Wednesday, April 07, 2010

American Idol Season 9, Episode 28: Performances

The Top 9 sang songs from the Lennon/McCartney songbook last night, which is actually a broader theme than calling it Beatles Week, because it opens up the possibility if singing songs from the solo careers of John Lennon and Paul McCartney as well as the hits of the Fab Four. I've been a little miffed about the producers choosing this theme for the Season 9 since it was just two seasons ago that the Top 12 and Top 11 contestants of Season 7 had this very same theme. But the more I thought of it, the less miffed I became, because the producers did Disco week for, like, four seasons straight. So I got over myself really quickly and just sat back to enjoy the show.

This is American Idol!

I love The Beatles, have I mentioned that? I'm sure that I have. I even have Beatles Rockband for Wii, and I have scored 4 & 5 stars on each song, which means that I shall be holding these contestants to a very high standard. Mine. Because this is my blog and I can do that.

Do the producers hate Aaron Kelly? Is he secretly a diva behind that Howdy-Doody aw-shucks manner he puts out on stage? Because that's the only reason why I think they would let him sing "The Long and Winding Road" first. It is easily one of the most boring Beatles song out there. I'm glad that I wasn't very tired because that long, boring, winding road of a performance would have put me right to sleep. Oh, gosh, that performance lasted forever! I think Cathryn is like 15 or something now, waiting for that song to finish. It was so incredibly off-key, too. Bottom Three, Mr. Kelly.

Also, Ellen? Quit stealing my quips, because it makes me look like I'm stealing from you. Consider this your notice.

Katie Stevens looked very pretty in pink, which prompted Richie to sing the Billy Idol song of the same name. During the commercial of course, because Richie knows better than to break the first commandment of the house: Thou Shalt Not Disturb Josie While She Is Watching American Idol. When she announced that she was singing "Let It Be", my heart kind of seized up, because this is my favorite late-era Beatles songs. (There are two kinds of Beatles songs--Early Era, in which they were predecessors to the Jonas Brothers, a guitar-playing boy band; and Late Era, in which The Beatles traveled around the world doing all kinds of drugs and writing crazy lyrics and playing sitar music on their records because they were The Beatles, gosh-darn-it, the most successful rock band in the world. Yes, all of this will be on the test.) Katie is not known for always delivering the most riveting or technically proficient performances, so I was a bit worried. But when she began to sing, my worries melted away while she delivered a beautiful, haunting rendition of a Beatles classic. It felt really personal. Best performance of hers to date.

Ellen, am I going to have to reprimand you after every performance? Sheesh, lady. Don't jink Katie and tell her that she's safe! This will be the week she goes home after a strong performance!

Oh, Andrew Garcia. Andrew, Andrew, Andrew. What can I tell you? That just wasn't a good performance of "Can't Buy Me Love". It had potential for greatness, but when you sing an Early-Era Beatles tune, you can't sing it like you're on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was strange for him to be set up behind the judges with his guitar and mic stand. The horns were really distracting and out of place. If he had left out the horns, he could have had another great week. Didn't he learn anything last week from the great Master Mentor Usher? It's just so frustrating to see someone so full of potential flounder because of poor choices. If he had slowed it down a little, pared down the arrangement a bit, it really could have been a great performance. Bottom Three.

How awesome was it that Michael Lynche's family band was called "The Lynche Mob"? Pretty awesome. Also awesome? That Mike had an entire orchestra backing him last night when he sang "Eleanor Rigby". That's big stuff, and it means that the producers like you. More awesome? A completely unexpected, but totally fitting gospel/metal arrangement of this song. I was completely blown away. The vocals were spot-on, and it felt very modern. The gospel arrangement inspired Kara so much she began to preach.

Did y'all hear Seacrest totally steal my tagline for Crystal--"Bowersox Rox"? I knew I should have trademarked that line. I could be living on royalty checks right now. Sheesh. I'll know better next time. I'll be prepared. "Come Together" is another of my favorite Late-Era Beatles tunes. This was totally Crystal, wasn't it? I was afraid Casey would take this song as his own, but we were treated to Crystal instead. She stayed true to the original but changed it up just enough, and delivered another 5-star performance. I felt the smile spread completely over my face watching her perform and listening to her sing. I love it when she opens her voice up and really belts because her voice is so powerful. Amazing.

*SIGH* YOU SHOULD BE GOING HOME THIS WEEK TIM URBAN. WHY DID YOU GO AND PULL OFF A DECENT PERFORMANCE, BOYBANDER? For the love of Paul McCartney! I hate to admit it, but the was the perfect Lennon/McCartney song for him to sing. It was just the best choice. It's so pop, one of the most memorable from that fabled Ed Sullivan Show performance, and Tim himself is so pop. He was even in key the entire time AND made it sound like something that could be on the radio today. Maybe not Mix 97.7, but maybe some adult-rock station, like Bob 104 or something. *SIGH* Richie even said he looked like he belonged in a Mentos commercial. *SIGH* You went and ruined the order of things, Urban. Now I'm sure Andrew will be going home instead of you.

Casey James sang "Jealous Guy", and it may come as a shock to you all, but I didn't know this song. Let that sink in for a minute. Try to get over the shock of me not actually being familiar with a Lennon/McCartney song. Just take a second and it will pass. Casey hasn't done a slow song in a while, and I think it was a good move. He seemed really emotionally connected to the song, practically shaking while he sang it. It was a really powerful performance, very--dare I say it? This is American Idol--gritty. I was really impressed by this performance. One of the best of the night, if not the best so far. Right up there with Bowersox.

Siobhan Magnus wore a god-awful frock. I don't even know how to explain it. It was a denim vest and the skirt was made with yards and yards of dirty-looking tulle. And lets not forget the icing on the dirty wedding cake--the pearly white combat boots. My mind positively reeled at the amazing ugliness of this outfit. "Across The Universe" is one of Lennon/McCartney's most original, beautiful, and unique songs, and I have been waiting since Season 7 to hear someone sing it. Who better than the gleefully unique Siobhan? They go together like ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong. Pieces of this song--and her vocal--are gorgeous and very restrained. Other parts, it sounds like she's mumbling. It was the tiniest bit sleepy, but I think her controlled performance more than made up for it.

Finally, Lee Dewyze closed us out with "Hey Jude", as all good Beatles shows should. It started off a little shaky, but really got into the performance later, interacting with the audience. Like Casey's performance, and Crystal's, it didn't feel like an American Idol performance--it felt real. The bagpipes were really unexpected, but I don't necessarily think it was a wise choice. Take out those bagpipes and it was a really good way to close the show, and a solid performance from Lee.

Overall, it was a decent, unembarrassing night for the contestants. No one was overtly terrible, and there were one or two standout moments. Has anyone else noticed that the expanse this year between Those That Can Win and Those That Can't is very noticeable and very wide, and it's verging on making the season boring (for those of you who aren't bored already). Maybe things will pick up soon.

Bottom Three: Aaron Kelly, Andrew Garcia, Tim Urban (not that he did a bad job, but he's been in the Bottom Three every week so far, so why stop now?)

Possibly going home: Andrew Garcia

Results tonight!

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