Tuesday, March 30, 2010

American Idol Season 9 - Usher Guides the Top 10 Through Soul and R&B

Hello American Idol fanatics!  Here we are for another round of Season 9's Live Performances.  We're down to the top 10 and the theme looks to be a more modernized labeling of "MOTOWN WEEK".  Instead, we get Soul and R&B Week.  It definitely expanded the decades of music that could be selected.  Some songs chosen were more bizarre than others.  But this week, I was impressed with more contestants than usual.  Maybe this season will be salvageable after all!   (Doubtful)   For one thing, this is probably the week when the show feels way too long.  10 Contestants is apparently too many to cut down the show to 1.5 hours, but too few to really fill in that time.  So what do we get?  More looks at the backstage (Siobhan clearly not happy after her not-so-rave reviews from the judges), filler interviews with Usher that seemed to last forever, and lots of banter between Ryan, the judges and the uncomfortable contestants after each performance.   

I think next week we'll be into the 1.5 hour range and then after that, thankfully, 1 hour performance shows!  I'm counting the days folks!  So, Usher was the guest mentor.  He was pretty good in the role.  Yes, he gave some repetitive advice, but it's definitely advice these contestants need to hear.  Come on, anyone outside of Taylor Swift would be an improvement over Miley Cyrus being a mentor! (I am dreading to find out who they select for Country Week, but I have have some suggestions for them.  Some other time!) 

So let's keep things moving here! 
The Recap

Like last week, I am going to "LIVE BLOG" my thoughts on the top 10 contestants and then re-assess afterwards before making my pick.  Here we go!

  1. Siobhan Magnus - "Through the Fire" by Chaka Khan -  Usher recommended the "wicked nervous" singer to tone down her appearance.  She still looked like a train wreck to me!  Wow, she is all over the place.  Some notes were really good as always, but this is not going to be looked at as one of her better performances.  Of course, she did hit the crazy high note again.  Seriously, that can't save her every week.  The judges weren't really on board with it either but they don't want to lose their precious Siobhan so they made up excuses for her.  At least Simon kept it real saying she was all over the place and he shares my thoughts on the high note!   Let's be honest though, she isn't going home yet.  Maybe a bottom 3 scare since she went first?  I dunno, tough to say not having heard anyone else yet.   
  2. Casey James - "Hold on I'm Coming" by Sam and Dave  -  Usher loves Casey's voice and liked him forgetting the words in the rehearsal.  Didn't really give any tips.  Always loved this song and Casey is doing a great job with it.  He has yet to take the judges' advice about owning the stage.  He just plugs in and plays his guitar but it's working this week.   He did less guitar riffs this week and focused on the voice.  I thought he did a really good job!  Crowd is going nuts.  Ellen and Kara got a little overly critical.  Simon and Randy loved it.  I'll side with the boys on this one!  I think it was his strongest performance to date as well.      
  3. Michael Lynche - "Ready for Love" by India Arie - Usher advises Mike to project energy to the back of the room (the camera).  This should be his "in the bag" week, right?  He brings out the acoustic guitar and plays with little other instrumentation.  He still has an awesome voice and gave a very emotional performance.  It was really good, but I have to say I was a little bored at parts. But I still like Mike!  The judges all liked it.  Simon dubbed it as his first performance that makes him a serious contender.  Looks like we'll be seeing him again!     
  4. Didi Benami - "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" by Jimmy Ruffin - Didi felt the song and cried in front of Usher.  He tells her to use the emotion DURING the performance!   This should be interesting.  I wanted to think it was good, but I don't know.  Something seemed off on it.  Was it too fast?  Randy talked about it feeling flat.  I can see that a little bit.  Simon listed off lots of things wrong with it, so I'll go with that!  How awkward was it that Ryan was pushing Didi to talk about her friend that passed away on the show?  Yes, she sang that for her friend but she clearly didn't want to talk about it.  That was kind of rough.  Didi might be in trouble tonight, but maybe that's why Ryan was trying to help her out with a sympathy vote. 
  5. Tim Urban - "Sweet Love" by Anita Baker - Usher tells Tim to sing to him like he loves him.  Whaaa?  Actually not bad advice to sing the song to a particular woman, but it was still funny!  By the way, I haven't brought this up yet but Tim is this year's "Vote for the Worst" contestant.  So that might explain some of the help he's been getting.  But he actually isn't singing too bad this week.  He is showing a lot more range than I have heard from him yet.  He did seem like he was staring off into space during some of the song, but he sounded pretty good.  He is in no way a potential winner of this season.  Wow, we got Randy to sing on the show!  Good times.  Loved Simon's comment that it doesn't matter what they said ranted off some stuff that was wrong with it, then said you'll be here next week and well done!  It's so true though.  The the girls like him, the vote for the worsters are on his bandwagon and that will help him.  I won't be picking up my phone to support him even if I thought he was decent.  I'm with Simon.  He's not going to win, so who cares if he lasts another week? 
  6. Andrew Garcia - "Forever" by Chris Brown - Chris Brown? The woman beater, really Andy!?  Usher gave him some tips on helping his acoustic remixes.  This was definitely better than he has been in awhile.  Still not living up to his "MOMENT" he had in Hollywood.  But I guess we are past that "FOREVER" (pun intended!)  I think his fans will be happy with this one.  The judges all dug it too.  Simon did knock him as a boring person in general and that he needs to show some personality.  Did they really bring Andrew's mother on stage?  So bizarre!  
  7. Katie Stevens - "Chain of Fools" by Aretha Franklin - Katie met Usher in Disney World before.  Usher's advice of the night "CONNECT with the song!"  Katie brought some pizazz to this performance.  She has a lot of soul for being so young.  I thought she was pretty good!  Nothing "Idol Winning" or anything but I think good enough for this week.  Simon and Kara continued their battle of advice for Katie.  It's getting really old.  The judges were mixed on the performance.  I think she'll be okay, but we'll see.  
  8. Lee Dewyze - "Treat Her Like a Lady" by Cornelius Brothers - Usher's advice to Lee is to own his music.  To believe he is really good.  We saw more of his range this week and he brought some power to that performance and his vocals.  And of course, some SOUL!  Seemed like he took Usher's advice to heart.  I thought he did a solid performance.  The crowd sure thought so!  As did the judges.  Lee might have crawled into the competition with that one.  
  9. Crystal Bowersox -  "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight and the Pips  -  Crystal promised a surprise for this week.  She's playing piano!  And picked an awesome song at that.   She only opened on it though then she got up just SANG.   And man did she sing it.  She was awesome as always.  I can't say enough good things about Crystal.  Those background PIP singers did try to drown her out at one point, but she took them down!  Judges loved it.  Simon gave constructive criticism that she should stay on the guitar and do what she does best.  He's probably right that she is a contestant that could pull it off.  But I liked seeing her change it up and still being great!   
  10. Aaron Kelly - "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers - Usher advises to work on the "I know's" in the song.  I still think Aaron is doing a decent job on the show.  I don't think he really fit in Usher's advice in the final product, but he was still pretty decent.  Not SPECTACULAR but good.  The judges are giving the same so-so feedback.  He'll be fine this week.   There are definitely other targets to take down this week! 
Kara's "I'm hip and Cool" Quote of the Week - "It's overdone girl" to Didi Benami.
Randy's Quote of the Night - "Put a little grease on it!" to Tim Urban.  Hey, I was just happy he didn't stick to his usual script!

Okay, so that was my live blogging.  I don't think my mind has changed much on the performances.  But having seen them all now, it sure looks like we know who the WORST performances of the night were. Siobhan was awful, wasn't she?  So you combine that with going first and there is a threat there.  No, it's doubtful she'll go home since many will be rushing to her aid.  But, how can you vote for a performance like that?  It's questionable.  Then there's the usual suspect: Tim Urban.  But he got Simon's seal of approval of being here next week.  Plus he has www.votefortheworst.com in his corner!   Who does that leave?  Poor Didi Benami who really turned in a forgettable performance.  But maybe people will remember Ryan pestering and pestering for her to fess up on why she sang the song.  And they will sympathize for her.   Well let's do some process of elimination and see where this goes!

The Elimination Pick

Safe by a mile: Crystal, Lee
Will be credited for bouncing back: Andrew
Solid performances: Michael, Casey
The Not so Good: Didi, Siobhan
Average: Katie, Aaron
A little less than Average: Tim Urban

Bottom 3 Picks: Didi Benami, Katie Stevens, Tim Urban  Bonus Pick: Siobhan Magnus 

Elimination Pick: Didi Benami - Didi, I like you better than some of the other contestants left in the competition, but I just don't see how any of them will go home this week!

If I had my choice, I'd send Siobhan packing after that performance, but something tells me she's going to be safe from even the top 3.  Especially after we had to suffer through Kara ranting on and on about how she's been so good up until this point.  We'll see I guess!  There's no way I can get 3 straight picks from the Top 12 correct, right?  I guess we'll see about that too! 

My TiVo cut off so I don't know who will be performing on the Wednesday Results show, but I'm sure it will make my lowlight reel as always!  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you after the results! 

Ending Credits

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Anonymous said...

MikeV...Just ramblin' man....
The song by Tim Urban was sung by Anita Baker, not Laker (got some hoops on your mind...LOL)

Ruben Studdard is supposed to be performing tomorrow night.

Now, here's my take:

Siobhan Magnus – “Through The Fire” - Ugh. The word "pitchy" was invented for this rendition. The judges righteously slammed her and she was not happy. I liked Siobhan, but she's turned herself into a one-note Johnny. But holy hell, talk about backlash - did we spend 15 minutes with the judges on this one? Yep, I think so.

Casey James – “Hold On I’m Coming” - Perfect song choice and he did it as good as it's possible for him to do. Judges loved it, including Simon.

Mike Lynche – “Ready for Love” - I thought this was very pretty. A very nice rendition, his best performance, in my opinion.

Didi Benami – What Becomes of a Broken Heart - Oh Lord. Didi previews what is to come by crying at rehearsal. And I am crying now. The most boring rendition of this song I have ever had the misfortune to hear. However, Ryan is there to console her and even Didi implies they are a "thing".

Tim Urban – “Sweet Love” - Tom Jones is alive and well, and performing on American Idol. Simon sums it up by saying AI voters are idiots and we'll be seeing Tim next week.

Andrew Garcia – “Forever” - Best performance Andrew has ever done, including Straight Up.

Katie Stevens – “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin - Looked like a street walker, Randy compares her to Christina, which is absurd. Better than her usual by a mile, but could this girl move with rhythm if someone had a gun to her head? Geezuz, stiff as a board.

Lee Dewyze – “Treat Her Like A Lady” - Another personal best. This was actually a very good show. Lee showed everyone why Simon has been so high on him. Best of the night IMHO.

Crystal Bowersox – “Midnight Train to Georgia” - Two weeks in a row in nest to last place? Well, I hope the doubters now shut the hell up. And Simon agrees with me. Simon says okie doke, very nice, now get back to who you are and don't let American Idol wreck you. I agree. All this "changing up crap" drives me nuts.

Aaron Kelly – “Ain’t No Sunshine” - Meh. Hit all the notes, but the song was waaaaay to big emotionally for this grade school kid. Nobody can sing that song as good as Kris Allen did last year.

Bottom 3 - Didi, Katie, Tim

Should go home - Tim

Will go home - I'm with ya MikeV...Didi bites the dust!

Wes Durringer

Anonymous said...

Wendy here. Not a big fan of AI this year but it is what it is I guess.

I think that Ryan might have a bit of a crush on Didi.

Best of the night for me was Lee, (who continues to remind me of Dave Matthews and Adam Duritz vocally), Big Mike,(he chose a good song and sung it decently), and Casey. Crystal was decent as well.

Worst of the night:

Siobhan needs to stop with the screaming, it's not in tune, but I think that maybe she thinks that it is?
Tim should not have attempted an Anita Baker song, but at least he knows that he's not that good, and he's just going to ride it out for as long as he can. Simon was right about him.

I liked Didi's song choice, but she didn't sound that good in her performance.

Aaron was okay, I like him.

Andrew was better than he's been since he made the Top 24, but I don't think that he's that good of a vocalist.

Katie was okay.

I think that Katie, Didi and Tim might be in the bottom three tomorrow night, with possibly Didi or Katie going home. Tim's fanbase might be able to keep him around at least a little longer. But then again, I was a huge fan of Lilly and look how that turned out.