In the world's ultimate talent search - where the eyes of a
nation are upon the best undiscovered singers in the country,
where the audience has the power to make or break you, and
where a million-dollar recording contract is on the line,
there is only one rule: If you can sing it, bring it.
Recaps by Chico Alexander, Jason Block, Don Harpwood & Gordon
Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop
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of 9: The Lennon-McCartney Songbook
Make that 3 straight bottom 2's that Haterade has called. Can he make it 4 in
a row? We'll check this week out for who will be the Sergeant of the Lonely
Hearts Club Band and who should have Let It be as we once again revisit the
The Top 9 are ready to perform for your votes. Well, it's
actually the Top 8 and whatever Tim Urban decides to unleash on us this
evening. We'll eventually get to that. Right now, it's a return to the
Lennon-McCarthy songbook.This is what David Cook used to win Idol and what
David Hernandez used to sing himself back to obscurity.
Randy wants the singers to bring it. Ellen wants 'Blackbird', 'Michelle', 'Daytripper',
and other songs she won't hear tonight. Kara talks about relevancy. Simon
talks about song being changed and not exactly like the original (again, like
what David Cook did, and not what Jason Castro did when he murdered Michelle
(well, figuratively, not literally). I want Jason Block and Chico Alexander to
provide color commentary this week, and they do.
Aaron Kelly, (who
is called Yoda by the group) begins the episode as he sings 'The Long and
Winding Road'. This is one of my personal favorites from the songbook. Will it
still be when he's done singing it?
The Good - He bails himself
out with the money note at the end. He looks preppy, which is a nice way to
perform the song. If he was going to be on a long and winding road, he should
at least be comfortable walking it.
The Bad - Very pitchy on the
high register. The tremolo does indeed take Aaron to the dark side. Ellen
calls it a 'Long and Winding Song' and she's right. He was so pitchy that I
thought he'd be starting for the Anaheim Angels tomorrow.
The Jason - Not a good way
to start. His voice was way off pitch and this version put me to sleep. Judges
were on point here.
The Chico - Really bad song
choice. The bridge was flat, it was a play by numbers performance, and don't
think I didn't notice that lyric flub. Aaron had absolutely no control over
that performance. And Ellen is right, Aaron made that sound "long and
The Verdict - Randy is 100%
right. If Aaron made this country, it would have been a winning performance.
But the pitchiness, combined with him in the first spot tonight, makes me
wonder if he's going to have a very long wait tomorrow in the bottom 3.
Let's talk about Katie
wound up in the bottom 3 for 2 straight weeks. She does the 'single ladies
dance' which makes her look even more of a robot. Her choice of song is 'Let
it Be'. Will she let it be a great performance or should she have let that
song be? Hey, the stuff writes itself tonight, folks.
The Good - Technically, this
is the best that I've heard her. She can belt out the notes and she does have
some nice long sustainable pitches in there.
The Bad - Chico and I
discuss whether or not Katie is actually a robot. This performance doesn't
help my cause. I mean it sounded good technically, but there was almost zero
musicality to it. I'm looking for volume range and emotional connection and
there was none of that in this performance.
The Jason - Simple, plain
arrangement. The only problem was it was a half-octave too HIGH. Otherwise, a
much better arrangement than Aaron, which means big trouble for him.
The Chico - She hit a homer
this week. She knows her limits and keeps it simple, and at the same time, she
isn't afraid to take some risk. Welcome back, Katie.
The Verdict - If she does
escape the bottom, it could be the performance, but it could also be that the
Didi Benami voters will be going to her. Either way, I don't think she's
Andrew 'Dreezy' Garcia is
proclaimed by the contestants as 'the person with the most personality. Now we
need to see it in his performances. Will 'Can't buy Me Love' do it for him?
The Good - It's a very good
song choice. It's the second straight 'solid' performance; not spectacular,
but solid. The breakdown section was nice. It's a little take back to the
19760's with the Wall of Sound and Phil Spector...
The Bad - ...which is very
problematic when you're trying to be current and relevant. It sounded like
something you would hear if he auditioned for Micahel J. Fox's role in Back to
the Future 4, with Marty McFly's guitar from 20 years ago. For those of you
who get the reference, you know what I'm talking about.
The Jason - I loved the
swing, Brian Setzer like arrangement to this. This was very very good. Two
weeks in a row, his risks paid off. But was it enough for him to stay? Not
The Chico -Nice little twist
on the arrangement. This is one of those songs that you can twist around (ask
Teddy Riley and Michael Buble) and it'll still sound great... except when
Andrew is over-emoting it. It sounds a little... "tinny". And it's a shame,
because I wanted to like it.
The Verdict - It's another
competent performance. It was 'Good', but it wasn't something I'd get out of
my seat to vote for. How long can Andrew stay out of the bottom 3 and sing
songs that aren't going to get him new fans?
So far after 3 singers, I'm not feeling 'Let It Be' as much as I'm feeling
'Lethargy'. Sing along. La la la la lazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.......
Maybe Michael Lynche will
wake me up from the doldrums. He's going to use his family tradition and sing
'Eleanor Rigby'. This is what David Cook sang. Can Michael, who had been
called 'The Incredible Hulk', give us an incredible performance?
The Good - From an emotional
standpoint, it's a hit. He uses volume control to get his point across. He
does take a chance and he certainly makes the song his own...
The Bad - ...because I don't
ever think we'll hear like this (nor do we want to) again. The opening is
putrid, cheesy and pointless. I don't know where he's going with this version
of the song, but it didn't decide if it wanted to be pop, R&B, rock, or a
musical mutt. And I don't want to see either Michael or Simon's pecs, so don't
challenge Simon to a manly contest.The last person who did that was Joshua
Gracin, and he left that week.
The Jason - And the goodness
continues. Not as momentous as the David Cook version two years ago, but this
is still a very competent version of this song. He is not going home. His
voice reminds me of Seal.
The Chico - The good news is
that Big Mike has actual history with this song, thanks to his stint with the
Lynche Mob. The beginning is hauntingly beautiful. The rest is classic Lynche,
just the right amount of soul combined with the right amount of grit to back
The Verdict - I hated this.
He will have no problems tonight, and he gets points for creativity, but yuck.
He's got enough on his portfolio to be safe, but once again, the attempt to
court new fans to his side isn't going to work out too well.
It's now Crystal Bowersox's turn
to sing - and it's her turn to get sick. Ugh. It's also her turn to sing 'Come
Together'. Can she put her spin on a song that Carly Smithson did an excellent
The Good - Now this is how
you get a song going. Start low and soft, then proceed to get higher and
louder. That's a course in vocal marksmanship, and that's how you come up with
a performance that will get people talking about how well you performed the
The Bad - The didgeridoo
sounded much more like a didgeridon't.And her aerobice-styled outfit made it
seem like something she wore right out of the sick bed as she was throwing up
her colors onto her outfit.
The Jason - Four in a row.
She took this arrangement and made it sound like Melissa Etheridge in tone and
feeling. I liked this one too. This is right in her wheelhouse.
The Chico - She called it a
"fun groove"... Yes it is. I probably would've lost the didgeridoo, though.
The Verdict - This is the
first performance that I liked tonight. It was a really nice country-rock edge
to the song. Sick or no sick, she's going to have no problems this week.
It's time for Tim Urban, who's
always smiling. I'm glad he is, because he makes me cringe. He wants to put a
smile on people's faces, so he's going to go with 'All My Lovin''.
The Good - He actually makes
this relevant, in a way. He has no problem keeping the pitch, and he does make
this contemporary with the electric guitar. And he does look like a little
Beatles whammy, bowl cut and all.
The Bad - I'm not saying
that this is good, by any stretch. There's no emotional connect over it and it
sounds like what a wedding singer would perform at a wedding with a Beatles
The Jason - Holy crap, I
like what Tim Urban did. This was fun. It wasn't as good as the previous four.
But I liked it. Will it be enough to get him through to next week? I think so.
The Chico - It didn't really
come together for me. I mean, it's good for Tim to step out of his comfort
zone and pick up a cherry axe to play with... but his voice isn't nearly as
polished for this song, and the band drowns him out. And 24 hours from now,
that's not going to be a performance I'll remember.
The Verdict - Why is Simon
being all nicey nicey? Because he's hoping that the audience won't vote as
much because they won't think he's in danger, and then concurrently not vote
enough to keep him on the show. He may get his wish tonight.
Casey 'Goldilocks' James isn't
a 'Jealous Guy'. He just acts like one on tv. And he'll sing like one because
he selects the song of the same name.
The Good - I'll give him
some points for taking an acoustic risk. He was very passionate in his
performance. If he was going to a Sgt. Pepper revival and wanted to dress up
like a Bee Gee, and audition as Maurice Gibb, then he's well on his way with
the white suit and golden weave.
The Bad - Horrible song
choice, because the vibrato is all over the place. If john Lennon had a Billy
Goat which could sing in tune, I'd say the goat was doing a better job because
at least he's keeping the pitch, which Casey couldn't do. Ba-aa-aa-aa-aa-aah.
The Jason - Ooooh, does this
risk pay off? I am not sure. The timbre in his voice was annoying, the song
choice was bad and this was a major misstep for Mr. James. This is his bad
night. What were the judges listening to?
The Chico - It's a good song
choice for Casey, and he makes it work to be sure, but the tremolo didn't
really work for this song. But otherwise, really beautiful. I think this week
we're going to see how strong Casey's fanbase is due to his switch-up.
The Verdict - Ugh. Pitchy
all over the place and just terrible. However, he's got 3 judges who loved him
taking a risk and a lot of screaming girlies who'll love this performance and
will vote to keep him in. Bah.
Last week, Siobhan Magnus screamed
her way to a bad performance. Can she sing 'Across the Universe' without
belting out a song that makes glass shatter? She promises she will. We'll see.
The Good - That was a really
nice, controlled performance. She sang that with emotional and passionate, and
tender. And yes, she didn't sing something that shattered glass.
The Bad - I wonder how many
Scottish Terriers they sheared to make that overly poofy dress. And a special
boo to Randy and Kara who called it restrained. Of course it's restrained if
you sing it this way, and you wonder what exactly they are looking for.
The Jason - It sounded
really well done, but Siobhan needs to learn how to control her breathing.
Nothing takes away from the performance like a giant **inhale**...
The Chico - This is why we
love Siobhan. She takes herself down about 10 notches and shows that she can
sing a quiet, introspective song in a clear, expressive way. No longer just
the screamer, she is a true vocalist.
The Verdict - MUCH better
than last week's mess. It was a different side of her, but a welcome different
side of her. She sounded really good and added to her portfolio. A nice bounce
back week for her.
Finally, Lee DeWyze gives
us 'Hey Jude', dedicating it to... who knows, though his singer-competitors
think it's to Andy Garcia, his best buddy. Can he dedicate this to his
The Good - He gets it going
after the first set of lyrics. Once he proceeds with verse #2, it's a nice
The Bad - The opening verse
that he sang on, he didn't completely hit that high register. And what in the
world is the bagpipe player doing during the song? Is this strange instrument
week? What? Was? That?
The Jason - Not the best
performance of the night. I didn't like his vocals as much as the others, but
he has enough to stay on. And what's up with the bagpipes?
The Chico - It's the night
of the weird instruments. First the didgeridoo, now the bagpipes. He captures
the tone of the song, but he's a little out of voice. I don't know if he's got
the crud or what, but it's good enough to stick around, because he commands
The Verdict - Not nearly as
good as it was last week. The bagpiper reeked of indulgence and I think Lee
lost some credibility here. He could have some issues. Maybe not tonight, but
down the road...
Overall Verdict: It was ok,
if not uninspired. I mean all these singers are 'good', but with the exception
of Crystal, not great. There's nothing here that leads me to think that no one
but Crystal is going to skate for the title. As for the bottom, me and the
judges royally disagree here. I would have put Casey, Michael and Lee in the
bottom 3, but I know that's not who's going to be there. Here's who will be
Trouble: Tim Urban, Andrew
Garcia, Aaron Kelly
This time, we will see Aaron and Tim in the bottom. And this time, Tim will be
leaving because the audience who love him will think he's safe and won't vote
for him as much. Ironically, a good performance from him will be his undoing.
OUT: TIM URBAN
The Jason: The top is
definitely separating from the bottom.
TROUBLE: Aaron Kelly, Casey James, and Andrew Garcia
Casey is going to be safe. Andrew Garcia was good enough to be voted on. Aaron
Kelly was boring.
OUT: Aaron Kelly
The Chico: We have a clear
top... and we have a clear bottom... And unfortunately for Tim, Katie
TROUBLE: Aaron Kelly, Andrew Garcia, Tim Urban
Now Tim also knew that he needed a lights out performance and while he wasn't
lights out, he was better than he was last week. Andrew, though, took a
risk... and it didn't really pay off as much as he would like. But both are
put to shame by someone who just started the night really poorly. And the
lesson learned by Didi Benami last week will be learned again by...
OUT: Aaron Kelly
Join us in 24 hours to see who won't Get Back to where they once belonged.
To see this episode in its
entirety, go to www.americanidol.com.