All You Need Is IDOL: Season 9 Top 9 Review
by Jason Matthews
Lennon/McCartney was hard to swallow two years ago when the group was super strong, and it doesn’t go down much more easily now, with a lesser cast of Idols. Watching Tim, Andrew, and Aaron fumble their way through the defining music of the 20th century does not good television make.
But hey, at least we got to learn new things about our Idol wannabes. Wait, no we didn’t. Oh, is Crystal a mom? Does Tim smile a lot? Casey has hair! Katie is a teenager! Siobhan is “unique”! Wow. Shocking tidbits, those. I would have rather learned important things like: why Andrew got a neck tattoo, whether Siobhan ate paint chips as a child, if Aaron has ever seen an R-Rated movie, and if Lee and Andrew are the real-life Troy and Abed. But alas, those facts continue to go unrevealed.
Here are reviews of the performances, from best to worst.
Lee Dewyze – “Hey Jude”
Has Lee always been doing that David Cook super-fast-vocal-raise-from-the-side-of-the-mouth thing? How did I JUST notice this? No wonder Lee is doing so well on the show. And the show does love him. Not only did they give him the coveted anchor spot, they gave him the most recognizable song, a bagpiper and a crowd-pleasing “sing it with me” moment (always good for a voting boost). That wasn’t an Idol performance, it was a darn rock show! And it easily wins the night.
Siobhan Magnus – “Across the Universe”
This is tough for me because my all-time favorite crazy person singer, Fiona Apple, did a ridiculously beautiful cover of this song (with an equally amazing music video where she sings on a platform that rotates her 360 degrees while people destroy a coffee shop around her. It’s awesome, seriously, YouTube it NOW!), and the difference between Fiona and Siobhan is basically invisible (’cause you can’t measure crazy), so I’m partial to my favorite Shadowboxer. BUT, Siobhan was captivating, beautiful, controlled and riveting. She took a HUGE chance not screaming her glory note, but that’s the beauty of her—she has no fear. She takes the risks. And it’s what going to vault her past Crystal in the end.
Katie Stevens – “Let It Be”
As pretty as she’s ever looked. As precocious and steely in her Ryan interview as she’s ever been. And she absolutely gets points for nailing the “Single Ladies” dance. This was a good night for Katie. She’s going to get major votes simply for the song choice, but she actually delivered a very worthy, star-like performance. We’re about two weeks from making her the Dark Horse favorite to win this whole thing.
Crystal Bowersox – “Come Together”
Here’s the problem with Crystal: She’s never going to transcend the stage she’s on, the way Adam Lambert, David Cook, and Fantasia did. She’s always going to deliver a rollicking, fun set. She’s solid, but there’s no second level. “Come Together” is a lay up for her. Of course she’s going to nail it! But where’s the daring? Where’s the ambition in it? I’d rather watch Siobhan go crazy with the screaming, risk failure and be a roll of the dice between brilliant and awful, then sit through a billion same safe songs from Crystal. Because safe is what we expect, but brilliant is what we hope for.
Michael Lynche – “Eleanor Rigby”
Big Mike is the Tyler Perry of American Idol, not nearly as fun or enjoyable as the trailers would lead you to believe, lots of bluster only to be revealed as scarily soulless. And worse yet, like Tyler, Mike has the platform to do something and actively chooses not to use it! He could be redefining R&B for the masses, showing that adding some rock and country to it is OK. But he instead chooses to pander for votes with his Peebo Bryson, “preach it” shenanigans. Maybe he is a good singer, but I can’t get past his utter fakeness.
Casey James – “Jealous Guy”
This show can be grossly manipulative sometimes (read: “all the time”). Watching Casey’s boring, slow, not at ALL authentic ballad, I knew the judges were going to trip over themselves to call it brilliant. To say he was brave to use an acoustic guitar! To commend his control and command! Because he has that face, and that hair and the show needs him bad, they were gonna give him a pass. It’s a fraud, and I’m not gonna stand for it. I’m not giving him a pass. He is less interesting by the week, relies too heavily on his guitar, and hides behind his look. It’s a joke. It’s a decoy. And it’s going to get better artists sent home early. I think I may hate Casey James.
Aaron “Yoda” Kelly – “The Long and Winding Road”
Charisma, stage presence? An American Idol needs not these things. Country, he makes the Beatles. Sleepy, he makes me. Solid performance? Maybe. Assured vocal? Yes. But I sense much bottom 3 in him.
Andrew Garcia – “Can’t Buy Me Love”
Being the Latin Buddy Holly, as Andrew attempted to pull off tonight, isn’t a bad idea. In fact, it’s the road he should have tread weeks ago, but someone should tell him this very important point: big hair does not equal big personality. It just makes you look doofy, and not in the “fun” way the incessant and obnoxious video package wants us to believe. And it doesn’t fix his bigger problem: he’s not any good! You can be completely devoid of personality and still run the Idol table, so long as you have the skill (see: Underwood, Carrie). But you have to have the skills. Andrew doesn’t.
Tim Urban – “All My Loving”
If Simon is gonna wave him through, content to let a Haircut Idol crap on the legacy of the show he built with his two furry hands, content to let DIDI go home over an idiot with a sparkly smile, then why should I bother reviewing him? You know what he did up there; he was a C- vocal with an A+ look. Whatever. He’ll be back next week.
What did you think of Beatles night? Can anyone make a Beatles song their own?