American Idol: Episode 34 of Season Nine--The Top 6 Sing

4/28/2010 Posted by Admin

American Idol: Episode 34 of Season Nine--The Top 6 Sing

The Top 6 Go Country

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

It didn’t shock me that the night where every single contestant performed well was country music night. While there are soulful voices in the mix, I felt that the majority of the remaining contestants have the right amount of country-soul and ability to play guitar to do well with this theme. The others have tremendous versatility and talent, so I knew that now that all the weak links have been trimmed from the competition not to count anyone out.

Shania Twain returned to Season 9 to coach the Top 6 who were singing her songs. I realized early on just how unfamiliar I was with Shania Twain’s repertoire, and was pleased to see the contestants delving deep -- for me -- into her cuts.

My favorite of the night – it pleases me to no end to say this – was Casey James. His performance of “Don’t” was not only the best of the night, but it was the best of all of his past performances. Being in the Bottom Two last week must’ve been all Casey needed to put on his “Winner” game face, listen to the judges and give the performance of his life. Casey proved that he actually can sing, and that he deserves a shot at winning this competition.

The other shining moment of the night was in Aaron Kelly, who I figured would be leading the pack when the theme went country. Singing “You Got A Way,” Aaron sounded years beyond his age of 17, yet reminded the audience of his young age when he swapped out lyrics about making love in order to dedicate the song to his mother. While I’ve acknowledged Aaron’s talent in the past, he’s never been truly on my radar. To put it simply, I’ve always found Aaron to be forgettable and didn’t understand the fuss around him, but last night, I thought he was great.

I was thankful for Siobhan Magnus’ show-closing performance because it was the only fun one. I sort of resent this group for thinking that they always need to pick the slow and heavy songs, when they’re a group who’d perform upbeat and fun a hell of a lot better. They did this with R&B night, and I hated seeing it again with Shania’s songs. Siobhan had fun on stage, dancing around and interacting with the crowd, while showing that she truly has the best vocals of this competition and that the past few weeks were just stumbles.

Lee DeWyze started off the night with a song that was pretty perfect for him, “You’re Still the One.” I liked Shania’s tip for him to start off with just his voice and the piano to show just how great his voice is, but I think it wound up being a bit of a mistake. Lee started off incredibly pitchy, and I don’t think he recovered. I didn’t like the tonality of his renditions, and his Dave Matthews-esque ridiculous face contortions didn’t help him out either. Props to Simon for calling those out!

Big Mike gave a decently forgettable performance with “It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing.” It wasn’t bad – I actually found it to be emotional, beautiful and appropriately soulful – but to me, it didn’t stand out. I feel that this may ultimately hurt him in the voting, because people gave very memorable performances.

It shocks me to say it, but my least favorite of the night was Crystal Bowersox. This is only exacerbated by the fact that I expected her to destroy the competition last night, and they all zoomed past her. I enjoyed seeing Crystal have fun and I think she should do more of that on stage, but this was just a mediocre performance. While I respect Simon’s blunt honesty, I strongly believe that if any other contestant had given this performance, the judges would’ve come down hard. But because Crystal has a history of excellence, and more importantly, the judges all love her and believe in her, they found positive things to say about her on-stage persona rather than the quality of her performance. I don’t necessarily think this is fair, but they do have a point – Crystal certainly missed the mark, but America is rooting for her, so I don’t think she has anything to fear.

In terms of quality of the performances alone, I believe the bottom three should be Lee, Mike and Crystal. However, people are deeming Lee, Crystal and Aaron as the “Big Three,” the season’s biggest frontrunners, so who knows how that will affect rankings? I feel that Casey 100% deserves to be safe.

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