American Idol: Episode 22 of Season Nine--The Top 12 Sing

3/17/2010 Posted by Admin

Television Review

American Idol: Episode 22 of Season Nine--The Top 12 Sing

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

I was worried about tonight. I was worried about a Rolling Stones theme, thinking it was a stretch for everyone (except, ironically, the people who got the boot last week, but that’s neither here nor there). I was worried about nerves getting the better of people. I didn’t have high hopes at all. I was (more or less) wrong.

The Top 12 seemed to err on the side of safety, choosing expected Rolling Stones favorites, without delving too deep or singing anything too big. And safety seemed to be rewarded by the judges, who were overwhelmingly more generous than they’ve been all season. Last week’s shakeups proved they’re still rattling the "American Idol" family, and everyone, aside from Ryan Seacrest, who’s been more annoying and aggressive than ever before, acted accordingly.

Without a question, the best of the night was Siobhan Magnus. The power of her voice filled the new big stage in a way that no one else had or did. Though it came toward the end of the episode, Siobhan brought what tonight needed. The Rolling Stones are a band whose stage performances are part of what have made them such iconic legends, and Siobhan was the only contestant to truly perform.

I also really liked Casey James and Lee DeWyze. Casey made “It’s All Over Now” sound country, and brought back his electric guitar I loved so much a few weeks ago. Simon is right--as soon as Casey takes ownership of the stage and gives a big performance, he is set in this competition. And I think this will happen soon. Lee’s version of “Beast of Burden” ensured that he was getting the fangirl vote locked down, which seems to be a winning ticket this season. On top of it being a perfect song for him, I thought he did incredible justice to it. The judges weren’t as into the performance as they were with him, and I find myself feeling the complete opposite: I loved that performance more than I love him, but I think if he continues with those song choices, if he continues to grow faster than anyone, if he continues to sing that well, I’ll be loving Lee in no time at all.

Although she hardly seemed able to name the lead singer of the Rolling Stones, Katie Stevens gave a great--and expected--performance of “Wild Horses.” I attribute that more to Susan Boyle than the Rolling Stones, but hey, at least Katie sang the hell out of something and bought herself another week. Last week I didn’t expect to be saying that.

To take a rare step against Michael Lynche, my one complaint with his performance is that quite honestly, I didn’t care for the arrangement. I think he performed it well, and has a confidence that is unmatched by most of the others, but tonight wasn’t my favorite. It was too altered for me to really appreciate it. He’s still safe by a long shot, though.

All night I was waiting to see who would sing “Gimme Shelter,” and I was pleased Andrew Garcia took it. While he could’ve done more, it was certainly enough to keep him around. This performance reminded me of the Andrew Garcia I loved from auditions, and I was beginning to forget that. It’s a step in a very positive direction.

Lacey Brown took a safe route with her rendition of “Ruby Tuesday.” She was interesting, and not all that good, which is totally expected. Her performances seem so calculated, but boring, and I think her days are really numbered, and I won’t miss her much. On the other hand, Didi Benami gave a great performance of “Playing With Fire.” After a shaky start, Didi is getting both feet firmly on the ground, finding who she is as an artist, and getting better vocally each week. She should certainly be around in the coming weeks.

Tim Urban needs to pray that his nine brothers and sisters, their friends, and all his young female fans vote, because without the numbers of his fan base, Tim does not deserve to stay. I’ve grown to like him over the weeks, but his reggae inspired version of “Under My Thumb” didn’t just fall flat, it was weird. He sang it well, though, but between the awkwardness of the arrangement and the judges’ criticism, Tim’s on thin ice.

I feel that "American Idol" producers did a complete disservice to Paige Miles and Aaron Kelly by not only sticking them toward the end of the episode, but sandwiching them between fan favorites. Both gave good performances, but I didn’t find either to be great or memorable. Paige picked a good song for once with “Honky Tonk Woman,” but she looked like an extra from Troop Beverly Hills, and wasn’t great. And I feel like I’m missing the fuss on Aaron Kelly – sure he’s tender, sure he sings well, but he’s boring. Until Aaron does something fun and performs, I won’t be convinced about him.

Although Crystal took an untouchable song in “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and changed it, I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. I was expecting a deeper cut from her, but this wound up being perfect for her. Not her best, and this was the first time she wasn’t the best of the night, but she’s still golden and I still enjoyed it.

On the Chopping Block: Lacey, Paige and Tim.

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