Tuesday, April 27, 2010

American Idol Season 9, Episode 34: Performances

I'm just going to say this to get it out of the way, because I don't want there to be any confusion about where I stand on the subject. I am not a Shania Twain fan. I don't like her music. I don't like her videos. I don't like the way she conducts herself, period. For the life of me, I cannot understand why the producers chose her catalog as a theme appropriate for the Top 6. Twain was a product of the mid-'90's/early-'00s country music scene, which was a particularly weak time for the genre. She's only had maybe three albums out, and that gives the contestants maybe 10-12 singles from which to choose. Talk about a restrictive genre! It would have been much smarter to make the theme Country Music, and have Shania be the mentor. But what can I say?

This is American Idol!

Thank God that Lee Dewyze was smart enough to choose one of her least annoying songs, "Still The One" to perform this week. On a scale from 1-10, "Still The One" rates about a three. It's a non-offensive, treacly love ballad. This was very smart on Lee's behalf, because he was once again able to put his own spin on the song, so much so that it sounded like neither a Shania song nor a country song. Honestly, it sounded more like something Matt Nathanson would sing. Unfortunately, though, it was pitchy in a couple of places.

Note to Randy: Come on, man, are you kidding me? "Still The One" is one of your favorite songs of all time? You can't honestly believe it was one of the best songs ever written, right? You're just saying that because Shania was sitting four seats down from you, RIGHT?

God Bless Big Mike, because of all the contestants left in the Top 6, he is the one that concerned me the most this week. Shania isn't known for having a broad spectrum of music, so I had been really wondering what he would choose to sing. "It Only Hurts When I Breathe" was a good choice for him, because Michael Lynche can sell a ballad. He was born to sing them. He's a very emotional, expressive singers, and this time he even pulled his falsetto out for us to hear. Good job, Mike!

Casey James also returned to his roots as a balladeer, singing "Don't". But this time when he sat on his stool and played guitar, he wasn't singing TO ONLY YOU. Oh, no. This is a sensitive song, so Casey is going to squint his eyes and internalize his pain. Maybe drink away his sorrows because this is a country song. Seriously, though, it was a really good performance and great vocal that reminded us why we liked Casey in the first place--he's a great singer!

Oh. My. Goodness. I think Richie might be psychic, because I heard him JUST THIS PAST THURSDAY say that Crystal Bowersox was going to sing "No One Needs To Know". Honestly, his power kind of freaks me out. For starters, I loved the little string band she had put together backing her up. It feels like a Grand Old Opry performance with all those instrumentalists on the stage. Hmm. For the first time ever, I had to rate this on the lower scale of Crystal's performances. Her vocal wasn't great and she stumbled on the words a couple of times. Sorry, Crystal, you had an off week.

Were Aaron Kelly's fingers cramped? Why was he holding the microphone that way? His hand looked deformed and it was very distracting. Not that I'm complaining about the distraction, because "You've Got A Way" is one of Shania's more annoying songs. An 8 on a scale of 10. It was a very expected, straightforward, boring performance. But of course the judges loved it because it was country and Aaron is the only country singer in the competition.

Oh, God. Siobhan Magnus is singing "Any Man Of Mine", which earns a score of 13 on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of how much it annoys me. I really, really despise this song because it represents a double standard. If we, as women, want men to treat us as equals, shouldn't we do the same to them? I don't want a puppet. I want a man who is not afraid to disagree with me. I don't want my opinions to be his opinions just because they're my opinions! Listen, Richie treats me like a queen but he doesn't bow down to me. He's my partner, not my minion. OK, OK, I'm stepping off my feminist soap-box now. Happy? We'll walk about Siobhan singing this song. OH, GOOD HEAVENS. She sang the entire song through her nose! And in her lower register! It was painful to listen to her howling and screeching! I can't believe that the judges liked this performance.

The first half of the show was great, but the quality began to slide downhill beginning with performance #4, and never regained momentum. However, Richie and I came to the conclusion that we like Shania's music when she isn't the one singing it. Now that I was actually able to listen to the songs without hearing her, I have to admit that the songs are pretty decent. Her strength is definitely in songwriting. Shania STILL annoys me, though, and I am VERY happy that it's over!

Bottom Three: Your guess is as good as mine!

Results tonight.


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