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?