Elvis Night on Shaky Legs: AMERICAN IDOL S9 TOP 9 Perform (Again)

by Jason Matthews

Photo: FOX

We already did this group of nine, and weren’t much happy with them the first time, so let’s not waste time with a second overly wordy and witty introduction. The faster we get to the results show, the sooner we can boot out all the kids we should have kicked off last week (ahem, Tim, Andrew, and Aaron) instead of making Big Mike grovel his way into getting an unnecessary save. Hopefully, we’ll get this awful season back on track (not likely).

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

Crystal Bowersox – “Saved”

Another good performance. Expert singing, fine arrangement, thoroughly enjoyable. What else is there to say about Crystal? Oh yeah, that’s right, there’s this: It was safe. When will Crystal show us something NEW? Or anything shocking, interesting, scary or mindblowing? The answer is “never.” She’s just going to be good every week. And that’s fine. After all, being just good every week worked for Kris Allen. What’s that guy doing these days, car commercials? Yeah, that’s kinda like having an impactful singing career.

Michael Lynche – “In the Ghetto”

I can’t be mad at Michael for America’s stupidity in voting him off, causing the judges to use the save on him instead of keeping it for Siobhan, who needs it way more at this point. I’d sure like to be mad, though. I still don’t fully buy his act, but I can admit he sounded great, and came from the heart. He was good; for now at least, he was worth saving.

Lee Dewyze – “A Little Less Conversation”

Lee sang well, but his rough voice wasn’t suited for such a slick-sounding rock song. For such a fun song, his alt-rock growl was not Elvis-like fun. Maybe he needed to have a big, show-stopping stage number backing him up, taking the lead on the good times. A big band or a crazy light show, even. Just him up there with his growl was good, but not good enough.

Casey James – “Lawdy, Miss Clawdy”

If someone doesn’t start paying attention, Casey James is gonna sneak his way into the finale. Which will be a crime, because he isn’t actually doing anything of merit. He gives the same performance every week, never extends himself, and never challenges his artistry. But that hair and smile and voice are keeping him under the radar. A Crystal/Casey finale will be aurally nice, but utterly boring to actually listen to.

Siobhan Magnus – “Suspicious Minds”

Loved watching Siobhan and Adam crush on each other. Loved seeing Adam step up his mentoring game for Siobhan. Loved her starting the song with her back to the audience. Loved the outfit. And that’s all I loved. Her arrangement was all over the place. Her voice was weak to start, ragged during the glory note-heavy middle, and desperate in the climax. I’m not sure if she’s second-guessing what got her here or she’s running out of game. But Siobhan is fading, and fast.

Katie Stevens – “Baby, What Do You Want Me To Do”

Katie’s performance was missing the one thing she needed the most: actual emotion. Making the “frustrated,” “sassy,” and “bitchy” faces isn’t the same thing as actually feeling those emotions. I doubt there’s been anything in her life that gave her the emotional experience to pull from. She’s so the Veruca Salt of this Top 12. I’m not exactly sure what she’s so upset about, either; didn’t they love her last week? And the week before? Why rankle them now?

Tim Urban – “Can’t Help Falling In Love”

A malevolent masterstroke to play to the tween crowd and steal votes in the face of the double elimination, but a calculated error in thinking he had the voice for this song. He couldn’t keep up the falsetto, dropping his voice out at least once per verse. And the whole thing had a bad frat-guy-with-a-soul-patch-under-a-tree feel to it. The guy’s just not good enough. Saying this was the “best Tim Urban performance ever” is like saying Dukes of Hazzard has “the best Jessica Simpson performance ever”; it’s such a back-handed compliment it’s practically a forehand!

Aaron Kelly – “Blue Suede Shoes”

Did you see the look he gave at the end of his taped segment? After he confessed to picking the wrong song and suggested he would be a total trainwreck? He stopped talking and a look of pure terror came over his face. This kid knows he doesn’t belong here. Knows he isn’t capable of being the big shoulders in this competition. Why should we vote for him if he doesn’t think himself worthy of our votes? It’s time we let the weak ones go, to send Aaron back to school. Elementary school.

Andrew Garcia – “Hound Dog”

Sure, slow down the most fun Elvis song there is. Yeah, that’s a good idea. That’ll keep you on the show another week. NOT. As boring as it is to keep saying Crystal is “good,” it’s even more boring to continue to say how much Andrew misses the point. In the face of Adam TELLING him he was boring, he chose to be MORE boring. In the face of Simon saying he has no personality, Andrew chose to show LESS personality. Maybe if we predict he’ll stay on the show, Andrew will choose to leave?

At this point, which two Idolists do you want to see in the finals? Let us know in the comments.



  • Reply
    April 14, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Jason, I’d be interested to hear what you thought of how Adam did as a mentor. I caught just the last bit of his session with young Aaron and was surprised to see Adam. I also knew, from Aaron’s face at the end of the segment, that I couldn’t watch the performance. He did look like he was about to face a firing squad.

    • Reply
      Jason Matthews
      April 14, 2010 at 11:02 am

      It was a mistake to have him as the mentor. The AI Exec Producer came out in EW last week about Adam being a total failure; this move reeked of a last ditch attempt to save his overly made up bullshit.

      Adam didn’t elevate anyone musically. He didn’t inform anyone’s arrangement. No one listened to his advice. He seemed more interesting in preening for the camera and seeming likable than giving actual constructive criticism. And he scared poor little Aaron Kelly half to death.

      These kids need actual teachers, not junky wannabe pop stars.

      • Reply
        Pop Culture Nerd
        April 15, 2010 at 4:39 pm

        Ditto everything Jason said about Adam Lambert.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2010 at 10:28 am

    If you ask me, the worst part of last night was the fact that they had Adam Lambert back. Seriously? Has anyone even bought his cd?

    Could not believe it, but Bowersox was even better than usual. She’s finally starting to try. I mean, she’s awesome without trying, but watching her let loose just makes it even more apparent she should be selling cds already. Compare her to Lambert and dare you not to laugh out loud.

    Biggest surprise for me last night was that I didn’t actually hate Tim Urban. They must be coaching him on the side so he won’t be so painfully bad. They should do that for Aaron Kelly? Nope, get let the boy go!

    Siobhan Magnus is a good lounge performer. I’m sure she would excel at really conservative country clubs in the mid-west. Hey, maybe she could be an opening act for Sarah Palin at white bread college?

    Lee Dewyze actually made me bob my head last night.

    Will someone please tell Michael Lynche to stand up and rock out already?!

    Katie who?

    Andrew Garcia needs to let all hang out more.

    Casey James did a song I thought was Good Golly, Miss Molly. Never heard of the one he did last night and forgot it right away.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      April 15, 2010 at 4:41 pm

      I think I need to make room on the critics’ balcony for you alongside Jason & Poncho.

      I was SHOCKED I didn’t hate Tim’s performance. First time for me, too.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Good to hear some Elvis done well. By that I mean, Crystal Bowersox, Tim Urban, Lee DeWyze and Casey James (no, I never heard that song before either, EIREGO) should stay.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I kinda agree on your order this week! LOL

    I do agree with you on Mamasox. I’m still on board of her train, but I think she should risk it a little more. She did step out of her box with “Midnight Train to Georgia” but I think she just needs to engage the audience a little more. Having her open the night ‘though made me realize she’s that good because I wasn’t comparing hers to the other lame performances. On the other hand, having her performances be alike tells me she knows who she is as an artist. Anyway, I still don’t see any scenario where she doesn’t win (but I’ve been wrong).

    (By the way, in my oppinion, Kris Allen didn’t just do well last season. He did win the night and gave surprises: “Falling Slowly” was a very good high-eyebrow song choice -and the studio version is so much greater-; “She Works Hard for the Money” was an amazing reinvention of a song; and “Heartless” gave him credibility. And, on the other hand, he’s not doing that bad in my oppinion. He may not have the Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood or Daughtry success yet, but so far LLWD has had great success: Top 20 in Billboard’s Hot 100, good airplay, and it’s heard a lot in Mexico -and that’s saying something-. I won’t be so eager to predict his downfall until at least one more heavily promoted single).

    Back to AI9. I’m tired of Cheesebag’s (Mike) shtick. His theatrics work at 0 or twelve thousand, and he doesn’t know how to bring emotion to the stage without looking like a church singer on cocaine.

    I like fratboy Lee‘s voice. I really do. And for once, he didn’t look like he might puke on the stage (that would be great TV, though). But he’s still missing some edge.

    I’ll bring Tim to this point, because for once I wasn’t annoyed by his performance (except that thing about performing behind the judges which I don’t understand). He might never -and hopefully will never- surpass Crystal, Lee or Casey in the competition, but he’s actually beginning to improve and show growth. And THAT’s something.

    Casey for all I cared could have had an X-box guitar and be playing Guitar Hero. I just didn’t understand the performance. I loved his song choice but, as Simon said, it was a wasted opportunity.

    And I knew it! Galatea -I mean, Katie– is a robot! This week she just went “NEED-TO-SHOW-EMOTION-ON-STAGE-SO-WILL-SING-ANGRY-SONG-AND-STRUT-ON-STAGE-AND-DO-DEFYING-HEAD-MOVEMENT”. She’s learning to regulate his tune-modulator but otherwise: robotic, robotic, robotic.

    I don’t know what’s going on with Siobhan “Asperger” Magnus. Or better yet, I do know and also does she. She doesn’t know who she is. She might like -even love- to dip her toes on different kind of singing, but when she does something like this week (starting a song slowly and taking the church at the end), she doesn’t know how to feel the whole and tell the story. And it’s just frustrating.

    Aaron seemed much more confident than ever. His voice was good, but the performance went nowhere. Just that.

    And Andrew. Just send that lame guy home, with his Danny Gokey glasses. Stat.

    Thanks again, Jason.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      April 15, 2010 at 4:44 pm

      You got your wish! Bye bye, Fembot Katie and Fake-Gokey Andrew.

      I’m with you re: Kris Allen’s song choices last year. When he sang “Falling Slowly,” I squealed. It’s a gorgeous song that I don’t think anyone had done on AI before him or since.

      Anyone else think Siobhan looked like a 40-year-old entertainer on a cruise ship? From the ’80s?

  • Reply
    April 15, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Only true talent to me is Crystal. Period. I’m so glad I haven’t dipped into this show before. There needs to be a bloodletting, seriously. I watched Glee for the first time Tuesday night and thought, FINALLY! Talent!

    I guess part of it is I sing (not professionally or anything), and it really bothers me when the people on the show are 1/20th the talent of other singers I know.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      April 15, 2010 at 4:48 pm

      Right? I would’ve been happy if they kicked off 5 people last night.

      I have the same frustration. I have friends who are AMAZING singers who can’t get a break and these lame kids are getting national attention. Ugh.

      Glad you’ve started watching Glee! I’ve said that Lea Michele’s voice is so awe-inspiring, it can probably cure illnesses.

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