Remember how I said yesterday's recap of the Top 8 Ladies was going to be shorter because they were all pretty good, so there wasn't much to say? This recap will be shorter for the exact opposite reason.
1) Lee Dewyze - "Fireflies": Another typical Lee performance...he has a nice tone to his voice, but he has consistent problems with staying on pitch. I think the reason that Simon doesn't really acknowledge those problems is because he knows that they can be fixed in the studio...after all, he has said he is a big Taylor Swift fan, so he knows it can be done.
I'm not familiar with the original song, so I can't comment on the arrangement, other than to say that I thought it was arranged in a way that fit his voice and style pretty well.
2) Alex Lambert - "Trouble": Just like Lee, he delivered the performance you would expect out of him...a great vocal, performed as if at gunpoint. I think he has some musical sense, since he writes some of his own stuff, but we still haven't seen him do anything "different" with an arrangement. That's the type of thing he will have to start doing if he has serious ambitions to win this.
Well, that, and he needs to stop looking like he's about to pee his pants the whole time he's on stage. If he DOES make it to the Top 12 next week, that arena is going to swallow him whole. If he's nervous now, what is going to happen when you multiply that crowd by 10 or so?
3) Tim Urban - "Hallelujah": Brilliant song choice. All he has to do with this song is not completely fall on his face, and it's going to be praised. The song is just that good.
And that's pretty much all he did with it...he didn't fall on his face. The vocal was fine, although I TOTALLY disagreed with Kara about his "emotional attachment" to the song...I didn't get any of that. Go listen to Jeff Buckley or Rufus Wainwright sing this song. THAT is an emotional connection.
Plus, it's only been two years since Jason Castro performed this song and created one of the greatest Idol moments I can remember....this version was nowhere close to that.
Man, Jason Castro...how much better was he than ANY of these guys? And he was at best the third best guy in the competition that year. This season is sucking the life out of me.
4) Andrew Garcia - "Genie in a Bottle": OK, sorry...it's time to close the book on Andrew Garcia. Talk about a one-trick pony. This was just weird, and as Simon called it, "DESPERATE".
5) Casey James - "You'll Think of Me": I'll give him this...he is one of the few contestants this year, especially on the guys side, who really knows what his strengths are as an artist. Just sit there, play your guitar, look pretty, and deliver a slightly above average vocal performance.
His voice is still very shaky, especially if he has to hold a note more than 2-3 counts...I don't know if that's lack of control or just nerves. But this was probably the best vocal performance we've seen out of him.
6) Aaron Kelly - "I'm Already There": Ugh. Now THIS was bad karaoke. Terrible stage presence...I'm not getting what Ellen is seeing there at all. He looks stiff and nervous, and just keeps doing that one move where he just throws his arm up in the air and lets it hang there, limply. The voice is strained and nasally, and he pushed WAY past the pitch at times.
Sorry, there was nothing good about this.
7) Todrick Hall - "Somebody to Love": Corny, showy, the very definition of indulgent. He does not have the range to sing Freddy Mercury, so after the falsetto at the beginning the rest of the song had to be done in a much lower register, and even that was flat at times.
8) Mike Lynch - "This Woman's Work": This was very good...he really does have a good voice, and he had a lot of fun up there, for sure. But the judges overeffusive praise of this just killed it for me.
Like I said, it was very good...but come on, Kara. This reduced you to a sniveling mess that would shame even Paula? Maybe it was just the vibe in the actual studio, with Mike's wife being there for the first time. Plus, isn't this song just about being pregnant and having babies? So has Big Mike's baby become this season's version of Danny Gokey's Dead Wife?
I know this...in seasons past, this would have been middle of the pack at best. Big Mike is lucky...when compared to the steaming pile of crap that most of the competition threw out there tonight, this looked like gold in comparison.
Tuesday night, Katie and Paige were a clear cut bottom two among the ladies...it wasn't even close. But....if I were putting together my own top 12, both of them would probably be in over half of the guys that are left.
In fact....here is my personal top 12 at this point in the competition:
And yet...two of those bottom 4 will definitely be in the Top 12. Whatever.
OK, let's wrap this up:
Top 4 (tonight):
Who SHOULD go home: Aaron and Todrick.
Who WILL go home: Todrick and Lee. (just a gut feeling on this one...it's usually about this time that we see a "shocking" ouster)