AMERICAN IDOL Top 11 Performance Review - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

AMERICAN IDOL Top 11 Performance Review

March 25, 2010 by  

Since I’m traveling for work, I’ve been without internet access the past two days. Sadly that meant I wasn’t able to post Erik’s review of the Top 11 performances from Tuesday night. But I still wanted to share them with you so you had a chance to chime in and share your thoughts. PLEASE DO!!!

Idol is not a guilty pleasure for me. My iPod has a full share of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood albums to choose from, and I prefer Chris Daughtry’s YouTube version of “Poker Face” to Lady Gaga’s. So, as Kath takes a well-deserved break from the frenzy of live blogging the show, I wanted to offer my take on this year’s crop of future TMZ stories. Using my highly sophisticated scoring system, developed by the same group of scientists that brought us the Octomom, I will award each singer a number of stars, with 5 being the highest.

As luck would have it, Miley Cyrus’ role as the Idols’ celebrity mentor also gives me chances to poke fun at her fame and fortune. It’s a win/win situation, almost like having the best of both worlds…

Quick factoid #1: Ms. Cyrus was born November 23rd, 1992, so she is still 17 years old. Gentlemen, keep that fact in mind before utilizing your Google Image Search, ok?

Quick factoid #2: Unlike the songs featured tonight, the former Hannah Montana has never actually had a song reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Just saying…

Lee Dewyze: Kicking off the show with The Box Tops’ “The Letter” from 1967, Lee looked like a legitimate solo artist for the first time. Joined on the big stage by a horn section and backup singers, Lee delivered a solid performance that should not put him in danger of elimination. (3.5 stars)

Judges: Randy thought he knocked it out of the box. Ellen babbled about a pen for 45 seconds, leaving me puzzled as to how her writers are failing her in this Idol stint. Kara thought it was Lee’s best performance of the season. Simon thought it was non-commercial and “corny,” lacking a defining moment.

Paige Miles: I was puzzled that a young, vibrant contestant would choose Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds” from 1984, and Paige emerged from this song as a huge underdog to move on to next week. After a rough start, I was hopeful that Paige’s bigger voice would shine in the second verse, but she never found a consistent tone. If the past few weeks are being evaluated fairly, Paige will go home tomorrow and miss out on being part of the Idols Live tour in 2010. (1.5 stars)

Judges: Randy called it, “honestly terrible.” Ellen couldn’t bare to pile on, noting only that Paige avoided falling in her high heels. Kara thought Paige had stopped competing, and that her vocals may have been the worst of this season. Simon said that it sounded as if 5 different Paiges were on stage, each contributing to a mess of a performance.

Tim Urban: Miley Cyrus told Tim to “do something cool and different,” and who wouldn’t benefit from sage-like wisdom like that? Tim tried his best with Queen’s #1 hit, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” from 1980, but I find him uncomfortable to watch. For someone who is an average singer, Tim has an air of self-confidence that does not compute. If it weren’t for Paige’s complete blowup, I would send Tim home this week. He is quickly becoming the Sanjaya of this season. (2 stars)

Judges: Randy was not pleased, calling it boring, karaoke-style, etc. Ellen identified Tim’s voting constituency by calling it an audition for High School Musical. Kara was highly critical, almost scolding Tim for playing to the crowd while ignoring his vocals. Simon humorously praised his slide across the stage floor, in order to take attention away from the song, then declared that Tim had zero chance of winning.

Aaron Kelly: Everything about this kid is custom-made for contemporary radio. In his taped intro, Aaron confessed to having a crush on Miley Cyrus, which won’t help him until he turns 21 and develops six-pack abs. Hearing Aaron sing Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” from 1998, I don’t understand how teenage girls could vote for Tim while Aaron is still in the competition. He’s polite, clean-cut, and has real stage presence for his age. The song lacked a WOW moment, but I thought he elevated himself with this performance. (4 stars)

Judges: Randy loved it. Ellen could already see how Aaron’s recording career could be launched. Kara praised his song choice and consistency. Simon warned against seeming old-fashioned at such a young age. At this point, Ryan Seacrest offered a comparison of Aaron to David Archuleta, perhaps a direct appeal for those types of voters.

Crystal Bowersox: The runaway favorite to capture this year’s Idol crown did not let up this week, channeling Janis Joplin as she sang 1970’s “Me & Bobby McGee.” Outside of a small wardrobe change, opting for a lovely dress in place of casual attire, Crystal was strong and soulful, reminding me of Melissa Etheridge. I am not a big proponent of downloading Idol performances on iTunes, but I’m happy to spend 99 cents to have this song in my playlists. (4.5 stars)

Judges: Randy called Crystal a star, noting that she is what Idol is all about. Ellen had heard this song on her car radio last week, and thought of Crystal as it played. Kara felt a more transparent performance, and helped Crystal tease a guitar-less performance next week. Simon said he would not change a thing.

Michael Lynche: Miley was thrilled that Big Mike embraced her, because the other contestants were, “too scared to touch her.” I could make a joke about that, but I would prefer not to be called “a hater” by members of Mileyworld. Singing Percy Sledge’s timeless classic, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” from 1966, Michael showed why we appear headed for a showdown between he and Crystal in the final. However, I did think it was his weakest vocal of the season. On the other hand, Lynche oozes personality, talent, and charm. (3.5 stars)

Judges: Randy gives him props for having R&B/Soul chops. Ellen thought it was a safe choice, but well performed. Kara was underwhelmed, and believed Michael was a bit self-indulgent by inserting so many runs. Simon agreed with Kara, and did not think it was a distinctive song choice.

Andrew Garcia: While rehearsing Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” also released in 1966, Andrew botched the lyrics in front of Ms. Cyrus, who advised him to ditch his guitar and show a new side of himself. Once his performance began, however, I was reminded of a bizarre side effect to Garcia’s singing voice. No matter what song he chooses, Andrew always sounds, at times, to be speaking alongside the music rather than singing. It’s hard to explain, but it distracts me from the mood of his songs. The choice to perform without a guitar also backfired, as Andrew appeared very awkward while moving around the Idol stage. (2.5 stars)

Judges: Randy said it was a bad song choice and simply not good. Ellen also criticized Andrew’s song choice. Kara called it inauthentic and confused, imploring Garcia to get back to basics. Simon called it a horrific arrangement, and thought that Andrew’s calling card (the “Straight Up” version from Hollywood week) may have been overrated.

Katie Stevens: By choosing a contemporary #1 hit, Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry” from 2006, Katie finally found a song that both fit her age and showcased her strong range. After her best performance of the season, Stevens may have persuaded her detractors to send in a few votes on her behalf. Katie has tapped into the same voting block that kept Katharine McPhee, Haley Scarnato, and Kristy Lee Cook around in previous years. She is a pretty young woman with the personality of the girl next door. It is a formula that works, and Stevens’ voice is more powerful than the brunettes I just compared her to. (3 stars)

Judges: Randy liked the fresh, younger approach. Ellen agreed that it was Katie’s best performance of the season. Kara was proud to see the pop/R&B hybrid potential that emerged from the song. Simon is still confused as to Katie’s true voice, but thought it was a solid effort.

Casey James: I have to give Casey credit for introducing himself to Miley Cyrus as a “big fan” of Miley’s dad Billy Ray, rather than of hers. At least he’s honest, right? I am not keeping my fingers crossed for Casey’s take on “Achy Breaky Heart,” but country week must be coming up. That being said, I hated everything about Casey’s rendition of the 1985 Huey Lewis & The News chart topper, “The Power of Love.” Lazy song choice, underwhelming vocals, and a forgettable arrangement did nothing for me. This song made Casey seem like an older version of Tim, smiling for the cameras while bringing nothing to the table. (2 stars)

Judges: They may not have liked the song choice, but they completely disagreed with my initial read. Randy thought he worked it out. Ellen thought his vocals were the best of the night. Kara loved it. Thankfully, Simon argued that it was old fashioned and a song better fit for an 80’s cover band. This is why Idol will die a slow death when Mr. Cowell departs at the end of this season.

Didi Benami: I thought Didi was splitting votes with Lacey and Lilly in previous weeks, as each of them shared a quirky quality in their voices. As the sole survivor of that battle, I was hoping Didi would have a strong week, but her song choice may have been a speed bump. Linda Ronstadt recorded, “You’re No Good” in 1974, and though I thoroughly enjoyed her playful and restrained take on the song, I can understand why the voting public would be put off by the selection. In my opinion, Didi did the best job of moving around the stage of any Idol this week, and should have been rewarded with more praise. (3 stars)

Judges: Randy thought it was very pitchy. Ellen didn’t like the song choice. Kara thought Didi appeared to be acting, rather than being herself. Simon thought the song title was prophetic. Didi defended herself respectfully, pointing out that her earlier songs were somber and slower, so she wanted to up the energy level.

Siobhan Magnus: The most surreal moment of this week was hearing Miley Cyrus say that Siobhan’s voice has swagger. For a moment, the world had turned upside down! Say what you want about the former Hannah Montana, she has good taste in Idols. Though I hated Magnus’ choice of hairdos, as she went far too psychedelic for my taste, her version of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” originally recorded in 1972, was a force of nature. Handed the valuable, “pimp spot,” as Kath calls it, as the final performer of the night, the pride of Cape Cod was unforgettable. Siobhan brought the crowd to their feet with a raucous closer and an ear-piercing crescendo. The Adam Lambert comparisons are apt, and Siobhan won’t need an Idol crown in order for her CD to reach a Best Buy near you in 2011. (4 stars)

My picks for the Bottom 3: Paige, Tim, Andrew (with Paige going home)

Who made your best & worst list from tonight? Where did you disagree most strongly with the judges? How did Miley Cyrus acquit herself as a mentor? Please share your guesses for tomorrow night’s elimination!

Aside from writing about House and Parks & Recreation, Erik has become addicted to Top Chef, The Next Iron Chef, and most other shows with the word “Chef” in the title. Please forward any recipes for Chef Boyardee to his Twitter handle (@FreelanceErik).

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