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!

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