This week the finalists are cut to 11 as we enter the long home stretch of American Idol Season 9. It was Rolling Stones week. Don’t know if it’s because of performance rights negotiations or what, but the producers’ choices of really old bands like the Stones are ironic because they’re the favorite bands of some of these contestant’s grandparents.
Here are my evalutions in performance order:
Simon’s critique of Michael Lynche’s “Miss You” was dead-on, as usual. (Simon consistently has the most constructive criticism of all the judges.) Michael’s dancing was indeed “corny”. My wife liked it, but one of her favorite artists of all time is Barry White—nuff said. Oh, and the singing was---whatever. A far cry from last week’s slam dunk.
Didi Benami was at the bottom a couple of times early in the competition, but she’s safe this week after her performance of “Play With Fire” which is a really obscure Stones song I’d never even heard before. She struggled with the awkward lyrics, some of which are arcane references to London landmarks. Way too British for an all-American girl.
Loved Casey James’ take on “It’s All Over Now”, but I think Simon nailed it. He’s just a guy with a guitar standing on a stage. Sure, he can play; but there are thousands of great guitar players in this country who will never be stars. Casey’s eventually got to have that “moment” or he won’t win. Unless, of course, only women are allowed to vote.
Ellen had one of the best lines of the night when she told Lacey Brown that because of her fondness for sitting on the edge of things she should not visit the Grand Canyon. Once again, Lacey sat down on the edge of the steps and did a ho-hum version of a song. This time it was “Ruby Tuesday”. Good song choice, but lackluster performance.
Andrew Garcia tried to break out of singular-caper equine territory with a soulful take on “Gimme Shelter” but he was like a Shetland out of his pasture.
You’d think that with her obvious talent Katie Stevens is bound to have a breakout week at some point. She’d better do it fast; her version of “Wild Horses” was way too tame.
Tim Urban. Who?
Like I said on Friday, I look forward to every one of Siobhan Magnus’ performances, and last night she didn’t disappoint. Simon has been talking all season about having “a moment” where your star quality shines through, and Siobhan had a blazing moment with “Paint It Black”. She started off in dulcet tones, crescendoed into a raking screech, and then pulled it back to a silky sultriness all in a minute-and-a-half. By far the best performance of the night. She’s an odd duck, but with her supple voice and interpretive gift she can make any song her own.
I caught a glimpse of the great voice the judges have been ascribing to Lee Dewyze during this competition. “Beast Of Burden” has never been one of my favorite Stones’ tunes, but Lee’s decision to take it acoustic really worked for him. He showed more vocal range and emotion than in previous appearances. Still, I keep thinking, “Been there, done that”.
I knew Paige Miles was sick! I had commented to a couple of people around the office that she sounded hoarse when she was singing “Smile” last week. It was revealed last night that she has been battling laryngitis which explains why she struggled last week with what is basically a simple song to sing. She battled back this week with a strong performance of “Honky Tonk Women”.
Aaron Kelly (aka Little Edward Norton) was a little less creepy last night. “Angie” was the perfect song for him. It’s one of Mick Jagger’s best vocals, and Aaron did a nice interpretation.
Crystal Bowersox did the exact same song she did last week, or at least that’s what it sounded like. She’s going to have to change it up some or she’ll be moving into one-trick pony territory.
So, here’s how I rank ‘em, strictly on last night's peformance.
The last two are a toss-up, and I won’t be sad to see either one of ‘em go.