"American Idol": Episode 40 of Season Nine: The Top 3 Sing

5/19/2010 Posted by Admin


"American Idol": Episode 40 of Season Nine: The Top 3 Sing

The Top Three Sing For Their Lives

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

Some truths about me as we move forward: I don’t buy the music that "American Idol" contestants typically put out (I do, however, like David Cook); last season I was pulling for Adam Lambert; and I almost always bet on the underdog. I feel this explains why I feel the way I do about this season.

I like Casey James. I’ve said it before, but really, I have never liked an "American Idol" contestant as much as I like Casey. The reason why I like Casey isn’t based on how attractive he is (there, I admitted it), it’s because I view him as real musician with commercial viability beyond "American Idol." Moreover, I think the type of music he will make as a recording artist (and make he will--I don’t for one second doubt that Casey will get a record deal) goes beyond what the typical "American Idol" viewer listens to. It is, however, what I like to listen to.

Over the weekend, I researched all three "Idol" finalists. I went to YouTube and watched all their Idol performances, and searched for videos of pre-Idol performances. I was impressed all around – more impressed than I imagined I’d be. My love for Casey only grew at that point. I saw clips of him that put everything he has done on the Idol stage to shame. If he performed that well all the time, this would be his title to lose. But he hasn’t, and the chance of him making it to next week is slim.

Casey’s performance of “OK It’s Alright With Me” sure was fun and lively, and he sang it ridiculously well, but it probably wasn’t enough. I agree with the judges that it was too unknown a song to be singing at this point. I get that this is the type of music he writes, and I think it’s the type of stuff he should be playing, but I feel there was a more recognizable song in that same style that wouldn’t have compromised his artistic integrity, and actually would’ve helped him out a bit more. It was too risky to do what he did as the underdog this late in the game.

Randy and Kara were spot on with choosing John Mayer’s hit “Daughters” for Casey, because it is exactly the type of music he needs to make--commercial singer/songwriter John Mayer type music. However, for a contestant who gets flak for being too dull, picking a more subdued John Mayer seemed weird. I would’ve personally loved to hear him perform “Your Body Is A Wonderland” and after seeing a bootleg video of him playing a blues infused version of “Gravity,” I would’ve really liked that. (Or, if you want the classic route, “Try A Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding, and no, I am not crazy). But I loved this.  However, the night was so big that even though this was one of Casey James’ best, it might unfortunately get lost in the mix.

Crystal Bowersox proved why she is so beloved, and why she has been a favorite to win it all from the very first week. The girl has a voice on her, she has unparalleled talent, and most of all, she is the real deal. I admit that hers isn’t my preferred genre of music, and that might be the reason why I’m not jumping on the Crystal bandwagon (and again, I love a good underdog story), I know talent and I respect it. And Crystal is talented.

Choosing to sing “Come To My Window” by Melissa Etheridge was straight up cliché, and honestly, I found it to be incredibly lazy. The judges harpoon Casey (and every other contestant) for doing something in their safe zone and not branching out, but applaud Crystal for doing the exact same thing. The arrangement of the song was not up to par, but her voice was probably the best I’ve ever heard it. To me, it compensated for the song choice and the arrangement--and then some.

I felt Ellen’s choice for Crystal, Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed,” turned out to be amazing, Like Simon, I was worried this weekend when I heard she’d be singing it. When I saw her without her guitar, I was confused. Then I heard her sing. I take back my above compliment – this was the best I have ever heard Crystal’s voice. As a singer, she won tonight.

I believe that this is Lee DeWyze’s competition to lose at this point. While the first “round” of songs was generally weaker than what I would’ve liked to see at this point in the competition, his version of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” was the best of the three. That doesn’t say a whole lot, but it was a really good – a lot better than I would’ve guessed.

Lee stole the show with his version of the oft-performed “Hallelujah.” Although Simon picked it, and I know Simon wouldn’t steer Lee astray, I was genuinely worried. This song is so over performed, and the original is so iconic and beautiful, that I felt that Lee was facing an uphill battle. Then he started to sing. I never saw the fuss behind Lee DeWyze; I always felt his voice was too Nickelback and Creed for me to ever give it a second listen and I found him as a person to be boring. Last night, I got it. Last night, I was moved to tears. Last night, I realized that Lee will win this competition, because this song that I thought that would knock him down actually rose him up.

My ideal final: Lee and Casey.

What will more likely happen: Lee and Crystal.

Who I think and hope will win it all: Lee.

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