OK, for lots of reasons (the biggest one being my rapidly dying interest in any of these pretenders to the throne), this is probably going to be a very short recap. I know I've said that for the last few weeks...part of the reason is that none of these contestants ever do anything different, exciting, or unexpected, so I often struggle to come up with new things to say about them. I miss last season.
The other thing that had me in a bad mood before the show even started...up until last year, the top 5 always featured two songs apiece, but because you have imbeciles running this show that has been cut to one song each so that we can accommodate the four judges rambling. On one hand, I don't know that I would particularly want to hear two songs from each of these folks, but on the other hand...don't try to sell me on the fact that this is a SINGING COMPETITION, DAWG and then drastically cut the amount of actual singing.
Once more, into the breach...
1) Aaron Kelly - "Fly Me to the Moon": Decent vocal, as usual. High School Talent Show level performance, as usual.
I'm not spending any more time on this guy. Sorry.
The band sounded good, though.
2) Casey James - "Blue Skies": Oof. After a great performance last week, it really all came crashing down on Casey this week.
Something that hurt him, and something I was going to mention in my "Final Thoughts" section, is that the candidates were really limited this week as far as how they could arrange the songs. From what I could tell, they were pretty much required to use the big band and basically do it in something similar to the original style. One of my favorite things about how American Idol has evolved over the last few years is the emphasis on musicality...re-arranging "genre-specific" songs into something that represents what you are as an artist. I don't think Casey, in particular, was given the opportunity to show us who he is as an artist this week.
Anyway...he looks really awkward without his guitar, like he's not sure what to do with himself (and he's probably not). His voice is nowhere NEAR suited for this type of music...the song completely overwhelmed him, and the out of control vibrato was back almost in full force.
Although...Kara kind of ticked me off acting like this was the first time she's heard that particular vocal problem of his, when it has NEVER been more apparent than it was on "Jealous Guy", which the judges universally praised. Whatever.
3) Crystal Bowersox - "Summer Wind": Nice back tattoo, first of all.
I really liked this....not as good as some of her earlier performances, but better than last week. As opposed to Casey, Crystal DID manage to show off some of her musicality...I really enjoyed the phrasing she used, and she did a great job of creating the mood with some nice changes in tempo and dynamics. Not sure how much of that was her, and how much of it was Harry's arrangement, but it worked.
Also, she caught herself about to talk back to Randy and stopped...good girl.
4) Michael Lynch - "The Way You Look Tonight": One of the greatest songs ever written, of course, and perfectly suited for Mike's vocal style. However, I did NOT feel the connection that Harry was trying to get him to make...just more of Mike's typical cheeseball stuff.
I just don't think this was as good as it should have been, and I'm not sure why...maybe I'm just biased because he gets on my nerves, I don't know. But I didn't like his phrasing at all, and even the tone wasn't nearly as good as I expected. It was OK, but nothing to get all excited about.
5) Lee Dewyze - "That's Life": Great arrangement, and I think it was Lee's most impressive vocal performance. I didn't hear the pitch problems that tend to plague him, and that's a little surprising considering the degree of difficulty on these type songs.
Even within the constraints of this week, he managed to make this sound current and relevant, more so than any of the others this week by FAR.
I will agree with Kara on this part...he needs to start acting like he can win this thing, because I think he probably could. Assuming, of course, that Aaron Kelly has not sold his soul in exchange for this year's crown, a possibility that I am becoming less and less dismissive of.
- I usually love Rat Pack/Sinatra night, because I love the music and they are perfect for this show...they are songs written by and for great singers, so they are really easy to show off on if you have the talent.
That's a really big if.
- I thought Harry Connick, Jr. did a fantastic job tonight, both with the arrangements (which they made it sound like he was responsible for) and with his interaction with the contestants. I wouldn't mind seeing him take Simon's spot if this show survives this debacle of a season.
And the band sounded AWESOME on every one of these songs. Again, I'm predisposed to love this music (I think I own every single Harry Connick CD), so I was loving the band all night.
- Oh, and one more thing: Even though they only had HALF the number of songs that they have had in years past....they STILL went over by around two minutes. Imbeciles.
(INSERT HUGE GAP HERE)
Predicted eviction: Somehow I feel like Lee or Crystal might be in trouble....but I'm going to go with Casey.