Tuesday, April 13, 2010

American Idol 9: Top 12

Let the Top 12 performance night begin!

Time flies so fast! Now, we are in the finals and this week the Top 12 came out swinging with songs from The Rolling Stones! No major trainwrecks but I was mostly bored tonight. Sigh.

But, besides the uneven performances tonight, what else caught my attention? Well, the judges were a mixed bag tonight. Ellen's one liners were hilarious. Simon was uncomfortably giddy. Randy was useless. And I swear, Kara invented annoying! I'm almost positive of it.

Also, another common theme I noticed was that almost all contestants are working their I-am-from-a-small -town credentials. Yes, we are aware that America loves seeing contestants coming from somewhere unknown and making it in the big city, but everyone?! Seriously?

Anyway, let’s get to the rankings!

12. Tim Urban
Under My Thumb
Somehow, I kind of liked this Jason Mraz, almost reggae-ish vibe from Tim. That said, while watching his performance, I couldn't help but relive Kristy Lee's train wreck performance of 8 Days a Week. I mean, it wasn't as bad but it was just as weird. It also didn't feel like Tim connected to what he was singing. I didn't mind that him changing most of the melody to suit his - limited - style but that just full of FAIL. And tell me, I'm just a little confused though as to why Todrick didn't get that kind of comment from Kara about changing the melody up. Seriously.

11. Aaron Kelly
Ok. So, Aaron's mom's name is Kelly, which makes her Kelly Kelly? Haha. Too funny. So, is he gonna keep killing us with these tender ballads? Sorry. Nice kid, but he's just mind-numbingly boring. Sure, he wasn't half bad vocally but I saw nothing special with that performance. He looked like a baby possum with scared eyes. He's just like Justin Bieber - cannot take him seriously.

10. Andrew Garcia
Gimme Shelter
Dude, what happened? He's not good anymore. Such a shame! I love the tone of his voice, and he's technically one of the better singers this season but he now obviously lost his mojo. He did sing it pretty by the numbers but it wasn't brilliant. To me, his version lacked the amazing introduction riff that it needed to make an impact. He needed the backing vocals to belt out the chorus of the song and he can't go low on that, at least not without an extensive background singers. No phrasing. No modulatin. Nothing. This was upsetting. I haven't really enjoyed Andrew since Hollywood week, and I'm tired of hoping he will be.

09. Lacey Brown
Ruby Tuesday
I just cant get into Lacey's voice. I don't know. I thought she sounded thin and whiny on that song. Don't get me wrong, I think Lacey has an interesting voice I could imagine hearing on the radio, but her voice was just so weak live that I don’t know how much musical sense she has. I definitely don’t even think she has any idea of who she is as an artist. I thought Ellen’s critique on Lacey was spot on – talk about someone not using the stage properly. Lacey, missed opportunity. Possibly going home.

08. Casey James
It's All Over Now
If I liked country music I'd probably enjoy this performance more. But I'm not so I didn't. Haha. Yes. He clearly has a nice voice and he plays his guitar really well, but he needs to move around more on stage. Seriously. The stage is way to big for him to just stand there and sing. To me, he really needs to push himself more than just looking good. I think he's slacking off, like it was just good enough to do the bare minimum. Good guitar playing but the rest was not that exciting. This isn't Guitar Idol! And in my opinion, that was the only good thing about his performance.  Oh, and CASEY!! You need to finish your phrases! What is wrong with you?

07. Paige Miles
Honky Tonk Women
It's about time! I thought Paige brought it this week! Is there a way to give her laryngitis every week? Haha. Tonight, I was actually able to hear a lot more of her potential and vocal talent. Right at the end, Allison Iraheta even popped into my mind when she belted out one of the notes. Interesting.  That said, she is too uneven of a performer to last very long in this competition and still doesn’t seem to have displayed even a little bit of her personality. So I'm not sure about her chances.

06. Michael Lynche
Miss You
Michael has a baby?! Shocker. Just when I thought Big Mike is slowly winning me over, he pulls that baby exposure again. Stop it already! Geez. Vocally, it was pretty good as his R&B take on the song employed lots of flourishes and falsetto riffs. Not sure if I like the arrangement - as it went absolutely nowhere - but it was good. However, some people just shouldn't dance around too much. Haha. I mean, the arms stretched outward was weird and his stage presence doesn't translate well to the bigger stage. I don't know. To me, he's just a fun guy at a wedding and not a superstar.

05. Lee Dewyze
Beast Of Burden
It’s so hard to poke fun at a man who has such a bland personality. Haha. Well, parts of Beast of Burden sounded really current and soulful, but then the end was practically unrecognizable. Lee, WORK ON YOUR DICTION!  I couldn’t understand parts of the song.  Good thing, the quality of his voice is really good that I tend to forget all other flaws. It wasn't my favorite Lee performance so far but I though it somehow worked. I liked the arrangement of the song.

04. Katie Stevens
Wild Horses
Finally!  Okay Katie, time for redemption! This performance was very Katharine McPhee-like! She actually sounded pretty good. Vocally, it was miles better than her other performances and I could see her fighting for it. To me, she earned her Top 12 spot with this performance. I thought she has got so much more natural presence and charisma this week. Oh, and Kara, Katie was never technically perfect, but who is this season?

03. Didi Benami
Play With Fire
Oh Didi, you sexy beast! Haha. Is it just me or does she look like Taylor Swift tonight? I thought she sounded different tonight. Quite intense. Her very modern take on the song showed off her range, which I didn't expect. I liked it. Her awesome phrasing and unique vocals were also back! Sure, she almost forgot a lyrics or two but she recovered surprisingly well. Good job.

02. Crystal Bowersox
You Can't Always Get What You Want
Crystal! Smile damn it! Haha. Well, her performance this week was soulful and professional, as always! Seriously. This girl does not falter and she is making my reviews kind of repetitive. I mean, I could just copy and paste every one of them to save time. Sure, she’s brilliant. So, what else can she bring to the table? None maybe. That said, I know the guitar is sort of her "thing," but I would really like to see her perform without it just once. She sounds the same every week, which I guess makes her consistent, but I'd really like to see her take a risk and do something completely unexpected in the coming weeks. We'll see.

01. Siobhan Magnus
Paint It Black
Another water cooler performance from Siobhan. Nice. The stairs, the low notes, the glory notes, the camera spinning around, the dark closeup at the end. Drama anyone? She's like the musical version of Johnny Depp. Haha. Vocally, it wasn't perfect as I thought she was slightly underpitch all the way through and the last note got a bit kind of scream-y to me. Having said that, I absolutely loved the changes on the verses’ vocal melodies. I thought that they were delayed and haunting and the end of the song was a phenomenal moment on American Idol - though not perfect. But still.. This performance was so dang interesting! Enough said.


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