American Idol is officially asleep at the wheel. That’s the only explanation for how they allowed these 5 clowns to attempt to croon on national television, when not a one of them has the charisma, vocal chops or musicality to pull it off (yes, Crystal included). Harry Connick Jr. pulled a Ryan Seacrest and did EVERY job ever invented last night, from writing the arrangement to playing on stage with the Idolists to actually mentoring them (which means giving them constructive criticism that helped to enrich the performance, not saying nice things about them in the manner of Adam Lambert) to carrying the humor of the show. All Crystal, Mike, Aaron, Casey and Lee had to do was say words out loud in a melodic fashion, and yet they STILL failed miserably. What an abject failure of a performance night.
Why couldn’t Harry have just performed for an hour using different voices attributed to each Idolist (I’d die to hear his Aaron Kelly squeak)? Wouldn’t that have been more fun? Wouldn’t that have sounded better?
Here are the reviews of the performances, from best to worst.
Lee DeWyze – “That’s Life”
If Harry Connick Jr and Elijah Wood had a kid, it would be Lee DeWyze exactly. Wears a suit well, dreamy blue eyes, lovely singing voice, short as a hobbit and awkward when speaking. Lee gave the best of a bad bunch of performances. He dressed for the theme of the night, which is always a smart move. And he looked like he was actually enjoying himself, the way Frank Sinatra used to perform. Spectacular arrangement by Harry; wild to watch him stare in horror at his less talented doppelganger.
Crystal Bowersox – “Summer Wind”
Crystal was the only Idolist Harry took seriously. I loved his observation that the more obscure she makes her connection to the song, the more personal the audience will feel toward it. She looked FANtastic, shockingly sexy even. While the performance was a bit boring, with an unflattering, clunky arrangement, Crystal showed surprising genre range. Since Crystal is going to win this thing no questions asked, it’s good of her to give us a little taste of all the sounds she’ll be recording down the road. And it’s an ever better opportunity for us to prepare for all the sounds we’ll be ignoring when she records them.
Mike Lynche – “The Way You Look Tonight”
Was Harry blacking it up for Big Mike, or do we have to give him a pass for the jive talk ’cause he’s from the Treme? So look, Crooner Night carries an obvious level of fakeness, which, added to Mike’s natural resting state of corniness, automatically leaves a trail of bullshit a mile long. Putting a teeny tiny hat on such a giant head doesn’t make matters better. But if anyone was built for this night, it’s Big Mike, and he milked it for all it was worth. He’ll be back next week to give us more of that corniness we hatelove so much.
Aaron Kelly – “Fly Me To The Moon”
Never looked better, never sounded worse. He looked like the best-looking Newsie of Christian Bale’s dreams (speaking of, Aaron would make a FANtabs Cowboy Kelly in the remake), even though he was basically dressed for church. But that voice. That voice has no power to it. No danger to it. There is nothing sexy about it. So why would we buy him singing any Sinatra song, least of all “Fly Me To The Moon?”
Casey James – “Blue Skies”
The encapsulation of everything wrong with American Idol this season. Casey has the voice and attitude to croon. He has the look and the sex appeal. He can make it happen. So what does he do? Gives a half-assed, jokey, sloppy, karaoke performance that ensures him a ticket home. Who Gordon Gekko’d his hair? When did he put his voice into a meat grinder? Where was the pork pie hat? Why was he in an obnoxious purple shirt? What was he thinking??? Now we have to sit through a finale with boring-ass Lee. Thanks a bunch, Casey. Go take off your shirt for some cougars!
Does Idol have a chance to turn things around this season? Does anyone out there still care about these kids?
(Spoiler alert: both of those questions are rhetorical.)