Tuesday, April 27, 2010
'American Idol 9' - Top 6 sing Shania Twain
Hard to believe, but we're down to six finalists, and this week, they'll be singing the songs of Shania Twain. In other words, it's country week, y'all!
The show opens with the Top 6 on the stage. Ryan identifies them as a student (Aaron), a glass blower (Siobhan), a mother (Crystal), and a father (Michael). I guess the former paint salesman and whatever Casey is don't count?
After the opening theme, Ryan lets us know "Idol Gives Back" raised over $45 million. He intros the judges and then tells us it's just over a month until the finale. The Top 6 wander out on the stage. Crystal whispers something to Lee.
Shania Twain is in the house. We see Shania's intro package. Remember Shania served as a guest judge in Chicago. She hopes the Idols don't hate her if they don't get into the next round after singing her songs! I'm not a huge fan, but I do respect that she writes all her own songs. She's concerned about guys singing her songs. At least she doesn't have to listen to Tim butcher one of them!
Lee DeWyze - "You're Still the One"
Shania thinks Lee has a fantastic style that doesn't need to be buried by his guitar. Lee changes up the song enough to avoid the karaoke trap. But it's too high for him and he screams a bit. He's also making some odd faces. I'm not wildly impressed by this one.
This is one of Randy's favorite Shania songs. He was a bit worried early on, but says that midway through, Lee found a way to make it his own. Ellen thinks did better than making it his own. "You couldn't look cuter, and I say, all aboard the Shania Twain." Heh!
Kara is amazed at how far Lee has come and thinks he did a good job. Simon agrees with everyone and thinks it was "absolutely the perfect song" from Shania's catalog. He notes Lee's weird faces early in the song.
Michael Lynche -"It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing"
Mike starts out sitting on the Adam Lambert Memorial Staircase. I don't know this song, so have no means of comparison. It actually works nicely for Michael, fitting right into his R&B vibe and not sounding "country" at all. A little falsetto at the end ala Maxwell. Shania is swaying along and seems to have tears in her eyes when he finishes. Good job.
Randy says Mike's found his zone of who he is. He hopes he keeps it in the future. Ellen says she was nervous, but it felt like Luther Vandross and thought it was beautiful. Kara says one of Shania's greatest gifts is how connected she is to the songs and she likes that about Michael. Simon says Ellen's comparison to Luther was "spot on," but that the performance was "wet" - i.e. a little bit girly? Okay.
Shania says it was very emotional and he really "got" her.
Casey James -"Don't"
Casey has a little stool time with Ryan and says this week, he says he's putting more into his performance. Shania thinks he's missing "inner confidence" and wants him to let it come out in his voice. This week, Casey isn't relying on his guitar playing to sell the song. Could be a mistake because his voice is generic and the vibrato is too much. Still, he sings it like he means it and the performance works for him.
Randy says this was one of the best Casey James' performances ever. Ellen says he sang that like that's where he really belongs. "I actually think it was your best performance that you've done to date." Kara says Casey didn't hide, and that he was vulnerable and raw. "If you keep doing that, you'll be at the front of this competition." Simon agrees with Randy and says it's Casey's best performance so far. "It didn't feel like somebody else's song." He suggests Casey come down and kiss Shania who is exuberant. "You nailed it," she says.
Crystal Bowersox - "No One Needs to Know"
Crystal also gets stool time with Ryan. Crystal says this song is a message to her boyfriend! The song is a plea for her man to marry her! She really means it. Crystal is great with country. Her vibe is right on the money and this performance makes me smile. Her vocals are lovely too and I like the arrangement. Wow! Crystal can sang country!
Randy says he loves the arrangement. It wasn't his favorite performance, but he's glad someone did country! Ellen says there's nothing Crystal can't do, but this wasn't her favorite. Kara agrees with the "guys?" She says it was believable, and while it wasn't Crystal's best, it was still amazing.
Simon says it's a shocker they didn't like Crystal this week. He says it was like when you're in a coffee shop and they hire a band to sing when you didn't want to hear them. He says the song was forgettable (apologies to Shania) and that she lacked conviction. Crystal says, "Lack of conviction, I don't think so, cuz he's sitting right there (points to boyfriend)." I liked it Crystal, if that means anything to you!
Aaron Kelly - "You've Got a Way"
Shania urges Aaron to end where he feels "safe and good." The song is a sleeper and I'm not sure it was the right pick. Too mature for a 17-year old. He slips off key a couple of times, and it's just awright for me. Shania seems to love it, though.
Randy says this is Aaron's wheel house and thinks he did a really good job. Ellen says this is gonna be tough because everybody is doing well. She can't get over he's 16 (Aaron corrects her, he's 17) and that he has the maturity to sing those lyrics. Kara agrees and says he felt the words. She is impressed that Aaron changed the "When we make love" lyric. Good, cuz he was singing it to his mom. Simon says Aaron has struggled the last two weeks. "Tonight, you were like a different artist." He says Aaron felt sincere and believable, and not that he was singing someone else's song.
Siobhan Magnus - "Any Man of Mine"
Shania wants Siobhan to get into the character of the singer. Siobhan can sing this dreck, that's for sure. Problem is, she starts stomping around the studio, and can't quite sing and walk at the same time. It's like she's out of breath or something. She does the screech too. What a freakin' mess! Shania doesn't look happy.
Randy loves it. Ellen says, "Way to pull the Shania Twain into the station." Kara says, "Guess who's back, Siobhan." Simon says he really likes the song, but the screaming may have gone a little bit far. "It was almost like you were giving birth up there." He thinks it was fun and sassy!
Best and Worst
I actually liked Michael the best followed by Crystal and Lee. My bottom three is Casey, Aaron, and Siobhan. I think Casey's time has run out, actually, although I'd rather it be Aaron.