Last season I actually thought Jamie Foxx was one of the better mentors so it’s cool that he’s back. He didn’t seem to get to do much this time around though. But anyway, the top four tackled songs from the cinema! How’d they do?
Lee DeWyze – Kiss From A Rose – I actually thought he was gonna rock this. This is one of my favourite songs (albeit from a terrible movie) and he could have done so much with this. I was pretty disappointed, although I think it’s mostly down to the meh and boring arrangement. He was pitchy in parts (especially with that wonky falsetto jump) and this was definitely a deprovement from the streak he’s been on the past few weeks but it’s actually still an okay (if underwhelming) listen. Definitely not as good as his past few weeks but still not a trainwreck. B
Michael Lynche – Will You Be There – Whoa, why is the song starting so low? Is it to make up for the semi-dramatic jump in pitch? I thought his normal range should be enough to handle that without scooping the barrel bottom. I love the original song but I don’t actually think it’s particularly suited for this stage. Perhaps someone insane like Fantasia might be able to gospel the heck out of it but Big Mike’s story-telling, emotional style is too mild for this song to take off. It was an okay vocal but, like Lee, nothing too overwhelming, which is another waste of a song I like. B
Crystal & Lee – Falling Slowly – This was a perfect choice, falling comfortably into both their styles and they sang it beautifully. I think the duet shows that Crystal has more raw vocal power than Lee but I thought Lee actually has a nicer timbre and tone to his voice but anyway they blended perfectly and both sounded great on the solo parts. Like the judges mentioned about the artistry, it sounds like two country-rock artistes collaborating and rocking out a Grammy-winning duet. Best song of the past few weeks, at least and I can’t wait to hear the studio recording. A
Casey James – Mrs. Robinson – Oh he’s back to the easy-listening snoozefest songs again. I think the ukulele is probably the worst suited instrument for the Idol stage. Every song done with it on the stage sounds like some feel-good song from a romcom movie instead of a competition-winning breakthrough performance. This wasn’t terrible by any chance and his vocals were much improved from last week but it was really boring. Might make a nice listen on mp3 on a rainy Saturday afternoon but definitely not going to do much for him on this stage. B
Crystal Bowersox – I’m Alright – Oh there’s her homemade mic-stand/bong! And she’s back to the Janis/Etheridge throaty growling thing again, which is actually pretty awesome for this performance. I’ve never heard the original but I thought this was edgier, more raw and not anywhere near as karaoke/boring as the last few solos. Not her best but definitely the best solo of the night and Crystal’s back to where she was before her descent the last two weeks. B+
Casey & Michael – Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman – Like the previous duet, this also falls perfectly into both contestants’ niches, like Jealous Guy and half of Mike’s songs. Thing is, I actually thought they would have rocked it more on their own than together. It seems like, especially during the harmonies, they were trying to compensate for each other and therefore they sounded subdued (if very pretty) and didn’t have a chance to soar like the other duet did. Definitely better than all the solos but not as good as Crystal/Lee. B+
While I’d lament that, thanks to the duets, we’re still getting less songs per episode at this stage compared to previous seasons, the duets were the saving grace this week so there’s not much to complain about. Plus, I get less to write.
I thought the guys were uniformly underwhelming this week, each for their own reasons (Lee for choosing a potentially amazing song but underwhelming the heck out of the arrangement and the other two for choosing songs that wouldn’t make a dent on this stage) and even Crystal wasn’t like WHOAOMGAMAZING! Still, at least their song choices weren’t the typical, cliche types that I’m pretty sure Aaron would have chosen (although I’d think that it would actually be cool to see Lee or Crystal tackle an overdone song since they change songs up so much).
Tomorrow, I’m really hoping either Casey or Mike goes home. My ranking for now would be:
1. Lee (I’m really hoping this is just an off week and he picks it up next week)
2. Crystal (like I said, she actually totally deserves the title but she’s just not my personal cup of tea)
4. Casey (he needs to stop choosing boring songs)
The bottom two for me are pretty interchangeable (although based on performances so far I’d say Mike has been consistently choosing better songs and is a better technical singer) but I really hope the top two make it to the finals. Still though, I actually like this top four. They’re not as good a group as last season’s but at least I like every single one, which is a combination hard to find in seasons before.