lewis’ “The Power Of Love” rocked harder than the original, I only wish Casey acted like he really believed what he was doing. He just doesn’t seem engaged.
Didi Benami is the most charming contestant on the show; she’s just not a great performer. Though her performance of “You’re No Good” was cute, it was contrived. Unless she does something spectacular, and soon, she’ll be gone in the next couple of weeks.
"Superstition” wasn’t her best performance, but Siobhan Magnus is still a strong title contender. She certainly has a voice that could crack a mirror, but she needs to rely less freely on that screech that she does in every song. I’d like to see her do a straight ahead rock song like Heart’s “Barracuda”. That would be right in her wheelhouse.
Here’s how I rank the performances last night, though it’s anybody’s guess as to who gets the boot. There are 5 solid candidates for that honor.
Going to have to agree with most of what you said. I did not 'watch' with my eyes but rather with my ears this time, which is the first time I have done this. It is interesting to just listen rather than look and listen and I can completely agree with you. The entire cast lacks a lot of on-stage presence really. Poor song choices and poor confidence levels. There is just no real diamond in the rough or break out artist in this bunch. No one really stands out. Crystal, while true to herself, does not touch the crowd. Didi certainly touches the crowd but her facials and body language will only get her so far. Siobhan is in a class all on her own and her 'differences' will be the death of her on this show. Casey is the rocker they have to have on the show since Bo and Constantine and he is not 'in' it as it appears. The rest of the guys are not standing out and Katie tried to make a statment last night but she lacks something to make her known. I am not sure there is even enough talent there this year as there has been in the past. During other years you would have multiple favorites to stay on to the end...I have multiple favorites to go tonight. :( Expectations are just not being met at all for me.
Let's just some up this season in one word--"lame".
Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!