American Idol: Stumbling towards the finale…

American Idol: Stumbling towards the finale…

Well, another week is in the books, as American Idol stumbles towards this year’s finale.  This week we had both solo performances and duets, Jamie Foxx trying desperately to seem half as relevant as Harry Connick Jr., more forced humor from Ellen, a triple feature of guest artists on the results show, and the end of the road for someone.  So who’s in the top 3?  Find out after the break.

Jamie Foxx was this week’s guest mentor.  Thankfully, we weren’t forced to listen to him “sing” on the results show like he did last year.  Foxx’s main gimmick, I mean contribution, this week was the “Contestant” and “Artist” t-shirts he handed out to everyone.  Sorry – a little too cute, and a little too trite for my tastes.  He also doled out advice for each contestant/artist.  He got close to Lee, and wanted him to look into his eyes and sing the song.  He got close to Casey and wanted him to look into his eyes and sing the song.  He got close to Crystal…well you get the picture.  It’s almost like he’s an actor, trying to be a musician – or at least act like one…

On to the performances – the theme this week was songs from the Silver Screen.  This week also saw the return of the duets from last year.  I’ll critique them each below, but first a word about the judges.  I know that I am not taking Idol as seriously this year as I have in the past – but the judges are moving in to the realm of disrespectful now.  Enough with the jokes, enough with the innuendo.  It’s not the contestant’s fault that the judges assembled such a lackluster group of singers this year.  At least PRETEND that you care about this people and try to give them advice.  Don’t mock them, and by extension, mock the entire Idol experience.  It makes it too easy for even more people to tune out each week.

“Kiss from a Rose” – Lee Dewyse:  Lee sounded out of tune and lost on this song.  The arrangement was terrible – but then again, the song itself is terrible.  It’s overwrought, choppy, and lacking in melodic punch.  Unless Lee had rewritten the entire thing, I don’t see how it could have ended well.

 

“Will You Be There” – Michael Lynche:  I like Big Mike – to a point.  I understand where he was trying to go with this song; it just didn’t resonate with me.  The “choir” was great, but Mike always leaves me a little flat with his voice – it just doesn’t have that second gear that he needs.  It’s not as big as he is.  Not a bad performance, but not great either.

 

“Mrs. Robinson” – Casey James:  I liked this performance.  The “goat-like” vibrato wasn’t as evident as it was last week.  I thought that he sang it well, if a bit restrained.  One thing though – was it just me, or did his mandolin sound just a bit out of tune for the entire performance?

 

“I’m Alright” – Crystal Bowersox: Kudos for Crystal for taking on a fun song.  Say what you want about Kenny Loggins and “Caddyshack” – I defy any of you NOT to sing along with this song when it comes on the radio.  Crystal put her own spin on it, and I think that, lyrically, it was a very sly choice for the evening.  (“Do what you like, Do it naturally, But if it’s too easy, They’re gonna disagree”).

 

“Falling Slowly” – Crystal and Lee:  Again, I liked this song.  Did I like it as much as when Chris did it last year?  No.  Did I enjoy the frenetic camera work; swooping in and out, round and around them as they sang?  No.  Did I like the way they played to each other, and blended their voices.  YES.

“When A Man Loves A Woman” – Casey and Mike:  Great song choice.  Did I like it as much as when Daughtry did it in season 5?  Maybe.  Casey’s guitar playing was superb on this performance – subdued and crisp.  I still think he’s one of best musicians they have ever had on the show.  Mike sounded good as well, although their voices didn’t blend as well as Crystal and Lee’s.  Casey’s high harmonies were a bit strained at times.

Those were your performances.  The results show was, I’m sure, entertaining.  I’ve gotten to the point where I fast forward through the majority of it – I just can’t sacrifice an hour of my life to Ryan’s filler anymore.  So, how did I see it, through the magic of Tivo?  Fantasia – didn’t listen, but she looked competent in fast forward.  Ford Commercial, clips from other season, chatter with Ryan – didn’t watch.  Casey is safe (not looking good for Big Mike).  Daughtry – awesome, watched the whole performance.  He rocks!  Lee is safe (could there be a Daughtry-esque upset coming for Crystal??).  Bon Jovi – good, but not one of my favorite songs.  Drum roll please – Crystal is safe, Mike is headed home.  Roll that clip reel.  Not sure why he chose to sing the same song from last night – but I wish him the best of luck.  There you have it – an entire 1 hour results show in just under 20 minutes.  You have to love Tivo.

And…that’s your week.  America definitely got the top three correct.  I’m anxious to see what the judge’s choices are for next week.  I would love to hear Casey do Bob Seger, perhaps a little Joe Cocker for Lee, and finish it off with absolutely anything for Crystal – she will kill it.  Till next week….

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