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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 Pepper, GSNN
Host Ryan Seacrest
Judges Simon Cowell
Ellen DeGeneres
Kara DioGuardi
Randy Jackson
Creator Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
EP Ken Warwick
Cecile Frot-Coutaz
Simon Fuller
Packager 19 TV & FremantleMedia North America
Origins CBS Television City, Los Angeles
Web americanidol.com
Airs 8p Tues & 9p Wed, Fox
Available In High-Definition Where AvailableStreaming Online

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Round of 5: Sinatra
May 4

So after spending the next 6 days wondering if America intentionally tortured me by getting rid of Siobhan Magnus and keeping in Casey James (they didn't - Siobhan wasn't good last week), I'll be getting tortured even more when Harry Connick Jr. takes the music of Frank Sinatra and interprets them for the Idolers (Read: This batch is so uncreative musically, that we need someone to interpret the music FOR them). At least none of the judges will be complaining about the arrangement. 
Now say what you want about Todrick Hall and Jermaine Sellers, but if they were still in the competition, this would have been fun to see. Instead we get 2 people with hideous vibratos, one singer who may sound great live but who's voice comes out muddled, a Bruce Springsteen clone and a lady who mailed it in last week and really doesn't need to do anything else in this competition to rack up some albums. So they saved the torture for me for THIS week. Jason Block and Chico Alexander get to be tortured with me for the ride. 

We start the ride into the house of horrors with Aaron Kelly, Aaron Kellywho croons 'Fly Me To The Moon'. 
The Good - This is the right song choice for him. It's a well known song which will get the little girlies to vote until their fake fingernails fall off, with not a lot of high long notes that his vibrato can play havoc with. And he actually hit the money note with no tremolo, which I didn't think he would be able to do. 
The Bad - However, the tremolo did show up in the beginning of the song. Unlike Ellen, I heard a lot of country into it. And I semi-agree with Kara that he needs to add some charisma and own the stage. Part of that is his facial expressions need to match the song. It's a fun crooning love song, and the facial expressions looked like he was undergoing root canal. 
The Jason - His countrified pop/vocal tone did not mix well with this classic. His vibrato and tremolo didn't mesh well. 
The Chico - Aside from the obvious lyrics flub, he started to come into his own on that performance. Once he shook off the cobwebs in the start (he was a mite sharp), he came alive. On the other hand, he didn't really have any swag, so Aaron was a mixed bag. 
The Verdict - It was an ok vocal. I didn't get the swagger, but pitch-wise and vibrato-wise, he was good. And I think he'll be ok this week, because 1. Siobhan's vote is going to go to him, and 2....

...Casey James has to sing in the same genre, and I expect the tremolo, which he's never been able to control while he's been in his element, is going to rip him apart here. He's going to try to make 'Blue Skies' sound remotely decent. 
The Good - Well, he played the part with slick hair and the purple shirt and the black vest combo. And the band sounded very nice with the arrangement. 
The Bad - Unfortunately, Casey wasn't part of the band, and wasn't part of the song. If the BP oil seeped into the atmosphere and choked all of the birds out of the sky, that would be an apt description of Casey's pitch and vibrato all throughout the song. We didn't have blue skies. We had toxic-filled smoggy skies. Actually, we need Casey to sing that in Central Park, because we have a pigeon overpopulation crisis that he could help us out with. 
The Jason - And the suckfest continues. His vocals did not mix with the tone of the song. He will be in trouble as well. 
The Chico - If Casey James was as fluid as a sea last week, he was as fluid as a glacier this week. There was no swag, no smooth, no nothing. I mean, he didn't do anything with the song, he didn't take us anywhere... the thrill is gone. He was just singing up there and hoping that it would end very very soon... Good for him, because it just might.
The Verdict - He turned down a $50 gig and free food to perform on Idol tonight. He won't have any such conflict next week. 

Harry doesn't know what Crystal Bowersox sees in 'Summer Wind', but he's going to try to find out. We, as the audience, will try to find out, because that's a bizarre song to select. 
The Good - You can't complain about the tone of her voice and the pitch. Putting her against Casey as a way to keep her on the show is a smart idea on the producer's behalf. 
The Bad - I don't think the judges understand that not every song is a high note performance. But Simon nailed it when he said that Crystal selected 2 self-indulgent songs in a row, which Crystal made worse by arguing back to the judges. Ask Michael Lynche how well arguing with the judges worked out for him. And the ill-fitting black dress, combined with the bickering, made her look like a brown-haired version of Ursula from The Little Mermaid. 
The Jason - This was a breath of fresh air. Her vocals were pure and she told a story with the music and lyrics. 
The Chico - I'm still waiting for Crystal to break out of the performance and make it her own. She has the attitude to make the song believable, but does she now, after two weeks of seemingly mailing it in, believe that she can win AND come through in the clutch?
The Verdict - We finally get a good performance, but it was subdued and 'ok'. Is 'Ok' going to be enough for her fans to vote? 

Michael Lynche, dressed to the nines, sings 'The Way You Look Tonight'. But how is he going to sound tonight? 
The Good - He FINALLY selects a good, well-known song. He also, for the first time in weeks, doesn't oversing the song and delivers a good performance. This is the first time I would actually like him... 
The Bad - ...if at the beginning of the song, he didn't mutilate the pitch worse than what Freddy Kruger does to Elm Street children. I'm also still waiting for an emotional connect, which I didn't get. The muddled sound felt like he was looking us tonight behind 8 feet of bubble tape. 
The Jason - I had fun with this. His balladeer style meshed well with this :) I liked his vocals. 
The Chico - Now that was swagger. Great charisma. Great song choice. And he took us to where the song needed to take us.
The Verdict - He could steal a bit of Siobhan's fan base with that. He could make himself a threat to win the show if he could throw in a R&B performance here and there, since no one else is singing in that genre. Can he put the pieces together with a month left to go in the competition? 

We end the evening with Lee DeWyze, who out of the 5 singers, certainly looks the most like a rat packer. Now can he sound like it? He hopes so with 'That's Life'. 
The Good - Far and away, the best performance of the night. And when I say performance, I mean Rat Pack Swagger and attitude, complete with a nice vocal effort. 
The Bad - I was not a big fan of Harry's organ (or a cheap throwaway joke by Ellen). I think if the bagpiper came in, it would make more musical sense than the organ. 
The Jason - He was too fast on the beat of the song, and his vocals were muddled and I didn't feel his version of the song.
The Chico - Lee stayed true to himself and looked the part, and aside from a bit of a word or two... he has the ability to win the competition. Now he needs to believe that he can win... 
The Verdict - Now THAT is what you should be doing during Rat Pack night. A complete redemption from last week and it puts him back on the map again for a spot in the finals. 
Overall Verdict: The good news is that it was not as brutal as last week. The bad news is that we still have to deal with 4 more weeks of this, and Harry Connick Jr. isn't going to be around every week. And neither is one of these people. 

Trouble: Aaron Kelly, Casey James

If there was a bottom 3, Crystal would be down here with a combination of 2 lackluster efforts, but she won't be the low vote. That's going to go to Mr. James, who last week gave one of the better performances and still wound up in the bottom 2, which means he has no hope after a lousy one.


The Jason: Well, this is my bottom three: 

TROUBLE: Aaron Kelly, Casey James, Lee Dewyze.

OUT: Casey James 

The Chico: First off, how about the band, huh? Great songs made even better by the adept hand of Harry Connick, Jr. who was at the freaking piano! I believe the first time the mentor participated in the performance. This was the show of the season right here.

As for the contestants... It's your classic "tale of two halves". The first three songs made last week look inspired by comparison. Then Big Mike and Big Lee said to the favorite Crystal, in no uncertain terms... "This isn't yours YET." And based on the results from last week, guess who's going to be forced into the bottom three... 

TROUBLE: Crystal Bowersox, Casey James, Aaron Kelly 

Aaron has the teen vote. Crystal has her devoted legion of dirty hippie fans (just a joke, much love to all her people). Casey has... well, he looks good. PLUS last week was a chaotic. What happens after a chaotic week? The universe self-rights. And Casey picked a BAD night to have a BAD night. 

The good news is that Casey will have plenty of time to make his next paying/free meal gig. 

OUT: Casey James 

Join us in 24 hours to see who will be doing more croaking than crooning.


To see this episode in its entirety, go to www.americanidol.com.