Thursday, March 11, 2010

American Idol Season 9, Episode 20: Top 16, Men

The show opened last night with more blue lights, but instead of lurking offstage the way he did on Tuesday night with the girls, Ryan Seacrest challenged each male contestant to a staring contest, practically throwing Aaron Kelly off the stage.

This is American Idol!

When Ryan introduced the judges, the first thing I thought was how incredibly chummy they all seem this year. Maybe Ellen is slipping whatever happy pill she takes before she goes onstage into all their Cokes, because even Simon seems downright friendly, encouraging, and uplifting this year.

Lee Dewyze performed first, because he closed out the show last week, and sang some song called "Fireflies". I had never heard this song and so I had to Google the name of the band--Owl City. What kind of band name is that? It's like they just threw two random words together and said, "Ok, that's good enough!" Whatever. Anyway, I've never heard this song, but I have to say that I'm enjoying listening to him sing it. Maybe enough that I want to hear the original. It's a good opening to the show, because it's a high energy performance. To continue the theme from Tuesday night, Lee is definitely a "have", as in he has a clue as to what kind of performer he is. He looks very comfortable on the stage, like he's having fun. I think he improves each week, and I look forward to seeing what he will do in the Top 12.

I'm warming up to Alex Lambert, which of course means that he will not make it into the Top 12. He sang Ray LaMontagne's song "Trouble" and he actually didn't look like he was going to throw up and pass out on stage at any given moment. Alex only seemed to be slightly glued to his spot. He obviously is quite humble, and doesn't believe in himself at all, but his song choices and performances are getting better each week. I just wish he wouldn't sing through his nose. Breath with the nose, sing with the diaphragm, Alex.

One good thing about Ellen is that she certainly knows how to make a joke a recurring gag. Of course, that's what she's paid to do. She's a comedian. With Katelyn Epperly, it's the guitar vs. piano joke, and with Alex it's the banana joke. He was an unripe banana the first week, a ripe banana last week, and this week he's a mushy banana. Careful, Ellen. We don't like rotten bananas.

I do not understand why Ellen hugged Tim Urban after he sang Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah". Richie said it was because it was his best performance yet, and Simon agreed with him, but to me that's like saying he went from being abysmally awful to just being OK. Is OK what we're looking for in the next American Idol? The judges all loved it--I guess they didn't hear all those sour notes that I heard, since they were RIGHT THERE in the theater, and I was ALL THE WAY over here in South Carolina. He apparently has weaved some sort of magical boy-band spell over them, where the judges turn into 13-year old girls around him. I hope it's not contagious.

Oh, Andrew Garcia. I understand that you were trying to recapture the magic you had back in Hollywood week, but you looked like a desperate woman in a bar trying to get some dude's attention when you sang a stripped-down version of Christina Aguilera's "Genie In A Bottle". The judges are definitely in his head, always talking about that Paula Abdul song, and then they went and slammed him for doing basically the same thing with a different song! Yeah, it was a disappointing performance, and I won't be surprised if he goes home, but the judges are to blame for this.

Casey James went back to his acoustic guitar last night and also made a better song choice with Keith Urban's "You'll Think of Me". That whole singer/songwriter thing works for him, and he'd be smart to stick to it, because it allows him to do what he does best--stare deeply and meaningfully into the camera. Now, am I saying that he should sit on a stool for the rest of the competition? Gosh, no! That would be terribly boring. But what Casey needs to realize is that he is more Bryan Adams than David Lee Roth. As long as he remembers that, he'll be OK. Also, Kara said that he was missing his spark, and I think that's because he's scared to death she's going to maul him on stage.

Aaron Kelly is going to be one of those polarizing contestants. Either you love him or you don't. I just don't believe there's any middle ground with him. I'll admit, I didn't believe he belonged in the competition to begin with since he forgot his lyrics three times during Hollywood week, but the judges see something in him. I wish I could see it, because he seems like a nice kid. He sang "I'm Already There" by Lonestar, and songs like that are a bit of a curse on American Idol. You never want to sing a song about missing home or going home, because the odds are that you will go home, very shortly. Listen, so, I'm a fan of vibrato, and I have heard some voices with beautiful vibrato--Dolly Parton ring a bell? But something about Aaron's voice makes my skin crawl. Bless his heart, he sounded like he was in pain. He was trying way too hard, and I felt like he was drowning in that song.

Have I mentioned that Tondrick Hall is fearless? You know that there is nothing he won't try when he's brave enough to sing Queen. At first, I thought he was going to sing "Bohemian Rhapsody", but "Somebody To Love" is an equally awesome choice, if not as difficult. He sang a much more faithful rendition, making the song instantly recognizable. In fact, I think it was the arrangement they used on Glee, which of course, I am not going to argue with. I love the gospel arrangement of this song, and I also loved Tondrick's falsetto. When some people sing it, they sound like they've been kicked where it counts, but it seemed very natural for Tondrick, and it was also great to hear him break out the big notes. Really show us why the judges chose you!

Finally, we have Michael Lynche singing "This Woman's Work" by Maxwell. I really have no critique to offer. Because y'all? That was flat amazing. As Richie put it last night, Michael Lynche ain't playing any more. He is all business and you other folks better bring it. His falsetto surprised me and made me go "WOW" all at the same time. That was certainly unexpected from Michael. He just keeps getting better, singing out, holding the notes, working the stage. He even made Kara cry, and that chick is hard-boiled. What a way to close the show!

Ryan is so clear about his favorite contestants. This year, Michael gets to wear the crown as Ryan teased him, bobbing and weaving all over the stage as he gave out Michael's numbers.

Josie's Bottom Four: Aaron Kelly, Tim Urban, Alex Lambert, Andrew Garcia

Possibly Going Home: Alex Lambert, Andrew Garcia

Results tonight! The Top 12 will be revealed!


1 comment:

ben said... polled 2,966 American Idol viewers’ perceptions of which contestants should be eliminated from the top 8 guys on tonight’s results show. The contestants with the lowest percentage of votes, who should be eliminated tonight, were Todrick Hall, with 5.1% of the votes, and Aaron Kelly, with 7.2% of the votes. The study will parallel American Idol voting to determine the weekly winners based on a democratic, “one person, one vote” methodology.
More in depth results can be seen at: