American Idol

The 5th Judge – American Idol’s Top 9 Hits & Misses

Katie StevensWelcome back to this week’s American Idol‘s “Hits & Misses”. Last week, the weak continued to get weaker and the atrocious Didi Benami was sent packing. What Didi blames on bad song choice, all of us who aren’t tone deaf blame on just a bad singer and performer. Thankfully the judges didn’t save her. And, my guess is that the equally as bad, Tim Urban, is the next one gone.

This week, we are in for a treat. All of the American Idol contestants will sing songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. This has become a staple-theme for Idol’s in recent years and has supplied some of the most memorable (and forgettable) performances of all time. It’s important with this theme to make the songs your own. If there’s one thing a contestant doesn’t want to do, it’s to try to mimic a song by these legends. With these songs considered sacred and songs better left untouched, this is a week that always definitively separates the stars from the duds.

With that said, let’s get to this week’s Hits & Misses.

Aaron Kelly sings “The Long and Winding Road” by The Beatles – Once again, Aaron choose the slowest possible song. As much as I enjoy his voice, he’s really wearing out this whole persona. Aaron needs to begin taking chances and quick. He went from being a Top 4 candidate to being nothing more than middle of the pack. His voice was awful in this song when he used his lower registry. It was much better when he actually sang and the long note at the end was spot on and perfect. This performance was extremely boring and bland, like many of Aaron’s recent performances. Aaron is a country singer and I would have liked to see him do more with this song in that direction. Aaron promised to do something more up-tempo if he stays next week. I think he’s popular enough to make it to next week. Let’s hope that Aaron indeed returns next week and sticks to his word. Score – 2 out of 10.

Katie Stevens sings “Let It Be” by The Beatles – This girl has an incredible voice and this was the perfect song choice. I must admit; she gave me chills at certain points. She really showcased her voice this week. The piano on stage and the background singers were a great touch to the song. The long notes that she belted out were flawless. Her pitch was right on throughout the entire song and she even excelled in her lower registry which she has struggled at recently. Make no mistake about it; Katie Stevens is the best vocalist this season. She may not change her songs the most or have the best stage presence, but there’s nobody who can out-sing her. This was her best performance by a mile. This was one of the best performances of the season. Any singer that can give me chills with a performance gets a perfect score. And Katie has done that. Score – 10 out of 10.

Andrew Garcia sings “Can’t Buy Me Love” by The Beatles – I like Andre standing on the platform behind the judges for this performance. It just gives the impression that he’s closer to the crowd. Andrew is always good for putting a good twist on a song. He definitely had an interesting, up-tempo twist on the song. Andrew definitely made this song a pop song but his vocals were not great. There were no big notes or risks. The performance was just an average performance. I believe that the judges were right on in their critique that Andrew should have changed the song more to fit his established style. The pop-sounding change just didn’t make it great. Score – 4.5 out of 10.

Michael Lynche sings “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles – Please don’t send me hate mail for this, but this is one of my least favorite Beatles songs. I love the arrangement that Big Mike put on it, however. The strings section was a nice touch and the song had a smooth R&B beat. He really made this sound like a current song that could be a decent selling single right now. His voice was terrific. Michael is really just turning in great performance after great performance. We’re all waiting for Mike to do wrong and he just hasn’t done it yet. I don’t know what Simon is thinking by claiming that this song sounded like a performance from a musical. What Michael did was awesome. Had a person been living under a rock for 50 years and never heard this before, they would have been bobbing their head and singing this like it was brand new. Big Mike delivered once again. Score – 9.5 out of 10.

Crystal Bowersox sings “Come Together” by The Beatles – First off, what in the blue hell was that awful horn thing that was humming entirely too loud throughout the entire performance? This was the perfect song choice for Crystal. I loved the arrangement besides the darn horn. Her vocals were right now even though you could tell during certain segments of the song that she was under the weather. Maybe it’s due to her sickness, but she came across as screaming at times that she normally would have sang. It didn’t matter because Crystal delivered another terrific performance once again. When Crystal is on stage, she just can’t seem to do any wrong. She gets up there and just gets in her zone. She’s a terrific performer and I can’t wait to see some of the things that she does after the show. Score – 8.5 out of 10.

Tim Urban sings “All My Loving” by The Beatles – It’s time for the guy who should have gone home weeks ago. But, since there was a group of people who were all bottom-of-the-barrel, Tim has been the recipient of being the best of the worst. He now has the backing of Votefortheworst.com which attempts to foil Idol’s results by urging the public to vote for the worst contestant. With all that out of the way, I actually thought Tim was decent tonight. I enjoyed the electric guitar element of the song that showcased his voice. He left behind all of the goofy dancing that he’s done the weeks prior. This was a much better fit for Tim. The highlight for Tim on this show will forever be the “Hallelujah” performance and this didn’t come close to it, but this was still much better for him than any other performance yet. I commend Tim for taking the criticism and rolling with the punches. This performance may have earned him another week. Score – 6.5 out of 10.

Casey James sings “Jealous Guy” by The Beatles – Probably the least known Lennon/McCartney song chosen tonight. This is a terrific song. It doesn’t really matter if you know the song or not because Casey did a great job of making it sound like a current song. I loved the acoustic guitar with the violin. While the performance was slow and dreary, it was far from bland and boring. His vocals were very good and his emotion poured through on this song. It really seemed like he felt the song and the audience couldn’t help but to be moved. When you can take a slow song and show your emotion through it, it comes across as good and not boring. This is exactly how you do a slow song on this show. It was terrific and was one of the best songs of the night. Score – 8.5 out of 10.

Siobhan Magnus sings “Across the Universe” by The Beatles – Are we really going to hear a stripped down, singing performance by Siobhan that doesn’t involve screaming? So far, it’s been rather subdued. She begins the song in her lower registry which is extremely pitchy. She definitely improves as the song goes on, even showcasing her falsetto. Even though the song is slow, I must admit that I’m enjoying the change in temp for Siobhan. For weeks I’ve been saying that I want to see her just stand there and sing. I didn’t want to see the dancing, or the crazy outfits, or the trademark screeching at the end. This was a great performance and was a nice change of pace. If she would have connected with the song emotionally, it would have been a great performance. Score – 6.5 out of 10.

Lee Dewyze sings “Hey Jude” by The Beatles – What a brave song choice. I love the raspyness is his voice. It’s a great touch to this song. Lee on the guitar is absolute money. I’m not afraid to say this, but Lee Dewyze is similar to Kris Allen but he is BETTER. He’s another person that is yet to disappoint during any of his performances. He turned in another amazing performance and maybe right up there with Katie for performance of the night. Lee comes across as so shy and nervous, but the second he gets on the stag he shines. His vocals were a bit spotty, but there’s no denying that Lee will be a successful recording artist. The bagpipes guy was a little weird out awkward, but Lee was awesome once again. Score – 7.5 out of 10.

I must say that this is one of the best episodes of American Idol that I’ve seen in history. The performances were terrific and everyone was on top of their game. No one stood out as being awful and the best performance of the night could have gone to just about anyone. Great, great show!

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

Hits (People that are 100% safe based on their performances) – Katie Stevens, Michael Lynche, Crystal Bowersox, Casey James, and Lee Dewyze

On The Fence (50/50 chance of going home) – Siobhan Magnus and Tim Urban

Misses (The people that have the best chance of going home) – Aaron Kelly and Andrew Garcia

That concludes the Top 11 for this week. I’ll be back next week with the Top 8!

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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