First, my thoughts on last week's eliminations...the problem for me wasn't so much who went home, since I don't really think any of the eliminated had a legitimate chance at winning the whole thing. The problem is who it left us with. I have very little interest in hearing Paige, Katie, Tim, or Aaron ever again, and now I will be hearing at least one of them for the next four weeks. That does not make me happy.
Plus, if you read my earlier LOST post, you know I was pretty cranky already...so let's knock this baby out, short and probably-not-so-sweet...
1) Michael Lynch - "Miss You": This was a typical Big Mike performance...fun, if more than a bit corny at times. The voice is really good in some places, but he is losing the pitch on the ends of some of the phrases, probably due to all the bouncy-bouncy "dance" moves. I think this is obviously good enough to stick around, but there was absolutely nothing memorable about it. As usual, however, he is EXTREMELY proud of himself when he's done.
I disagree with Simon when he calls it "desperate", although I definitely agree that it was corny. "Desperate", to me, implies that he was doing something outside of what he would normally do in an attempt to gain more votes or cover up some shortcoming...I didn't see that. This is just what Big Mike is...a very large, above average cruise ship singer.
Quick aside here...that Ryan/Simon exchange was AWKWARD. Who peed in Ryan's Wheaties this morning?
2) Didi Benami - "Playin' With Fire": Love this girl's voice, and I loved the first half of this arrangement. Didn't love the second half as much, but I think that was because she spaced on some of the lyric and then over-compensated for a couple of lines by pushing the vocal before she got back on track. She still has a tendency to oversing some of the big notes, but I really liked this.
3) Casey James - "It's All Over Now": He's from Cool, Texas. Of course he is.
I thought this was probably his best performance of the competition. When he sings slower, ballad-y type stuff than you really start to notice how thin his voice is. On these type songs, the vocal just keeps on moving and the lack of strength isn't as noticeable. Plus, he's obviously very good on the guitar and handles himself well. This was a performance that I was not wanting to end, and you can't get a much better compliment than that.
The only thing really going against him as far as his performances is his lack of mobility. In order for him to really use the whole stage like they are wanting him to, he's going to have to unplug his guitar, and I just don't think he's comfortable with that. I am trying to remember if anybody on this show has ever used a headset mic so that they could move around the stage and still play their guitar...Bucky Covington, maybe?
4) Lacey Brown - "Ruby Tuesday": On the nights that DiDi does well, it is never going to be good for Lacey to go on after her, and this is one of those nights. She was really struggling with the pitch in the first chorus, the arrangement was really boring (and the song is boring anyway), and then I agree with Ellen that it didn't make sense for her to sit down once she got to the "big" part of the song.
I just don't know what to make of this girl...sometimes I really like her, but this was just not good.
5) Andrew Garcia - "Gimme Shelter": Well, at least he can't do a girl's song this week...
Like I said last week, I'm pretty much done with Andrew, and this didn't help. He was obviously uncomfortable without his guitar, throwing out a bunch of awkward arm movements before finally throwing in some stand work. His voice is just not strong enough for this song, I don't think...the vocal was OK, but there was not the "oomph" that I think this song needs. And forget any kind of emotional connection to the song...he might as well have been singing "Hit Me Baby, One More Time".
6) Katie Stevens - "Wild Horses": Oh, she's from Connecticut...that explains a lot, actually.
See, here's her problem: this is exactly what she needs to be doing...and yet it's not that good. Very old fashioned, very "Season 2 American Idol". And when she got to her "glory note" towards the end, she noticeably looked at the audience for the reaction...that was unfortunate. Her voice is powerful, but I don't think I really like the tone...it's a little flat at times.
Anyway, she's out of her league here...no way she should still be here over Katelyn or Lilly.
Speaking of people out of their league...
7) Tim Urban - "Under My Thumb": This was one of the worst arrangements we have ever heard on this show, and only partly because he tried to sing a Rolling Stones song as reggae. This is a song about a misogynist...I don't think "Bobby McFerrin/Jack Johnson" is really the place to go if you are going to rearrange this song.
I don't necessarily blame poor little clueless Tim for that...shouldn't one of the vocal coaches have maybe pointed that out to him?
Anyway, the vocal is fine, he still looks terrified, and the arrangement was simply horrible. Unfortunately, the tweenage girls who are texting their votes in probably have no idea what the song is about, either...they just know he looks cute, so they want him around.
8) Siobhan Magnus - "Paint it Black": Ahhhh....that's better. Awesome arrangement, amazing vocal, she looks fantastic....I watched this three times in a row before I moved on. Talk about creating a "Moment".
I don't think I've ever pulled for any contestant on this show as much as I am pulling for her.
9) Lee DeWyze - "Beast of Burden": Well, it's tough to follow that. He does fine...I still think he may have one of the most "radio ready" voices in the competition, and this was probably the fewest pitch problems he's had. But this was very safe and forgettable, to use two of Simon's buzzwords. Good enough to stick around, but he still has yet to put a performance out there that says he's a real contender to win it all.
10) Paige Myles - "Honky Tonk Women": She still bores me, and her voice is nowhere near what Simon says it is. I'll bet she does sound better live, though...it's a BIG voice, it's just too often flat or just off the pitch.
And...why sing this song, if you're going to feel the need to change every single pronoun?
11) Aaron Kelly - "Angie": Or, as he's known at my house..."Mr. Fast Forward".
Sorry...one David Archuletta in my life is plenty, thank you..
12) Crystal Bowersox - "Can't Always Get What You Want": I really struggle to come up with new ways to talk about how good she is every week, so I'll just say this...when I talk about "know who you are as an artist and go out every week and be THAT", this is what I mean. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me at all to find out that this exact arrangement of this exact song is already on her set list when she performs at the local bars and clubs.
Actually, this week was not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be...two outstanding performances, several really good ones, and then a few that I fully expected to be awful and were instead only pretty bad, annoying, and/or clueless.
Who SHOULD go home: Aaron
Who WILL go home: Andrew