Tuesday, March 16, 2010

American Idol Season 9 - Top 12 Perform (Recap)

Hello American Idol fanatics and welcome!  We are back into the TOP 12 Finals!  Back to the Big Stage!  Back to the weird introduction of the judges walking to their seats.  Back to contestants getting eaten alive by the big band, the big stage and all of the crazy lights.   Oh yes, we are back in business.  But there is one slight problem.  Many out there disagree with the 12 people that are standing before us.  There were some upsets in last week's elimination, none worse than Lilly Scott's departure.  No fear, Crystal Bowersox wore a memento in her hair in remembrance of one of the fallen talents.  This competition is boiling down to probably 3 contestants right now.  And, personally, I only thought one of them brought the goods tonight.  But we'll get to that.  Maybe I'm just showing my favoritism!  

Let's get into things here.  12 contestants, 1 must go home.  3 will be pushed down to that bottom 3.  I will attempt to pick them all!  Rollings Stones was the choice for "what classic band can we butcher on this show next?"   Let's see how they did!    

  1. Michael Lynche - "Miss you" - I thought it was very interesting that they put Big Mike first in the lineup.  But, with his big performance coming into the Top 12, he should be safe for awhile.  Plus, he's just so darn lovable!  I guess he did his thing on his rendition of the Stones classic.  He mixed it up and brought a jazzy R&B vibe to it.  He commanded the stage which was great.  But I came out of it agreeing with Simon the most.  Some of it just seemed a bit corny.  He'll definitely be safe this week.  But after last week, I expect a little more out of Mikey.  Hopefully, he'll bring it and keep things interesting in this competition next week.

    I wanted to pause and remind everyone that this show is sponsored by Coca Cola.  I know they are so subtle about promoting this fact, so I wanted to make sure everyone knew!   And you might not know it, but during the results we just might see a FORD commercial.  Blink and you'll miss it!
  2. Didi Benami  - "Playing With Fire" - So Didi claims to have a dark side from living in Los Angeles.  It was the only way she can get through life in the big town.  This is the same DARK woman that referred to her mother as "Mommy Benami!!"  Oh my....  So anyway, I do love Didi's voice.  And I did like PARTS of this performance.  She definitely showed some emotion and "TRIED" to take us to a dark place.   She did make "FIRE" a 2 syllable word (thanks Ellen).   Maybe she is showing the artist she is going to be like Kara and Simon suggested, but I think that artist is going to be eventually forgettable in this kind of competition.  With her going 2nd this week, she may see a bottom 3 scare.  But, I have 10 other people to look at before we take those drastic measures! 
  3. Casey James - "It's All Over Now" - I had fallen out of favor with Casey in the past couple weeks, but I thought this performance returned him to his roots.  He was in his comfort zone and just rocking it out with his guitar.  But this time, the guitar and the band didn't drown out his voice.  I thought he sang really well tonight.  Yeah, I agree with Simon that he needs to do more and start owning the stage.  The big stage may have swallowed him up whole.   But I thought this was a step in the right direction.  I don't know if I'd be able to buy Casey running around the stage and being a rock star.  He just doesn't seem the type.  But we'll see.  Kudos to Ellen for a pretty funny joke "For most women, hearts are racing just looking at you.  But for people like me...(wait for laughter to die down)...BLONDES"  ba dum ching!   Ellen just has that wonderful comic timing.  I was skeptical of her joining the panel, but she does get a good zinger in there once in awhile.  Even if her commentary isn't really helpful to the contestants.   At least it isn't hurtful like Kara's  "BE ONE WITH THE SONG" connection commentary.  UGH.  
  4. Lacey Brown - "Ruby Tuesday" -  Every time I see Lacey come on stage I think to myself "Oh right, this girl again."  No offense meant to Lacey (well, maybe a little), but I really have no strong feelings towards her staying in this competition!  I just keep thinking her days are numbered.  It was cool to come out to the string quartet.  She seemed visibly nervous for most of the performance.  I couldn't help being a bit bored during the performance.  But she sang pretty well I guess.   Simon told her to stop over-thinking the performance and just sing.  That should be interesting if she makes it to next week!   Okay, another Kara beef.  When did Randy and Ellen become "THE GUYS"????   
  5. Andrew Garcia - "Gimme Shelter" - I think I have totally fallen off of the Andy bandwagon.  Yeah, give him credit for trying to do something different this week.  He dropped the guitar and just tried to PERFORM.  He took the mic stand in hand and sang sang sang.  My problem?  He didn't sing very well.  Yeah, he can carry a tune.  But it all seemed so one dimensional to me.  And actually, if there was any emotion, I felt it in the verses.  When he would get to the chorus, he kind of just sang the words with no emotion at all.   But, of course, then Kara had to open her mouth and start talking about how he needed to feel the military aspect of the song.  I'm all for him showing more emotion, but ugh, when she gets into describing the lyrics of the song and asking Andrew to CONNECT with the message.....well I just have to love Simon, again, coming down on her.  "What do you want him to come on stage with a tank?  You're taking this too literally every time!"  NICE!   Of course, does Simon realize the legacy he is leaving behind for season 10 when he exits?  Does he realize that not one of these 3 judges can carry this show?   Anyway, that's all I have on Andrew.  Simon hopes he survives another week.  At this point, I'm indifferent.  
  6. Katie Stevens -  "Wild Horses" - Yeah, this was a good song choice for her (even if there aren't many lyrics to sing once you get to the chorus!).   What I am most impressed with Katie is still that lower register.  Randy and Ellen were talking about a pitchy start to the song.  I was just amazed that she can hit those low notes.  It makes the high notes that much more impressive when she goes to them effortlessly.  Ironically, Simon thought it was the 2nd half of the song lost the emotion.  I may agree with him a bit there.  Like I said, once you get into that chorus, there is a lot of repetitiveness and you have to bring that Mick Jagger emotion to the song.  I'm surprised Kara didn't tell Katie to imagine a horse picking her up and taking her away.  I thought Katie was in danger last week, and she might have been.   Or she may have a pretty strong following and they just made it look like it was either her or Lilly going home.  This week could be pretty telling. 
  7. Tim Urban - "Under My Thumb" - Well, this looks like the judges' scapegoat to go home this week.  They had nothing good to say about him.  Maybe I'm about to speak blasphemy, but I had never heard the song before.  So, I thought Tim's version of the song was actually pretty decent.  It had like a Jason Mraz'ish vibe to it.  I was entertained and he definitely made the thing his own.  No, he's not going to win this show, but I thought he should have gotten more credit than he did.   He admitted he couldn't pull of the Rolling Stones and he had fun with it.  Maybe he'll be in the bottom 3, maybe he'll go home.  But I thought he did okay. 
  8. Siobhan Magnus - "Paint it Black" - Well, the case of the mysteriously bizarre Siobhan has been solved.  Her whole FAMILY is weird!  NICE!  I think I missed the hand-out of the Siobhan Kool-Aid before this performance.  Because the judges all drank it!  I think the first half of the performance was just flat out boring and bizarre.   And yes, Kara, it reminded me of Adam Lambert too.  But not in a good way! (it rarely was in a good way for me)  But I knew exactly where the performance was leading.  She was going to build it up and hit some crazy high note at the end.  Except her voice broke a few times during the 50 second note.  Is that what this is coming to?  Siobhan is just going to hit a long high note in every performance?  Even Simon recommended it.  WHAT?!    Kelly Clarkson hit the awesome high note one time.  During her "Natural Woman" performance.  She didn't have to do it every single time up there to prove how she was hands down the best contestant that season.   Call me unimpressed by Siobhan, and the obvious lighting to make her performance seem like a spectacle, and the camera work circling around her during the big notes.   Call me dizzy too!  What was that?    Simon did say that people are going to love it and people will hate it.  Put me in the latter group.  (yep, this was the 2nd of the 3 contestants I said this competition is between.  Big Mike was the first of 3.)
  9. Lee Dewyze - "Beast of Burden" - I am so glad that Kara is going to celebrate his "less pitch-iness" with this performance.  Who asked you, Kara? Really?   I actually thought this was Lee's best performance to date.  Simon called it forgettable and told Lee he still needs his moment.  I can agree that Lee needs a moment.  But I had always wondered why Simon kept saying Lee had a really great voice. I had never heard it.  This week was the first time that I could hear he has a decent voice.  Maybe he needs to come more out of his shell and act like a winner.  But I thought the John Mayer-ish vibe was really cool this week.  And being like John Mayer is rarely a good thing!  (Ladies, bring the hate!)  
  10. Paige Miles - "Honky Tonk Woman" - Similar to Lee, I had been waiting to hear this big voice from Paige that they kept talking about.  This was the first time I heard it.  She is a pretty good singer and the Extreme Idol Makeover crew definitely did some work to her between weeks.  I was also impressed by the fact that she was having some vocal problems and never even rehearsed the song.  But she still went out there and gave it her all.  And it sounded pretty good.  I don't think she has the goods to win it, but she should be safe this week. 
  11. Aaron Kelly - "Angie" - Aaron isn't much of the rocker type is he?  But he ended up picking a pretty decent song for him on a tough week.  I wouldn't go as far as Randy and Simon were going with how good it was for him.  But at least Simon acknowledged his limting vocal skills.  I think he could have done a little more than just standing and swaying while he was singing too.   Aaron is still a kid that people want to root for.  And he's got the Moms and the Aunts who adopt their nephews who call them Moms on his side!      
  12. Crystal Bowersox - "You Can't Always Get What You Want" - As the favorite coming into the Top 12, Crystal was rewarded with the final slot.  And while watching the performances, the only thing I could think to write down was "I just see no competition for her."  She blows me away any time she gets on stage.  Like Ellen said, it's just effortless when she's hitting these crazy notes and feeling the music.  The personality is the toughest thing for her.  She needs more of it.  I think she may just be a socially awkward person though.  She clearly was upset last week when all of her friends were getting kicked off the show.  I think she's doing just fine.  And I can't wait to see what she does next.  Bonus points for her writing a song about loving her daddy as a teenager and making her dad cry in front of 30 million people!  awwwwww    (Yes, she is the 3rd of the 3 contestants that are in the running to win as of this week) 
So there was no one that was just flat out awful this week, so it makes it tough to figure out who is going to get the boot!  It's even tough to figure out who will get the SCARE of being kicked off!   But, I'm always up for taking a chance!  Let's do some process of elimination! 

Who is safe?  Crystal, Michael, Siobhan, Casey
Who got slammed by Judges?  Tim
Decent Performances?  Paige, Aaron, Lee, Didi, Katie
Okay Performance? Andrew
Who did I forget?  Lacey

Bottom 3 Picks: Tim Urban, Lacey Brown, Didi Benami      Bonus Pick: Andrew Garcia

Elimination Pick: Lacey Brown  -   Lacey, you have this going for you.  I already think you're better than Megan Joy from last year (who beat you into the Top 32), but I also didn't think she should make the top 12!

Yep, my guess is that people may forget about Lacey after this week.  But just look at how many people had decent but not GREAT performances.  It really could be anyone!   I've made my pick.  What's yours?  We'll find out tomorrow who is right!  I hear David Cook is stopping by the results show for a performance.  Always a treat!   Hope you enjoyed my ramblings as always and I'll see you after the Wednesday results show!

Ending Credits

  • I'm moonlighting at Gather.com and writing some entertainment articles, including re-posting these blog entries.  Every page hit gets me closer to a teeny tiny donation for my efforts.  If you enjoyed my writings, please click here  to register a page view.     And also check out my other writings at http://mvitullo.gather.com/ 
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