Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Top 6 Sing Straight from the Shania Twain Songbook on American Idol Season 9

This week was a solid one in terms of performances, and I think overall the guys finished on top. Their performances were much stronger than the two ladies left in the competition. Although I usually love Crystal Bowersox, this week's performance was, in a word, just "okay". Siobhan once again did not impress me with her off key screaming at the end of the performance.

My Top 5

1. Lee DeWyze-- He sang "You're Still the One".
Loved it because: like Ellen said it always sounds like his version and someone elses, like Kara said his voice made it sound relevant, and like Simon said, out of any song in Shania's catalog he chose the perfect one.

2. Michael Lynche (Big Mike)-- He sang "It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing".
Loved it because: Mike is in his element when he sings an R&B ballad and injects it with emotion, like Kara said he always connects with the song, and like Randy said Mike sings like Luther (what a comparison!).

3. Casey James-- He sang "Don't".
Loved it because: honestly, it was one of the best Casey performances ever, like Ellen said he found a genre where he truly belongs, and like Simon said he responded well to last week's wake up call.

4 Aaron Kelly-- He sang "You Got a Way".
Loved it because: like Ellen said he showed so much emotion, maturity, and depth; like Kara said he changed lyrics that otherwise would have been a bit inappropriate for him to sing, and like Simon said it was the first time in weeks that he showed real sincerity.

5. Crystal Bowersox-- She sang "No One Needs to Know".
First off, who can have a top five without Crystal?
Loved it because: she's always good no matter what.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Top Seven Sing Songs of Inspiration for Idol Gives Back Week

The top seven were inspiring this week from beginning to end; there were some bumps along the way but overall this was an enjoyable show. Alicia Keys was appropriately this week's mentor and gave sound advice to the remaining contestants. A couple of contestants really impressed, namely Crystal Bowersox and Lee Dewyze, and surprise of the night, Tim Urban.

01 Casey James sang "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" made famous by Fleetwood Mac-- Randy said it was good, not great, and asked that Casey give him something a little bit different; Ellen agreed with Randy. Kara said his performance didn't show what makes him different; I disagree, I think it showed exactly what makes him different. Simon said there was no originality and it was a lazy song choice.
Score: 4

02 Lee Dewyze sang "The Boxer" made famous by Simon and Garfunkel-- Alicia told Lee not to lose sight of what the song is really about. Randy called Lee a great artist ready to make a record; Ellen complimented his choice of song and said he showed great depth. Kara said that he had "a moment" with that performance and to keep choosing songs he is connected to like that. Simon called it emotional and inspirational, absolutely brilliant.
Score: 5

03 Tim Urban sang "Better Days" made famous by the Goo Goo Dolls-- Randy said okay, good karaoke; Ellen called Tim a soup of the day, sometimes she likes him and sometimes she doesn't. Kara said it was not his best, and Simon admitted he has improved over the past few weeks but this week was a little bit of a letdown. I disagree with the judges, I thought Tim was great, one of the best he has ever been, and I don't understand why the judges have been so difficult with him.
Score: 4.9

04 Aaron Kelly sang "I Believe I Can Fly" made famous by R. Kelly-- Randy said good job with a giant song, and you have great vocal talent. Kara said by the end it was awesome. Simon said, you gave it your all but I would have turned it off within seconds; it wasn't good, but you made it good.
Score: 4

05 Siobhan Magnus sang "When You Believe" made famous by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston-- Alicia said she was impressed with Siobhan's voice. Randy thought it was okay; Ellen loved it and thought it confirmed why Siobhan is here. Kara thought it started to sound like a musical. Simon found the whole thing to be all over the place and wrong. I just did not like the arrangement at all; important part of the song were left out.
Score: 4

06 Michael Lynche sang "Hero" made famous by Chad Kroeger featuring Josey Scott-- This song is a personal favorite of mine, and I didn't feel Mike poured his heart into the performance the way he did last week. Randy said it worked out; Ellen, pressed for time, said great job. Kara said it became unrecognizable, and Simon said he sang it well, but somehow it sounded artificial.
Score: 4

07 Crystal Bowersox sang "People Get Ready" made famous by the Impressions-- Alicia said Crystal is special and told her to go for it. Randy said I have been a fan since day one and that was unbelievable and I have to stand up for you. Ellen said she has never looked more beautiful; Kara said the reason you're called "mama sox" is because you just schooled all those other contestants. Simon said he was happy to see Crystal emotional and thought her performance was in a different class.
Score: 5

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Top 9 (Again!) Take on The King for Elvis Night on American Idol Season 9

The thing that most surprised me about Elvis night was mentor Adam Lambert's great advice; he was very specific about what each contestant had to work on. To me, this season has turned into the guys competition there are twice as many guys left now as there are girls. Crystal is still a front-runner in this competition, Katie has really brought her vocals and performance level up in the past couple of weeks, but Siobhan, in my opinion, is too unpredictable and erratic at this point of the competition.

01 Crystal Bowersox sang "Saved"-- Adam acknowledged immediately that Crystal has a great voice. She went with Adam's suggestion of taking a risk and using an electric guitar. Randy said he thought he was listening to someones record. Simon liked that she chose a song that suited her, and that she didn't fall into the karaoke trap that he believes so many other contestants will. No question, Crystal is here for the long haul.
Score: 5

02 Andrew Garcia sang "Hound Dog"-- Randy didn't like it, and called it bad karaoke. Ellen liked how he changed the song. Simon said it was like all Andrew's coolness got sucked out of him, and he just didn't get it. I think Andrew is in real trouble this week, if he doesn't get voted off, he will at least be in the bottom 3.
Score: 3

03 Tim Urban sang "I Can't Help Falling in Love"-- Adam liked the unique sound of Tim's voice. Randy said he really liked it. Ellen said, "I can't help falling in love with you Tim. That was beautiful." Kara said it was her fave Tim performance; it was authentic, current, very singer/ songwriter, and he didn't have to do a lot of moving around on the stage. Simon said Tim managed to go from zero to hero in two weeks, and he's proud of the way he has taken criticism. I thought Tim was awesome in this performance, I loved the changes he made to the song.
Score: 5

04 Lee Dewyze sang "A Little Less Conversation"-- Adam told Lee to make sure he engages the audience when he performs, and obviously Lee listened because I think he gave possibly his best performance ever. Randy called it another great, in the zone performance. Ellen liked his confidence. Kara said his vocals were fire, and that she has never seen him go for it that much on the vocal, but she wished it were more playful. Simon said, "it was on the money, full stop."
Score: 5

05 Aaron Kelly sang "Blue Suede Shoes"-- Adam told Aaron to believe in himself and commit to it more. Randy and Ellen both agreed that the second half was better than the first half. Kara liked that he was out of his comfort zone and it made him sound younger. Simon disagreed, and thought it was too old fashioned. I was very much split of this performance, there were some things I did like and some things I didn't.
Score: 4

06 Siobhan Magnus sang "Suspicious Minds"-- Adam admires that Siobhan likes to be different. Ellen liked the second half of her performance better than the first half because she used her big voice. Kara didn't love it, and Simon called it erratic and screechy. I was not engaged during this performance at all, it bored me a bit.
Score: 3

07 Michael Lynche sang "In the Ghetto"-- Randy called it a little sleepy but the vocals were hot. Simon said terrific choice of song and the vocals were great. Ellen commented that she was happy that they saved him last week; I agree.
Score: 4.9

08 Katie Stevens sang "Baby What Do You Want Me To Do"-- Adam said she has the pipes, and the looks; she just has to sell it, and she pretty much did. Randy, Ellen, and Kara all quickly agreed that she did great. Simon said he didn't like the song, and found it a bit annoying. Sorry Simon, I don't agree with you on this.
Score: 4.75

09 Casey James sang "Lawdy Miss Clawdy"-- Randy found the performance to be in the zone. Kara said it fell short of what she has thought to be brilliance in the past. Simon said the song was too obscure, and that it was a wasted opportunity during Elvis week, but his vocals were great.
Score: 4.8

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

American Idol Season 9: The Top 9 Impress on Lennon & McCartney Night (for the most part)

Hey, hey, hey, I loved it! Lennon & McCartney night was an overall success. There were very few performances that were not up to a high standard. For me, best performances of the night went to Crystal Bowersox, Casey James, and Lee Dewyze with Siobhan Magnus and surprisingly, Tim Urban, not far behind. Unfortunately, the low man again for me was Andrew Garcia who failed to impress with a rather ordinary performance of "Can't Buy Me Love" which definitely could have been better than it was.

01 Aaron Kelly started the night with "The Long and Winding Road"; I heard that people thought this was going to be a bland performance but I disagree. Randy said he didn't like the arrangement, and thought he should have made it more of a Rascal Flatts' vibe. Kara said it feels like the same performance from him week to week. Simon said it was boring and old fashioned and he needs to be become young and relevant. Score: 4.5 (out of 5)

02 Katie Stevens gave a vocally strong performance of "Let it Be". Randy said her vocals were hot. Ellen said she changed it just enough, and Kara echoed a similar response saying she made the song her own and came out with unexpected confidence. Simon said Katie got it right this time, and I agree I admire how she bounced back from last week's comments. Her vocals were the best I have heard them. Score: 4.75

03 Andrew Garcia's performance of "Can't Buy Me Love" was just ok. Randy also called it just ok, but Ellen loved it and said it was the perfect song choice for him. Kara felt he could have done more with it, but liked the breakdown of the song. Simon said the band overpowered the arrangement and him. Score: 4

04 I liked Michael Lynche's interpretation of "Eleanor Rigby", but something about it lacked for me; it was not as good as some of the other contestants tonight. Randy and Ellen agreed that Mike did a great job and liked how he sang the song. Kara said it was fire and liked how the song built; she said he made it commercial and relevant. Simon said it sounded like something you hear in a musical. He said it was way too over the top. Score: 4.5

05 Crystal Bowersox immediately made an impression on me with her stirring performance of "Come Together". She chose the perfect song, and sang it in her own style. Randy called it another solid performance, but didn't think it was her best. Ellen said that she was great again and she can hear this song on her album. Kara called it one of her fave performances ever, and liked how she gave a Bonnie Raitt feel. Simon said that is a performance I could hear on the radio right now, and it was much better than last week. Score: 5

06 Tim Urban was surprisingly good singing "All My Lovin'". Randy said it was one of his best performances in a few weeks. Ellen said it was his second best performance overall, and the perfect song for him. Kara commended him, not only for a good performance, but for taking their criticism. Simon said that song was the right thing for him to do. It suited his voice, he took the criticism like a man and didn't complain. He said he didn't over sing the song and he is proud of the way Tim has handled himself. Score: 4.9

07 Casey James sang "Jealous Guy"; I felt his performance was honest and I loved his guitar playing. Randy said he was impressed with his performance and it was heartfelt. Ellen called it soulful and his best to date, and he poured himself into the song. Kara said he showed vulnerability and depth. Simon said best performance of the night, it was emotional, he put his stamp on it, and it was very impressive. Score: 5

08 Siobhan Magnus gave a sincere and controlled performance of "Across the Universe". Siobhan was touching and she took a risk by not singing a big note. Randy said no one says artist to me more than you. Ellen said she is so special and so talented, and she liked it. Kara said she showed great control but didn't sing a high note (this comment made no sense to me). Simon said she came back stronger than ever, much better than last week. Score: 4.9

09 Lee Dewyze gave a stirring rendition of "Hey Jude"; I absolutely loved Lee's vocals in this. Randy said you don't have to be nervous because this was another hot one. Ellen liked how he was smiling and was more confident. Kara said I am still a fan (why still?); I didn't get this comment. Simon said he liked it til the piper came on; I think that is immaterial because everything else Lee did was so great. Score: 5