American Idol: Top 20 review.

This is hilariously late and, as such, since nobody’s going to read it, probably, I’m going to try to keep it short (although, wiht 240 people, how short can it be?). These are my song-by-song recap of the past two weeks of American Idol performances, the first of which I can only label as probably the worst semi-final in Idol history last week’s shows (tried to do both top 24 and top 20 but it took forever).

Michael “Big Mike” Lynch

It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World: I was pretty surprised by this. I thought he was kinda bland all along (his first week’s performance was decent but kinda boring) but this was actually pretty interesting, intense and well-sung. People compare him to Ruben but I actually think he might be a better singer and, for now, makes more interesting choices.

John Park

Gravity: I think he’s a decent singer but this is just so snooze. Songs like this might make great singles but I don’t think they’re very good for a talent competition like this where you only have slightly over a minute to make a huge impression. While there’re others I’d rather go out before him, I don’t think his elimination was a big loss.

Casey Jones

I Don’t Want to Be: Ok the pre-performance package was quite hilarious. He genuinely seems like a nice guy. His performance of this was pretty good, although probably not the best rendition I’ve heard. Still, it was a solid performance and he’s really turning out to be much better than his audition would suggest. And those mad guitar riffs might be showy but, hey, they work! And, hey, the first week I think he totally surprised everyone by being arguably the best of the night, although most (okay, maybe just me) thought he was just one of those novelty auditions.

Alex Lambert

Everybody Knows: He really does have a very nice voice, with a naturally great tone and timbre. And nice falsetto too! A very pleasant, if not particularly outstanding performance. Plus, the nervous, blur-cock vibe actually seems to work to his performance advantage and would probably grab him more fans along the way. I really like his voice so hopefully he’ll go far

Todrick Hall

What’s Love Got to Do with It: What’s with the covering and “reinvention” of girls’ songs? “Since U Been Gone” was a travesty and this one? Ew, I really don’t like the RnB vibe that he did the song to, which totally sedated and stripped it of its emotion. It got slightly better in the back but still really boring. And he’s still annoying as heck. Get out soon!

Jermaine Sellers

What’s Going On: I really don’t like his thin voice that he stretches out way too annoyingly and his vocal melisma didn’t add anything to the song. It was boring, way too smooth and jazzy and a pale, pale, pale shadow of Anwar Robinson’s performance of this several seasons back.  Glad he’s out.

Andrew Garcia

You Give Me Something: Oh I love this song! And I actually thought he sounded pretty decent on it. It’s just that, without the guitar and the different arrangements he uses, a performance like this actually exposes his vocal limitations. His voice is actually pretty limited and thin and has a ceiling, and I don’t think his voice alone is strong enough to make an outstanding rendition of this song. Plus, the whole plump Elvis look was kinda weird.

Aaron Kelly

My Girl: This song is like a billion times older than he is, but not that in that making a classic sound new way. He’s a great singer (although I’m still not sure he’s up to David A’s standard) but this was the wrong song. He just sounded campy and kitschy and the falsetto was kinda off. He needs to pick edgier, more contemporary songs (I actually think Rihanna’s “Russian Roulette” would be awesome on him).

Tim Urban

Come On Get Higher: He totally saved himself from the first week’s trainwreck. This wasn’t the best of the night by any mile but at least it was a huge improvement from last week and a great song choice for him. It fit in his range, showed off his limited vocal ability and actually sounded like something pretty current. I still want him to go out but performances like this would be just enough, coupled with his fangirl-garnering Jonas Bros image, to get him through for quite a while.

Lee Dewyze

Lips of an Angel: This was pretty good (although unlike most I liked his first performance. I thought it lousy during the show but re-listening to the mp3, I actually liked it quite a bit). Though he was kinda pitchy in parts and he looked so awkward without the guitar, he actually did sound pretty raw and intense and I like the tone of his voice. He’s one of my fave singers this season and, though I don’t think he’s anywhere as good a singer as David Cook, I really hope he goes far. Plus, he seems like a pretty nice guy, too, unlike obnoxious Todrick.

Crystal Bowersox

Long As I Can See the Light: Wow, she’s really getting “The One” treatment, with the show pushing the entire order around for her. But at least she showed why with this performance. It was a perfect choice, a reinvention of a classic done in a non-boring, non-karaoke, contemporary-ish style and it showcased this huge, effortless voice that I didn’t even know was there. By far one of the best performances of the season so far.

Haeley Vaughn

The Climb: Wow this is so the wrong choice for her. I mean, her vocals aren’t her strongest point and choosing a ballad like this was just totally wrong. I do like some of the restylings she did with the song’s melody (as with the Beatles song in the first week, which I actually kinda liked, despite the wonky big notes) and there were moments where she hit some pretty decent notes but overall this was pitchy, all over the place and, although I love her, definitely deserving of that elimination. She seemed such a nice, fun girl, though.

Lacey Brown

Kiss Me: That was boring. Decent but boring and totally unmemorable. And she didn’t do anything with it, like the judges said. Zzz. Can’t remember her from the first week, won’t remember her from this week.

Katie Stevens

Put Your Records On: This is another one of those songs that make good singles but not good choices for competitions like this. She sang it well but it definitely won’t be remembered, though. Which is sad, because she started out as the frontrunner but is totally fading (like Andrew Garcia).

Didi Benami

Lean on Me: Ok I actually liked this. Granted, Didi’s vocal abilities definitely have their limits and some of her flaws were exposed in this song but I actually liked the whole vibe of the performance. Not really memorable but it had a sort of pop-star-doing-charity-single kind of feel.

Michelle Delamour

With Arms Wide Open: On paper this sounded totally interesting. But I think her vocals just weren’t strong enough or different enough or gritty enough to really rock it out. It was just a pleasant sounding but totally boring performance. She’s an ok singer but definitely one of the worst of the batch and deserved the elimination. Plus, who’s she again?

Lilly Scott

A Change is Gonna Come: Ok I think she’s actually pretty good for her Brit alt-pop style but I’m not really a fan of it because, while I like Pixie Lott and Adele and all, I don’t think Lilly is up to that level yet. I’m just not a fan of the drawly delivery and growly notes. Still, she could surprise me one day and she’ll probably go at least a distance.

Katelyn Epperly

The Scientist: I liked Katelyn the first week and I thought this was totally fantastic. It had its little pitch problems and her voice isn’t the biggest out there but it was powerful and I loved her slow, emo, drama arrangement of it. Unlike the judges, I actually thought this was one of The Moments of the night. I didn’t like the big notes at the end, though, like the judges, but I didn’t like it cause it didn’t fit in with the feel of the song, not because of the pitch. Still, I like her and she’s my underdog for the girls’ side.

Paige Miles

Walk Away: Hahha Paige looks like a totally awesome person and I’d like her to stay for a long time, regardless of performances hahaha. Agree with Kara about the smiling thing. Made her look as though she was really just doing a karaoke version. And the high notes were a bit icky (especially considering she’s supposed to be the best female singer this season). Still, she has a decently good voice and, while I don’t think she’s the best of the season, should stay for a little while longer.

Siobhan “Chervon?” Magnus

Think: Ok Siobhan is totally weird and cool. Love her. Ok I didn’t know how “Think” was supposed to be “meaty” cause I thought it was more of a spunky, attitude song but boy did she show me how haha. Her movements were kinda awkward but her voice was totally awesome. And that note. THAT NOTE. The first week I was just saying that Crystal and Siobhan might be good but they wouldn’t have stood out in previous seasons at all but this week they both proved me wrong.

The eliminations for last week were totally obvious and deserved and I actually even agreed with those for the first week (I was totally surprised that Ashley and Janell got out because they were so hyped but I actually felt both were overrated), except for maybe Joe.

And I can’t believe it but, at least this week, I almost totally agreed with the judges. So, either they’re making more valid points (I mean, in previous seasons, there was hardly anything to even agree with) or I’m going insane.

So anyway, here’s my top 12 for now that I really hope all go through, in no order of merit (it’s too early for that yet):

Lee Dewyze
Aaron Kelly
Andrew Garcia (I really hope he turns it out in the next couple of weeks)
Michael Lynch
Alex Lambert
Casey Jones
Siobhan Magnus
Crystal Bowersox
Katelyn Epperly
Paige Miles
Katie Stevens
Didi Benami

I do think, though, that while the top two for now are obviously Siobhan and Crystal, the guys are actually overall stronger, despite the whole “girl’s season” pitch the judges keep making. Still, the second week was way better for both guys and girls compared to the horror that was the first week.

And what’s with all the changing of melodies? Almost everyone has done at least a song where they’ve changed huge parts of the melody. I’m normally a HUGE fan of this but somehow most of them haven’t worked, which is sad.

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