Saturday, May 08, 2010

American Idol Top 5

This blog entry may be relatively short.

A year ago, I was a lot more interested when American Idol came down to the Top 4. I had a rooting interest in seeing either Kris Allen or Allison Iraheta make it into the Finale and put a monkey wrench into the Adam Lambert vs. Danny Gokey showdown, which the producers had seemed to be pushing all along. I realized at the time that Kris Allen had a very good chance of advancing to face Lambert and would defeat him.

This year, I just really do not care as much as to who stays and who goes. A Crystal Bowersox vs. Lee DeWyze finale seems to be very likely at this point, and while a few weeks ago, the smart money was on Crystal and Simon Cowell and company appeared to be solely behind her, the momentum may have switched to Lee. I do find it pretty interesting that hometown favorite Lee has made it this far and I suppose if I really cared, I would be supporting him as well as the Blackhawks in this playoff season. His performances are sort of up and down to me though. Usually, I think he does a good job, but I failed to see what the hype was about this week. Crystal has been the strongest performer this season overall, but has made some interesting choices as of late and her on stage attitude has started to get a bit troubling.

So, I will hope for a victory on merit (and that would not rule out Casey, who was extremely lucky to survive this week, or Big Mike, who is still around, despite having been technically voted off weeks ago.) The biggest hook for me will be whether the unbroken streak of a winner having roots in a "Red State" (or at least one that voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004) will survive. A Lee victory would end that, amid the irony of his living in my very township before the Idol season began.

While not a fan of Harry Connick Jr., I do have a reasonable amount of respect for Frank Sinatra music, but I found this week pretty boring. It was even hard to stay awake for parts of it (perhaps because I was watching the performance show and the results show at a late hour.) While not mentioned directly, the contestants were not allowed to play their own instrument this week, and Mr. Connick Jr. himself did the arrangements and played along with the on stage Big Band. That certainly did nothing to show how "relevant" these kids to be. After having already had Rolling Stones, Beatles, and Elvis weeks, AI9 went even further back to take on the music of Ol' Blue Eyes. I am glad there is not going to be an 19th Century Opera week upcoming.

Aaron Kelly- "Fly Me to the Moon"

It was another credible performance that seemed in tune, but also kind of boring and not exactly water-cooler discussion material. Aaron is best to stick to the pop country route, now that he has been eliminated, after his run on the show (worth mentioning how harder it must be for teenagers to go through this pressure cooker while also having their school responsibilities), and this kind of performance might have as easily been done by other young "crooners" that Idol has had on before that do not have Aaron's natural talent. While I never had him too close to the top of my rankings, he should be proud of the run he had on the show. I was moderately surprised to see him eliminated this particular week (when one performer was considered a lot worse), but I suppose that is the way the breaks go. Grade B-

Casey James- "Blue Skies"

Before the performance, Casey jokes with Seacrest about how he almost took another gig for $50 and a free meal rather than appearing on Idol. That sort of fits into the perception that Casey has not been overly competitive throughout this competition and has just sort of been coasting around. This was the first week he did not play the guitar (definitely not his choice to be without it) and this was easily his worst performance. He seemed very uncomfortable on stage and the lyrics were pretty subpar. While others have been commenting on Casey's goat-like vibrato, Kara DioGuardi seemed to jump on that train this week, likeing him to a "lamb." Grade C+

I thought the lamb would be led to slaughter this week based on a bad performance and the blase attitude he has seemed to be projecting. While had been in the Bottom Two or Three a couple times before, he stayed out of the Bottom Two this week. His fans must have been extra motivated to save him, or the Texas factor was back strongly in play.

Crystal Bowersox- "Summer Wind"

We have yet to learn what mysterios contents reside in Casey's box and we also do not know why Crystal said this song has special meaning to her life. Anyways, it was a much better performance than last week, but still not something that is representative of the kind of music Crystal will be making after the show. I thought it took her a bit to get going but was in really good voice by the end. It just was not a very memorable performance. Other Idol frontrunners in seasons past probably managed to have more of a "moment" during their respective week of being made to sing Standards. Grade B

If Crystal wants to win, she might be wise to hold back on defending every little thing she gets a bit of criticism on from the judges. She has begun to come across as being too defensive. It probably helps her cause though that while joking around with HCJ, she made a reference to her insulin pump. Her is hoping that next week's movie songs theme will cause her to pick a song that can much better show off her talent.

Michael Lynche- "The Way You Look Tonight"

Big Mike picked the best song out of the bunch and seemed most in his element. I was taken though by how freakishly small his head is though for his body. It is maybe only half the size of David Cook's massive cranium.

He got a lot of praise from the judges for his smooth delivery and effective performance. While the other kids may have felt somewhat out of their element as it is not the kind of music they would have success with, these types of songs are perhaps the route that Big Mike can go after Idol. I am sure that might not be where he had anticipated his career going, but he is able to sing this sort of music well. Despite the strong performance, was in the Bottom Two again this week, but the "save" has definitely worked to his advantage with still being around with a chance to advance even further. Few think he will make it to the Nokia Theater, but I think there is a chance that at least next week, he could inherit some of Aaron's older voters. Grade B+

Lee DeWyze- "That's Life"

People really seemed to love this, and watching it back for a second time, it was alright I guess, but watching it on Tuesday, it just felt a little awkward to me and I thought it was overpraised. His greatest attribute is the way he has been able to interpret songs in a seemingly genuine and believable matter, and this did not feel that way for me. Lee seemed to be focusing really hard on remembering all the words to "I'm a puppet , a pirate, a poet, a a pauper", whatever. At least he didn't throw in paint mixer. To continue with the lyrics of the song, Lee was considered already riding high in April, and has yet to be shot down in May, as the judges and the producers seem to be pimping him a great deal now. Maybe they are trying to get the people to turn against him so Crystal wins. Maybe they really want him to take the crown. Who knows, and frankly who cares. Grade B-


1. Michael Lynche
2. Crystal Bowersox
3. Aaron Kelly
4. Lee DeWyze
5. Casey James

Who should have been eliminated: Casey James
Who I predicted would be eliminated: Casey James
Who was eliminated: Aaron Kelly