Next Stop, Top 12: AMERICAN IDOL Season 9 Top 8 Guys Perform

FOX/Michael Becker

by Jason Matthews

Now I get to do that great breakdown of the remaining contestants, analyzing their pros and cons, and determining who truly belongs in the Top 12. Let’s consider which 6 should move on, and not which 2 should go home.

Casey James is a great country voice and a real fan favorite. He’s in. Michael Lynche has been a vocal homerun hitter and continues to be a compelling story. He’s in. Alex Lambert and Tim Urban are one voice two mullets, and they are both equally awesome and vital. Both are in. Lee Dewyze has the best voice of the group, but is a nothing performer. Since we don’t have a true male rocker to match wits with Siobhan, Lee needs to be in the Top 12. He’s in. That leaves us with three guys for one remaining spot…

Out of Aaron, Andrew and Todrick, only Todrick brings something original to the show. Tim and Alex cancel Aaron out, Lee and Casey block out Andrew, but there isn’t another guy doing stylish Neyo-style R&B. With Paige Miles going home, the show needs a dynamic R&B singer. Will Todrick make it through, though? Doubt it. Andrew is still riding the Paula Abdul wave, so he gets the final spot. Aaron and Todrick sadly get the boot.

We’ll tackle the early chances for the Top 12 next week, but at this moment, none of the guys look likely to overtake the powerhouse Crystal, or the enigma that is Siobhan. It is still the girls’ season to lose.

Here are the reviews of the performances, from best to worst.

Alex Lambert – “Trouble”

He basically did the same exact thing as last week. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. He was awesome then, and still pretty brilliant this week. My concern is now that he got a bit of praise, he’s going to keep doing the same trick over and over again. I call it the Andrew Garcia Corollary. He’s got maybe 2-3 weeks of the Jack James MorcalBluntJohnson thing before he’ll have to knock it off and try something new. Here’s hoping his other tricks are as good.

Casey James – “You’ll Think of Me”

A solid “B” performance, not much more you can say about it. He was sincere, invested, and professional; he’s the Jason Castro of this season. Casey isn’t getting much better, per se, but he is getting more polished. Tonight, he looked as if he’d be doing this for years and years. And he didn’t even need to show his chest. He doesn’t have a chance in the world of winning American Idol, but he’s definitely earned the right to stay around for a while.

Lee Dewyze – “Fireflies”

I was wondering when someone was going to do this song, just always thought it would be Tim Urban. It was kind of odd watching his voice project an image of Nickelback making sweet, ugly love to The Postal Service, as dressed by the state of Montana, but it didn’t sound bad. One thing he does need to watch out for is the soft notes. His voice is more suited for those harsh, vibrato notes, so when he has to project sweetness it comes off more as whiny. Going back to rock and staying away from emo pop would be a good idea.

Tim Urban – “Hallelujah”

This song had “Bad Idea Jeans” written all over it. There are just too many versions of this song for Tim to have a chance to stand out. It’s designed to make you sound good, but soundalike. And soundalike it was. There wasn’t enough soul to his performance, and he came off very young, which in this instance was not a good thing. He, Alex and Aaron are all fighting for the same voting base. He needs to channel older if he wants any chance to winning that group. Also? Get rid of the Zefron mullet already. A Seacrest-style buzz cut gets him into the Top 6.

Todrick Hall – “Somebody to Love”

You gotta give it up to Todrick—he was the only guy to actually bring a show to the show. Cool staging, nice arrangement, great style. Maybe it was theater, but at least it was entertainment, and not yet ANOTHER dude on a stool. His voice isn’t much of anything, and he doesn’t have much to offer, but the guy is likeable. On this show, likeable goes a long way. It would be cool if that long way started now.

Michael Lynche – “This Woman’s Work”

It’s the size. That’s the problem. I can’t take him seriously because he’s so cartoonishly big. The falsetto seems ridiculous coming out of him, the preaching church-style vocal moves are corny, and after weeks and weeks of BIG MIKE, I can’t take him seriously when he pulls the humble card. Maybe it was good tonight. Maybe it was soulful and beautiful and daring. But taking the whole package in? As Randy would say, for me, for you, it didn’t work for me, dude.

Andrew Garcia – “Genie in a Bottle”

No one has fallen out of my good graces as quickly as Andrew. He’s been exposed as having a bad voice, so these gimmicks better hold up, and hold up WELL, or he is gonna get that surprise Top 7 Michael Johns boot. He’s not even connecting to the music anymore; he’s just doing his schtick. And the schtick isn’t just getting old, it’s applying for an AARP card. It won’t happen, ’cause he’ll make the Top 12, but the show would be better without him on it.

Aaron Kelly – “I’m Already There”

Didn’t Aaron learn from Paige that a walking-in entrance is a bad way to start your performance? Didn’t he learn from one million previous Idol performances that a sketchy first note takes you too far into the red to comfortably pull yourself back out? And who is dressing this kid? Another kid? Everything about this performance was misguided. It got better vocally as he went along, but it wasn’t enough. And man alive was it boring. I drifted off for a bit, thought about how crazy it is that Avatar didn’t win Best Picture and how gorj Didi looked last night and how funny Community has been lately, and when I got back, Aaron was STILL singing! Just the worst.

Be honest, do any of guys have a chance to beat Crystal or Siobhan? Who do you think will make the Top 12. Comment it up!



  • Reply
    March 11, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Aaron needs to go. Tim Urban pulled one out of his butt last night, but I don’t see him in for the long haul. However, I would not miss Todrick either. Any of those three leaving would make me happy.

    Combining them with the girls is going to be interesting, but it will also make Crystal Bowersox stand out even more. She is still the one to beat.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2010 at 10:36 am

    I agree on Andrew Garcia. He is becoming this one trick pony. All he had, he showed during Hollywood Week and he can’t seem to rise above Straight Up. He would be great in a coffee house somewhere in southern CA, but not as a recording star.

    Not many of these guys really make me want to buy a cd.

    Kara crying last night over Michael Lynche’s performance was just silly.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I try not to hate on these contestants. They are just like everyone else out there with a dream and some basic raw talent that hasn’t been given the chance to show the world what they have. The best example of what a show like this could do for a young artist is Kelly Clarkson. If we are to believe her background story, she stood out in front of various record label companies singing her ass off to try and get someone to notice her. And none of those silly execs saw or heard anything that made them take a chance on her. I would like to think that some of those people subsequently lost their jobs for not recognizing what was right there in front of them. Like Clarkson or not, she has proven she is much more than anyone has given her credit for.

    HOWEVER, Kelly Clarkson was consistent in her song choices and her abilities. This season of contestants is sorely wanting in that area. Amongst the guys, I have to give props to Michael Lynche for changing it up every single time. Maybe I don’t always like what the big guy has chosen to sing, but I have to say, he seems to be in it for the long haul. Not sure if anyone comes close to Lynche’s creativity as far as the guys go.

    I continue to watch this show because I think, beyond all the glitz and superficial demeanor, the show is doing a positive thing for young artists. I still wish it would provide us with a young Bruce Springsteen or Mick Jagger, but until the show allows the contestants to write and perform their own material I doubt we will get to see anyone of that caliber. But, hey, one can hope, right?

    Let Aaron Kelly, Tim Urban, Todrick Hall and even Lee Dewyze all go away so we can get down to finding some real competition for Crystal Bowersox.

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