American Idol: Episode 30 of Season Nine--The Top Nine Sing

4/14/2010 Posted by Admin

Television Review

American Idol: Episode 30 of Season Nine--The Top Nine Sing

Take Two of the Top Nine

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

The resounding question after Tuesday’s "American Ido"l episode is, what is up with Ryan Seacrest? His inappropriately rude off the cuff remarks hit an all-time high last night with a not so subtle dig at his former colleague, Brian Dunkleman. I’ve grown incredibly tired of his sass this entire season.

Onto more pressing matters--this week, the Top 9 returned, singing Elvis songs under the tutelage of Adam Lambert. I felt this was likely the best mentor this season in theory. Adam hasn’t had a terribly long career just yet, but, more than anyone, he can give sound advice to advance in the competition. He can relate to the contestants and understand the stress they’re going through. He understands that the judges can be totally finicky and hypocritical in their criticism, and he knows how to appeal to them. And, for the most part, his advice was pretty spot on. Still, the contestants struggled with choosing good songs – apparently a problem for them when such a vast and iconic songbook comes into play.

I wasn’t too thrilled when I heard that the theme would be Elvis. I felt it’d be another way for these contestants to miss the mark entirely, and for the most part, I was right. I was, however, looking forward to Crystal, Lee and Casey’s performances, and not shockingly, they were the Top Three of the night.

Two contestants go home tonight, and I am quite convinced that the first (and quite likely the second) male will be leaving the show.

Lee DeWyze was my favorite of the night with his contemporary spin on “A Little Less Conversation.” If you don’t care for raspy vocals, this performance would be totally lost on you, but fortunately for Lee, I like them.

The best female was, not surprisingly, Crystal Bowersox, who kicked off the night with “Saved.” Swapping her autographed acoustic guitar for a bedazzled electric guitar, Crystal gave another strong performance. Crystal knows what works for her – taking songs that allow for her to have a bluesy and soulful approach, and she executed it solidly.

It goes without saying that I also loved Casey James’ performance of “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.” To be fair and objective, it wasn’t his best, and there probably were dozens of songs that Casey should’ve rocked out to, but his vocals were great. He’s finally looking comfortable on stage and in front of the camera, which was one of his biggest hurdles to overcome this competition.

It shocks me to say this, but Tim Urban gave one of the strongest performances of the night. I thought he would butcher “I Can’t Help Falling In Love,” but surprisingly, it was his best yet. And I’m not just judging him on the “Tim scale” Simon introduced last week – he was objectively good. I find myself agreeing with Ellen’s tequila shot metaphor, but Tim has a knack for playing to his strengths, and the heartfelt singer-songwriter acoustic approach is clearly his strength.

Katie Stevens finally took criticism to heart, and inserted her feelings into the song dedicated to the judges, “Baby What You Want Me To Do?” Katie personalizing her performance made it likable – it made me remember just how talented she is vocally. This was a rare good song choice for Katie, and if she continues on this path, she’ll be safe until the rest of America becomes as tired with her as I am.

Siobhan has been slipping up recently! “Suspicious Minds” should’ve been, in theory, an excellent song choice for her, but her execution was flawed. The judges brought up an interesting and accurate point of the two dichotomies of her voice – when she’s not going full out powerfully vocally, she’s boring and, dare I say it, not very good. Unfortunately, she only performed that way for the second half of her performance.

The slightly ironic part of the episode was Big Mike’s performance. While Siobhan gave a shaky performance, she helped Mike in choosing a great song in “In The Ghetto.” In this one performance, Big Mike redeemed himself and proved to America why the judges saved him last week. Maybe he needed last week as an anomaly to snap him back into his path of solid performances.

Worst of the night was a toss-up between Aaron Kelly and Andrew Garcia. I’ve wanted Aaron to sing something up-tempo for weeks, but his performance of one of Elvis’ most iconic songs, “Blue Suede Shoes,” left me longing for something slower. It was awkward and totally cheesy, and did not remotely show his talent. Andrew expectedly gave a very karaoke lounge, cheesy performance of “Hound Dog.” His performance was totally over the top, yet somehow remained boring. While vocally it was an improvement on past weeks, he’s just not cutting it anymore.

Bottom Three Predictions: Aaron, Andrew and either Siobhan or Katie.

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