Wednesday, May 19, 2010

American Idol 9: Top 3

Sigh. I'm feeling so let down by this season, in general. I mean, to have this be the Final 3 is kind of disappointing.

At this point of the competition, I somehow expect that every single one of them will bring it to ensure their slot in the Finale. No one should coast around as it is still, obviously, anyone’s game - no one wants to be Doolittle'd right? Haha.

Sadly, although all of them sounded technically good, the episode was underwhelming for the most part. Seriously. Could these three be any duller? Sure, there was, at least, one stand-out performance but this trio just proved to me that none of them would have made the Finale in any past season. They are immensely lucky to be part of this crappy batch.

All that being said, I'm pretty sure that this episode was all about setting up a competition environment for next week. They desperately needed a competitor over the past few weeks so Crystal Bowersox wouldn’t run away with it and they were very lucky that Lee Dewyze stepped up to fill that void. Now, the Finale is more like a horse race than a lopsided vote for next week. Good job Idol! 

So, speaking of that horse race, here's how I rank their performances this week:

03. Casey James
Ok It's Alright With Me
Huh? Is he auditioning again? Geez. I can't believe Casey gave this type of performance on Top 3 night. Really. While I do love the song, the whole performance kind of left me feeling flat. Sure, he sounded good but it was just too average, safe and easy - which pretty much defines this season - that did nothing to inch him closer to the finish line. To me, Casey is clueless of what a showstopper is. He never delivered one. Sad.

02. Crystal Bowersox
Come To My Window
Hm. Kill me now but I somehow liked Kimberly Caldwell's version better. I don't know. Vocally, it was good but flawed as she went a little sharp and a bit shout-y when she belted a part of the chorus. On paper, Bowersox on Etheridge would've been a killer combination but after this performance, I noticed that her voice kind of paled in comparison with Melissa Etheridge in terms of raw power. The arrangement didn't help as well since it felt rushed at the beginning. Now, as for the harmonica, three seconds of it was unnecessary and I could have done without it.

01. Lee Dewyze
Simple Man
Arguably, he won this round but that doesn't say much because Casey and Crystal just turned in one of their weakest performances to date. I thought his vocals were good and I, surprisingly, heard only a few off key notes in the performance and they weren't even cringe-inducing. He also seemed more confident and I was happy to see him move his feet, even if it was just once and only a yard or so. And while this performance wasn't a defining moment in Idol history or anything, it was a good-ish performance compared to most this season. My only problem with Lee is and always has been that he's simply a less good version of David Cook. Sad.

03. Casey James
Someone should kill those swaying hands. Haha. Ok. To be fair, I thought Casey did the best he could with that song. Unfortunately, it was as tentative as his first performance. The stage was practically empty, the lights were static and the two musicians backing him - a pianist and second guitarist - were far removed. Yes. Casey, again, sounded as good as he has all season, but it literally put me to sleep, like a lullaby. Kara and Randy should have picked something that played up the rough edge he had with Jealous Guy. Was this a secret sabotage? I mean, if Casey needed a 'moment', as what Kara said, why chose something that was 'laid back' and narrow in range? Hm.

02. Crystal Bowersox
Maybe I'm Amazed
Really Crystal? Maybe you're a man? Haha. Well, this was actually a good performance. I thought it was a great material to begin with and it brought back the ragged soulful quality of her voice. It was also a bold choice to keep the lyrics untouched - which, rhythmically, would have been awkward - and that makes for an interesting performance. Vocally, she wasn't nearly as on point from a pitch or power standpoint as she was earlier this year, but nonetheless, it was slightly better and far more interesting than her previous performances as this song really allowed her to wail. Everything else considered, this surprisingly created an incredibly cool moment for Bowersox. 

01. Lee Dewyze
Hey, did Lee get the Finale gospel choir a week early? Favoritism!! Haha. Ok. So spare us the agony and crown him already! Congrats Lee for winning Idol, you probably don't need to show up next week. Haha. Fine, I'll stop. Quite frankly, I was ambivalent about Simon's song choice at first. I mean, it has been performed this season  by Tim Urban during the Top 16 week and Jason Castro already had a moment with this song two seasons ago. So what now, Simon wants a better version to come out of Season 9? Well, color me surprised but I thought this performance was almost phenomenal. Sure, his interpretation wasn't as simple as Tim Urban's or as heartfelt as Jason Castro's but the bigger production with the angelic lighting, the strings and choir made his version nothing short of a showstopper. I still would've preferred it more intimate as the song is best delivered delicately but it was a great arrangement for Lee to sing. Now, if only Lee nailed all the notes - he got most of them though. haha - this might have been the BEST single performance this season. But he didn't so there's that. Haha. In all honesty though, this version was epic and really did cement Lee’s position as the one to beat going into next week’s season Finale.

01. Hallelujah
Lee Dewyze

02. Maybe I'm Amazed
Crysal Bowersox

03. Simple Man
Lee Dewyze

04. Come To My Window
Crystal Bowersox

05. Daughters
Casey James

06. Ok It's Alright With Me
Casey James


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