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Last week the American Idol season 9 Top 12 were named, and tonight they get to prove that they deserve to be there.
For a couple contestants, that might be a tough challenge.
Paige Miles, for example, should have gone home weeks ago, but as the project of both her fans and sites like VoteForTheWorst.com, she’s still here. And battling a throat infection, which should add something interesting to her performance tonight.
Crystal Bowersox, Siobhan Mangus, Lee Dewyze and Mike Lynche simply need to show up tonight and do what they’ve been doing so well. Katie Stevens, Didi Benami, Lacey Brown, and Aaron Kelly need to step up their game tonight.
And Casey James and Andrew Garcia better deliver on what we were promised, or they’ll be singing their goodbye songs soon.
Tonight’s theme is songs from The Rolling Stones, which should give each of these contestants a chance to really shine, and give Andrew Garcia a chance to sing a song not sung by a woman.
Anything can happen, and if each contestant stays true to their own artistic integrity, keeps the nerves in check, and brings their A-game, it’s anyone’s competition to win.
And the key for viewers? VOTE! Last week we lost Lilly Scott and Alex Lambert, two contestants who should not have gone home.
Tonight we’re on the big stage, and the judges and Ryan walk out from the big stairs for the first time this season. There’s a bigger crowd (450 people), more energy, and more opportunities for nerves to get the best of the contestants.
Tonight’s theme is The Rolling Stones, and I need to be clear up front: I am not an expert on the Rolling Stones. Not by a longshot. So keep that in mind as I comment on the songs.
Up first it Mike Lynche. His video gives a peek at his life back home in St. Petersburg FL. And we hear about his mother’s death and how music helped him through the pain. He’s holding the baby in the video; that baby is teeny tiny in his big arms! Mike is singing “Miss You” with a funky R&B flair. It sounds a little too pop for me but there’s no question Mike can sing. I thought it was an OK performance. Randy says he wasn’t so crazy about the arrangement at first but says Mike slayed it. Ellen gets big cheers from the audience before she even speaks; she says, “What’s not to love about that, Mike?” Kara says the Stones are incredible performers and Mike lived up to that. Simon says Mike has his confidence up, but being honest said the performance was at times corny. I agree. Simon says he sang it well but when Mike watches it back (especially the dancing) it comes off a tiny bit desperate.
Ryan asks Simon what part was desperate, Simon says, “Do you want me to talk to you or Mike,” and Ryan walks down and gets right in Simon’s face and tells him to give Mike something constructive. The season continues to get weirder and weirder.
Didi Benami is up next, She says her mom can’t be there because she gets so nervous it makes Didi nervous, and she can’t watch her daughter being judged. So we’ll meet her in the video. Didi is a middle child, and her mom called her a “high needs baby” with a loud voice. Didi is singing “Play With Fire.” I have no idea what this song is supposed to sound like. It’s a little boring, but she is hitting those big notes, even if some are a little shaky. Randy says for the first time in weeks she’s on fire, calling it one of her best performances. Ellen says she loves how Didi lost her way but got back into the song. Kara says when she pushes on her voice she loses her way, but loved how Didi got into the lyrics and she’s moving in the right direction. Simon says she’s beginning to show what kind of artist she wants to be; he thought she was going to lose it 30 seconds in but he’s been a fan of hers for the last two or three weeks. He calls it a solid, not brilliant performance, and says she can do better. Didi says it was time show her other side. Ryan says it worked for her.
OK, Casey is like two feet taller than Ryan. Good grief.
Lacey Brown is up after the break. In her video we hear about her childhood in Amarillo, TX, and her family. Aw, cook at her with her blond hair. Her parents are pastors at their church – which you would know if you keep up with this blog. She’s singing, “Ruby Tuesday.” She’s a little pitchy. Randy calls it interesting and says he wasn’t jumping up and down vocally, but he was pleasantly surprised. He calls it the most interesting of the night so far. Ellen says in the slowest part of the song she stood and sat when it picked up; she called it a tiny bit sleepy. Kara agrees that is was 50/50 and likes hearing her voice but it was off. Kara says she can do better. Simon says the issue is that she performances like an actress and it’s all very thought-through and she’s overthinking. He says nothing wrong with her vocals. She’s so cute; I think the more comfortable she is on stage the better she’ll be. But we may be seeing some of that “worship leader” stage presence she needs to work out for a pop career.
Katie Stevens is up next. Ryan points out that there’s a group in the audience holding up Katie’s picture; her family, her brother and his college roomates. Ryan says each week she’s been told to be younger, and “This week I have no choice but to be old,” she says. In her video we see life in Middlebury, CT with her and her family. Katie says she’s shy; her mom says she was a ham. We see a video of her as a child at a wedding, singing “From This Moment” with her brother. Tonight she’s singing “Wind Horses.” It’s a pitchy start, but as she gets into the song she gets stronger. She has a great voice, but I’m bored with this performance. Not her best. Randy says that it’s a great song if you sing it well; he says she sang it well, despite the pitch problems and calls it a strong performance. Ellen says it started a little pitchy but she sounded amazing once she got into it. Kara says it’s never technically perfect with her, but tonight she made some nice variations and it was better than last week. Simon says this is the only week she’s chosen a really strong song. He didn’t like the second half of the arrangment because she lost the emotion, but says well done.
During the break, let’s talk: I don’t know that comparing her to Adam was a good thing – for her. She’s not that far above the competition the way Adam was at this stage of the competition, and I think there are enough people who didn’t like those kind of indulgent, over the top performances who will support other contestants instead. Don’t get me wrong; I really like Siobhan and put her in my Top 5 prediction today on Faith Radio. but for viewers on the fence, putting her in the Adam Lambert category might not have helped her. What do you think?
Aaron Kelly is up now, with his story from Sonestown, PA. His aunt and uncle adopted him as a child, and his aunt tears up talking about how proud she is of him. He’s singing, “Angie”. This started out a bit shaky, but it’s getting better. Love the new hairdo. He’s such a cute kid. Randy says he was born to sing, and loved the tender moments in his voice. Ellen asks if he’s copying her hair. She his performance and Siobhan stand out tonight. Kara says he connected with the feeling of the song and it was powerful. Simon says he feared for Aaron because he thought Aaron and Rolling Stones could be a disaster. He says it was the perfect song choice, and he sang the song within the limits of his voice and it was believable.
And closing out the show is Crystal Bowersox singing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” We hear about her small town llife in Ohio and how her dad supported her, carryinjg her gear. Dad tears up about a song Crystal wrote for him. She walks out with her guitar; she’s perfect, as usual. The arrangment is great, her voice is great, her stage presence is great. She’s clearly the one to beat this season. The crowd is going crazy. Randy says it wasn’t her best performance but he loves her. Ellen says she sings with such ease and she really is born to be onstage. She says she’s glad to see Crystal being more playful and have fun and be personable. Kara agrees, saying Crystal loosened up. She says it wasn’t her greatest vocal performance. Simon wants to know what Crystal means when she says she overthinks thing; she says she’s got a lot on her mind. Simon says tonight she came out 100% the clear favorite, but tonight is the first time he thinks someone beat her tonight – Siobhan. What? Simon says she’s come out a bit like she’s “got” the competition; Crystal said that never crossed her mind but thank you for thinking that. She also shows a peacock feather she’s wearing in her hair in honor of Lilly.
Who’s going home? I think Katie, Lacey, and Didi may be headed home. Aaron is possibility. Tim didn’t put in a performance worthy of staying, but he may be around another week thanks to fans and VFTW. Casey and Andrew were good but their time will be up soon.
Who’s staying? Lee, Mike, Crystal, Siobhan.
But what do you think?
American Idol season 9 auditions and recaps – complete list of posts