I think this season of American Idol is salvageable. The talent of the Top 24 has been the worst in the show’s history. But as soon as the four remaining pretenders are gone, we might have a real competition between some real talents. You know who the 4 pretenders are: Didi Benami, Katie Stevens, Andrew Garcia, and Tim Urban, andnot necessarily in that order.
Last night’s breakout performance was by Lee Dewyze. Siobhan Magnus made her first misstep, and Di Di crashed and burned. Here’s a rundown of the performances in the order they occurred:
SiobhanMagnus has been one of the most consistent contestants throughout the Top 24 competition. She sang Chaka Khan’s “Through The Fire” which for some reason has become a modern classic, and I can’t quite figure out why. It’s one of those sappy Roland-keyboard-heavy numbers that were so prevalent in the mid-80’s, and there were many others during that time that were much better. It peaked at #60 on the Billboard Hot 100, and at #15 on the R&B charts, which means it wasn’t even a hit. So Siobhan tackled a mediocre song originally sung by an incredible singer and the confluence of those two events conspired to spell her doom. She made things worse by reacting poorly to the lambasting she took from the judges--she tried to argue with Simon and then pouted as the show went to commercial. She continued to mope after the break when the cameras went behind the scenes into the green room. Somebody call a waaaambulance!
Casey James had a breakout performance with his rendering of Sam & Dave’s classic “Hold On, I’m Comin’.” He wasn’t as wooden as he has been in previous shows, and showed tremendous control and grit with his vocals. Simon was right when he said that Casey has a ways to go in his on-stage development, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that he ends up in the final two of the competition. The guy’s simply got the goods, and he’ll only get better with experience.
Michael Lynche went back to his strength and shed the kitschy image he had portrayed in his last two performances. I had never heard India Arie’s “Ready For Love” prior to Michael’s performance last night, but checked it out on You Tube this morning. Michael’s rendition is a spot-on duplication of the original, but there’s no denying that he can deliver a heartfelt, poignant song. Still don’t think he’ll win, but this performance didn’t hurt him.
Poor Di Di Benami. Her lack of range is now painfully obvious. If it isn’t something she can turn into a Sixpence None The Richer sound-alike, then she’s completely lost. “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted” was a disaster. I can answer the song’s question for DiDi—they get booted off the show. Maybe even this week.
Tim Urban. Gimme a break. The guy is a complete joke. He’s in the Bottom 3 for sure, and with any luck, he’ll be gone tonight.
Andrew Garcia completely surprised me. After picking him in the Bottom 3 for just about every show, I don’t think he’ll be there tonight. He was finally able to recapture the magic that he brought to his seminal performance of “Straight Up” during Hollywood Week. He reworked Chris Brown’s “Forever” into a classic R&B song and he’ll live to fight another day.
It’s the Bottom 3 for Katie Stevens again this week. Her vocals on Aretha’s “Chain Of Fools” were OK, but she just looked silly trying to be all sexy and sultry. She’s just too sweet to pull that off. She’s adorable, but she’s also not going to make it.
Even though he still has that deer-in-the-headlights look, Lee Dewyze made his finest showing to date. He was finally able to let down his guard enough to render a scorching version of the classic Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose tune, “Treat Her Like A Lady”. Now if he could just connect his voice with the rest of his body into a cohesive performing unit, he’d have it made. Still looks like he doesn’t quite know what he’s doing up there.
I applaud Crystal Bowersox for stepping out of her comfort zone. She shed the guitar and sat down at the piano for the start of Glady Knight and The Pips’ “Midnight Train To Georgia”. And even though she looked a little out of her element when she stood up to finish the song, she still managed to pull it off. I agree with Simon though—she doesn’t really need to prove that she has other facets to her performing repertoire. She can make a living off of doing what she’s already proved she can do in the competition. Why mess with a good thing?
It’s to the point now that if I ever hear “Ain’t No Sunshine” on American Idol again, I’m going to change the channel. Somebody should have told Aaron Kelly to stay away from that song. It’s been done to death, and much better, e.g. Kris Allen’s performance from Season 8. Still, he definitely didn’t hurt himself and he’ll be back next week.
MY BOTTOM 3Katie StevensDiDi BenamiTim Urban
If there’s any justice in the world it’ll be the dreadful Tim Urban, but the girls think he’s cute, so who knows. And you thought this was a talent competition!