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The 5th Judge – American Idol Top 11 Hits & Misses

Aaron KellyWelcome back to this week’s Idol’s “Hits & Misses”. Last week, we wished Lacey Brown well in all future endeavors as she packed her bags and was shipped out of the Idol house. I didn’t care for Lacey and I mentioned it many times in these recent articles, but I think we all knew that her days were numbered.

I guess if I had to pick one of two people to go, she would have been one of them for the simple reason that my wife and I go to the American Idol concert tour every year and only the Top 10 get to go on that. So, I’m glad I won’t have to sit through her set live.

Ironically, she wasn’t the worst performer last week by my standards or the judges. Both Andrew Garcia and Tim Urban were given harsher criticism then Lacey or Paige Miles, who would have been the next person to go home. I also had both Andrew and Tim with lower scores than Lacey.

I mentioned last week that I was dreading “Rolling Stones” week simply because I’m not a Stones fan at all. I must say though that I was pleasantly surprised with the performances and I preferred them over the Rolling Stones. Don’t shoot me. You can gasp and act shocked because I said it; that’s ok. I’m just not a Stones fan. You want to hear something even worse? I am, however, a big fan of the genre being performed tonight.

Miley Cyrus is the mentor. No, I’m not joking. Yes, I think it’s ridiculous that a person who can’t sing live is teaching our Idol’s how to sing. Anyway, I do like Miley’s music for the most part. All of the Idol’s tonight are singing any song that ever made it to number 1 on the Billboard charts. This should be a welcomed change from last week. I think it’s a great decision by Idol’s Producer’s to have at least every other week be current music since the 18-35 age demographic is where the majority of their viewers reside. With that said, it’s time to get on with the performances and see who will be the first one to butcher a Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift song.

Lee Dewyze sings “The Letter” by the Box Tops – Interesting choice of song. I’m shocked to not see Lee sing some big rock hit. I love the presence of the background singers and the 5 piece horn section to his right. Everything that the judges have said all along about Lee needing to work in his stage presence is exactly right. I still see him looking down and he still appears to lack confidence which is unfortunate because he is one of the best vocally. Tonight, however, he reappeared as the Lee Dewyze that we all wanted to see. He looked comfortable on the stage and he looked down only once or twice. He owned the stage and his vocals were outstanding. I would have still preferred to see Lee do a rock song of some type (he HAS to do Kings of Leon at some point) and I’m still awaiting his WOW performance. His performance tonight should guarantee him a spot on the all important Idol’s tour. Way to start the show. Score – 6.5 out of 10.

Paige Miles sings “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins – I love this song and I remember years ago when Scott Savol did a season-defining rendition of this song that was awesome. Paige started off absolutely horrible. Her lower registry was pitchy throughout the entire beginning of the song. Once the music got heavier and she actually sang, it wasn’t as bad but it was still awful. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and call this the worst performance of the season yet. The girl who would have been the next one to go last week did herself no favors at all. If the public votes based on performance, then there is no reason at all why Paige should be here again. If I can go one step further, please just save us the Wednesday night and send her home now. Score – 1 out of 10.

Tim Urban sings “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen – The guy who had my lowest score last week taking a chance on one of the most difficult songs possible to sing. Freddie Mercury was a genius and could do things with his voice that very few men can. Tim can’t possibly pull this off, can he? For starters, I loved the way he moved around the stage and became the first contestant this year to actually leave the stage. I’m actually shocked that it took this long. While the song did sound karaoke-ish, his stage presence was cool to see. It’s just rather unfortunate to see Tim take this monumental fall just weeks after a tremendous rendition of “Hallelujah”. I didn’t think Paige would have competition when it came to who goes home, but Tim is doing his best to give her a run for her money. Tim’s vocals were just flat our corny. I can’t help but think of how some of the other people who were ousted the last round of Hollywood Week would have performed so far. Score – 2.5 out of 10.

Side Note – Before cutting to break, Ryan just said that Aaron would be singing Aerosmith next. I’m just listing my prediction now since Aaron has just become so predictable even though he can sing. Aaron will sing “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing.” There’s my prediction. Will I be wrong? I’ll let you know after this Capital One commercial.

Aaron Kelly sings “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith – BAM! Right on the money. The fact that he has become so predictable could be a good and a bad thing. It’s a bad thing because in the past, a contestant who hasn’t taken chances has not won the competition. It’s a good thing because it shows you exactly what type of artist you are getting from Aaron. So, rest assured, if Aaron releases a CD, it will be full of these slow, power ballads. Even battling laryngitis, Aaron outdid Tim and Paige by leaps and bounds. It was tremendous what he pulled off given the circumstances. It just goes to show how talented Aaron is and I expect him to go far in this competition. Like I said a few weeks ago, he reminds me quite a bit of David Archuleta. Aaron flies under the radar, but he’s starting to get noticed and I hope that he can continue delivering even as the expectations mount. Score – 7 out of 10.

Crystal Bowersox sings “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin – The judges keep getting all over Crystal for claiming that they think she expects to win the show. I haven’t gotten that impression yet and I’m not sure where they get it from. Maybe there’s something behind the scenes going on that they know. This girl is unbelievable and she showed once again why she is the front-runner to win this show. She was once again tremendous on the guitar and she showcased more of her vocals then she has in recent weeks. I love the fact that Crystal walks onto the stage with her guitar every week, takes a song and makes it sound current, and demands attention. I agree with the judges to an extent about Crystal not connecting with the fans personality-wise, so I was glad to see the post-song, “have a seat on the carpet, Ryan” part. That’s exactly the personal side of Crystal that they want to see. Thus far, Crystal is once again the best performer of the night. Score – 9 out of 10.

Michael Lynche sings “When A Man Loves a Woman” by Michael Bolton – I loved the video bit prior to the performance that showed the potential relationship between Michael and Miley. Michael and Crystal are definitely the two front-runners and if there’s one thing that could give Michael the potential edge, it’s his personality and how he has connected with the public. This guy is unbelievable with his vocals and stage presence. Ruben Studderd won his season and I believe that Michael is even better than him. In fact, I have a playlist in my iPod of slow jams with songs by Boyz II Men, K-Ci And JoJo, and Marvin Gaye and I will be downloading this performance to add to it. Kara and Simon said that this performance was boring and “loungy”. I do agree with that, however, this is the first time this season where Michael has taken a performance and stripped it down. I didn’t mind that. It doesn’t really matter because I don’t see Michael going anywhere for a long time. Score – 6 out of 10.

Andrew Garcia sings “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye – Kinda funny that I just mentioned Marvin Gaye above as being in my IPod and now Andrew goes and sings a song by him. The first thing I noticed is that Andrew put down his guitar this week. Back before Hollywood Week even started, Andrew was one of my favorites and I thought that he’d be a front-runner this season. He has taken a more epic fall-from-grace then anyone in the entire competition. He went from being one of my favorites to a middle-of-the-pack guy who is definitely looking at being one of the contestants ousted in the next 3 or 4 episode without a drastic turnaround. Most public-loyalties to a contestant are made early in the season and I’m afraid that Andrew is missing his opportunity to gain a broader fan base due to these mediocre performances. Score – 3.5 out of 10.

Side Note – GLEE IS BACK IN 3 WEEKS FROM TONIGHT!!!!

Katie Stevens sings “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie – I like the song choice since it’s current and from her age group. I had thought for sure that someone was going to tackle a Miley song tonight and I thought it’d be Katie. My guess now is that no one takes that chance now. With that said, Katharine McPhee Jr’s attempt to sing the most over-played song of 2008 was just average for me. It was pitchy in a few areas and I didn’t like areas that she injected runs. Still, Katie’s vocals were terrific once again and I am a fan of the look that she portrayed. I disagree with Kara that Katie should release pop music. I believe that Katie would be better singing country music as they tend to have a more loyal following. Simon hit the nail right on the head; there are too many established recording artists right now that are exactly like Katie and she would have trouble finding an audience. Score – 6 out of 10.

Casey James sings “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News – I think that this may be the first ever time for this song to be performed on American Idol. I like seeing Casey with the electric guitar this week. I don’t think that Casey is a rock artist, but I think that he could be an artist similar to Edwin McCain, Howie Day, and Daniel Powter. Casey definitely did great tonight with his eye contact and moving around on the stage a bit which has been one of his bigger weaknesses. Casey’s issue all season has been song choice. He’s been picking songs all year that just aren’t the right genre of music for him. I don’t think that this song is up his alley. I’d like to see him sing a song like “You Had a Bad Day” by Daniel Powter as I think it’s where he would be successful. Even though I didn’t like the song choice, I still enjoyed the performance. Still, it was just average. Score – 5.5 out of 10.

Didi Benami sings “You’re No Good” by Linda Ronstadt – I haven’t heard this song in forever, but I’m not shocked that Didi is singing it because this is exactly her type of music. Maybe it’s just me, but I am just not a fan of her voice or any of the other artists with similar sounding voices for that matter. I find it very hard for me to actually enjoy a performance of her’s no matter how good the judges say she is. Didi was good last week during Stones week, but this song just didn’t do it for me. It was pitchy and seemed to be straight out of a cocktail lounge. My guess is that Didi joins Tim and Paige in the bottom 3 this week. This just wasn’t any good. Score – 3 out of 10.

Siobhan Magnus sings “Superstition” by Steve Wonder — So, who gets the “Pimp Spot” this week; None other than Siobhan which doesn’t shock me. There’s no doubt that Michael, Crystal, and Siobhan are definitively the best three singers in this competition and I expect those three to control the pimp spot for the majority of the season. So, two weeks into the big show and Crystal and Siobhan have held the all important spot. Another observation is that this is Siobhan’s second Stevie Wonder performance this season as she sang “Living For the City” in Hollywood Week. I pose this question to my readers – is there a better pure singer this season than Siobhan? The answer is a resounding NO. If you were to not even look at the TV while watching Idol every week and judge strictly by voice, hands-down Siobhan would have this competition in the bag. She’s so unique and individualistic and I love her. She’s definitely got a fan in me. I look forward to her every week and her comfort level on the stage is terrific. She’s a close second to Crystal for song of the night. Score – 8 out of 10.

Now, for the “Hits” and “Misses” for this week.

Hits (People that are 100% safe based on their performances) – Siobhan Magnus, Crystal Bowersox, and Aaron Kelly

On The Fence (50/50 chance of going home) – Michael Lynche, Lee Dewyze, Casey James, and Casey Stevens

Misses (The people that have the best chance of going home) – Tim Urban, Paige Miles, Didi Benami, and Andrew Garcia

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 [email protected]

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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