Tuesday, March 09, 2010

American Idol: Give it a Wurlitzer

Okay, with "American Idol" airing its only hour-long Tuesday performance episode for a long stretch, I'm gonna offer up some quick thoughts on the top 8 women while "Lost" buffers in the DVR...

As Simon and Ryan said (and as Adam Bonin at Throwing Things likes to point out), this is one of the most dangerous weeks of the season, where each contestant has the worst odds for going home until Top 4 night of the finals. Of the 8 performances, there were two complete duds in Katie Stevens wavering, sharp, froggy "Breakaway" and Paige Miles' fumbling "Smile," but as we know, it's often better to be bad on "Idol" than to be mediocre, and if either of those two have any kind of fanbase, they'll be dialing like crazy.

Crystal Bowersox was once again clearly the best of the night, and talent-wise the class of the competition. She picked what could have been an incredibly predictable song for her in Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason," but she changed it up with the electric guitar and her phrasing and poise and, as the judges say, made it her own. I don't know that Simon's right that she's the one to beat, because I'm still not sure her style will have wide enough appeal, but she's in no danger of going home anytime soon.

Lilly Scott should also be safe, though I'm surprised they felt the need to give her the pimp spot tonight. Usually, that spot in week 3 of the semis goes to a singer the producers want to help make it to the finals - and who they feel needs that help - and I had assumed Lily was one of the female frontrunners. So either her vote totals aren't as impressive as I had thought, or the producers just want to goose her to give Crystal some obvious competition. I thought Lilly was very good, but she tends to come across to me as a bit more predictable and affected than Crystal does. Still, she's safe.

As for the rest? Didi Benami finally got her act together, picked up her guitar and did a lovely, sultry rendition of "Rhiannon." Hopefully it wasn't too little, too late for her. After being slightly overpraised by the judges last week on the basis of a single power note, Siobhan Magnus was actually much stronger technically this week on "House of the Rising Sun," I thought, but the judges were for some reason not that impressed, and I'm worried about the lukewarm praise. I'm also worried for Katelyn Epperly, who didn't get the praise she deserved last week and then was weirdly karaoke tonight. And Lacey Brown is still by far my least favorite of the baby doll-voiced trio of herself, Lilly and Didi.

Ideally, Lacey and one of Katie or Pagie would go home (one from the Mediocre and Forgettable column, one from the Bad and Deservingly ousted column), but the only two I feel completely confident in are Crystal (based on track record) and Lilly (based on the power of the pimp spot).

What did everybody else think?


Jill Mader said...

I really enjoyed Katelyn Epperly tonight, but I can see the performance not being very popular with voters. Katelyn, Siobahn, Crystal and Didi are my favourites of the girls. Poor Paige was just awful tonight.

I give more details and the song names on my blog, http://couchtimewithjill.blogspot.com

Adam said...

My recap is posted at Throwing Things (thanks for the link, Alan), but honestly I think that only #1, #2 and #8 are definite, and folks can rank the rest in pretty much any order.

Ian said...

Loved Siobhan. That was the first performance by anyone this season that I liked enough to watch for on iTunes. Crystal was very good but didn't quite connect for me the same way, and Didi was excellent as well. The rest is mostly forgettable, including my previous favorite Lilly.

Color me shocked that the show was only about a minute over, and even people who only DVRed an hour were in no danger of missing any performances.

TheAncientBahu said...

I agree with most of your assessment, Alan. However, I have to disagree with your comment about Katie. Her singing was actually flat, not sharp.

My personal favorite? Siobhan. Why? She is a great vocalist and her personal style flies in the face of traditional "Idol-ness."

Anonymous said...

I kinda understand why you cover this show, Alan, but it really crushes my soul. I look to you to provide insight on the shows I love, point me in the direction of shows I should see, and provide general opinions and news on TV media.

American Idol is not a good show...wait...it might be a good show, but not a good topic. I would love to see American Band...a show where real musicians could compete, with aspirations of being the Beatles or Pavarotti, rather than aspirations of being Britney Spears.

I'm not saying that reality TV is bad absolutely. I appreciate Top Chef and a lot of Discovery, TLC and History stuff. I just don't understand the Least Common Denominator aspect of some of these shows. I also don't understand why, if you don't like this show (and correct me if I am wrong and you are a big fan), you talk about it on your blog, as opposed to your newspaper articles.

Two questions for you, Alan:
1) Why do people get drawn to shows like this?
2) Why do you keep them on the weekly review list? They're clearly not better than a certain few other shows you don't review, just more popular. By that logic, you should be reviewing 2.5 Men each week.

ghoti said...

I actually thought Didi's "Rhiannon" was the best performance of the night. I am going to be so upset if she gets bounced Thursday.

This was the first time I saw why Lacey is even on the show, but I am hoping she joins Paige home.

Paige may get a stay because there are no other singers like her left. It's not only that she's African-American, but she is the farthest away from the pack when it comes to the style of artist she is.

That's why I'm worried for poor Didi.

Still, Lacey and Paige are the picks, with Katelyn and Didi (and perhaps even Lilli!) at risk.

Adam said...

I cannot think of a performer who has made the final 24 of any of the 8 seasons of American Idol who aspired to become the next Britney Spears.

LA said...

I'd really like to see Katie go home.

BigTed said...

I thought Simon's dis of Siobhan as "weird" was overblown but not entirely unexpected. He really does dislike anything that goes too far outside of mainstream pop territory. (After all, while this show is constantly taking credit for Kelly Clarkson's career, they're the ones who tried to turn her into a ballad-crooning teenybopper -- remember "From Justin to Kelly"? -- so she had to publicly break from them before gaining success singing her own dark-themed songs.)

So while Siobhan is pretty and has a great voice, she's just unique enough to make them uncomfortable. I think she'll go far on talent alone, but there's no way they're letting her win.

Jordan said...

Yo Anon. Alan has the show in the blog rotation cuz he likes it. Not that complicated dude.

Crystal killed it tonight. And really is starting to get comfortable on that stage. You can see her confidence grow by the week. She's just dang good and very easy-going about it all.

But I have to say that Siobhan is still my favorite. Just love everything about that girl. She's cute, quirky, different, fun, and has a damn good voice. Nothing safe about her either, which makes me like her all the more.

Like others have said, it's obvious where Simon is coming from with his "weird" comment and his less than enthusiastic critique of Siobhan. She doesn't fit the mold of what he's looking for. Just like how they are beating Katie Stevens into submission to act like a teenager. The judges comments this season, and how they really seem to pigeon hole the contestants into what they think they should be doing says it all. They desperately want a mainstream pop star to sell millions of records to average boring America. It's sad, but the truth. The show is less about who's the best artist as it is who they can make the most money off of. And as pop music, Michael Bay movies, and Two & a Half Men all prove. The masses aren't exactly in concerned with quality or unique acts. It's been written a few times this season, and by Alan too, I think. Simon desperately wants the next Taylor Swift. Safe, easy, middle of the road (and America) that he can sell to the masses. He knows that's not Siobhan. And that only makes me root for her more.

At this point my top girls are Siobhan, Crystal, and Lilly. And going home should be Paige, who was BAD this week, and Lacey. Lacey wasn't that bad, but she is just so boring. And I don't like her sound or the weird, creepy way she looks into the camera.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see American Band...a show where real musicians could compete, with aspirations of being the Beatles or Pavarotti, rather than aspirations of being Britney Spears.

Um...there was an American Band show. From the same producers. I think that was actually the name, too. *Clearly* nobody watched it.

Anyway...I was glad to see Didi rebound nicely last night. I really hope it was enough to keep her in the competition because she has really grown on me. Crystal, Didi, Siobbhan and Lilly are the ones I'm pulling for tonight. The rest are pretty expendable. I do kind of hope Katelynn gets another shot, but there was just something really, really "Kids Incorporated" about her performance of that song and it was pretty excruciating.

Fred App said...

Crystal is far and away better than any of the other girls. I think Didi and Lily are competing for the "quirky" spot, and Didi had the better quirky performance, whereas Lily played it kind of straight and revealed that she's not good enough to play it straight.

And I know Randy Jackson is a big-time producer and I'm not, but that really wasn't a Wurlitzer that Kaetlyn was playing, was it? Looked like an ordinary electric piano to me.

Hollywoodaholic said...

It makes me sad to see Crystal always keep her lips pinched shut during the judge's rave reviews because she's been made to feel so self conscious about her teeth. Hook her up with some fill 'ins, Idol, or Ryan reassure her that most of us just don't care as long as she sings so great and stays her authentic self.

Miken said...

I've been a big fan of Crystal, Lilly and Didi from the start so it's nice to see people I like be the frontrunners.

I feel like Didi has not gotten the credit she deserves, I think she's been better than what they've been saying.

Oh well, the more I watch, the more I think Crystal could actually take it down because I think more mom's are loving her voice. She's picking great songs and is a gaining a fan base very quickly.

Anonymous said...

It was a Wurlitzer electric piano (a student model 200 to be exact).

Pretty cool.

Maura said...

I could possibly be the world's biggest Animals fan, but I despise House of the Rising Sun. But Siobhan actually made me happy to hear it. I think Simon lost his mind for a moment. Of course it got very dark, Simon. It's a dark song.
I wasn't entirely sold on Siobhan until last night. She hasn't taken Crystal's place as my favorite, but she's a very close second.

I liked Lilly at first, but she's starting to annoy me. Her singing style seems like an affectation, and she ruined "I Fall to Pieces". I can't imagine listening to her sing for long periods of time. I would end up shoving chop sticks in my ears.

I don't usually like baby-voiced singers, but I like Didi a lot. I hope she and Katelyn make it through to the top 12.

I'm also hoping the guys are better tonight than they have been the last two weeks. It's been rough going for them lately.

iamnoahjames.com said...

It was about time Didi got the praise she deserved. Katie & Paige were horrible. I don't think Katelyn knows who Carole King is, judging on the look she gave Ellen when Ellen mantioned the hair being made to look like King's. Crystal & Lilly were predictable.

Let me know what you think of my recap:


Mike F said...

Its all about Crystal and Siobhan for me. So far, they are two of my favorite female performers ever on Idol. Crystal seems like a legendary female performer from a bygone era...a real throwback...and a true star. But Siobhan just does it for me for some reason...I'm less confident in her talent, but I'm more intrigued by her in general.

Lily is talented and very good, but I'm already getting a little bit bored with her thing. My wife is most likely to buy Didi's album, but I think its tough for a singer like her to get to the top few spots in this kind of competition.

Katie, Paige, and Katelynn...I just can't see any of them as stars in any respect. I haven't liked their styles or choices although each surely has some talent. Still, I'll be surprised and pretty uninterested to see any of them go far.

Oh...and the redhead whose name I can't remember...with the spiky annoying hair and the over-intense eyes. I actually like the last couple songs she's picked and thought she sang them pretty well, but I'm just not a fan for some reason. I think she may get through to the top 12 and be a surprise dark horse, but I hope not.

I don't see any of the guys being as strong as Crystal or Siobhan....I think they might be the final two...I hope they are.

iamnoahjames.com said...

If you check out my site, I made a comment about Lacey.

I think she looks like the love child of a Thundercat & Chloe from Smallville

Anonymous said...

I don't think Katelyn knows who Carole King is, judging on the look she gave Ellen when Ellen mantioned the hair being made to look like King's.

Well, I'm well aware of who Carole King is and I made the same face. It was a weird statement because that's just what Katelyn's hair looks like. All the time. I think maybe it was a joke and the joke didn't work, because otherwise it was kind of a dumb thing to say.