I get Lennon and McCartney night. Most of their songs are timeless. But Elvis? Don’t get me wrong, Elvis will always be the progenitor of rock ‘n’ roll. He started the rock revolution by bringing to white audiences what had heretofore been exclusively Black music. Most of us aren’t old enough to remember how scandalous Elvis was to many Americans, especially in the segregated South. Frankly, I’m glad I missed that shameful part of our history. All I can say is, “Long live rock ‘n’ roll!” But, let’s face it, most of Elvis’ music just isn’t relevant anymore, outside of its historical context. So, for a show that’s all about youth Pop culture to require its contestants to modernize these songs is a tall order. Last night could be the single worst night in American Idol history. It was that boring. The only bright spot was Adam Lambert’s expert coaching. Of the mentors so far this year, Adam’s criticisms were the most constructive.
Crystal Bowersox had the best performance of the night, largely because she performed an obscure Elvis movie song called “Saved”. This was really smart because the audience has nothing to compare her version to. Again Crystal picked a song that’s right in her wheelhouse and she solidified her position as the frontrunner.
Andrew Garcia turned “Hound Dog” into “Wienie Dog”. If this guy isn’t gone tonight I’ll be surprised. “Putrid” was the first word that came to my mind last night.
Believe it or not, I don’t think that Turban will be in the Bottom 3 tonight. King Cheesy picked the King’s cheesiest song, so it fit him like a glove. I know, I know…”Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” is a classic. But, come on. These may be the cheesiest lines ever set to music:
Like a river flows
Surely to the sea
Darling, so it goes
Some things are meant to be.
I’m sure they were cool in 1961, but in 2010?
Lee Dewyze had another strong performance thanks to Adam’s tips. Lee looked like he was having fun singing “A Little Less Conversation”. He turned what was probably the most dated song of the night into something almost relevant.
The judges gave Aaron Kelly a hard time about being less than convincing on “Blue Suede Shoes”, but they missed the point altogether. Any 16-year old doing that song is not going to be convincing. There hasn’t been anything like that song in popular culture since The Stray Cats in the ’80’s, which Aaron’s parents are almost too young to remember. Perfect case in point for why Elvis should be banned from AI forever.
Call me crazy, but I loved Siobhan Magnus’ take on “Suspicious Minds”. I don’t care if it sounded like two different songs. The judges thought that was a problem, because? Would they say the same thing about Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”? I think there are four or five songs in that one. I almost always agree with Simon, but he got this one wrong.
I hoped someone would do my favorite Elvis song. (Yes, I have one.) Mac Davis’ “In The Ghetto” remains to this day one of the most poignant songs ever written and Elvis gave it the most heartfelt, mournful vocal of his career. Michael Lynche did it proud. I just don’t think that it will resonate with the Idol audience. The song was especially apt when it was released in 1969, but the word “ghetto” has been out of our vernacular since the ‘70’s.
Katie Stevens sang “Baby, What Do You Want Me To Do?” Well, Katie you’re cute as a button, but I want you to go home.
The Wizard Of Oz had its Tin Man. American Idol has its Wood Man. His name is Casey James. Could he have been any less excited to sing “Lawdy, Miss Clawdy”? If he doesn’t show some emotion, Casey is going to be running third behind Crystal and Lee.
Here’s how I rank ‘em from last night:
Two people are going to be ousted tonight, since Michael was saved last week. Here’s who I think should be going home:
Andrew GarciaKatie Stevens
Notice that I said “should be”. I’m offering my opinion as if American Idol were a talent show. Silly me.