Wednesday, March 03, 2010

American Idol Season 9, Episode 16: Top 24, Guys

My father-in-law Richard and I were talking yesterday afternoon about this season's crop of contestants, and he and I both agreed that the pickings are slim this year. Since we listened to the guys last night, I tried to decipher for myself who would be the Top 6 guys this year. I couldn't get 6. I came up with Andrew Garcia, Michael Lynche, Lee Dewyze, and Casey James. I suppose I could add Aaron Kelly to that list, but I just cannot bring myself to like him. He's insipid. Tim Urban has the look but nowhere near the talent, so I can't add him. Alex Lambert has the talent but not the courage. Tondrick Hall may just be too much for Idol to handle, with all his crazy arrangements. Jermaine Sellers also has the talent but he cannot pick a good song to save his life. As for John Park, he may big a big deal with Purple Haze or whatever, but he should have gone home last week.

We'll see on Thursday if I'm correct or not.

So the girls were supposed to sing last night, but Crystal Bowersox was hospitalized and was under strict instructions to not sing. Wow. I really hope she can perform tonight. I'd hate for one of the best female singers in the competition to go home because of an illness. Feel better, Bowersox!

The judges are hilarious, I can't help myself, and looking at them makes me laugh. They each have such a different look, and are such a motley crew. Randy was MotownPhilly Prepster, Ellen had either just come back from safari or was about to embark, Kara was doing her best impression of a contestant in the 1988 Mrs. America Pageant, and Simon looks as if he actually realized he was going to be on television last night.

Ryan, as always, was dressed as Corny Collins from Hairspray. It's all out of love, Ryan. I promise. You're like a brother to me.

THIS is American Idol!

First up was Michael Lynche, who apparently was the real-life inspiration for Troy in the High School Musical movies by going to a performing arts high school and playing football. And all this time I thought that character was a cliche. I was pretty excited at the thought of Michael singing "It's A Man's World" by James Brown. That song was such a departure from the Maroon 5 song he sang last week, and I was very interested to see what he would do with it. It was a very different look and sound for him, and that was not a bad thing. Last week, Michael had fun. This week, Michael came to do business, the business of showing America that he deserves that spot in the Top 12. The song really showed off his voice. For a minute, I thought Ryan was going to throw a satin cape over Michael's shoulders. The performance was THAT GOOD. A great way to open the show.

A lot of folks don't like Ellen, and I completely respect that opinion. I have to say, though, for me, I have absolutely warmed up to her. Her random ramblings make me giggle. Probably because I'm a rambler myself.

Listen, John Park, I realize that you had just found out at like 10am yesterday morning that the guys were going to sing on Tuesday night instead of the girls, but surely you could have found something more appropriate to wear between then and rehearsal in the evening. Anything would be more appropriate than a short-sleeved undershirt to wear with your beat-up jeans. That's only one step up from wearing a wife-beater and veering into Federline territory. You seem to be a good kid. Don't be a Federline. Maybe his decision to wear that sorry excuse for a shirt was a subtle homage to that sorry excuse for a human being, John Mayer, since he chose one of Mayer's songs to sing, "Gravity". While I am happy that John decided to sing a more contemporary song, it is still slooooow and dreeeaaaary. Like NyQuil without the icky medicine taste. Pick something uptempo, already!

Casey James wears his hear in a little bun just like mine when I wash my face at night! I wonder if he uses the Clinique skincare line, too? It's so fun to find out all the things that we have in common with the Idol contestants! He went acoustic last week, and sang ONLY TO YOU, JUST YOU, AND NO ONE ELSE, but this week he plugged in and went electric, singing Gavin DeGraw's "I Don't Wanna Be", and didn't sing to anyone in particular. Himself, maybe. It was a good solid performance, even if he did delve into the sacred land of Bo Bice and Elliot Yamin song choices. I'm just not sure if the tween texters across America exactly 'got' that performance. Maybe they just saw his shiny, conditioned hair and said "SQUEE!", which propelled them toward infinite votes. Also, I had to wonder if Kara was under strict instructions from her husband, her producers, and her lawyer to NOT fawn over Casey last night. She seemed a little harsh.

Alex Lambert has invented his own language, and bragged about it on National Television, thereby officially making him the geekiest contestant to ever grace the American Idol stage. Well, I guess maybe Chris Sligh from Season 6 could give him a run for his money. This week, he chose to sing John Legend's "Everybody Knows". Dude, I love John Legend's music, so I was hoping against hope that he wouldn't screw it up, lest he desired to make an enemy out of me. (HA! How's that for language?) He definitely improved since last week, but I still cannot get past the sound of his voice. That's not to say that I think he's a bad singer; he's definitely not. But, I do think he sounds like he's doing an impression of Jason Mraz doing an impression of John Legend. Kara told Alex last night that all of America was pulling for him, and Richie and I looked at each other. Hmm. I know two people on Oakley Street who definitely are not.

Nine seasons in, and the banter between Ryan and Simon is still, as always, fresh, wonderful, and funny. Oh, how I will miss him when Simon departs from my favorite cheesy reality show.

When I heard that Tondrick Hall was singing Tina Turner last night, I almost fell off of the sofa. Which wouldn't have been good, because I was holding my laptop. Tondrick is positively fearless in choosing this song. I have to give him props. From the moment he uttered the opening line to "What's Love Got To Do With It", I was hooked, waiting for that passion, that big moment that this song is all about. The song is about racing pulses, and yet I felt none of that when Tondrick was singing. My dreams were dashed all over the floor. He was pitchy and the arrangement once again made the song almost unrecognizable. I wanted to scream at the television. "Stay fierce, Tondrick! Just like Tina! Don't get pitchy on me!" But alas, he did not stay fierce, and he did get pitchy. In other news, I positively hated that dull-side of the aluminum foil jacket he was wearing. American Idol has Tondrick scared, because he's always heard about "artistry" and "making the song your own".

Oh my gosh, Jermaine Sellers. Were you freaking kidding me? Did you really admit on National Television that you wear a FOOTED ONESIE? Did you really just WEAR THAT FOOTED ONESIE WITH A DINOSAUR PRINT on National Television? When I saw that, I thought he deserved to sail straight through to the Top 12, regardless of what he chose to sang. Because friends? That took guts. Unfortunately, he chose to sing one of the greatest songs ever written, "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye. And, as if wearing a onesie on National Television were not enough, he went on stage wearing a polka-dot shirt and a plaid bow-tie. I thought Tondrick was fearless, but Jermaine takes the cake. Seriously, though, Jermaine has a fabulous voice, and this could have been the song to show it, but I think he messed with the arrangement too much as well. I wish he could have tried on the John Legend song. I would have loved to hear that. I just keep waiting for him to really show up, and show us more. Richie became so frustrated with the judges' assessment of Jermaine's performance that he was forced to yell at the television and suggest that he should choose a Linkin Park song next week. If he and his Dino Onesie are around.

I am positively aghast at Andrew Garcia's wardrobe choice. Is it something with Tuesday night that makes these kids go haywire and poor clothing decisions? Andrew looks like Dan Ackroyd's character in Trading Places with that huge overcoat and that ridiculous scarf. To cap off one of the cheesiest performances I've witnessed, Andrew is singing "You Give Me Something" by James Morrison and was sitting halfway on a stool, like he was getting ready to make a Very Special Dedication. He seemed so uncomfortable and nervous without his guitar. I found myself missing, it, too. I hate to say it, but with his slow decline, Andrew may be finding himself falling from grace. He definitely should have saved the Paula Abdul song for The Top 24 rounds.

Aaron Kelly is here stay, no matter how annoying he might be, and for two reasons: Little girls like him and grandmothers like him. There's one like him almost every season. Season 3 had John Stevens, Season 4 had Anthony Federov, Season 5 had Kevin Covais (who at least had a sense of humor about himself and parlayed that into a film spot). To further solidify his spot, he sang "My Girl" by The Temptations. It's a great song. I've sung it many times to Cathryn when she was an infant. I still sing it to her sometimes now. Grandmas LOVE this song because it's one of those songs to which you can "understand the words", not one of those new-fangled jumbled up Rock And Roll songs. Sometimes Aaron (I mostly just want to call him "this kid") has a good voice that peeks through, and other times it sounds like a baby goat had sprung from his throat and had been let loose on stage. That last note of his was horrendous and I STILL don't know what the judges see in him.

Oh, look! It's Tim Urban, another benefactor of the tween girl text vote. I absolutely cannot believe he chose to sing one of my favorite songs ever, Matt Nathanson's "Come On Get Higher". I have a funny story about this song. I first heard it in a movie theater while Richie and I were waiting for the trailers to begin. I really loved it and wrote it down, but I couldn't find it online when I searched for it. One year later, I was on hold with an insurance company and heard it again! I immediately Googled the lyrics and procured the CD. Well, maybe that's not so much a funny story as it is a testament to my obsessiveness. It's a wonderful song with great sing-along potential, and he destroyed it. Very off-pitch. Very shaky. Did you know that Sugarland did a version of this song live? Have you heard it? You should hear it. It's unbelievable. Much better than the drivel we heard last night. But, that long, heartfelt look into the camera will keep him safe another week.

Lee Dewyze was chosen to close the show, and rightly so. He smiled as he walked and sang all the way down the catwalk and onto the stage holding that mic stand because he knew that he had absolutely chosen the right song. It was a great arrangement that recalled but didn't mimic the original. It was fabulous, and I wanted to hear more. Will this be, like it was for Michael Lynche last night with "It's A Man's World" and for Andrew Garcia during Hollywood Week with "Straight Up", the song we most associate with him? The star-making song? I hope not. I hope, as I hope for Michael and Andrew, that he will continue to grow as an artist and continue to surprise us.

The guys were much better this week than last. I can finally begin to see their individualism starting to emerge. Hooray! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for continued improvement.

Josie's Bottom Four: John Park, Alex Lambert, Tondrick Hall, Tim Urban
Most Likely To Go Home: John Park, Tondrick Hall

Ladies sing tonight! Feel better, Crystal!


No comments: