"American Idol": Episode 38 of Season Nine: The Top 4 Sing

5/12/2010 Posted by Admin


"American Idol": Episode 38 of Season Nine: The Top 4 Sing

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

Tuesday’s Top Four “Songs from the Cinema” themed episode of "American Idol" has to be broken into two totally different spheres--the amazing duets, and the somewhat disappointing solo performances.

Starting to make moves back to her position leading the boys, Crystal handily “won” the singles part of the night. She didn’t win because she was drastically better than the three guys; she won because she picked a mediocre song from a stupid movie. The guys all chose powerful, legendary songs, and Crystal opted to sing a Kenny Loggins hit. She was in a position where she had a legitimate chance to improve upon the original, which she did, but the guys couldn’t touch their original versions, and really couldn’t alter them much. As to be expected by this bunch, tonight they all suffered from poor song choices. By now, this fact should go without saying.

Crystal’s performance was welcome because it was fun, it was unexpected and it was interesting. In short, it was a very expected Crystal Bowersox performance, but that was totally welcome this episode.

Crystal’s downfall? Still being sassy to the judges. Crystal needs to lay off, because point blank stating that she feels that the judges are being too hard on her is not graceful. It’s honestly a bit tacky, even if it is totally, 100% true and accurate.

In a nod to all his cougar fans, famously led by Kara DioGuardi, Casey chose to sing Simon & Garfunkel’s iconic hit “Mrs. Robinson” from "The Graduate." I was worried. Casey doesn’t have the pipes to tackle Simon & Garfunkel, but I remembered he also doesn’t have the sheer gall as Lee did, when he destroyed Simon & Garfunkel’s hit “The Boxer” a few weeks back. He did well. Really well. The performance was muted and toned down, but a marked improvement over last week’s mess, and much better than the remaining two solo performances of the night.

Leave it to Big Mike to sing that song from "Free Willy." You know, that totally powerful Michael Jackson one, that’s played when the enormous killer whale leaps to freedom, which is in fact the only image I can muster whenever I hear it. That song. (Yes Simon, that’s your one sentence plot synopsis). He sang well enough, but played it too safe and didn’t live up to the Big Mike golden days of yore. The highlight was Simon trying to make sense of the Free Willy plot.

In a weird change of pace, Lee was the weakest of the night. I couldn’t begin to fathom why Lee DeWyze, the vocal clone of Scott Stapp and that dude from Nickelback, chose to sing Seal’s romantic ballad, but somehow he thought that that in the Top 4, this was a smart move. It wasn’t.

Lee hit some painfully bad and awkward notes, and was generally pretty pitchy. At some points, he sounded really damn good, but those bits were few and far between. It was both his weakest to date and the weakest of the night.

The highlights of the night were the duets. Come to think of it, those duets were the highlights of the season, and considering my low expectations for the future episodes, they will probably remain that way.

Winning the duet contest was Casey and Mike, who sang Bryan Adams’ “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman” as I melted into a puddle before the television. It was beautiful. Last year this song was one of two songs that made me love Matt Giraud for a minute, so this year, I was hoping that Casey would sing it solo. What can I say? I love Casey.

In any case, the guys were emotional, and sure, as much as I tried to imagine Big Mike out of the picture, his voice was superior to Casey’s. Casey’s Spanish guitar playing on the other hand was beautiful – that’s what his talent is, not singing.

While Lee and Crystal singing “Falling Slowly” was one of the most powerful moments of the season, I didn’t love their performance as much as I wanted to. They were a perfect duet pairing, singing one of the most impossibly beautiful songs from a recent film, but to me, it didn’t hold a candle to Kris Allen’s performance of the same song last year because they lacked his raw emotion. And until now, I didn’t realize just how talented Kris Allen really is, and that should not be a thought I’m having when watching a Top 4 duet performance of likely the Top 2 contestants.

Bottom two? Who knows, no one’s safe. My ideal top three: Casey, Crystal and whoever is most likely to propel those two into the finals.

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