Saturday, May 15, 2010

American Idol Top 4

I probably will not miss this season once it is over in a couple of weeks but I definitely will not miss doing these write-ups. It just does not interest me that much anymore, but I will solder on and try to make this brief.

This week, the Top 4 had to choose from a bunch of crappy songs that appeared in movies and were mentored on solo numbers by Jamie Foxx, but apparently not on the duets, which were better. Go figure.

After watching the show, I already briefly wrote my thoughts about the concept of duets in the competition, as well as the unorthodox order the contestants performed in, but here is how it all went down in order on Tuesday night.

Lee DeWyze- "Kiss From a Rose"

I found this sort of an uninspired song choice from Lee and agreed he really did not do much with it. It was not bad at all, but it seemed very pedestrian. He should probably be considered the new front-runner though, and if he as expected, advances to the Finale with Crystal, she may really have to outduel him in order to win. Grade B

While I may not be sold on Lee's star potential, I do think he is talented, and I am getting a bit of a kick in watching how the Chicago media is responding to his progress so deep in the competition. Yesterday saw Lee DeWyze Day, which events in both Mount Prospect and Arlington Heights that drew huge crowds and once they show the Homecoming footage on the Wednesday Results show, it might be hard for me not to root for someone from the 847. lllinois Governor Quinn was not on hand at Arlington Park to formally inform the audience that Simon Cowell had picked "Hallelujah" for Lee to sing, but Quinn would have just been booed by the massive crowd anyway.

Lee also threw out the first pitch on Friday at Wrigley Field (I guess singing the Anthem is not really in his wheelhouse though), but it did not help the Cubs break the shockingly horrible habit they have of losing consistently to the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates. At least Chicago has the Blackhawks, in addition to Lee. I think I would rather keep Idol Red State streak alive than see someone so local win. I honestly run this risk of his local fans trying to track me down here in the Northwest suburbs and punish me for such a statement.

Michael Lynche- "Will You Be There"

I have always sort of hated this Michael Jackson song from "Free Willy" but I at least admire that Big Mike brought a bit of passion to it and has definitely acted the most like he wanted to win out of all the contestants this season. Critics found this another schmaltzy performance by him, but that is what Idol is supposed to be about. Grade B

Too bad for him that he got eliminated this week and missed out on the big Fox Production of a homecoming to St. Petersburg, FL (home of the 2012 GOP Convention.) I would have liked to have seen Big Mike get the opportunity to lift weaselly Gov. Charlie Crist up into the air.

I salute Mr. Lynche for at least being consistently decent during a weak season and for being a survivor several weeks after he rightfully should have left (though I disagreed with that decision by America then, I did not vote, so I would have no right to complain.) Also, remember how he was rumored to have been disqualified because his father blabbed that he had made the Top 24? We never did see his father in the audience this season. When the Top 12 began, I predicted Big Mike would finish Second, which was a lot better than most were saying at the time.

Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox- "Falling Slowly"

Next was time for the first duet of the night, and all four remaining Finalists used the opportunity to once again play acoustic guitar. This was a song I had never heard of before Kris Allen did it to great acclaim on the Idol stage last season, and whenever a song choice like that is made, I wonder how mad the Over the Top fans of the previous Idol will be getting.

It started off a little questionably, but then got much better and it was a pretty good moment for the likely Final 2. The song definitely wound up working to both of their styles. Crystal was good as usual, but if anything, Lee felt a little bit stronger and more noticeable during the harmonizing parts. That was good for Lee's sake because I thought he followed up what would be the weakest individual performance of the evening with what would wind up being the best. Lee's Grade A-, Crystal's Grade B+

Casey James- "Mrs. Robinson"

Very intriguing song choice for Casey to pick this number from "The Graduate", maybe not as much as a message to Kara DioGuardi, but to all the 40 plus year old women who are voting for him and keeping him in the competition. However, I think I prefer the original Simon & Garfunkel version. Casey, who is such a strong guitar player, was playing a mandolin or ukulele type small stringed instrument and I am not sure the arrangement of this song worked very well for him. It had more of a Jason Castro vibe and did not work to Casey's strength. It was still decent enough I guess though. I was feeling generous in my grading late on Tuesday evening. Grade B.

It seemed easy to predict that either Big Mike or Casey would be leaving this week and I incorrectly, and for the second week in a row, went with Casey. He has made it to the Final Three though and had his Homecoming in Texas. Never discount the Texas factor or the Southerner vote on Idol. His fans may not be as numerous online but people are definitely voting for him and I would not at all be shocked (though not necessarily happy) if he ousts Crystal next week. When they show the Homecoming video packages on Wednesday night, we will see who the Idol producers really want as their Final 2 (though the voting will be over by then.) My guess is that Casey's video will be the least emotional.

Crystal Bowersox- "I'm Alright"

Sometimes I feel like the only person in the world who has never seen the movie "Caddyshack" (just not into golfing in any way, shape, or form) so I did not know this song was from it. I had heard of the song, but did not know it was sung by Kenny Loggins either. Has Loggins ever been done on Idol?

Once again, it was a pretty out of the box song selection for Crystal, almost flippant in a way, but this time, I think it basically worked and she made it a bit interesting. The judges were back on her side this week after the duet and her solo performance and proclaimed her "back in the game." Grade B+

I would be a little bit at a loss to explain why the show would want Lee as the winner (especially following David Cook and Kris Allen) and not someone different like Crystal. Since the whole text voting thing exploded though in the last couple seasons, rendering the Idol voting base even more heavily feminine, it has been very tough for any female to win (let alone crack the Top 2). Based on talent and strength of her season, Crystal deserves to be in the Finale. That looked like an absolute lock just a few weeks ago, but as long as girls (and their Moms and in some cases Grandmas) vote the way they do, nothing is a sure thing for Crystal.

Michael Lynche and Casey James- "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?"

The show was running late of course, so all Ellen DeGeneres had time to say was "yes" to the song's premise. We get it Ellen. Anyways, I have not ever been a fan of this particular Bryan Adams tune, but thought both guys did about as much with it as they could and sounded pretty decent. Maybe it would have been a bit more entertaining had they both rapped to something from that 1980's Fat Boys movie. It is really tough to give an edge to either of them side by side in this performance/round, but I guess I would to have a slight one to Mike. Mike's Grade B+, Casey's Grade B+

Rankings for Round 1, which is sort of unfair because I am judging just based on the first song each sang. Crystal's first was a duet, while everyone else did a solo:

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

Rankings for Round 2, also sort of unfair because I am only judging the second song, Crystal's was her solo, while everyone else was a duet.

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

So, then I have to combine the rankings together to get my Overall Rankings, with the lowest score being the best, and needing to employ one tiebreaker:

1. Crystal Bowersox (3)
2. Lee DeWyze (5)
3. Michael Lynche (5)
4. Casey James (7)

Who Should Have Been Eliminated: Casey James
Who I Predicted Would Be Eliminated: Casey James
Who Was Eliminated: Michael Lynche

On to the Top 3, where it will almost certainly be just two songs each (and I am have no great enthusiasm after seeing today what the judges' picked them to sing for one round.) Before last season, it was always 3 songs each for the Final 3.

It would be very wrong though apparently to take any talking time away from the judges or Seacrest.