Welcome back to this week’s American Idol “Hits & Misses”. Last week, the awful Paige Miles was sent packing which is actually unfortunate since this week would have been right up her alley. It’s Soul and R&B week and I’m expecting everything from 60’s to now. Though, I bet Paige probably wouldn’t have even excelled at the type of music that she listed as her specialty. She was that bad.
We are at the American Idol Top 10 and these are the people who will now earn a nice check and tour the entire country from June through October. The American Idol tour is always a great time. It’s nonstop music for 3 hours that features music of all types and styles. The band is phenomenal except for the fact that you’re guaranteed to hear the American Idol theme song played live at least 15 times.
Tonight’s mentor is R&B sensation Usher. The hit singer who brought forth number 1 hits such as “Yeah”, “U Got It Bad”, and “Love in This Club” should be a terrific mentor. He’s been around for over 10 years and seems to deliver hit after hit after hit. He has 5 Grammy’s to his name and has sold over 45 Million albums worldwide. This guy knows what it takes to be a star, be original, and be a performer. Unlike Miley Cyrus, I think he has credibility behind his advice. I’m excited to see how everyone does under his wing. With that said, let’s get this show on the road.
[adinserter block=”1″]Siobhan Magnus sings “Through The Fire” by Chaka Khan – Interestingly she goes from singing out of the “Pimp Spot” to the opening spot. After the first few notes, I was completely worried that we were about to hear the worst performance from Siobhan that we’ve heard yet. It only got worse from there as she completely butchered the entire chorus. She just was way off-key and, as Randy would say, really pitchy. Aside from her one big note in the middle, this was an absolute mess. Even her, now trademarked, loud note at the end sounded horrible. This was easily her worst performance of the season and I’m curious if she was nervous as this was her first time ever performing early in the show. She should be popular enough to garner the votes to make it through, but she needs to bounce back after next week. Score – 2 out of 10.
Casey James sings “Hold On I’m Coming” by Sam & Dave – Wow a song that’s never been sang before on the show. That’s shocking since this is actually a pretty popular, well-known song. Just as I think Crystal should never let her guitar leave her, I firmly believe that Casey should never perform without his electric guitar. This was one of my favorite performances that he’s ever put on. I loved the guitar solo that he put in the middle and I wish it could have been even longer. While there’s not much to do to the song vocally, I thought he made up for it with his guitar skills and stage presence. For awhile there, I forgot that he was a contestant and thought he was an established singer leading his band. This performance was hot and I’m excited to see what he does in the coming weeks. Like I mentioned earlier, however, Casey needs to take a few more risks in the future. Taking these songs with a limited range and great guitar riffs is only going to take you so far. I don’t judge the future, however. I just judge this week. And this week, Casey was awesome. Score – 7.5 out of 10.
Michael Lynche sings “Ready for Love” by Indie.Arie – Interesting decision to go with the solo acoustic guitar. I’ve never heard this song before. I must admit, I love the look of him on the small catwalk behind the judges with the spotlight on him. There’s no denying that Mike has a great voice and the ability to make the people in the audience feel moved. This is definitely an interesting way to follow up his performance of “When A Man Loves a Woman” from last week. I’m slightly torn because I still found the performance to be rather boring. It comes off that way, however, because it’s just one song. It’s not like if we were to see him in concert and he goes off with 5 or 6 fast-paced R&B songs before slowing things down with this performance. Going to a concert is like riding a roller coaster. Every artist does this. Big Mike has cemented himself as a real recording artist and I see a long, prosperous career for Mike in music. Score – 8.5 out of 10.
Didi Benami sings “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” by Jimmy Ruffin – Didi came out with the Taylor Swift look tonight. From the dress to the hair to the earrings, it was almost Taylor Swift completely. It just doesn’t seem to matter to me what Didi sings; I just can’t stand it. This performance was so bland and lacked any emotion which is strange since she cried while singing it during her practice run. She showed a second glimpse of emotion at the end, but this performance just lacked any feeling at all. With Paige and Lacey out of the way, Didi is most definitely in line to be one of the next few to go. The bottom line is that this performance was awful, the arrangement was terrible, and the song which she claimed to have an emotional attachment to lacked all emotion at all. Terrible. Score 1.5 out of 10.
Tim Urban sings “Sweet Love” by Anita Baker – The guy who last week was the second to last place needs a strong performance this week. It was a funny moment in rehearsals seeing Usher telling Tim to picture him as the girl he’s singing this song to. I always wait until the end of a performance before I write these critiques. Is it bad that I was so bored and lost with this song that I didn’t even realize it was over until halfway through the judge’s critiques. This song was beyond bland and should have been a song coming from a 55 year old lounge singer. If America has an ears and any intelligence, Mr. Urban is hitting the road tomorrow night. Score – 1 out of 10.
Andrew Garcia sings “Forever” by Chris Brown – I love this song and I like this song choice. I really hope that this is the week that Andrew really comes back to his potential. Anyone else have flashbacks of this song being played during that church wedding video? (If you haven’t, which I doubt, see what I’m talking about here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8DCt3Lmi28 . I LOVED this version of this song and I believe that it would be a hit on the radio today. In fact, his version of this song will be a song that I purchase tomorrow on iTunes. I thought this was amazing and I could see this exact version being played at a wedding reception. It took him many weeks to live up to his “Straight Up” performance that Kara references every week, but THIS is the Andrew Garcia we’ve all been waiting to see. This was a breath of fresh air and I’m so excited to see one of my pre-show favorites come back this strong. Best performance of the night so far and maybe one of the top 3 performances of the season. Score – 9.5 out of 10.
[adinserter block=”2″]Katie Stevens sings “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin – This is a song that has been done so many times on Idol. Katie definitely has the chops to do it justice. The girl that I’ve compared to Katherine McPhee multiple times came through big time once again. She has a terrific voice but she still lacks stage presence. I agree completely with the judges saying that Katie needs to make a better effort to make the songs a bit younger and marketable to her age group. Her voice carried this performance. While voice is what matters most, stage presence is a big part of it. No person has ever won Idol by just standing behind a microphone and singing. I’m waiting to see a little bit of personality from Katie and I’d still like to see her invest herself emotionally into a song. Score – 6 out of 10.
Lee Dewyze sings “Treat Her Like a Lady” by The Cornelius Brothers – This is a song that I’ve heard a few times in my life. Lee made it into a bit more of a rock tune which is understandable and needed. Lee was unbelievable and this was better than the original, in my opinion. Lee’s personality has been the only thing that has held him back a bit from the beginning, but tonight Lee stole the show and maybe even topped Andrew Garcia for the performance of the night. Lee has continued to churn out great performance after great performance every single week. He’s been one of the more consistent contestants and added to that this week with one of the best performances of the season. In fact, it was so good that he just earned my second perfect score of the season. Amazing. Score – 10 out of 10.
Crystal Bowersox sings “Midnight Train to Georgia” Gladys Knight – Crystal is giving into the judges and showing another side to herself by not using her guitar. Instead, it’s time perform with the piano. Or, so we thought. After just 30 seconds, Crystal got out of her seat and gave us the best of both worlds by just working the microphone. She sounded great with this song and I loved the arrangement. I’m hoping that now that she’s put the guitar down, the judges tell her to pick it back up. While her vocals were great and the performance was great, she seemed to have lost a little bit of confidence without an instrument with her. I’m going to attribute that to the fact that she’s yet to do it. It doesn’t matter if she’s seated, standing, playing the guitar, piano, or drums; Crystal has “IT”. Another memorable performance from Crystal. Score – 9.5 out of 10.
Aaron Kelly sings “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Whithers – And tonight’s “Pimp Spot” belongs to young, Aaron Kelly. Aaron is becoming way too predictable for me even though he’s good every week. The problem here is that he sang a song that many others have already done on Idol and most of them have done it better. Aaron is good and young, so he has nothing to worry about. He’s not going anywhere. But, if there’s one “front-runner” whose act is starting to wear on me, it’s Aaron. He really needs to do something else before, like the comparable David Archuleta, he might fall into obscurity. Score – 4.5 out of 10.
Now, for the “Hits” and “Misses” for this week.
Hits (People that are 100% safe based on their performances) – Crystal Bowersox, Lee Dewyze, Michael Lynche, and Andrew Garcia
On The Fence (50/50 chance of going home) – Aaron Kelly, Katie Stevens, and Casey James
Misses (The people that have the best chance of going home) – Siobhan Magnus, Tim Urban and Didi Benami
That concludes the Top 11 for this week. I’ll be back next week with the Top 10!
Brett is 26 years old and from Millville, NJ. He has is a life-log fan of the Philadelphia sports teams as well as the Boston red Sox and Cincinnati Bengals. Brett is also a big fan of professional wrestling and mixed martial arts. If you would like to comment on one of his stories, please e-mail him at Brettley916@aol.com
Check out American Idol Season 8