"American Idol": Episode 32 of Season Nine: The Top 7 Sing

4/21/2010 Posted by Admin

"American Idol": Episode 32 of Season Nine: The Top 7 Sing

The Least Inspirational Inspirational Song Night Possible

By Catherine Fuentes

Unfortunately, inspirational song night on "American Idol" was hardly inspirational. In fact, it left many long-time and first-time viewers alike scratching their heads and asking, “Wait… that was it? Those were the Top Seven?”

There was only one truly phenomenal performance, and that belonged to Crystal Bowersox, who closed out the show sans any instrument. She started her rendition of “People Get Ready” totally a cappella – showing just how good she really is. There’s no lofty accompaniment to hide behind or to mask a wrong note – Crystal proved she didn’t need that. She really is that naturally brilliant.

Her performance ended in shaky notes and serious tears, showing the first time I’ve ever seen her get emotional. Crystal’s emotions made her performance the only truly inspirational performance of the night.

Other than Crystal, the rest were just sort of there. This was her night, and the others were her indistinguishable opening acts.

As always, I liked Casey James and completely disagree with the judges who felt “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac wasn’t an inspirational song. It may not be a traditional heroic ballad, but come on, if it was inspirational enough for Bill Clinton to use it as his 1992 Presidential campaign theme song, it’s certainly inspirational enough for "American Idol." Sorry, Simon, maybe you missed that cultural moment while living in England, but I thought this was the perfect song, especially because it allowed for Casey to show his chops at rock guitar.

That said, I totally agree with the judges that Casey is sort of plateauing – his improvements are only minor, and while he is talented and certainly extremely likable, I feel as if he needs to be doing something bigger. Do I believe he has it in him? Absolutely – I think Casey has the talent to do something big, but he needs to bring out the big guns next week, because Simon has it out for him.

The judges seemed to love Lee DeWyze’s performance of Simon and Garfunkel’s classic song “The Boxer” and I feel like I had to have been watching something totally different. Objectively, it was a good performance. Lee has a great voice, and plays guitar well – I think he’s basically an inverted Casey. Lee’s voice does not fit Simon and Garfunkel’s music in the slightest. Simon said it was a modern improvement, but I think it was a complete butchering of one of Simon and Garfunkel’s most beautiful songs. I am baffled how these judges, who constantly harp on maintaining the integrity of the original song, showered him with praise. However, it wasn’t close to being the worst of the night, I’ll give him that, but I personally couldn’t wait for it to be over.

The irony of a 16-year-old singing an R. Kelly song was not lost on me, but I otherwise found Aaron Kelly’s rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly” to be enjoyable. It wasn’t spectacular by any means, but it was in the top half of the night for me. The only unsettling thing is that he started singing this song when he was 5 years old. Five. What were you doing when you were four?

Choosing to sing one diva’s song is always a gutsy move, but Siobhan Magnus chose to sing a diva duet. She wasn’t terrible, but she was not close to being as good as she was in the earliest weeks. Maybe Siobhan, who can expertly tackle Aretha, can’t handle a Mariah and Whitney duet.

Big Mike chose to sing Chad Kroeger’s (yes, of Nickelback fame) hit “Hero” from the Superman soundtrack. It was one of my least-favorite performances of the night. Initially, I thought he’d be singing Mariah’s “Hero,” and was stunned to see that instead, he chose this awful song. And for some crazy reason, this was in his “If I make it to 'American Idol,' I will sing…” bucket list. Hey, Big Mike, Mariah’s version would’ve been better. Kara was right--this was just a hot mess.

Tim Urban’s performance isn’t worth assessment. Somehow, this kid defies logic and sticks around. Will this week finally be it?

Who knows who the Bottom Three will be – it can be anyone’s game, but I think that finally, Tim Urban has got to go. Crystal will certainly be safe, and while I disliked his performance, I’m near positive Lee will be as well.

Although these performances are not worth paying money for on iTunes, if you are so compelled, all net proceeds will go to Idol Gives Back, so maybe doing a good deed will make listening to these songs again somewhat worthwhile. The result show will be a big production, with tons of celebrity appearances and performances that will hopefully trump last night’s.

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  1. ben said...

    A national study conducted by Mediacurves.com among American Idol viewers found that Aaron Kelly was selected as the contestant that should be eliminated from the competition based on his performance last night and only received 4.8% of votes The study parallels American Idol voting to determine the weekly winners based on a democratic, “one person, one vote” methodology.
    More results can be seen at http://www.mediacurves.com/Entertainment/J7762-AmericanIdol-4-20-2010/Index.cfm