American Idol: Episode 20 of Season Nine--The Top 8 Men

3/11/2010 Posted by Admin

American Idol: Episode 20 of Season Nine

The Best Episode Of The Season: The Top 8 Men

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

For the first time all season, I didn’t think a single performance on "American Idol" was bad. Also for the first time all season, I thought every song choice was more or less right on track. Early on I’d be surprised to be saying this about the males, but they’ve proved consistency in this competition.

While the females are suffering from huge highs, really pitiful lows and abysmal song choices, the guys seem to be right on track. Sure many performances lack any sense of risk, but they’re good.

Michael Lynche ended the show perfectly. His performance of Maxwell’s “A Woman’s Worth” ended the show on the highest note of the season and it brought outspoken Kara to tears. I may miss some of Big Mike’s playful antics, but each week, I am left speechless by his performances.

Todrick Hall might have saved himself by singing Queen’s “Somebody to Love.” On top of it being a great singing song, and a song that has to lend itself to a big performance, Todrick tapped into the "Glee" fans who now might be voting for Todrick in droves. Somewhere, a Fox exec is smiling.

Lee DeWyze and Tim Urban are solidifying themselves as heartthrobs who perform consistently well. I have only liked Owl City’s ubiquitous hit “Fireflies” the only time I have ever heard it, and it was last night. Lee’s performance wasn’t exceptional, but it was fun, and it put a necessary rock spin on an otherwise mediocre song. Tim Urban chose the oft-covered masterpiece “Hallelujah.” It wasn’t the best version of the song I’ve ever heard--doing that is a truly impossible feat, and no one on this season of "Idol" is capable of it--but it worked. The song is so powerful and beautiful that a solid performance makes it a crowd-pleasing hit. Although, I must admit, I wish Casey had beaten him to that song.

I find myself wavering on Aaron Kelly. Sometimes I don’t think he’s nearly as good as people are making him out to be, and other times, I think the kid’s the Real Deal with capital letters. Choosing to sing Lifehouse’s “I’m Already There” may have been an error in judgment, and it got off to a shaky start, but the kid is capable of some big singing. And he’s not as annoying as David Archuleta! I think he’ll be around a few weeks more.

Florence Henderson, I mean Alex Lambert, gets better each and every week. Ray LaMontagne is one of my favorite artists and “Trouble” is one of my favorite songs, so I was thrilled to see one of my pick contestants covering it tonight. While it didn’t match the original in beauty, I think Florence is the only "Idol" contestant capable of doing justice to Ray. Sure, he’s still coming across as a bit awkward, but he’s getting more comfortable each week, and this is one of his best yet.

In a last ditch attempt to replicate his incredible Hollywood week high, Andrew Garcia put an acoustic guitar spin on Christina Aguilera’s breakout hit, “Genie in a Bottle.” I actually clapped when I heard he would be singing this song. I thought he’d absolutely kill it. He didn’t. I really enjoyed it--more than the judges did--and I think he’s finding a niche in choosing playful songs and putting a rock spin on them. It was the perfect song choice, not the perfect execution, but I truly hope he stays. He’s getting back to his groove.

As to be expected, Casey James gave one of my favorite performances of the night. It needs to be said: I have a Kara-like bias in favor of Casey James. And his performance tonight did not disappoint. I thought his choice of Keith Urban’s “You’ll Think of Me” may have been on the safe side, but he did a great job singing and playing guitar. To sound a bit more like Kara, when he sings, I believe it--Casey has a gift of giving a sincere performance confidently, something many of the younger male contestants seem to be struggling with. I loved his electric guitar playing from last week, but Casey can never go wrong with playing a soft song accompanied by his acoustic guitar. And while I agree with Simon that Casey’s best performance was with “Heaven,” I think everything he’s done since then has been very close.

My only guess as to who is going home is that it’s going to be a huge surprise. And sure, that’s a sneaky Ryan Seacrest move on my behalf, but it’s the truth. With a night full of solidly good performances, anyone can go. Michael and Casey should be completely safe, but it’ll be interesting to see who joins them in the Top 12. After Tuesday night’s episode, I wish they could kick off four girls and keep these eight guys to round out the Top 12!

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