Tuesday night, the Top 12 got to show what they were made of and why America chose to keep them, which was good, because many of them had a lot of ‘splainin’ to do. They all looked the part; the stylists at American Idol worked overtime on this group getting all of them looking Idol-ready to the max, but could they sound the part?
The theme for the evening? The Rolling Stones. A catalog with a plethora of incredible songs to choose from. Whether they would choose the right ones for the Idol stage was the ultimate question, since this has seemed to be a challenge in the past.
Michael Lynche sang ‘Miss You.’ I thought it was kinda safe, karaoke and even a little indulgent. However, three out of four of the judges disagreed. Randy said it reminded him of how great a performer he has become and it was a great way to start the show. Ellen said it was “the way to start the night, amazing.” And Kara said he delivered the style, swagger and attitude, and it was hot. But Simon, dear Simon, he agreed with me. He said he definitely had his confidence up, but that the performance, particularly the dancing, was kind of corny. Verging, at times, on a tiny bit desperate. I think he will be safe for another week, but he doesn’t have the staying power to the end.
Didi Benami‘s performance of Play With Fire’ was different for her. It was sultry, dark, and well sang, but a little repetitive with a tiny slip-up in the middle that threw her off but she came right back. Randy said she was on fire, that it was one of her best performances. Ellen said she has an amazing voice, and that she was proud that she got back into the song after her slip-up. Kara thinks sometimes she pushes and loses her way sometimes, but liked the darkness of the song and sweetness of her voice. And Simon agreed with everyone, and what he likes about her is that she is showing what kind of artist she wants to be. He thought it was a solid, not brilliant performance, and that she can do better. I agree. I liked it, but I think she needs to really knock some out of the park if she wants to become a front runner.
Casey James rocked ‘It’s All Over Now’ and played an unusual one-handed guitar. It was good, but nothing spectacular. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, he is a competent rocker. I can hear him on the radio, I could see him performing, but nothing about his performances make me jump outta my seat. Randy said he loved it and said he was “back.” Ellen thought it was fantastic, and Kara said last week he was trying to be a rock star, this week he was a rock star. She even said it was his best performance since they met (really?). Now Simon, he didn’t agree. He said he looked great, sang it well, and played guitar well, but it was like an audition performance, and he didn’t use the stage to be a “star.” Simon and I seem to be on the same page lately. Is he getting more reasonable or am I becoming a cranky curmudgeon?
Lacey Brown sang ‘Ruby Tuesday’ and all I can say is YAWN. Although this girl has the look and the voice, she gets onstage and it just doesn’t come together. Randy said he was not jumping up and down, but that it was interesting. Ellen thought it was a bit sleepy, but that she was still a fan. Kara was 50/50, she liked the drama but thinks she can do better. Simon thought the song was OK, but wants her to stop overthinking it and let go a little. Maybe that’s what she needs, to let go. Or perhaps she just needs to go home. I’m on the fence on this one.
Andrew Garcia did a rendition of ‘Gimme Shelter’ that was weird for him and totally veered away from everything I loved about him before. So sad. Ellen was the only one that liked it, saying “What do I know? I thought it was your best performance yet!” Yes, Ellen, what DO you know? And why are you on American Idol again? I sure do love Ellen Degeneres like a fat kid loves cake, but does anyone else think she just doesn’t make sense on AI? No? Am I alone here?
Oh Katie Stevens. Rolling Stones week left you no choice but to be old, huh? So you sang ‘Wild Horses,’ one of the slowest, sappiest, least youthful songs from their catalogs to prove your point? This poor young girl is just clueless. She looked beautiful, and the song was fairly well sung, but she just doesn’t know who she is, which leaves me confused and unsatisfied after her performances. Rand, however, thought it was a very strong performance. Ellen thought it started a little pitchy, but once she got into it, it sounded amazing and it was a good choice of song. Kara said she was never technically perfect, but was going in the right direction and better than last week. Simon thought it was the only week that she has actually chosen a really good song. He didn’t like the second half of the arrangement because she lost the emotion, but she gave it 100% and it was well done. I think the judges were going easy on her because they have crucified her in past weeks, but maybe I am wrong, maybe it really was that good. But I don’t think so.
Tim Urban’s strange reggae version of ‘Under my Thumb’ was totally mediocre and boring. Big surprise. Also, don’t they have nail clippers at the American Idol house? Cause dude, his nails are CRAZY long. It’s just gross. Randy agreed with me and said he didn’t get it, it was weird, and he didn’t like it. Ellen felt like she was at a resort drinking a Pina Colada, that there was nothing wrong with it, but it didn’t “wow” her. Kara understood what the other judges said, but applauded him for doing something completely different with the song and liked that he made it his own. In other words, she had nothing good to say about his singing, so she reached for whatever she could find. Why bother at this point? Simon didn’t bother, he was keepin’ it real. He said it didn’t work and thought Rolling Stones fans would be turning their televisions off. He thought it was a crazy decision to do what he did to that song. Amen Simon. Amen. Sometimes you just gotta tell it like it is. Maybe the girls who are voting for Tim simply because of his cute mug will see his disgustingly long fingernails and vote for Casey instead this week? One can only hope.
In classic Siobhan Magnus style, she sang ‘Paint it Black’ and it was a totally dramatic, impressive performance. Awesome dress, awesome voice, awesome Siobhan. Randy said she brought the drama to American Idol Season 9, and that it was hot. Ellen said she loved the way she looked and the way she sounded, and that she rose above, like Snookie’s poof. Kara was having flashbacks of Adam Lambert, and said it was the best interpretation of the night, and Simon wholeheartedly agreed, saying it was the standout performance so far. Siobhan is definitely remaining a solid front-runner.
Lee Dewyze sang a cool, smooth rendition of ‘Beast of Burden,’ one of my favorite songs. I love this guy’s voice, but wish he would let go a little. He looks like he has a stick up his ass, for real. No doubt he can sing though, and he’s cleaning up pretty well too. I kinda thought he started the season looking like a pothead/loser/slacker-type, but he’s turning into decent rocker material. Randy thought it was dope, and one of his better performances. Ellen thought it was great, sounded great, but it was a little less than she expected. Kara said he is growing faster than anybody else in the competition. Simon said he really likes him as a person, but thinks he doesn’t shine, although he has an incredibly good voice. He said he hopes he comes back next week and wants him to have a “moment” and stamp his mark on the competition. I agree. Take the stick out of your ass, Lee, and let’s see how that works for you, shall we?
Paige Miles performed ‘Honkey Talk Woman.’ What can I say? I am just not a fan. I haven’t loved her all season and she really lost me last week with her pathetic version of ‘Smile.’ Randy said she did alright with it, that he wished she had more energy, but he liked it. Ellen said she thought she sounded amazing and liked how she used the stage. Kara said the young Paige they love is back, and Simon thought the song was generic and she hasn’t quite connected, but at moments they heard the big voice they loved in Hollywood. There is no doubt that Paige Miles has a good voice, but there is just something about her that leaves me unaffected. Come on Paige, AFFECT ME!
Aaron Kelly showed his softer side with ‘Angie,’ and although he was a bit loosey-goosey lumbering around on the stage, it was certainly a very impressive vocal performance. Even more impressive? His aunt’s name. Kelly Kelly. For real y’all. I imagine she met her future husband, whose last name was the same as her first and was all “FUUUUUUCK.” But that is true love right there, cause she married him anyway. Again, I digress. Randy said he was “born to sing” and thought it was hot. Ellen thought it was a great song choice, and it was another stand out performance, right next to Siobhan (good place to be Aaron). Kara said he showed her this week and that it was very powerful, and Simon said he chose the right song and that it was one of his strongest performances so far.
Crystal Bowersox did a cool, collected performance of ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want.’ Although it didn’t blow the lid off the Kodak Theater, to me it was awesome, as usual. She’s just a pro. I would buy tickets to see her perform TODAY. Randy said he loves her, even though it wasn’t his favorite performance. Ellen said she sings with such ease, she is born to be onstage, and loved that she added more personality tonight. Kara agreed with Ellen and said she was so “easy to watch.” But Simon said he thought this is the first time she was beaten by someone, and that was Siobhan. OK Simon, yes, Siobhan was off the hook last night, but Crystal has staying power. And, she is so incredibly poised onstage and while taking the judge’s critiques, you just feel like she is already miles beyond this competition.
Dare I say it again? I dare. BOW-ER-SOX!
My predictions this week:
Girls going home: Lacey Brown and Katie Stevens
Boys going home: Tim Urban (GOD I HOPE) and Andrew Garcia
Tune in for the results. And pray that America doesn’t fuck up again this week. Seriously.