by Jason Matthews
In case you missed it, an article in last week’s Entertainment Weekly said that this season of American Idol is unconscionably bad. If you’ve seen even a moment of the last month of performance shows, you would be hard pressed to disagree. Unoriginal song choices, lackluster arrangements, charmless Idolists and restless judges, not to mention the terrible voices. For the first time since Taylor Hicks Soul Patroled his way past the luscious Katharine McPhee, American Idol is a chore to watch. Besides Crystal, Siobhan and maybe Lee, there isn’t one compelling Idolist. Even Ryan seems bored with the proceedings, and he can make ANYTHING riveting. Just a sorry state of affairs.
Simon has the right idea, leaving at the end of the season. Maybe we should consider joining him.
Here are reviews of the performances, from best to worst.
Lee Dewyze – “Treat Her Like A Lady” by Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
At least one Idolist came to play tonight. If Lee was told to “bring it,” his performance would have been the musical “it’s already been broughten” comeback. Soulful, powerful, melodic, heartfelt—four things he hasn’t been in weeks, but was tonight in spades. The best of the night, and it wasn’t even close.
Crystal Bowersox – “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight
Massive style points for changing instruments, getting up and delivering sans-guitar, and for the first time ever, truly looking like a star. Wasn’t her best vocal, she was distracted by the piano a bit too much, but the whole performance was fun to watch, and a welcome change of pace. She caught back up to Siobhan after two consecutive weeks of falling behind.
Siobhan Magnus – “Through the Fire” by Chaka Khan
The biggest tragedy isn’t that Siobhan toned down the Lambert-vocal antics. Or that she followed Usher’s misguided advice to dress simple. It’s that she didn’t sing the Kanye version of the song, ‘Through the Wire.” Isn’t that what we all wanted, our quirky Idol singing music’s quirkiest rapper? I would pay all the dollars I will ever make to hear Siobhan do a non-auto tune version of “Golddigger.” The glory note she’d deliver on “holla we want pre nup, we want prenup, yeah”? Let’s all put that in our dream journal, with a gold star next to it.
Casey James – “Hold On I’m Coming” by Sam and Dave
Did my DVR mistakenly record a drunken frat house session of Guitar Hero? Cause I THOUGHT this was supposed to be the singing competition known as American Idol. This is not a jam band concert, Casey! It’s a show about people with amazing VOICES. Even Blake stopped beatboxing eventually.
Didi Benami – “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” by Jimmy Ruffin
We love Didi, right? So can we band together and get her to keep the “emotions” in check? Nobody wants their American Idol to be a cryer. Kelly only cried when she won, and I don’t think Carrie Underwood even HAS tear ducts. Love the torch singer dress, the crazy fake lashes and the intensity, but she’s coming off the rails faster than a Paula Abdul soundbite. Can she try having some fun next week?
Michael Lynche – “Ready for Love” by India.Arie
Instead of writing about Big Mike, I wish I could just paste a screenshot of Usher staring hatefully at him while he strummed his guitar during mentor rehearsal. I’m all for musicality and range, but on R&B night the one African-American crooner left on the show is playing the guitar? With his back to the judges (who aren’t even turned around to watch him)? Does that make sense to anyone? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!
Aaron Kelly – “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers
Putting Aaron in the hammer spot and slapping a hot jacket on him doesn’t do anything to make him more interesting, but at least he looks awesome. The Clay Aiken-ing of his skin problems and little-boy hair is truly commendable. The Idol stylists are working harder than the actual Idols this year. Aaron is everything that is wrong with the show this year: fine to listen to, gorgeous to watch, but not spectacular in any way and severely lacking in charisma.
Katie Stevens – “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin
What’s more fun than watching Miley try to mack on Tim Urban? Watching Katie barely legal herself over Usher. Flirting with the mentor instead of practicing, when you keep landing in the bottom three? Way to prioritize, Stevens! No, no, don’t worry, all that work paid off. You didn’t at all seem like a 5-year-old trying on Mommy’s makeup for the first time. And you didn’t at all sound like a teenager singing along (poorly) to the radio in your off-white 2-door Ford Focus. I’m sure Usher will accept your friend request aaaaaany day now.
Andrew Garcia – “Forever” by Chris Brown
Why is he hunched on top of a stool? Is he TRYING to look like a kid playing dress up? Straight up now tell me does he really think Chris Brown is the way to keep him on the show? It’s a fantastic jam, to be sure, but that song has such a stink on it, going acoustic can’t Febreze the smell out.
Tim Urban – “Sweet Love” by Anita Baker
Did Usher just take Tim through puberty? ‘Cause it sure was awkward enough to seem so, as did the performance. Starting legs spread on the steps? Not a good look. Looking to the rafters instead of connecting to the audience? Way to listen to anything Usher told you, Tim! Did Paige secretly mentor Tim this week? If not, why does this feel so much like he’s throwing a fight? I’ve never wanted Simon to be wrong more than with his prediction about Tim’s fate.
Is this the worst Top 10 in the history of American Idol? Let me know in the comments!