Tuesday, April 20, 2010

American Idol, Top 7: Inspirational Songs Night

Pretty brutal "American Idol" tonight (as I always assume it will be with this theme and its inherent Mariah-ness), with one exception (hint: look up at the picture). If I hadn't skipped the last two weeks because of my time off, I'd be tempted to just do a "Crystal rules, others drool" post, but may as well review contestant by contestant, just as soon as I tell you that I like Spider-Man...

Casey James, "Don't Stop": This is Casey on auto-pilot, with the perma-smile, the mini guitar solos and the usual Bob Seger/Huey Lewis affectations. As usual, there's nothing bad about what he's doing, but there was also nothing all that memorable.

Lee Dewyze, "The Boxer": This Simon & Garfunkel classic re-arranges itself surprisingly well into a more overtly rock ballad, and Lee was definitely playing with more passion than Casey, or than that he'd shown before, but there was still the usual assortment of notes that made me wonder what target he was aiming at that was nowhere near what was on the music sheet.

Tim Urban, "Better Days": Again, he takes everything remotely challenging out of the arrangement to match his woefully limited skillset, yet this time can't even manage to stay in tune all the way through. Both bad (which can be helpful in motivating your fanbase) and boring (which has the opposite effect) at the same time. Might the collision of matter and anti-matter finally be enough to send him home?

Aaron Kelly, "I Believe I Can Fly": I can't remember anyone on the show ever doing this song well, though Fienberg reminded me that Ruben handled it just fine waaay back in season two. Still, this is one of those songs where anyone who's watched the show for even a short amount of time should know is a trap, and Aaron falls right into it. Cheesey and all over the place vocally, with a whole lot of notes that were just pure pain.

Siobhan Magnus, "When You Believe": God, I hate this song so, so, so much, and while Siobhan managed to sing the power notes well without shrieking, the whole performance was incredibly dull - and that's even with her wearing a collection of butterflies on her dress.

Michael Lynche, "Hero": Dozed off halfway through this bland performance and woke up to Simon explaining that songs from the "Spider-Man" soundtrack can't be inspirational. So Simon hates songs about birds, songs from comic book movies... what else?

Crystal Bowersox, "People Get Ready":
Mama Sox has been terrific throughout the competition, but that consistency also has started to work against her a bit - if you start out so much better than everyone else, and are consistent in your performances, it starts to feel like you've plateaued. She'd been great, but without an "Idol" Moment. With her beautiful take on this '60s classic - sans guitar, starting off a cappella, and eventually working herself into tears - Crystal finally had her Moment, and hopefully one that will prevent any kind of bored "You're our resident professional" talk from the judges in the weeks to come.

Best of the night: Crystal. No one else in the running.

In danger: I'd like to think that "Idol" Gives Back will have a feel-good ending with Tim going home, but I suspect Aaron's in more danger, and Siobhan may be, too.

What did everybody else think?

24 comments:

jogree01 said...

Isn't hero from the batman soundtrack? Seal right? Other wise a pretty craptastic idol.

Lo said...

Crystal is definitely in a class of her own. Even in a good season, I would think she is great. I also enjoyed Lee tonight, despite some poorly hit notes (what can I say? I think recorded he sounds amazing and I will definitely be picking up his cd - already bought his last one which is so different from the stuff he does on Idol).

Billiam said...

I haven't watched any Idol this season, but I've always hated the judges' pickiness regarding song choice. Don't pick anything too famous, or too obscure (God forbid we get anything that wasn't a Top 40 hit): make sure it is exactly the right amount of famous. And who cares if a song was in a comic book movie? It's not like "Hero" actually namedrops the guy. Hey, how awesome would be if someone on Idol sang the 60s Spider-Man theme song?

Trish said...

I thought they didn't send someone home on Idol Gives Back week. Am I wrong?

Lora said...

@jogree01- You are thinking of Seal's "Kiss From a Rose," which was from "Batman Forever." "Hero," featuring Nickelback's Chad Kroeger and Josey Scott from some band I can't remember, is from the first "Spiderman" movie.

@Trish- The first year they did Idol Gives Back, in Season 6, they didn't send anyone home. In Season 7, they teased it out and then cut Michael Johns loose. There was no Idol Gives Back last year, in Season 8.

Craig Ranapia said...

I'm this would go down at Fox like a pork chop in a kosher deli, but would it be a good idea tto put Idol on hiatus until there's enough in the talent barrel so you don't have to scrape the bottom into splinters?

And sorry, Alan, but I'm not that blown away by Crystal Bowersox either. She is the obvious stand out, but would I put down cold hard cash for a Crystal album or concert ticket? Not so sure.

astral_monkey said...

Crystal is definitely the stand out, but that's not saying much considering what she's up against.

Next season, Idol should bring back previous contestants, in an Ultimate Idol type competition. The current formula is starting to flail, bringing back some of the old favs might bring back some of the old audience.

Anonymous said...

Also, going by Simon's logic, "I Believe I Can Fly" would be disqualified because it was in Space Jam.

Media Mindset said...

I thought Aaron did ok with the song he picked. That song makes me cringe anyway it's so cheesy. I see Tim or Casey getting the chop. Neither was good. I didn't see the rest.

Anonymous said...

@Lora - Josie Scott was in the band Saliva. The two Davids (Cook and Archuleta) sang "Hero" as a duet in the season 7 finale.

LA said...

Did Patricia Field dress Siobhan, because that outfit came out of Carrie Bradshaw's closet.

Considering the theme, I thought tonight's show was mostly uninspired.

I think Tim's toast.

Bender said...

I think the real issue was the theme. To me they were all terrible and that's because the show is cheesy enough and then they asked the over-matched contestants to sing heavy handed songs that are beyond their ability.

Miken said...

What did Simon and Kara say about Crystal's performance? It cut off on my DVR. I was wondering how Simon would react to her crying.

Anonymous said...

Crystal reminds me of Eva Cassidy. She has an amazing voice.

Ritsin said...

Kara said "Thank you for putting your guitar down. You're on another level tonight. You schooled all the other contestants.

Simon said "That was inspirational. In a way I'm actually happy to see you emotional because you've been a bit closed down. All of us felt that this song meant a lot to you. You sang it fantastically. It's in a completely different class from everything else we've heard tonight. Congratulations."

Daniel said...

Alan - Is it possible that I invented Ruben's "I Believe I Can Fly" performance? I can't seem to find any evidence of it, so it's somewhat possible it may be a figment of my imagination, in which case, nobody's ever done well by that song. And apologies for dragging you into my delusion.

Trish - The first year, "Idol Gives Back" was a "surprise" non-elimination results show. The second year, it was a stand-alone special and Michael Johns went home on a special Thursday Idol the next night. This year, the producers have promised they're sending somebody home tomorrow, charity-be-darned.

-Daniel

Michael said...

And mother effing IDOL runs long AGAIN. Not only did it cut off the end of the show in the regular time slot, it ran 4-5 minutes over into GLEE's spot, pushing that one late and cutting off before the "Like a Prayer" finale.

How is it that every other live show can finish on time except IDOL?

Dan said...

@Michael

Bruce Gowers is an inimitable fool.

amysusanne said...

Next season, Idol should bring back previous contestants, in an Ultimate Idol type competition.

Most of the top 24 this year has been boring at best and painful at worst. The only thing that interests me less than watching these people is the idea of watching former losers who haven't made it come back for another shot.

I don't hate Tim Urban at all and, tbh, even though he's not the greatest singer/performer/musician on the show I still don't think he's as awful as most seem to. He's cute, likable, decent enough singer and doesn't seem to be bothered by much of anything. That said, he needs to go as quickly as possible because if he's not cut soon he's going to win and that needs to not happen. If he cracks the top five we're all in trouble.

Hollywoodaholic said...

I didn't think they did an elimination on Idol Gives Gack, either, but the real charity for all of us would be to skip to the Crystal/Lee finale. Can I get an "Amen" to that?

Danny Forcella said...

I'm as big of a Mama Sox fan as you'll get, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Lee and Siobhan take it to her in by the end of this thing. You're right in that those who continue to get better and better (in this case Lee) have a greater chance of winning in the end.

http://quietpoolperspective.blogspot.com/2010/04/american-idol-cry-cry-crystal.html

SJD said...

Echoing earlier anon - doesn't Idol have producers to tell Simon that "I Believe I Can Fly," admirably written and originally performed by Aaron Kelly's brother R., WAS MADE FOR THE SPACE JAM SOUNDTRACK?

I mean, SPACE JAM?!?!?! And yes, that soundtrack was certified 6x platinum. So Kara damn sure better be able to hear that song on the radio.

Maura said...

LA said... Did Patricia Field dress Siobhan, because that outfit came out of Carrie Bradshaw's closet.

Oh man, LA, this really made me laugh. Patricia Field's taste (or "taste") and resultant status are a completely mystery to me. At first I thought Siobhan was wearing argyle socks. Then it occurred to me they might have been lace-up sandals. I'm still not sure what was on her legs and feet.But I love Siobhan and her wacky clothes. She's not afraid to call the judges on their BS - last week over being categorized, and this week, saying it didn't matter who originally did the song. (And incidentally, Alan, I also despise that song with a hot flaming passion.)

@amyuzanne, as usual, you're in head. I was thinking the exact same thing last night about Tim. His winning is not at all out of the realm of possibility.

Casey is terrible at choosing good songs. I hate "Don't Stop" almost as much as I hate "When You Believe". He's not without talent, but it usually seems like a fluke if he's chosen something he's actually good at.

I find myself rooting for Crystal and Lee most often. Crystal is, IMO, absolutely in a category by herself, but among the humans in the contest, I think Lee's the best.

iamnoahjames.com said...

If anybody but Crystal wins, it'll be a joke.

Let me know what you think of my recap:

http://iamnoahjames.com/2010/04/21/idolspec-top-7-performance-show-%e2%80%93-4202010/