Wednesday, March 31, 2010

‘American Idol 9′ – Top 10 results show recap

Tuesday, the Top 10 performed R&B soul songs, and for the most part, their performances were halfway decent. I predicted Tim, Andrew, and Didi would be in the bottom three with Didi going home. Will I be right? Let’s find out.

The show opens with clips from last night’s performances with some kind of Clash of the Titans BS. Not sure what all this has to do with Idol, but whatever. Ryan tells us “Someone is in danger of leaving the competition.” In danger indeed.

No time to waste. Ruben Studdard performs his new single, “Don’t Make ‘Em Like U No More.” He looks great and sounds fab. After the performance, Ryan compliments Ruben on his weight loss. Ruben says he’s now a vegan and works out every day. Ryan calls Big Mike over to compare them. Weird. Ruben also drops an interesting tidbit that he and Clay Aiken are going on tour this summer.

The Ford video features all of the Top 10 except Casey in strange uniforms singing “Kung Fu Fighting.”

After the commercial, Ryan asks Mike about the strange purple hair piece he’s got glued to his head. Crystal tells us she started playing piano when she was six. She switched to guitar at 10. Andrew says he thinks he’s pretty cool despite the judges calling him boring. Ryan talks to Andrew’s mom who advises her son to be himself, “Because Mama raised him right.”

The Top 10 went to a screening of Clash of the Titans. The cast of the movie isn’t in L.A., though.

Now it’s time for some results. Lee is first. He says he watched himself back and that he felt it more than any other performance he’s done so far. He says he relaxed and had fun because every time you perform on this show, it could be your last time. Ryan asks Simon if Lee could be a finalist. Simon thinks he could be. Lee is safe.

Casey is next. The audience screams their adoration. Did you know “Hold On, I’m Coming” is Casey’s ringtone! Ryan asks how Casey is going to challenge himself. He says he does what song he wants to do and doesn’t think about getting crazy with it. Casey is also safe.

Aaron stands up. Ryan asks Aaron if he’s ever been in love. He hasn’t. Ryan switches to Simon, who he tells us, is in love. He wonders how Aaron can perform convincingly when he’s never been in love. Simon says this isn’t the Oprah Winfrey Show! Kara says Simon is in love with himself. Aaron will have a chance to practice. He’s safe.

Siobhan and Katie stand together. Siobhan said it was hard to hear the negative feedback last night. She says it wasn’t her “favorite Idol moment.” But she assures us she’s not defeated and doesn’t take it that way. Ryan asks Katie how she is taking the judges’ advice. She says she’s going to take it and then decide for herself what feels best. Randy says Katie is a pop girl with a little R&B leaning. After the nationwide vote, Katie is in the bottom three. They hug. Siobhan is crying. Someone is yelling out “That’s not why.” I’m not sure what’s going on.

Simon says he is frustrated that Katie isn’t taking his advice.

After the break, Ryan talks to Justin Bieber who’s in the audience. Justin says Usher has had a big influence on his career. Really? Usher enters via what I’m going to call the Adam Lambert Memorial Staircase. There are lots of dancers and the song is heavily autotuned. I’ll watch Usher for the dancing, though. He’s got some fierce moves. He’s also singing this live. Good for you Usher.

Back to the results. Ryan reminds us the top row is safe. Siobhan still looks distraught. Didi is next. Ryan wonders why Didi has abandoned the guitar. She says she just started playing guitar a few years ago and it’s scary for her to do so. For her, playing guitar is taking a risk. Didi is in the bottom three and walks across the stage to join Katie.

Michael is next. Ellen says she calls him “Tiny Mike” for the sweet, sensitive person inside him. Ryan tries to bluff Mike and tells him to walk towards him. Foolin’ You’re safe. Siobhan is saying “Pick him up and throw him.” Michael picks Ryan up in the air.

Ryan is totally flustered. Crystal is next and Ryan quickly tells her she is safe. She threatens to pick Ryan up. Now for Tim and Andrew. They are arm in arm. Ryan asks Kara what she thinks about Tim smiling all the time. She wonders if he gets what they are saying. He says that every time he steps on the stage, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. So he has to smile. Andrew gets a quick read. “After a nationwide vote, Andrew, you are safe.” Tim is still smiling. Ryan is sending one back to safety. And it is… Katie. She hugs Tim. So it’s down to Didi and Tim.

Before we learn who has the lowest number of votes, Diddy offers up the exclusive world premiere of his new single, “Hello Good Morning.” He’s on the ALM Staircase as well. Diddy’s gotten kind of pudgy. The performance is elaborate, of course, with lots of dancers, smoke and some pretty intense strobe lights.

After he’s done, Diddy gives the judges some love. He’s totally out of breath and says it’s the first time he’s performed in a long time and he gives props to the Idols. He thanks the Idol crew for making him so comfortable.

Back from the break and we are about to learn who is being eliminated. “The person in danger of being eliminated tonight is… Didi Benami.” Wow. Teflon Tim does it again. VFTWers are celebrating all across the globe!

Didi is going to have a chance to sing for her life. She’s doing “Rhiannon” again. Will the judges save her? I say no. They are talking amongst themselves. Siobhan looks like she is praying. Didi did well. Ryan asks Simon for their decision. The audience starts chanting, “Save her.” Simon says, “Didi, it’s bad news sweetheart, we’re not going to save you. It was a million times better than last night.” We see Didi’s farewell video. It’s totally full of tears. She’s crying while she watches it. Everyone is crying.

So, I was right again. Tim slips through one more time, probably his last. VFTW has crashed!

Next week, the Lennon/McCartney song book. Oh boy.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

‘American Idol 9′ – Top 11 performance recap

It’s Tuesday, and that means another American Idol performance show. This week’s guest mentor is Miley Cyrus (no comment) and the theme has been changed from Teen Idol week to Billboard No. 1 Hits (again)! Too bad, the teen idol theme could have been great fun. We’ll be live blogging the show starting at 8 p.m.

Scary lights again and the Idols are lined up behind Ryan. “Who will rise to the top? The pressure is on,” Ryan exclaims before proclaiming the show open.

The judges are introduced by Voiceover man and Ryan walks down the grand staircase grinning from ear to ear. We’re reminded that last week, we said goodbye to Lacey Brown. Someone in the audience says, “Awww.”

Randy says this is a big night because only the Top 10 makes the tour. We are reminded that voting is important. Ellen says you can’t complain if someone you like is gone if you don’t vote. Ryan asks Kara about Simon’s comments to her about song interpretation. She says that every song has a story and as a performer, you have to understand that story and have a connection to it. Simon apologizes. Ryan digs at Simon’s V-neck shirt. Oh, the frivolity.

Simon warns Ryan to stay away from him, so Ryan gives Ellen a little kiss. Simon says tonight is as if you need six numbers on a lottery ticket and you only have five. Yup, you lose out on all the moolah.

The Top 11 are introduced. Crystal and Megan have had major makeovers. Tonight, the Idols have to pick songs that were No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Then, the big surprise, as the Idols meet this week’s mentor, Miley Cyrus. They are surprised. I bet Crystal is totally thrilled.

Miley says people take her seriously because she takes herself seriously. She hopes to make the Idols feel comfortable. Miley’s in the house. Ryan asks her what she thought when she found out she was going to be the mentor. She wasn’t sure how to tell them how to do better when they were all doing great, but she did suggest that they connect a little better to the songs. She thinks this group is amazing.

Lee DeWyze – “The Letter” (Joe Cocker)

Miley thinks Lee has an amazing voice but is lacking a bit of stage presence. She suggests he do a few notes we’re not expecting. Lee’s got a lot of brass behind him and he’s singing the Joe Cocker version. I am so reminded of Gokey. It’s rather weird, actually. Lee’s voice is gravely and the song suits him well enough. He’s definitely stepped it up a bit and seems a whole lot less stiff. It’s a decent performance, not great, but good.

The audience appreciates the performance. Randy says it’s cool he chose a bluesy version of the song. “You knocked it out of the box,” he said. Ellen talks about having a favorite pen that starts running out of ink and how you try to make it work again. “My favorite pen is back,” she finishes.

Kara says Lee has raised the bar for himself and has made tremendous progress since he first hit the Idol stage. “Believe that you’re good,” she urges him. Simon wonders how many number on songs Lee had to choose from. “That to me was not a recording performance,” he said. Simon thinks it was a little corny and the performance didn’t define Lee as a recording artist.

Paige Miles -”Against All Odds” (Phil Collins)

Ryan tells us Idols have had 241 No. 1 hits since the show started in 2002. Someone’s given Paige a ring and she shows it off for Simon. She’s also wearing the highest heels she’s ever worn.

Paige meets with Miley. She says she was a bit star struck. Miley warns Paige to watch out for pitchiness. This is a song I think should be retired from Idol forever. As for Paige, she’s murdering it. She’s totally off key and her voice seems very strained. She doesn’t seem to be able to settle in anywhere in the song until about halfway through. But by then, it’s too little, too late. Bad song choice. Weak performance. Goodbye Paige.

Randy says, “That was honestly terrible.” Ellen says it was a good thing Paige didn’t fall down and compliments her hair, then turns it over to Kara. Chicken. Kara says Paige stopped competing and listening. She’s sorry to say it was the worst vocal she’s ever heard from Paige, and maybe even the entire season.

Simon asks Paige how she thinks she did. She says she struggled with her pitch and to find herself in the song. Well, why did you choose this turkey, Paige? “To be honest with you, it was like there were five of you singing that song and it got progressively worse each one.” He thinks she’s going to be in serious trouble. “It’s such a shame because you were so good weeks ago, but that song just killed you.” She is so cute, it’s such a shame.

Tim Urban – “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (Queen)

Miley gives Tim some kind of BS advice. Tim tries to be pop idol boy, moving around the stage trying to woo the fangirls and even jumping into the pit with them. He slides across the stage and hams it up beyond description. As for the vocals, he’s practically monotone and does his sing-speak deal again. It’s totally ridiculous.

Randy wonders if Tim had a good time. He says that every time they hit the stage they’re supposed to be out there wowing everyone and he wasn’t wowed. “It was like bad karaoke.” Ellen says it felt like an audition for High School Musical, and says it was corny and pushed too hard. “I just didn’t get it.”

Kara says it was “Zac Efron and Hairspray or something.” She calls him out for acting like some kind of superstar and says he hasn’t gotten there yet. “You have a lot of work to do,” she says. Simon says the sliding around wasn’t the problem because it distracted from the song. “It was completely and utterly silly,” he declares. He doesn’t think Tim is really taking part in this and urges him to get his act together. Simon clearly can’t stand that Tim is still in the competition, which makes all this rather amusing, actually.

Aaron Kelly – “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” (Aerosmith)

Aaron has laryngitis and tonsillitis. Bad timing, kid. He says he may have a little crush on Miley. She tells him she heard him sing “The Climb” during his audition. She says he’s got an incredible voice. Good feedback Miley.

Aaron gets the blue lighting and smoke factor. The video is all kinds of distorted, making him look bright red and crazed. Horrible lighting. As for the singing, well, he’s able to sing, actually. He’s flat as hell. Finally the lighting goes back to natural. It’s enough to get him to the Top 10.

Randy says it wasn’t a perfect performance, but says, “Thank God you came on the stage and started singing.” He’s a fan. Ellen says it was a perfect song choice. She says she could tell he was sick because he wasn’t quite on pitch. “What are you in third grade or something.”

Kara says this was the best song choice of the night. She says she can hear the country twang, but wants more stage presence. Simon says it was brave. He says for his age, Aaron is making himself old-fashioned. Simon says there is zero chance he’s going home and thinks Aaron should give Milely another hug. Ryan calls him David Archuleta. Heh!

Crystal Bowersox – “Me and Bobby McGee” (Janis Joplin)

Miley thinks Crystal should push herself a little more. She’s worried about hitting the big notes. Crystal has Miley sign her guitar.

Crystal looks amazing. She’s also got an oriental rug on the stage. She starts out acoustically, but then digs into it halfway through. Her voice is very similar to Joplin’s, but clearer. She’s putting a lot into this, maybe too much? It felt a little bit uncomfortable, though, almost like she was trying too hard or something.But it works for me.

Randy says, “America, that’s what is called being a star and a dope singer.” He’s happy now. Ellen says she heard this song on the radio and thought of Crystal. She still thinks Crystal still needs to connect a bit more. “Take it in, these people love you.”

Crystal says she has big plans for next week and that she’s getting it. Kara says she felt more this week. She wonders if Crystal has considered putting the guitar down. She wants to see Crystal let go completely. Simon says, “I wouldn’t change anything.” He says up until now, we’ve listened to a karaoke performance. He thinks Crystal’s version is better than Pink’s.

Ryan and Crystal sit down on her carpet!

Michael Lynche – “When a Man Loves a Woman” (Percy Sledge)

Michael calls Miley Hannah! He thinks she was cool. He sings the song to Miley and says she has really kind eyes. She has nothing bad to say. Mike wants to speak to the lovers with this song.

The arrangement is nice. He’s got a piano and strings It’s an old-fashioned song, but follows Mike’s string of personal song choices. Actually, he tears it up. No pitchiness from our man Mike. He makes it believable. He’s a man, not some kid singing about love. Oh, and he ends with a beautiful falsetto. Now that was good. His wife is in the house.

Randy isn’t sure this was the perfect song choice or his best vocal, but Mike knows what he is. He loved it. Ellen says it was a safe choice – like driving the speed limit. “This woman loves that man!” Kara says technically it was really good, but she felt it was boring and loungey at times. She says it was indulgent and she lost her connection.

Simon says it was like you want one scoop of ice cream and you got 11. He says he would have kept it more simple. Simon also thinks it was loungey. He says he’s glad they had a chance to have a conversation without interruptions.

Andrew Garcia – “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” (Marvin Gaye)

Miley suggests that Andrew lose the guitar. He does, but also loses the words. I hate his huge glasses. The performance is beyond terrible. Why are they picking these old songs? Why is Andrew talking rather than singing? Why is he marching around the stage like a robot? Why does he look like he’s 40-years old? He’s even got the wallet chain going on. That was just awful. Miley knows it too!

Randy says “It wasn’t good.” He says it was the wrong song choice. Ellen says she hopes Andrew’s fans will vote for him. They all love each other. Kara says she feels bad for him because his quest for a “moment” is messing with his head. She says it didn’t even feel like Andrew.

Simon thinks they might have overrated the “Straight Up” moment. He says Andrew’s had enough time to find himself and calls the arrangement horrific. “You sucked the soul out of that song,” he says. But he isn’t finished ripping Andrew apart. He calls the song corny and chastises Andrew for picking the wrong song.

Katie Stevens – “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (Fergie)

More BS advice from Miley. I try to listen, but seem to keep tuning her out. It seems we have a new, grownup Katie. Well, finally someone picks a song that isn’t 30 years old or more. Katie doesn’t have quite the sass to pull this off and it comes across as very karaoke to me. The vocals aren’t bad, but overall, it’s too copycat.

Randy says he’s happy Katie listened to the judges and picked a younger song. Ellen says this was Katie’s best performance so far. “You’re evolving and changing – like the Dakota Fanning of American Idol.” Kara says this is the lane for Katie – pop with R&B leanings. She says Katie’s got “mad pitch issues, but this is where you belong.”

Simon says meeting Miley Cyrus was the best thing that could have happened to Katie. He likes that she is dressing younger. He still thinks she could take the country route.

Casey James - “The Power of Love” (Huey Lewis and the News)

Casey tells Miley he’s a big fan of her dad’s! Miley tells him to make eye contact with people in the audience. She says people freak out when she does it. I know I would!

Casey sounds exactly like Huey Lewis, but of course, most people watching probably haven’t ever even heard this song, so they’ll think it’s all original! He told Miley he was going to move around more, but he doesn’t really. At least the performance isn’t totally boring.

Randy says he thinks Casey is the best musician they’ve had on the show, but didn’t like the song choice. Ellen isn’t a fan of the song either, but says was the best vocals of the night. Kara says it’s all there and that Casey is in a zone. Simon says he doesn’t know what Kara is listening too. He says it was an identical version to Huey Lewis. “It was like listening to an ’80s cover band.”

Didi Benami – “You’re No Good” (Linda Ronstadt)

Didi makes horrible faces when she sings. The arrangement is dull and the verses repetitive. It sounds exactly the same as the song she sang last week. No, wait, her voice sounds like Lacey’s! Weird. Very odd performance.

Randy says he loves the idea of it, but the pitches were off. Ellen doesn’t get the song choice. Kara says it felt like Didi was playing a character. “It left me confused.” Simon said there was a certain irony in her “screeching” out “You’re no good” over and over. He says she’s moved over into Lacey’s (whose name he can’t remember) place!

Siobhan Magnus – “Superstition” (Steve Wonder)

Miley tells Siobhan her voice has a swagger. Siobhan thinks that’s “wicked cool.” Siobhan sings the traditional arrangement. It almost feels like she’s lip synching it. She skats, she screams, and she manages to get a thumbs up from Miley who’s chomping gum!

Randy says he’s always excited to see her because she’s fearless. She didn’t think Siobhan would sing that song, but he’s glad she did. “More please,” says Ellen. She loves her. Kara says Siobhan expresses herself so well on stage. She loves the end note. Simon says some people will like it and a lot of people won’t. Simon thinks she should watch her screaming as the notes weren’t as good this week as they were last week. “You’ve got to start making yourselves relevant,” he says. Amen to that.

Best and Worst

What a complete crapfest. I’ll say what the judges have been saying. With hundreds, if not thousands of songs to choose from, why did almost everyone pick songs that are older than they are? I think this was one of the worst Top 11 performance shows ever. Looking back, last year was country night and Adam broke out “Ring of Fire.” Nothing close to that with this group.

Crystal wins the night, followed by Michael, and Casey. Lee would be next. Yup, Lee. Siobhan was passable. Aaron and Katie fall in my mid-range, and everyone else in the bottom. Worst of the night vocally had to be Paige, but Tim and Andrew were just ridiculous. Who’s going home? Paige.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

‘American Idol 9′ – Top 12 results show recap

Tuesday night, the American Idol 9 Top 12 took on classic tunes from the Rolling Stones. There were some outstanding performances, and some, while memorable, not particularly amazing. Who will be the first to go?

Remember, I predicted Lacey, Andrew, and Tim in the bottom three with Tim getting the boot. Will I be right or will Tim live to reggae another week? Follow all the action on our live blog!

The show opens with the Everly Brothers’ “Dream” playing over a bunch of clips of the Idols’ journey to date. This cleverly segues into video of last night’s performances. Casey says this was the best feeling in his life, ever. Aaron says, “There’s so much at stake here.” Yup. Tonight someone’s dream will be shattered for sure.

Ryan opens the show and wishes us a Happy Saint Patrick’s day. The lighting director is Irish so we get a little green light show. Ryan welcomes the judges. Simon comments on Ryan’s “aggresive behavior” from last night and says it was uncomfortable. Ryan says he was just trying to help get some constructive criticism. Simon wonders if Ryan wants his job. Ryan says he does not. It’s all just another way to burn some minutes from the show. Have I mentioned how much I hate one-hour results show? Well, I do.

All this awkward conversation leads to a discussion of the stupid judges’ save. I thought they’d abandoned this, but apparently not. Simon tells us they can save anyone up to the Top 5, but it has to be unanimous. Great.

David Cook is back performing “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” Show ‘em how it’s done, DC. Finally, we get to hear a Stones’ song done at least somewhat correctly! Cook ain’t no Jagger, but at least he didn’t murder the song. His band is pretty good, and this is a much better way to start the show than a corny group song. Somehow, though, I don’t think we’ll be spared that torment.

David says it’s cool to be back when no one has to vote on him. He’s working on a new record and he’s pretty excited about it. Ryan tells us David will be going to Africa as part of Idol Gives Back. Ryan keeps calling it Idol Comes back. Doofus. We go to break.

We come back from the break and Ryan tells us we “possibly” will say goodbye to someone tonight. Possibly? Oh, yeah, right, this person could be saved. Not.

The first Ford commercial has paint-splattering and the song “Tick Tick Boom.” Casey wasn’t in the shoot because he had the flu. The contestants worked with a graphic designer to design their own custom Ford Fiesta graphic for the video. Lacey’s is leopard print with a bird on it. Why are we seeing this? Oh, because we can enter to win one of these.

Time for the results. There are three stools on the other side of the stage reserved for the bottom three. Paige is first. She says her voice is a little bit better. Paige is in the bottom three. Lee is next. He says he can learn to relax on the stage and he’ll have a chance because he is safe.

Siobhan stands up. After glamming it up last night, she’s back to “normal” with a mismatched, sloppy outfit. Ryan asks Ellen if she thinks Siobhan has the same potential Adam Lambert had. She says Siobhan already stands out. Ellen tells us Snooki’s Poof is a sugar-free dessert. Actually, it’s a reference to Snooki from The Jersey Shore’s bouffant hairdo. Siobhan is safe.

Now for Aaron. Randy tries to explain what he meant by the Justin Timberlake reference to no avail. Aaron is safe and gets a hug from Siobhan. Andrew and Tim stand up together. Tim’s hair is all flattened out. He looks ridiculous and makes stupid faces.

Ryan asks Kara if she’s comfortable seeing either of them leave, and she says “Yikes, guys, it wasn’t good.” Based on that, she says yes. And it’s Tim in the bottom three. “One more person will have to face the fire coming up,”Ryan tells us as we go to break.

Ryan is sitting with Tim and Paige, and introduces Orianthi who’s singing her hit single “According to You.” Did you know Orianthi was the guitar player from Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” tour? Well, now you do. Methinks she should stick to the guitar.

Orianthi tells Ryan she played with Carrie Underwood at the Grammys, which led to her audition for MJ. She says that was really intense and it was amazing working with him – a dream come true.

Ryan recaps that Paige and Tim are in the bottom three for those with a short attention span. Didi stands up. She says she’s just going to go with it and isn’t planning. Mom is in the audience tonight. Although she can’t bear to be at the performance shows, she comes to the results show. Mom can breathe a sigh of relief because Didi is safe.

Crystal stands up. She explains that she never thought for one second that she had it made. She doesn’t like that Simon put words in her mouth and lets him know it. Good for you, Crystal. “After the nationwide vote, Crystal, you are safe. Take a seat.” Big shock.

Katie is next. Obviously she is safe since there are three more people are left on the couch. Katie says she’s been a bit confused by all the mixed messages she’s been gettng from the judges. She said she took a song she thought she could do well with and tried her best. Ryan reminds Kara that she had once said Katie could win the competition.

Kara says Katie hasn’t been consistent and has some pitch problems. Nice way to back pedal, Kara. Simon disagrees and says he thinks Katie should do more country stuff. Randy says she should be doing more pop stuff and Ellen thinks mariachi would be best! No matter. Katie is safe.

Michael is next. He says he’s here for the people who inspire him to move. Power to the people. “Mike, the empty stool is not for you… you are safe.”

Casey and Lacey stand up. I just noticed the red plaidish background. “After the nationwide vote, unfortunately, Lacey is in the bottom three.” Ryan doesn’t even read her judges’ comments. Would that indicate she’s a goner.

Ryan wonders if Ellen thinks the judges will use their save tonight. She isn’t very convincing. Simon says one of them is worth saving. Paige? “The person that gets to stick around and compete for another week is… Tim.” Tim? Really?

Ke$ha performs “Blah, Blah, Blah.” People dressed as TVs dance around the stage. Some white guys rap and she ends up wearing a big feathered headdress. Certainly a performance to which the Idols should aspire. There’s really not much else to say.

We return from the break. Ryan reads Paige and Lacey’s judges’ comments. Randy says he’s not surprised to see them there. “After the nationwide vote, the person in danger of leaving the competition is Lacey Brown.” Paige is safe. Lacey sings “The Story” again. Good move. This was her best. The judges are deliberating while she sings. Randy and Simon are laughing. I don’t think this bodes well for Lacey. Looking back, these fake red/pink haired contestants usually fall early. Allison Iraheta was the only exception.

Lacey finishes up. It was nice, but certainly, not save-worthy. Ryan asks Simon if they will use the save. He says it was unanimous and they won’t be using the save. Lacey says she had a blast. Katie is crying again.

We see Lacey’s goodbye video. She sheds some tears, but not as many as Katie and Paige. Goodbye Lacey.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

‘American Idol 9′ – Top 12 take on the Rolling Stones

We’ve reached the Top 12 and the show moves to a bigger theater with a larger audience, and certainly, a bad case of nerve-itis for some! This week also starts the theme nights, and for the first time in the show’s history, this week, Idol will feature an entire evening of Rolling Stones’ tunes. Stones’ purists might want to step away from this one!

Who will tank and who will soar? Let’s find out.

We’re on the big stage now. Ryan walks out between the Idols, who are in two lines. The lighting is bronzy. A weird voice-over man introduces the judges and Ryan who comes down the grand staircase. The audience goes wild. Ryan welcomes us to the show and reintroduces us to the big stage. “This is when we begin the countdown to the finale,” he reminds anyone who might not know this by now.

There are 450 people in the audience. Ryan calls this a “platform suited for a superstar.” He brings out the Top 12. They line up. It’s certainly a moment they’ll remember. Ryan tells them to get set.

We are covering the Rolling Stones and there’s the obligatory video clip of the Stones, performing live. The Stones formed in 1962 as a cover band, and have released over 50 albums and sales of over 200 million. They are truly the greatest rock ‘n roll band of all time. “American Idol is honored to play tribute,” Ryan says.

Michael Lynche – “Miss You”

In his pre-performance clip, Michael tells us he lost his way when his mother got sick and died. Prior to that, he was caught up in sports. After her passing, he bought a guitar again and began playing. His wife says she was surprised since she didn’t know he even played. Michael says having a baby has brought his family together again. He thinks his mother would be proud of the man he’s become.

Excellent choice of song. The arrangement is more R&B than the original, but just right for his vibe. Mike moves smoothly through the song, but his dancing and moving about the stage is a little bit distracting. He shows off his falsetto again, and then drops back down for the jazzy ending. Nice.

Randy says it’s time to knock it out of the box. He said he wasn’t crazy when the arrangement started but thinks he slayed it. “Way to start the show, baby.” Ellen says it was the way to start the night. Kara says the first night on the big stage is hard and you’ve got to fill up the stage. She thinks Mike delivered Mick Jagger’s swagger and was hot on the stage. Simon says Michael has his confidence up, but thinks the performance, particularly the dancing, was kind of corny. He thinks when Michael watches it back, it was verging at times as desperate.

Ryan asks what parts looked desperate. Simon asks if Ryan is talking to him or Michael. Ryan walks up to Simon and says he’s trying to help Michael out. He’s not playing. Weird. Do I sense a bit of tension here tonight?

Didi Benami – “Play With Fire”

Before the clip, Didi tells us her mother can’t be there because she doesn’t want to see her get judged. Didi was raised in Knoxville, Tenn. and moved to L.A. four years ago. When she was born, she screamed bloody murder, her mother tells us. Mom is in L.A., staying at her apartment. Didi says she’s the one who pushes herself.

Interesting choice. Didi isn’t playing guitar tonight and the arrangement is very dark. I like the way she enunciates. She trips over some of the lyrics a couple of times, but really, it’s a very unique interpretation and she does very well with it.

Randy says he thinks for the first time in weeks, Didi’s on fire. “One of your best performances.” Ellen says that she loves that although Didi lost her way, she got right back in the song. Kara says that when Didi pushes her vocals, she loses her way. But she said it was two steps in the right direction. Simon says Didi is trying to show them the kind of artist she wants to be and calls the performance brilliant.

Casey James – “All Over Now”

Casey grew up in a little town in Texas. His parents were divorced when he was four. He had a bad reaction to pertussis vaccine when he was an infant and didn’t talk for a long time. Casey’s whole family plays and sings. Mom says they went through a lot together, but it was all worth it because something good came out of it.

Casey puts a country blues spin on this classic and it works. He’s playing electric guitar again, has really stepped up his game. Casey is so comfortable on stage and his vocals are sharp. I think this is a record!

Randy says Casey is back to the Casey he loves and thinks he could make a career playing this kind of music. “You are back,” he says. Ellen says for most women, they’re hearts are going to start racing, but for people like her… blondes… (a joke). “I think it was fantastic,” she says. I love Ellen.

Kara says tonight Casey was a rock star. She likes that the song had blues and soul. “This was your best performance since we met,” she says. Simon doesn’t agree. He thinks it was like an audition performance, not using the stage and the platform he has to do something incredible. “It has to be more than that,” he says. Simon thinks Casey should use the stage more.

Lacey Brown – “Ruby Tuesday”

Lacey was born and raised in Amarillo, Texas. Her parents are church pastors, and her dad tells us Lacey doesn’t have much experience singing outside the church. He says the feeling of seeing her on the stage is indescribable.

Lacey’s accompanied by a string section. People in the audience are waving their arms about. She’s very pitchy and her phrasing is strange. It’s like everything she’s done so far, and for me, a bit boring. Still, her voice is interesting and it was a good choice of song.

Randy says it was definitely interesting. He says he wasn’t jumping up and down, but was pleasantly surprised. “Definitely the most interesting so far.” Ellen says it was weird she sat down when the song got moving. She says it was a tiny bit sleepy, but she’s a fan.

Kara says it was 50/50 for her. She loves that they’ve been hearing Lacey’s voice right up front, but she thinks Lacey could have put more into it. Simon says Lacey performs like an actress. Nothing wrong with the vocals, but he feels Lacey need to stop overthinking this as she is in danger of doing the same thing week after week. Hey, that’s what I said.

Andrew Garcia – “Gimme Shelter”

Andrew tells us his father is a musician. Dad thought Andrew was going to be a custodian when he was little because he kept picking up keys. Then he picked up a guitar. The family didn’t have money for lessons, but they did what they could. Dad gets all emotional again. Dad is very proud.

No guitar for Andrew tonight. He doesn’t stray too far from the original for once, and the results are satisfying. He really has a strong voice, much more rock than what we’ve heard so far. I really like this performance. I am, however, reminded a bit of Gokey here. Gotta keep an open mind, thought.

Randy is laughing. He says he loves the song, the Stones, and Andrew, but it was pitchy everywhere. Ellen says, “What do I know? I think it was your best performance yet.” Kara says there were definitely elements where they heard the vocals they liked in the beginning. She doesn’t think he connected with the meaning of the song and wanted more intensity.

Simon says Kara says Kara is taking things too literally. She says she wants to make Andrew better. She is strident. Simon says he’s somewhat in the middle. He thinks Andrew gave it 100 percent, but that something didn’t quite connect. He wonders if Andrew did better at rehearsal. He hopes Andrew makes it another week.

Katie Stevens – “Wild Horses”

Katie’s brother’s college friends are in the audience holding up Katie’s face. She says the song speaks to her about the moment. She said her father introduced her to the music, but falters when asked who the lead singer is. Ouch. Her mother tells us the first time Katie performed in public was at a wedding when she was 8. She sang “From This Moment” with her brother. It was terrible. Katie hopes she’ll put Connecticut on the map. I think it’s already on the map, dear.

Katie starts out singing on a stool. Her vocals are strong, but pitchy, and she totally oversings it. In her defense, the arrangement is very symphonic, but it all seems very pageanty. I am having Katharine McPhee flashbacks, although Katie isn’t a good as Kat. Still, the girl can sing, I can’t deny that.

Randy says they’ve been giving her misdirection. He thinks she sang it very well and calls it a very strong performance. Ellen says it started a little pitchy, but once Katie got into it, she sounded great.

Kara says it’s never technically perfect with Katie, but she was going in the right direction. She thinks it was better than last week. Simon says this is the only week Katie has chosen a very strong song. He reminds us he recorded the song with Susan Boyle. (We know this, Simon. Oh, do we know this.) He didn’t like the second half of the song, but liked that she connected with the song.

Tim Urban – “Under My Thumb”

Tim is also from Texas. He is one of ten kids. When he was a kid, he wanted to be a professional football player. His dad says Tim was his sisters’ doll. Tim started playing guitar when he was 15 or 16.

Tim’s given this a reggae spin. I am having a Jason Castro flashback. Good night for flashbacks here. It really feels like Tim doesn’t give a rat’s butt and is doing what he wants to do. He actually has a decent voice, but this arrangement is sing-songy and weird! Gotta give him props for not giving a crap what the judges would say, kinda like Jason!

Randy says he didn’t get it and calls it very bizarre. “It didn’t serve you or the song well.” He says he didn’t understand it. Ellen says she felt like she was at a resort and thought it was too laid back. Tim didn’t use the stage and she wasn’t wowed. Kara agrees with Randy and Ellen, but applauds him for doing something different. Simon also applauds Tim for doing something different, but says it didn’t worked. “A lot of people who are Rolling Stones fans are turning their televisions off,” he says, and calls this a “crazy decision.”

Tim says he knew it would be a huge risk. He didn’t want to come out and try and be like the Stones so he decided to do something he could make his own.

Siobhan Magnus – “Paint it Black”

Siobhan is from Barnstable, Mass. on the Cape. They do a lot of “aaht” in their house – gotta love that Mass. accent! They have a piano in the living room and use music as an outlet. Her father is amazed at the notes that come out of his daughter. He is also proud. I want to see more of dad! I totally dig his accent.

Siobhan has been completely made over. Her hair is curly and she’s wearing a cocktail dress. She looks beautiful. But bless her little soul, she’s still got on her earthy flats. I’m starting to love this girl!

The song starts out slow and the lighting is dark. Her vocals are positively stellar. She connects to the lyrics and really, really sells it. It might be a bit “Broadway,” but when she belts out that note, sheesh. Wow. Very strange, but appealing in a dark sort of way. My favorite of the night so far.

Randy says she brought the drama and calls it hot. Ellen says she loves the way Siobhan looks and the way she sounds. “You rise above in a sea of people, you are Snookie’s poof.” Kara is reminded of Adam Lambert and says it was the best of the night. Simon also thinks it was the standout performance of the night. He thinks a lot of people will love it and a lot of people will hate it, which is a good thing, and better than being boring.

Lee DeWyze – “Beast of Burden”

Lee tells us six months ago he was working at the paint store, living paycheck to paycheck. Ryan went onto the Web site of Lee’s old paint store and quizzes him about paint colors. Stupid. Lee grew up in Mt. Prospect, Ill. His dad remembers the first time Lee sang. He didn’t want anyone to look at him. He sounded good and his family encouraged him to continue. At least now he can sing while people look at him.

He’s done a “David Cook” on this song, completely changing it up and making it very contemporary. He’s wrung all the soul and blues out of it, but strangely, it works. His voice is strong and he seems completely in the zone. Very good performance.

Randy says it reminded him of Dave Matthews and thought it was “dope.” Ellen says she was expecting more from Lee and that it almost didn’t come together, like a hospital gown. Kara says the energy was low, but that Lee is growing faster than anyone. Simon says he really likes Lee as a person, but that what holds Lee back is his personality. He says he chose a safe, forgettable song, and other people had bigger moments. Simon wants to see Lee come on the stage and have a “moment.” He thinks Lee still thinks other people are better than he is.

Paige Miles – “Honky Tonk Woman”

Paige was born and raised in Naples, Fla. Her father died when she was four. Paige grew up singing in the church. Paige is really pretty.

Paige has countrified the song and gets her groove on. She has nice range and a super big voice. I love the little break in her voice. Weird song, but she nails it. Best performance for Paige in the entire competition.

Randy says Paige did all right. Ellen loved that Paige used the stage and says Paige had great star quality. She said it was amazing since Paige has been struggling with her voice this week. Kara says Paige is back. She tells Simon she had laryngitis. Simon says taking that into account, she did great. “You still, yet, haven’t quite connected” But he’s happy they heard the “big voice” they heard in Hollywood.

Paige said she didn’t rehearse and this was her first fullout! Pretty amazing.

Aaron Kelly – “Angie”

Aaron’s from Sonestown, Penn. He was adopted at 5-years old. He’s the only one who sings in the family. Mom tells us music has been Aaron’s main passion since he was 9. Mom says he was born to do this and she is very proud. Aaron says she’s given up so much to make sure he’s happy. Nice kid, nice mom, a surefire hit with the tweenies.

Good song choice and a real nice arrangement. It’s like a whole new Aaron. His voice is stunning. He’s in tune, passionate, and there’s a nice inflection in his voice that I haven’t heard before. I wasn’t expecting much from him, considering it was Rolling Stones week, and I have to say, I’m totally amazed.

Randy says Aaron was born to sing and loved the tender moments in the song. He says it was hot. Ellen wonders if Aaron is trying to copy her hairstyle. She says it was a great song choice and next to Siobhan, for her, they were the two best. Kara says when Aaron connects to the song, it’s very powerful. Simon says he feared for Aaron when he heard it was Rolling Stones week, but that he chose the absolute right song. “What you did cleverly was sing the song within the limits of your vocals.” Simon thinks it was Aaron’s best performance.

Crystal Bowersox – “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

Crystal grew up in a tiny town in Ohio. Her dad drove her from gig to gig. She started writing when she was 10. Dad thinks she is a good songwriter, noting a song she wrote called “Daddy.” He tears up. Crystal’s dad is totally cool.

Crystal’s doing this acoustically. She puts a nice blues spin on it and rips it in two. Man, can this girls sing. It’s outstanding. She plays with the song, changes the tempo, and I think, it’s a record.

Randy says it wasn’t her best, but he’s always excited to see what she’s going to do. Ellen says Crystal sings with such ease and that it’s effortless. What she’s been missing is personality and she saw some tonight. “Let yourself have fun on stage.”

Kara agrees. She says Crystal loosened up. Crystal says she was thinking too much. Kara doesn’t think it was her best, but she’s so comfortable. Simon asks what she means by saying she’s thinking so much. She says she’s got a lot on her mind and she wasn’t in the right zone. Simon says she came out the favorite, but the song wasn’t strong enough and for the first time, she was beaten by Siobhan. Crystal says Siobhan was amazing.

Crystal has one of Lilly’s earrings in her hair.

Best and Worst

This could have been a total disaster, but for the most part, they all stepped it up and put on a pretty good show. Siobhan won the night hands down, but I think Crystal was a close second. I’d put Aaron (yes, Aaron) third, Casey fourth, Michael fifth, and Lee sixth. Didi, Paige, and Katie follow. This leaves my bottom three Lacey, Tim, and Andrew. I think Tim’s time is up, and despite the support of VFTW, I expect Tim will be out this week.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

‘American Idol 9′ – Final thoughts on the Top 16 results show

Thursday’s Idol results show surprised a lot of people and generated a whole lot of media buzz. Certainly, the eliminations seemed random, and were completely unwarranted, but as I watched the show, I began to feel strangely prescient since I had actually predicted three of the four – Alex, Todrick, and Lilly (based on the previous week, I thought Lacey would be gone) in my two pre-performance entries on

Todrick was the first one of my picks to go out, and I wasn’t surprised at all. That one was pretty much a no-brainer. When it came down to Andrew and Alex, I squirmed a little when Alex got the boot. I had picked him because I thought he would be competing for votes with Tim Urban, who had the extra added support of Vote for the Worst. And I was right. But I did feel badly for Alex, though, because he was clearly not expecting this outcome and it should have been Aaron who went home.

As the show wound down, I realized the last two standing were going to be Katie and Lilly. I took a quick look at what I’d written earlier in the week for and suddenly felt a bit ill! Here’s what I wrote:

Poor Lilly having run into the unstoppable force that is Crystal Bowersox this season! She could have been this season’s leading oddball/indie performer, but Crystal has that spot locked up. And, with Siobhan taking the other oddball spot, that leaves no room for Lilly, unfortunately. I would rather see Lilly than Didi, but I don’t think that’s the way it’s going to shake out. Tradition overrules non-conventionalism at this point. Sorry Lilly!

And that’s exactly what happened. I’m not happy I was right, trust me. But it just goes to show you how much of a popularity contest this show really is. Lilly over Katie? Really?

Lilly’s reaction to her elimination was refreshing in that she didn’t try to pretend it was all right with her. She knew she had done better overall during the live performance shows than Katie, Paige, Lacey, Didi, and even Katelyn. Katie certainly knew it and from the look on Crystal’s face, she was thinking the same thing.

Someone told me they saw Crystal say “WTF” after Katelyn was eliminated. I guess this would explain her unenthusiastic response to being in the Top 12 herself. Certainly, losing her friend Lilly was a major bummer going forward.

The thing is American Idol is not now nor has it ever really been solely about singing ability. What it about is how well people can relate to the contestants and how big a fan base develops early on. People like Crystal who are outstanding from the start don’t have to worry a whole lot, but if a person is less popular, no matter how great a performer he or she may be, they can lose out to someone a whole lot less worthy. That’s just the way it is.

So we move forward. This week, the contestants will butcher sing the music of the Rolling Stones. Alex was planning on doing “19th Nervous Breakdown.” Too bad we’ll be missing that!

Friday, March 12, 2010

‘American Idol 9′ – Lilly and Katelyn speak their minds

After Ryan Seacrest announced her elimination Thursday night, it was clear Lilly Scott was not happy with the voters’ decision.

“I don’t know what America wants to hear, I don’t,” she said after watching Katie Stevens walk tearfully to join the rest of the new Idol Season 9 top 12. And Lilly was just getting started. She continued in this vein during Friday’s post-elimination satellite press conference.

“I guess my friends weren’t there voting,” she said. “My voting demographic doesn’t watch the show. They’re out riding their bikes or doing something more productive than watching TV or voting on American Idol.”

When asked why she auditioned, she replied, “I thought I could break the mold. But I guess it’s just another season of the same old stuff.” She thinks that being voted off will help her maintain her “indie cred.” Well, maybe, but most likely, Lilly Scott will go right back to what she was doing before Idol, working in a local band.

Katelyn Epperly, who was also eliminated Thursday, was unhappy with Lilly’s elimination. “It was a pretty big disappointment to see Lilly go home,” she said in the presser. Katelyn criticized the show’s format, which requires contestants to sing covers rather than original songs. “People like us would excel if they could sing originals,” she said. “It would really bring to light all these musicians.”

Katelyn is now solidly in Crystal Bowersox’s corner. “She totally deserves it, and I’m going to be pulling for her all the way,” Katelyn said Friday.

It’s actually refreshing that these two talented young women are not pulling any punches and playing nicey nice about the obvious. And, while neither named any names, it’s pretty clear they are both resentful that Katie Stevens rather undeservedly made the cut and the did not.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Top 16 – Who will stay and who will go?

This is it, folks! The night we find out who will be in this year’s Top 12. If you think about it, these people have given up a lot for this opportunity. They’ve left jobs, schools, and families, and it’s all about making the Top 12. They’ve been in L.A. for three weeks, making very little money, and to be cut now, just before the gravy train leaves the station really is devastating.

Of course, the real money comes for those who make the Top 10 and get to go on the tour, but you can’t make the tour if you don’t make this cut!

The also-rans will soon be forgotten – really, do you remember anyone from last year’s Top 16 who didn’t make the cut? Heck, I don’t even remember who was eliminated in the Top 12 or 11! So, it’s important for them and good TV watching for us! Remember my predictions – Paige, Lilly, Todrick, and Aaron. Will I be right?

The show starts out with performance clips, judges’ comments, and little clips of the contestants. Ryan says we may be in for a surprise or two. Ohhhh! Ryan intros the judges and we get a little PhotoChop of Randy in a bikini.

The Top 16 perform Michael Buble’s “I Just Haven’t Met You Yet.” There’s faux 1960s psychedelic swirls going on in the background. Again, the vocals aren’t bad, but the choreography is totally lame!

Back from the break, Ryan tells us that next week, the Top 12 will be performing music by the Rolling Stones. Oh lawdy. He also tells us you can go to iTunes and download the song lists the contestants are listening to when making their decision as to what song to pick as well as performance songs and videos.

There are twelve empty stools on the stage. The Top 12 will fill those stools. Didi joins Ryan center stage. She talks a little about her journey and then Ryan tells her she made it to the Top 12! All right Didi.

Siobhan is next. Simon winks at her. She tells Ryan she’s having a blast. Ellen tells her she would like to see Siobhan do exactly what she’s doing. She loves how unique Siobhan is. And Siobhan is also in the Top 12.

Ryan calls down Paige and Katelyn. Oh oh. “One of you is in, and the other will be going home tonight,” Ryan tells them. Ryan asks Simon which one has the most potential. He said he would have said Paige three weeks ago, but since they’ve been doing live, Paige hasn’t done as well. But considering Katelyn’s performance this week, he still thinks Paige has the most potential! And guess what? Paige makes it through and Katelyn does not. I am shocked! Good work Worsters!

That’s one I missed. Katelyn sings again and the other girls are verklempt.

Now for the guys. Ryan calls down Tim, Todrick, Lee, and Casey. Ryan starts with Tim. He reads Tim’s card and tells him to hang tight. Todrick is next, and Ryan jumps to Lee. Casey is last. We are reminded that he “stripped for Kara.” But Casey is safe and moves to the stools. His grandma is thrilled! Tim is then told to go join Casey. He has that befuddled look on his face again and goes to the stools.

Todrick and Lee are left. Ryan asks if they both deserve a spot. Randy says Lee definitely does because he’s been consistent. One is going home. And that on is… Lee. Todrick’s going home. Crystal looks very, very sad. Todrick says it’s been an awesome experience and that he’s proven he can sing as well as dance. Sorry Todrick. He sings his song again. And he tears it up. Bummer for him. Ryan says he feels like they should go to the judges. Randy says, “That was fantastic.”

Lilly and Crystal are wiping away tears. Katie is also crying.

After the break, Scott MacIntyre and Matt Giraud perform their piano duet of “Tell Her About It” complete with horns. Matt sounds great. Scott, not so much. Amazing how good Matt seems compared to most of these guys. Shoot, you coulda won this year, dude! Well all right! That was fun! Scott has an album out and Matt is doing an EP.

Back for more results. Crystal is next. She looks worried. Don’t worry, sweetie. It is yours to lose. “Congratulations, you have made the Top 12.” She doesn’t look all that happy. Michael Lynche is next. He goes to the stage and says, “That’s what Debbie said to do!” Mike is HUGE! Kara is still teary. She says “When someone sings something about what they’re going through, they sing it differently. As the listener, it really, really touched me.” Mike says he has a lot riding on this. Ryan asks if he can fit in one stool. And he’s in.

Lacey stands up. It’s her second shot at the Top 12 for Lacey. And guess what? Lacey’s through to the Top 12. Crystal still doesn’t look thrilled. What’s up with that?

Aaron is next. He says he’s defnitely going to bring more confidence. He says the judges are a little bit intimidating. No, tell me no… oh, no, he’s made it through. His mom and her friend cry. This means two more stools and four more contestants.

Alex and Andrew come down. Ryan reads their cards. He asks Simon if Andrew peaked too soon. Simon says yes, but thinks he’s still a very talented singer. The last spot goes to Andrew. Alex is out. He says he had a lot of fun and wishes he could have stayed because America hasn’t seen everything he can do. He’s crying. So is Siobhan. Ellen tells him to never stop believing in himself. And he has to sing again. He knows he blew this opportunity and you can hear it in his voice. It’s a very emotional moment.

We come back from the break and Alex is fully crying. Very emotional. Two girls are left – Katie and Lilly. This could be a total shocker! Ryan asks Kara what her reaction is to seeing the two of them up there. She doesn’t really know what to say. The final seat in the Top 12 belongs to… Katie. People are stunned. I knew this could happen, but I’m not happy about it at all. Lilly says that a lot of incredible talent is going home tonight and she really doesn’t know what America wants to listen to. Honey, look at the Billboard Hot 100. That’s the tripe people want to listen to. Katie is totally bawling now, and for good reason. She escaped by her tail.

Lilly sings again. Crystal is falling apart. I am looking at Lacey and thinking, “You made it over Lilly?” Stupid, just plain stupid.

The booted ones watch their farewell video and it’s a wrap. I’m not going to comment further tonight, but trust me, there’s more to come!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

‘American Idol 9′ – Top 8 boys performance recap

Typical overly-dramatic opening. The guys are lined up and Ryan walks down the line saying their names. “These are the guys and they are ready to deliver!” Ooookay!The audience is pumped. Ryan intros the judges. Ellen is not sitting in Simon’s lap tonight. Ryan asks why Kara and Simon are sitting so close this year. Kara says maybe it’s separation anxiety because he’s not with his fiance. Ryan tells us it is a “big deal” tonight.

The show is only an hour so there are no contrived video packages, just the performances. Enjoy it while you can!

Lee DeWyze – “Fireflies” (Owl City)

Lee is playing acoustic guitar. This song annoys me, but I do like the simplicity of the arrangement. Lee’s voice is gravely tonight, but at least he’s in tune and the song isn’t a snoozer (take note, ladies). I’m not wildly impressed, but it’s not completely awful.

Randy says it was a strange song choice, but he loves that Lee made it his own. “You made it work, man,” he finishes. Ellen says she likes he made it rock. She says a lot of people tell her they have crushes on Lee. Kara says Lee looks confident. Lee says he had fun. She thinks he made the song a better song with his interpretation.

Simon is annoying Kara. “I thought it was a solid job,” she says. Simon doesn’t think Lee had a moment with the song. “I think you are better than that version of the song,” he says. However, he thinks Lee will make the Top 12.

Lee tells Ryan he’s trying to focus on what he needs to work on. He says he figured he’d do something a little different. Not a bad choice, Lee, and I agree, you’re going to be moving on Thursday.

Alex Lambert – “Trouble” Ray LaMontagne

Alex is on acoustic guitar as well. The song isn’t really in his range, and bringing it down too low feels a little awkward. I remember when Taylor did this and tore it up. But, Alex seems very confident, which is an improvement. Still, his voice is really atonal and not particularly pleasant.

Randy thinks it was a good song choice, but wasn’t wowed! He wishes Alex had done a little more with it – maybe made it slower. Ellen disagrees and says Alex is becoming a “mooshy banana.” She thinks he’s consistently getting better. She loves his innocence. “You need more confidence, but don’t get cocky,” she warns. Kara says the only thing standing in Alex way of winning is Alex. “You are still stiff and you’re not in it.” She urges him to let go.

Simon agrees. He thinks Alex needs to get mentally somewhere else. “We’ve never seen you relax and have a good time.” He thinks Alex needs to imagine seeing Randy in a bikini! “You’ve got to stop staring down that lens and let yourself go.”

Tim Urban – Hallelujah (Jeff Buckley)

Tim’s also on acoustic guitar. This is a brilliant song choice, just brilliant! Tim is so sincere and makes the song completely believable. You can see his sincerity in his eyes. How can you not vote for this guy! His vocals aren’t perfect, but that doesn’t matter. He sells it. Good for you Tim! You may have just bought yourself a ticket to the Top 12.

Randy loves the song and says Tim’s walked in some pretty big shoes and did a good job. Ellen gets up out of her seat and runs over to Tim and hugs him! I love Ellen!”You were fantastic,” she says, mid-hug.

Kara says she thought Tim would be going home three weeks ago and thinks he might be in the top of the boys. “It was an honest interpretation.” Simon says he feels responsible for Tim doing well tonight. “This week, very, very smart with this song because it reacts… by far the strongest performance you’ve given so far.”

Tim thanks the judges! Will VFTW abandon Tim after this performance? (They don’t)

Andrew Garcia - “Genie in a Bottle” (Christina Aguilera)

Interesting. Andrews gives it a little Latin spin, which is cool. This is such a stupid song, though, you know. His vocals aren’t stellar, but I appreciate what he’s trying to do.

Randy says he likes Andrew’s cardigan (he’s wearing one also). He says the song was a good idea, but it didn’t quite work for him. He says Andrew made it feel like the whole song was three notes! Ellen says she thought it was a great song choice, but wishes he’d “come out” of the bottle earlier in the song. Kara says Andrew peaked too early and has been chasing that moment. She also thinks he was fighting with the rhythm of the guitar. She’s disappointed. “It just wasn’t great.”

Simon says he thinks it was a little bit desperate and that Andrew over-thought it. “You’re kind of still going backwards at the moment.”

He thanks his fans for voting. I wish the judges would stop praising his “Straight Up,” though because that was a fluke that is unlikely to happen again. Good luck Andrew, you might need it.

Casey James - “You’ll Think of Me” (Keith Urban)

Again with the goaty vibrato. I guess that’s just his voice and I need to get used to it. It’s a good song choice, though, and he’s working it. He also seems very comfortable. It’s certainly better than last week.

Randy says it was a safe choice and urges Casey not to pull away from the vocals. Ellen says she thought it was great and asks if he’s more comfortable sitting on a stool. She really liked it. Kara says she’s “kind of back” on the Casey train. She says it was honest, but is missing that spark. “Definitely a move in the right direction.”

Simon says it was his second best performance and that it made him sincere. He doesn’t think they’ll be raving about it in 24 hours, but says Casey sounded good.

Aaron Kelly - “I’m Already There” (Lonestar)

Aaron is obviously nervous and starts out very shaky. It doesn’t get much better either. Nope, this is not good at all. He’s pushing his voice too much and it’s not mature enough to handle it. Country is where Aaron belongs, though, that much I can say.

Randy says Aaron has the makings of greatness. He thinks Aaron needs to work on the lower notes. “Job well done. Still some work to do.” Ellen says she loves Aaron and admires the way he carries himself (like a 30-year-old). She thinks it was a little too much song for him. “I just didn’t think that was terrific. Sorry.” Kara says she loves that Aaron gives it so much, but that the song was not relevant to a 16-year old.

Simon interrupts and says what Kara said was “complete and utter rubbish.” He thinks it was the right type of song. Aaron says he was trying to sing it as a story.

Todrick Hall – “Somebody to Love” (Queen)

Todrick, honey, you ain’t no Freddy Mercury, or even Adam Lambert. But maybe that’s not what he’s going for? He gives it more of a soulful, gospel edge, and as much as I want to hate this, I actually think there are some redeeming qualities. It’s a strange song choice, but he sings it very well.

Randy is laughing and says, “Todrick is back.” He thinks Todrick proved he can really sing and says this was one of the best vocals by a man all week. Ellen calls Todrick brave and says it felt like a gospel song. “You did a good job,” she finishes. Kara says, “You can’t listen to that and not call it good singing.” Randy says it was like Glee! “The singing was good, I’ve got to say.”

Simon says it was good in parts. He thinks Todrick let them know he’s a Broadway singer. “At least you made an attempt to perform… it may have saved you!” I don’t know about that, but stranger things have happened.

Michael Lynche – “This Woman’s Work” (Maxwell)

This is one of my all-time favorite songs and Maxwell is one of my all-time favorite male vocalists, so I’m going to be tough on this one! Michael doesn’t try to channel Maxwell and sounds more like Luther. Thing is, this song couldn’t be more perfect for new daddy Mike. And he feels it so deeply. Wow! Michael works the stage and digs into this song with such intensity, I get tears in my eyes. Best of the night. Hell, that was the best male performance so far this year. Talk about a moment.

Randy says, “Really?” He says the last note, was like, What? “It was hot.” Ellen says “Oh my God, that was so beautiful.” Kara says she’s never cried before, but she is now. “It was amazing.” Simon puts an arm around Kara. Simon says “This was so needed tonight… you 100 percent nailed it.” He says this was the best performance of all the live shows so far.

Best and Worst

Well, now. This is easy. Michael Lynche. Oh, I have to rate the rest? Okay – Casey, Todrick, Lee, Andrew, Tim, Alex, and Aaron. I think Aaron’s a goner and despite a decent performance tonight, I don’t think Todrick will survive either.

Results start at 8 p.m. Thursday. Scott MacIntyre performs his new single, “Heartstrings” and also duets on piano with fellow Season 8′er, Matt Giraud. Bring it on boys!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

‘American Idol 9′ – Top 8 girls

We’ll be live blogging tonight’s performance show so stay tuned for all the action! One comment before we begin. I am astounded by the poor quality of the group photos for the Top 16 this year. Awful. I did the best I could with it, but really, couldn’t they do better than this?

The show starts out with an introduction of the eight remaining girls in silhouette. Heavy drama ensues. It looks like Lilly has the pimp spot and Katie’s going first. But this could change, of course.

At the hard opening, Ryan is sitting at the judges’ table and Ellen and Simon are smooching. That’s right, smooching. Ellen’s wearing a tie. “Ellen’s taken,” Ryan reminds Simon. Simon says, “This is the worst night to go… the stakes are the highest they’ve ever been.”

Katie Stevens – “Breakaway” (Kelly Clarkson)

Katie is completely out of tune and her vocals are breathy. She’s sharp, very sharp, and not in a good way. The sound mix is atrocious and her pitchiness is horribly apparent. I can’t even hear the band. Even the backup singers sound as though they are in another theater. Not good at all. Could Katie be in danger?

Randy says Katie’s version pales in comparison to the original. “It wasn’t great.” Ellen loves that Katie took their advice and sang a young song. “I didn’t feel those words,” she says. “It’s about personality… I didn’t see it.” Kara says Katie has a great radio voice but that Katie doesn’t know herself as an artist. She says Katie needs experience. “The singing needed to be perfect tonight, and it just wasn’t.” Simon says Katie’s taken their advice, but that she hasn’t worked out what kind of artist she is. He says she kind of sucked the energy out of the end of the song. He gives her 10 out of 10 for taken their advice, though.

Katie says she tried to do a bigger song like Randy told her to do and a young song like Ellen tried to do. She says she wants to be a soulful, youthful, edgy artist. Honey, you ain’t no Kelly Clarkson, so get that out of your head right now.

Siobhan Magnus – “House of the Rising Sun” (The Animals)

Siobhan chose this song in honor of her dad. Weird choice. She starts out a cappella, a risk in that her vocals are naked. An acoustic guitar comes in and then the band picks up a bit. Siobhan has a very mature voice and belts this thing out. But there are some moments where her tone is so pure, it sends a bit of a chill down my spine.

Randy says he likes that she always surprises them. “I love what you do because you take every risk and every chance.” He says it was hot. Ellen says she knows that house. “You are why I love music because it’s supposed to move us.” She says she was captivated. Kara loves the a cappella opening. She says Siobhan is unique and different, and that she is always surprised by her. Simon says he wasn’t quite as big a fan and says it was all a bit weird. “If this was the first time I’d seen you, I’d have real doubts.” He said it was “ploddy, boring, and dark,” and he “didn’t get it.”

Lacey Brown – “The Story” (Brandi Carlile)

I don’t know this song, so I can’t compare it to the original. To me, it sounds exactly the same as everything else Lacey’s done so far. Thing is, it’s a whole lot better than last week, despite the Dolly Partonesque tone of her voice. The song was a bit plodding, but her vocals were rather pretty. She seems very confident, which certainly helps. I’m surprised, but I really liked this.

Randy says the song was a little sleepy, but this was her best performance so far. “It was very cool, man.” Ellen also thinks this was her best performance to date. “I thought it was really good.” Kara calls her singing effortless and calls it a brilliant choice. “You’re back on your path.” Simon didn’t love the song, but says she sang it very well. He likes that she knows how to work the cameras. Good for you, Lacey!

Katelyn Epperly - “I Feel the Earth Move” (Carole King)

Katelyn’s playing the keyboards again. I’m going to call this a karaoke performance. She doesn’t seem to be at all connected to the lyrics and seems to be going through the motions. It’s an incredibly bad song choice. Towards the end, she goes off the melody and the whole thing falls flat. Of course, the sound mix doesn’t help a bit. Is the band even playing?

Randy is laughing. He says he doesn’t feel the vibe. “There was nothing special about it.” Ellen says this probably wasn’t the song to choose to wow people. She doesn’t think this performance was “enough.” Kara says she didn’t feel like Katelyn was competing and that Katelyn was just going through the motions. She doesn’t know what happened? Katelyn says she was trying to be less “corny” per Simon’s instructions from last week.

Simon says he likes her hair. “On the down side, he says, “It was kind of like request night on a Friday night in a restaurant.” He also thinks she didn’t try hard enough. “This might have been a mistake for you tonight.” Katelyn says she definitely cares.

Didi Benami – “Rhiannon” (Fleetwood Mac)

I like that she’s playing her guitar and that she kept the arrangement very simple. I don’t care what anyone says. I like Didi’s voice and vibe. The background singers don’t help at all, though. I think she made the song current and fresh, and really made it her own. I loved it.

Randy says it was definitely a whole lot better than last week. He says this was the person they fell in love with. Ellen says, “Yes indeedy, Didi.” She loves that Didi was torn apart last week, but that she got back and did it again. “Good job.” Kara says this was one of her favorite moments of the show so far this season. She says that song choice is important, but that she loves that Didi made it her own. Simon says that he agrees with Kara. “I thought that was head and shoulders above anything that we’ve heard tonight.” He thinks the whole performance was a wow moment. He also congratulates her for overcoming their shredding last week and doing so well this week.

Paige Miles – “Smile”

Warning, warning, this is a very risky choice considering you might have to sing this as your swan song. Her vocals are shaky and she seems very tentative. Again, the band is nearly non-existent and the arrangement is awful. Overall, it’s boring and uninspired. Sorry Paige, you needed a knockout tonight and you didn’t get it.

Randy says it’s one of his favorite songs, but it didn’t work for her at all. “It didn’t work at all.” Ellen says the song is supposed to be inspired, but it was sad. She doesn’t think this was the right song. Kara agrees. “It was all wrong… tonight was not the night to do that.” Paige says she loves the song and is sorry it didn’t work. She’s close to tears. Simon says it was a horrible choice of song. He calls is a peanut performance – normally people are at the bar and don’t pay any attention. “The problem is, you’ve got no idea who you are.” He thinks this could be the end of the road. I totally agree.

Paige says she’s a huge Michael Jackson fan and he did this one. She says she gets all emotional singing it. Awww, I feel so bad for her.

Crystal Bowersox – “Give Me One Reason” (Tracy Chapman)

Crystal picks up an electric guitar and leaves everyone else in the dust. Everything seems so effortless for Crystal. She twists this up, and turns it into her own creation. She doesn’t push her vocals, they just seem to flow from her soul and she know exactly where she has to be throughout the 90 seconds. Amazing. Simply amazing. Why hasn’t this girl been “discovered” before now.

Randy says, “This is what the show’s about for me.” Ellen says she’s tired of calling Crystal amazing. “Best performance of the night.” Kara says this was a great song choice and what Crystal would be doing on her record. She points out that Crystal knows who she is as an artists. All this makes Kara excited. Simon says Crystal is one billion, million going to be in the Top 12. He likes her confidence too. “Right now, you are the one everyone has to beat.” Yup, I’d say so!

Lilly Scott – “I Fall to Pieces” (Patsy Cline)

Again, a weird choice. Lilly changes it up a bit, giving the song a fresh new take. She’s playing a mandolin, which is also different. It felt a bit stiff, though, and on the boring side. I wish she’d done something a little more upbeat, but it wasn’t bad. Hard to follow Crystal, though.

Randy says it was hot and that Lilly is in the zone. Ellen loves her voice, style, and originality. Kara says she doesn’t know how Lilly did it, but that she made Patsy Kline current. Simon calls her brave for choosing a song on a night like this. But, he doesn’t think it had the wow factor, especially being in the pimp spot.

Best and the worst

Once again, Crystal wins the night for me, followed by Didi and Lilly. Lacey is my fourth spot, followed by Siobhan, Katelyn, Katie, and Paige. Paige is a goner, of that I’m fairly certain, but who will join her? Based on her three performances, I think Katie should go home, but I’m going to predict the season’s first shocker – Lilly. Why? There are too many oddball girls in this group and votes are going to be all split up between Lilly, Siobhan, and Lacey. Siobhan is appealing for her quirkiness and Lacey for being a survivor. That leaves Lilly.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

‘Idol’ says farewell to four more

American Idol’ dropped four more semi-finalists Thursday night, bringing the count down to 16, 12 of whom will make the Top 12 next week. Here’s how Thursday’s show went down.

After an overly dramatic opening, we learn that 27 million votes were cast between the two nights. Ryan talks to the judges and Simon says when he watched the show back, he realized the he had made a mistake in complimenting one of Wednesday’s contestants.

The Top 20 perform the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feelin,” clomping around the stage as though they are wearing cement boots. Casey has a bemused, pained look on his face and Siobhan looks particularly bizarre in her shorts, tee shirt, and Chuck Taylors.

The eliminations start with the boys. The back row stands up. Tim Urban is first and he is safe. He doesn’t look as shocked as he did last week, but is still quite surprised. Todrick is next and Ryan has him remain standing. Michael and Casey are both safe (shocking, I know) and we come to John. No surprise, he remains standing with Todrick. Who’s going home? John. No surprise at all. He never quite got it.

John doesn’t seem at all surprised and his encore of “Gravity” is actually better than what he did Tuesday.

We continue. Lee is first and he is safe. Aaron and Alex also make the cut leaving Andrew and Jermaine the last two out. This should be a no brainer! Ellen mocks the way Simon says “frustrated” and says she is sad. And, no surprise, Jermaine Sellers is out.

Jermaine blabs on about God and the gets set to sing again. I fast forward through the performance. I never want to hear or see him again.That’s how much he annoys me!

Season 8’s Danny Gokey is the guest performer. I love that they’re bringing back former Idols on these results shows. Danny sings his single, “My Best Days are Ahead of Me.” It’s country all right! His vocals are forced and I am reminded of how much I disliked him on the show. Still, he’s better than most of this year’s guys. Who’d a thunk it!

Danny seems very happy to be back and is excited about meeting Ellen. They get into a brief conversation about his appearing on her show. He talks about how he came to the decision to do country. Apparently it’s Randy Travis’ fault. He also mentions that the guy who wrote his song had also lost his wife and Danny didn’t even know it until after he had recorded the song. Danny is positively ebullient! Get off the stage, Gokey.

The lights dim and it’s time to cut two of the girls. Again, the back row stands. Lilly, Paige, and Katie are safe. No surprises there. It comes down to Didi and Michelle. Ryan asks Kara who she thinks should go home and she says that when she watched Michelle’s performance again, she realized Michelle was off. Do they know who’s going home? Hmmmm.

Didi should really be worried, but this week, she’s safe and Michelle is going home. She takes it well and sings “With Arms Wide Open Again.” It’s not good. The camera keeps cutting back to Didi who realize she barely escaped. Please step it up, Didi, please.

The bottom row of girls rise. Katelyn, Crystal, and Siobhan are safe. It’s between Haeley and Lacey – a toss-up, really. Ryan asks Simon what he thinks and he says it’s obvious who will be going home. And it really is. Haeley is eliminated and never stops smiling. Before Haeley can torture us again in song, we see the contestants farewell video package. When it ends, Katie is crying.

Haeley sings “The Climb” again. I can’t watch this again, sorry. I fast-forward out!

Scott MacIntyre returns to sing his single “Heartstrings” on next week’s results show when the Top 12 is chosen. Then, we can drop this Thursday results show routine!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

‘American Idol 9′ – Top 10 girls step it up a bit

We’ve certainly had our share of drama this week and we’re only at the Top 20! Tuesday, the boys performed rather than the girls because Crystal Bowersox was too sick to take the stage. Wednesday afternoon the bloggersphere was buzzing with speculation as to whether or not she’d be able to perform at all. Will she or won’t she? We’ll soon find out!

We’re going to live blog this one, so bear with me! This doesn’t always work out too well, but it’s fun and give you instant analysis. Let’s get this show on the road!

Ryan opens the show bathed in scary lights. Don’t see Crystal as Ryan comes down the stairs, but he does say there are ten girls. And there is Crystal at the end of the line!

Ryan pulls her out of the line and they talk. She says she feels good. “I’m a tough cookie.” I guess you are.

Ryan welcomes the judges. Randy boos Simon. Ryan asks Randy what he thought of the guys. He says they had the “fire in their eyes.” Ellen says song choice is “everything.” Ryan thinks Kara has been snuggling up to Simon this year and they have a cozy chat.

Simon tells the girls they have to show that they can deal with the pressure. The guys are on the sidelines and we are off.

Crystal Bowersox – “Long as I Can See the Light” (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

Crystal tells us she has a twin brother Carl who is a “square.” She carries a little bag with trinkets that remind her of her favorite people. We get a quick review of last week’s performance. Crystal tells us she used to perform on the subway in Chicago.

The song has a gospel spin complete with organ opening. Her vocals are clear and crisp. It’s good. It’s a good choice in that it allows her to show off her mid-range and soulful side. She has some pitch problems, but all-in-all, it was a solid performance. Good for you, Crystal. Glad things worked out.

Randy says that in life, truth is reality, and that she does what she does. He loves that she is true to herself. “I love that girl.” Ellen says “That is pure, raw, natural talent.” She is so glad Crystal recovered and says she was so scared. “Please stay healthy, we need you here.” Kara says Crystal completely recovered from last week. She loves that the song came from her heart. “You hit a new level,” Kara finishes.

Simon acknowledges how sick Crystal was and says that what’s great about her is that she didn’t play the sympathy card. “I underestimated you last week. the vocal was incredible,” he begins, and then drops the bomb. “This was like the moment we realized with Kelly Clarkson we have a serious artist here. Congratulations.” Well all right! I totally agree. Crystal just stepped into first place!

Crystal says she was worried that she wasn’t going to be able to perform and is ecstatic and grateful to have been able to do so. It’s all about Crystal for me right now!

Haeley Vaughn – “The Climb” (Miley Cyrus)

Argghhh… Miley Cyrus. I am already wincing. Haeley tells us she loves to make hair accessories. She reflects on last week’s performance. She says she doesn’t know how not to smile. She seems fake to me. She says she’s going to try not to smile during the song.

I’m sorry, but I despise this song. And my opinion hasn’t changed. Haeley seems breathless and is lagging behind the band, while at the same time, rushing it if that’s possible. Her vocals are rough and it’s a hot mess. That being said, I think she actually sings this better than Miley, but that’s not really all that much to brag about. That was bad. Real bad.

Randy says it didn’t work for him. “It was excruciating.” He adds that it was so pitchy and so not right. “You had no connection to the song at all.” Ellen tells Haeley never to stop smiling, but didn’t feel Haeley connected to the song. Haeley looks like she’s’ about to cry.

Kara says Haeley has the “Alex Lambert” factor; people are rooting for her (yeah, VFTW). “Unfortunately, honey, you need about a year of strengthening your instrument.” She does think people are going to root for her because she is such a great spirit on the stage. Simon doesn’t want to make it any worse, but that it was “a complete and utter mess.” Simon says there’s an irony in singing a song about climbing when “you actually fell off.” Mean, mean, mean Simon, making cute little Haeley sad like that.

Lacey Brown – “Kiss Me” (Sixpence None the Richer)

Ryan asks Lacey how the switch was for her. She says it was good for her, but bad for the boys. In her video clip, she tells us she loves to refurbish antique furniture. Before she sings, she tells herself she was made to do this. We reflect on her butchery of “Landslide.” She says nerves played a big role.

Ugh, ugh… oh no, she’s’ singing so high and nasally, and there’s so much posing going on. Her voice is in the tone of Dolly Parton’s. She gets a little better once she gets into it, but it’s still unpleasant. She sounds like a windup doll and has no range at all. Awful, just awful.

Randy says it was a good choice if it would have worked, but he felt it was very karaoke. “You didn’t do anything special with it.” Ellen says she thought it was adorable and a good choice. “I like your personality and I like you.” Kara says the song brought back Lacey’s unique tone to the audience. She urges her to step it up. Simon says it was “marginally better” than last week. He thinks she is behaving as though she’s taking part in a competition and not showing that she’s an artist. He says she’d do whatever she’s told. He compares this performance to Crystal’s.

Lacey isn’t sure what Simon meant. I don’t think she’s got to worry, though, cuz that performance was a pretty sure ticket home.

Katie Stevens – “Put Your Records On” (Corinne Bailey Rae)

Ryan asks what her high school friends and they think it’s “awesome.” Of course they do! In her clip, she tells us she can say “Give me a kiss” in six languages. Well I can count to three in Arabic, so there. Before she goes on stage she jumps up and down, and tells herself she is awesome.

Megan sang this last year, remember! It’s a good choice for Katie and she does a great job. She’s got a little bit of soul in her voice, beautiful tone, and impressive range. She shouts a little at the end, kind of blows it, but overall, I think it’s very good.

Randy says there were some bright moments, especially when she went into her upper register. He says the first part wasn’t that interesting. He urges her to tackle bigger songs. Ellen thinks she has a big voice and she likes it. But, she still wants to see her sing younger songs. “I don’t want to hear something I would hear in my dentist’s office.” Ellen gets booed.

Kara agrees with Ellen. She’s frustrated and says Katie needs to pull everyone in from the start. She’s still waiting for that “moment.” Simon is also frustrated. He appreciates she tried a younger song. He isn’t seeing what kind of recording artist Katie wants to be. “It wasn’t a winning performance.”

Kara suggests choosing a song that reflects what she’s feeling right now.

Didi Benami – “Lean on Me” (Bill Withers)

Didi tells us that when she was in middle school, she was the mascot. Eventually, she made the cheerleading squad. She likes to meow before she sings. Didi hopes to bring up her “star meter” a little bit this week.

Didi’s voice is very rich right from the start. She has great vocal control and I love the tone of her voice. She really connects to the lyrics and sells it. That’s the difference. When you believe it, you can sing it.

Randy says he wouldn’t have chosen a song like that. He says it shows the imperfections and it wasn’t a good choice. Ellen says she loves Didi’s voice and that she has a great presence. She suggests “Lovely Day.” She hopes people will vote for Didi.

Kara says, “Didi, it wasn’t good.” She says she’s missing consistency. “It felt like a karaoke bar… we lost the uniqueness of your voice.” She’s still a fan, though. Simon says it was all over the place. “It was screeching, bad choice of song.” He’s frustrated with her too. He feels it was a wasted opportunity.

Didi is very hurt. She can’t even talk to Ryan at the end. I don’t know what the judges were listening to, but I think they missed the mark with this performance.

Michelle Delamor – “With Arms Wide Open” (Creed)

Michelle is a children’s choir director at her church. We see her doing scales with the kids. She wants to be real when she sings. Before she performs, she prays and meditates. She’s hoping to give them a “Wow” moment.

She’s still holding back and doesn’t dig into the song enough. I’m yelling, “Reach down in your gut, girl.” The arrangement isn’t right. The song is meant to be belted out and she’s not doing it. The song is so rich and she pauperizes it! Worse than karaoke.

Randy says there were some pitch problems, but he likes her outfit. He doesn’t think she did enough with it. “It fell flat to me.” Ellen says she looks fabulous and that for a few moments she forgot it was a rock song. She likes that Michelle tried to do something different. “It almost worked, but not quite,” Ellen finishes.

Kara says this is her favorite performance of Michelle’s ever. “It felt believable for once.” She bought it. Simon says he’s kind of with Kara. He liked the first half better. “You kind of got 80 percent of it right.” Vera Wang is in the audience, but the way.

Michelle is joyful. I am beginning to question my judgment here. The ones I like, the judges hate and vice versa. Am I losing it?

Lilly Scott – “A Change is Gonna Come” (Sam Cooke)

Lilly plays lots of different instruments. Before she goes on stage she uses a throat spray. Interesting song choice. Lilly sounds like Maria Muldaur. Her voice is sweet but gritty. It’s’ an interesting arrangement, modernized and femalized, but still managing to retain the quality. She’s a little nasally and has some rough moments, but I really like what she’s done with this song. I like this girl!

Randy says he loves that this season has a lot of unique contestants and that’s what he loves about Lilly. “My favorite performance so far of the night.” Ellen says Lilly has “it.” She says she forgot she was at a singing competition. “Best performance of the night.” Kara says, “You just had your first moment… thank God you tried out.” Simon says this makes the point they’ve been trying to make. “I thought it was good; I wasn’t crazy about it.” He thinks Crystal was stronger, though.

Katelyn Epperly – “The Scientist” (Coldplay)

Katelyn tells us she was studying how to become a recording engineer before she came to Idol. Before she performs, she likes to goof off. She hopes she can move people with this performance.

Katelyn is playing a white baby grand piano. She moves me. There’s something in her delivery that’s honest and pure. Her vocals aren’t perfect, but it’s’ totally believable.

Randy says he really liked it. “It was great until the last couple of notes.” Ellen blunders that she liked that Katelyn was playing guitar. She says she fell sort of asleep because it was way to slow. “If I’m at home babysitting, the baby’s asleep.”

Kara kind of loves Katelyn. “You have an incredible instrument and you can do a lot with it.” But, Kara says she’s been all over the place. Simon wonders if Katelyn has ever heard the Natasha Bedingfield version. She has not. Simon thinks Katelyn becomes quite corny but that it was a million times better than last week.

Paige Miles – “Walk Away” (Kelly Clarkson)

Paige likes to color. How old are you, Paige? Risky song choice, but Paige has found her “sweet spot.” It’s a little close to Kelly’s version, but Paige has a different inflection in her voice and changes it up enough so that it’s not karaoke. She’s comfortable on the stage and seems to be having a lot of fun with this. I enjoyed it.

Note: At one point during Paige’s performance, the camera cuts to the judges’ desk and Simon appears to have his head either on the desk or under it!

Randy wonders if Paige knows who wrote that song (Kara). He liked it, but wasn’t over the top in love with it. He really wants to hear her hit the big notes. Kara pouts. Ellen disagrees with Randy. She liked everything Paige did with it. “I thought you did great.”

Kara says she could see Paige having a hit with that song. She talks about the meaning of the song as being a bit angry and that she wouldn’t have been smiling. Simon agrees with Randy. He says that two weeks in a row she’s chosen the wrong song and she is getting lost in the songs. “You’ve gotta come on that stage next week and nail it.” He calls it forgettable.

Paige agrees with everyone. I really like her. She reminds me a little bit of Kimberley Locke.

Siobhan Magnus – “Think” (Aretha Franklin)

She likes to do some weird things with her mouth before she performs. She could be doomed. Totally not the right song. It’s in the wrong key, just awful. She shouts, she screeches, and prances about like a beauty contestant. She belts out the glory note and glass shatters. Why are you yelling at me Siobhan?

Randy says she was so bold and fearless, and it was “dope.” He loved it. Ellen loved it too. Kara can’t get over the glory note. Siobhan thanks Kelly for that note. Simon calls her strange. He says there were parts of the song that were horrible, but the note was incredible. “You are very, very talented.”

This was a strange show for me. Other than Crystal, it seems that everyone I liked, the judges didn’t like and vice versa. But I’m sticking to my guns!

Best and Worst

Best of the night – Crystal. Period. I think she could win this thing. There, I’ve said it! My second favorite was Paige, followed by Lilly and Katelyn. Although I’m not a fan of Katie, her vocals on the song were good. I also liked Didi, but do agree she should have picked a different song. Michelle was probably better vocally, but she bores me. I’ll include her in my good pile, though.

Of the rest, I can’t really decide who was actually the worst. Haeley Miles “The Climb” was truly awful, but was it worse than Lacey Brown’s “Kiss Me?”And then we have Siobhan. I don’t care what anyone says, that was painful to listen to. As for who’s going home, Haeley has VFTW behind her and that should save her for another week. Lacey and Siobhan should get the boot, but I’m thinking Michelle’s time has run out. Not sure why, but I’m picking her and Lacey.

Results Thursday. Danny Gokey is singing. Whooptee doo.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Boys to perform Tuesday due to Crystal’s illness

For the first time in the history of ‘American Idol’ a semi-final performance show has been switched due to the illness of one of the contestants. Rather than seeing the girls, tonight, the boys will perform. The girls take the stage Wednesday.

According to the official ‘Idol’ press release, Crystal Bowersox is too sick to perform, thus the switch in the schedule. US Weekly is reporting that Crystal, who is a Type I diabetic, was hospitalized for diabetic complications.

Crystal is one of this year’s better performers, so it makes sense the producers would cater to her. Wonder if it was someone like, say, Lacey Brown, if they would have been as cooperative.

In previous seasons, contestants have had to either perform sick or withdraw. During Season 4, Bo Bice, who finished as runner-up to Carrie Underwood, was suffering from chronic gastric blockage problems and was so sick during finale week the producers weren’t sure he would be able to stand up, let alone sing. But they didn’t cancel that night. Crystal must be really sick.

The boys weren’t expecting to perform, thus, many probably aren’t going to be totally ready. It’s going to be a complete train wreck, I assure you! More later!

‘American Idol 9′ – Top 10 boys boring, but better!

As we reported earlier, the Top 10 boys performed Tuesday rather than the girlsas previously scheduled because Crystal Bowersox was hospitalized earlier in the day. Ryan assures us she is fine and will be back on stage Wednesday.

Kara thinks the group is getting settled in and Simon thinks the girls are ahead by a “smidge.” We are off to the races.

Michael Lynche – “This is a Man’s World” (James Brown)

Mike is “huge” into theater, and tells us he went to a performing arts high school and also played football. He says he benches 505, which is three Ryan Seacrests! The all around guy, you know.

Mike dresses for the night and really puts his soul side front and center. The arrangement is lame, but his vocals are sharp. He can sang, that’s for sure. I like this so much better than what he did last week. He shows his strength and power, as well as his showmanship, although he needs to tone it down just a tiny bit. I think Michael Lynche just bought himself another week.

Randy gives Mike a standing O and says he feels like the season is getting rolling. He thinks Mike has the fire! Ellen says she’s liked all his song choices and that this will be the performance the others will have to beat. Kara says she didn’t get it until tonight, but tonight, he’s not the same guy and she’s feelin’ it! Simon says Mike went from being a pussycat to a lion in one week, and that it didn’t sound dated. He calls it Mike’s best performance in the competition so far. Mike tells us they didn’t find out about switching with the girls until 10 a.m.

John Park – “Gravity” (John Mayer)

Another rather boring song from John. He does have a nice tone to his voice, but he strays far away from the melody once he gets into it. Can I use “pitchy” here? He’s sitting on a stool and I want him to stand up. He might be able to find a little depth, but no, he sits the entire time.

Randy doesn’t think John brought anything new or spicy, and says it was flat. “I didn’t see anything special about it.” Ellen says it was a better choice, but needed a little more soul. She urges him to feel the song a little bit more. Kara says it was “way better than last week,” but says he lacks a connection to the song. “I want you to take some risks,” she tells John. I don’t know if he’ll be around another week, but whatever. Simon says John’s a cappella group may get their lead singer back. Ouch. He calls it a “so what” song choice and says he struggles with the “believability.” He says in 20 minutes we’ll forget the performance. I think he’s right. They continue to rip him to shreds and John looks like he’s about to cry. He should, because he’s doomed.

Casey James – “I Don’t Wanna Be” (Gavin DeGraw)

Bad move, Casey. He admits that he never watched ‘Idol’ and didn’t realize this song has been done to death (best by Bo Bice in my opinion). Casey says he watched everyone else’s performances, though, and hopes he can add something new. Casey spent most of his live without a TV! Imagine that! He even restored his own house!

Casey’s playing electric guitar and he’s very good. Thing is, the goaty vibrato is totally annoying me. He sounds like Cat Stevens, and I’m sure that’s not the effect he is going for. But he does know how to play guitar! That’s all I can really say about this one!

Randy isn’t impressed by Casey’s vocal, but does say this is the kind of record he would make with Casey. He calls his guitar playing “hot.” Ellen says she he sounded great and loved Casey on guitar. She does point out Casey was a little stiff, and wants him to play and move more. Kara says Casey took two steps backwards for her. Ohhh. She compliments his guitar playing, but reminds him this is a singing competition. “Everything that was distinct about your vocals went away.” Simon says Casey turned into “somebody you will see in any bar across America.” Double ouch! “I don’t think you’ve got the grit in your voice to make that authentic,” he says. He really seems shocked, but admits they were probably right about his vocals.

Alex Lambert – “Everybody Knows” (John Legend)

Alex tells us he created his own language when he was in the sixth grade. He tells us he was extremely nervous last week because he hasn’t performed much. Alex has picked up his acoustic guitar. He doesn’t sound anywhere near as bad as he did last week. The song is much better suited for his voice and he has a lot more control. His voice is strong, but he needs to work a bit on phrasing and breathing.

Randy says he has his own language too! He says it is such an improvement and that it wasn’t as sound-alike. “I really enjoyed that, actually,” he says. Ellen says it was like someone took an unripe banana and put it in a paper bag. She can’t believe the improvement. She liked it. Kara says there isn’t a person out there that isn’t rooting for Alex. Well, that might be a bit of a stretch, Kara, but go one. She says Alex has an incredible, recordable voice, but he doesn’t know what to do with it. “Great improvement.”

Simon says that was a million times better, but the only time someone should be nervous is when they’re useless, and he isn’t. Simon says Alex must have a killer instinct, because once Alex starts believing, he’s going to be a different person.

Todrick Hall – “What’s Love Got to do With It” (Tina Turner)

Todrick comes from a musical theater background, and thinks he can be a singer and a dancer. The arrangement is absolutely awful and he’s not fully using his voice. He needs to start singing male songs in order to really show his potential. He works it too hard and comes across as being desperate. He also seems real phony to me. As for the singing, he’s very hoarse on the faux-falsetto ending. I think Todrick just bought his ticket home.

Randy says the falsetto was hot, but that a great song doesn’t need a different, wild arrangement. “Just sing a nice song and sing it,” he begs Todrick. Ellen says sing and move, and he should always use his strength. She doesn’t think this was the right song at all and that this song won’t help him get any votes. Kara says they all like him and want to see him do well. “When you started moving it got better.” She says that ever since the first audition, which they loved, he’s been all over the place. She doesn’t know where that Todrick went?

Simon says this isn’t working out at all for Todrick. Simon says he’s had the misfortune to see this type of performance at a theme park. “You are getting this completely and utterly wrong,” Simon finishes. Randy comes back and says Todrick needs to relax and just sing. Todrick says he thought they wanted them to change things up and if he comes back, he’s just gonna come out and sing. Todrick is such a diva. Sheesh. I don’t think he’ll be there again, though.

Jermaine Sellers – “What’s Going On” (Marvin Gaye)

Silly opening piece on Jermaine’s onsie. He tells us the judges were cutthroat the first week. For some reason, I’m having a Clay Aiken flashback. Maybe it’s the attitude or the carriage or something. I don’t know. Anyway, Jermaine’s got his hair in some kind of weirdly styled fake mohawk. He sings and moves just like a woman. His voice is too breathy, and not incidentally, very pitchy. His timing is also way off. Oh, where is Thaddeus when we need him. I wanted to see more black R&B dudes on this show, but this is pitiful.

Randy says this is better than last week, but not a great performance. Ellen says she loves his style and that he rocks the onsie, but it didn’t work for her. “Pushed to hard,” she says. Kara says it’s impressive Jermaine can do what he does, but that he’s doing too much. “It just feels forced,” she says. “One trick that means something.”

Simon says they are frustrated and disappointed, but that Jermaine is watering it down by playing around with it too much. Jermaine keeps interrupting them. Simon uses the dreaded “cabaret” word. Jermaine wants to know what he should sing next week? Simon says he’s not sure Jermaine will be there next week. Ellen suggests Frankie Beverly and Maze. Shut up, Jermaine. Just shut up. God is on his side, though, he tells us. Yikes.

Andrew Garcia -”You Give Me Something” (James Morrison)

Andrew’s been a break dancer since middle school. He says it’s connected to his music. He will continue to do what he does best. Andrew has lost his guitar this week to focus on his vocals. And, for me, at least, it works. He’s a bit hoarse, but I like the way the notes are dropping. As with several of the others tonight, he’s a bit karaoke and the performance is very, very safe, and predictable. Still, not terrible and quite honestly, better safe than sorry at this point!

Randy says he loves James Morrison, but that wasn’t the vibe for Andrew. He’d rather see him with the guitar doing quirky things. He didn’t get it. Boo. Ellen disagrees and says she liked it a lot. But nothing will ever live up to Andrew’s “Straight Up.” She says she’s thinking about getting his name tattooed on his neck. Heh! Kara says he’s always going to have to live up to that. She wants a big surprise from him. Simon says the fact that Andrew hasn’t chosen the right song in two weeks shows there’s something lacking. He’s disappointed.

Aaron Kelly – “My Girl” (The Temptations)

Aaron loves photography. He admits he didn’t think he’d get this far but thinks he deserves to be here. Another really, really bad song choice. I just don’t know what to say about this one. He’s nasally, the arrangement is too slow, and it’s like a little boy in a grown-up talent competition. Why is he here? Oh, right, we need to have a bunch of lame-o boys so the girls will look stellar. If the judges like this one, well, I don’t know…

Randy says he didn’t know if he would like it, but that it was 200 percent better than last week. Ellen likes the way he used the stage. She thinks the song was a little forgettable and wishes he’d chosen a different song. Kara really liked it. She likes Aaron. She likes his consistency. Ugh. Simon, don’t let me down. He didn’t like the song and says it was all over the place. He thinks he went backwards and thinks Aaron doesn’t know what kind of artist he wants to be.

Tim Urban -”Come on Get High”

Tim has four brothers and five sisters. He wishes he could forget about last week and remarks on Simon’s horrible comments. He says this week he’s not going to try to be someone he’s not. Tim’s playing guitar, and really, he’s right in his comfort zone. It’s a bit soundalike, karaoke, if you will, but he’s improved drastically in a week. VFTW, you may have lost your boy! Tim goes offkey a bit at the end, but overall, it isn’t horrible.

Randy asks how it was for Tim. He says he didn’t get it. The audience boos. Ellen wonders if Tim can act. She thinks he should be on Glee! She sees no stage presence or charisma. Kara says she liked the song choice and sees him more in that lane, but Tim didn’t make it his own and it’s frustrating for her because it’s not all there yet. “It could be there,” she says. She still wants to see him there. Simon disagrees and says it was a marked improvement. He says he thinks Tim was more relevant tonight than most of the performers. He’s impressed by Tim’s attitude and work ethic. Wow.

Tim says he’s taking it all in. He says he wanted to come up and perform, and not worry about the judges. I think he knows he’s on borrowed time and wants to enjoy every minute. And, with this performance, he’s certainly going to be back next week.

Lee DeWyze -”Lips of an Angel”

Lee tells us high school was rough for him and he ended up in an alternative school, but the teachers saved his bad-boy butt. He says he was a nice guy who made bad decisions. Do all these guys sound alike this year? Actually, Lee sounds pretty good for what this song it. Again, it’s a bit karaoke, and he’s trying way too hard to sell it. Is he channeling David Cook? Better watch out for that, dude. David Cook is sacrosanct in ‘Idol’ circles and you’re nowhere nearly there yet!

Randy asks if Lee missed the guitar. He says it was a bold move and he likes that Lee took chances and came out of his comfort zone. He likes it. Ellen says there were a couple of pitch problems, but there was a lot of passion and intensity. “It came out as a great performance.” Kara says it was a big improvement and that Lee is very commercial. Simon says, “Vocally, you are head and shoulders above everyone else on your side of the competition right now.” But, he says Lee looks terrified. He’s waiting for Lee to totally connect. “You may be the one to beat.” Why would Simon say that?

I think Michael Lynche was the best of the night, followed by Andrew Garcia. I’m not getting all the Lee DeWyze love, but would put him third. Casey James, Alex Lambert, Tim Urban, and Aaron Kelly are my middle group, leaving John Park, Todrick Hall, and Jermaine Sellers as my bottom three. I think Todrick will survive another week, but forget about Jermaine. He just kept talking during the judges commentary, which pisses voters off. John’s performance was so forgettable, I forgot about it when I was putting my rankings list together, seriously! I think he’s a goner too.

Girls tomorrow. Hopefully, they can add a little zest to the mix!