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 5: Sinatra
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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.
OUT: CASEY JAMES
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
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.