So this is like 23 hours late and my last blog was an Idol-related post.  I need to get my sh*t together and share more meaningless thoughts.  Until then … THIS.  Is American Idol. 

Man, remember when Usher was a flaming a’hole on Punk’d and essentially sold his pre-adolescent brother/legal ward down the river?  NEITHER DOES USHER.  He’s smooth over everything tonight, though, and Ryan is delightfully dapper in sunglasses and cracking jokes here and there.  Maybe the whole Ricky Martin thing has him manic.  This is American Idol.  Randy is wearing some sort of argyle Garanimal.  And I yawn. 

Sioban Magnus – “Through the Fire,” OPB Chaka Khan.  “I’ve loved you since age 6!”  Way to make Usher feel utterly irrelevant at age 30.  Her outfit is laughable, all tube socks and fake Chucks mixed with an assymetrical evening goan and a faux-Princess-Leia hairdo.  Hideous monster.  Her voice, all runs and squeaks and breathy disaster, isn’t much better.  Her crutch of screeching has grown old (Simon agrees with me) and her pitch is way off tonight.  Luckily, she’s in the first spot so maybe people won’t remember this performance, per se, they’ll just remember liking her. 

Casey James – “Hold On, I’m Coming,”  OPB Sam and Dave.  That’s what she said.  Typical Casey.  Safe but rugged vocals, capable gui-tar strumming, a bit more of a robotic smile than usual.  I do like his tone, though, and Lord knows the show needs some rock to carry us through the next few weeks when Aaron and/or Katie are still with us. 

“Big” Michael Lynche – “Ready for Love,” OPB India.Arie.  Big Mike’s the first of the Top-12 to assume the creepy halo glow, but he’s set up behind the judges quite arbitrarily.  Too much vibrato, as I always say.  Just SING!   I can barely tell where the notes are supposed to go.  His voice is certainly strong and pretty, but there is too much flourish.  Toward the end, where he pushes into his chest voice a bit more, I’m slightly more entertained, though I wish he’d pick something more up-tempo for a change. 

Didi Benami – “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted,” OPB Jimmy Ruffin (thank you, Wiki, I only know the Paul Young version) .  Oh, Didi.  The crying is not becoming and Usher could not care less about your mental frailty.  She looks lovely – the makeup, the dress, the hair.  And her voice is strong and pure until about halfway through, when she tries to Siobhan things up a bit and “pushes” (tm Ellen) a little too hard.  Decent song choice, decent performance, if a tad old-fashioned as the judges point out.  Still liked her Stones’ performance best of all.   

Tim Urban – “Sweet Love,”  OPB Anita Baker and detested by Lucy for about 20 years.  Ummm.  BLINK, Tim.  You look like Clay Aiken or Zac Effron.  His vocal doesn’t sound terrible in the chorus – strong and rich – but the low-register notes in the verses are a slight challenge.  I hate this song like poison, it reminds me of depressing Sunday nights in 7th grade when I dreaded band the next day, and Tim is certainly not the best singer here, but I don’t have a problem with this performance as a demonstration of vocal ability.  Good range, controlled tone.  Just get the eye-f*cking under CONTROL, man!  Randy? Shut your Garanimal-hole. 

Andrew Garcia – “Forever,” OPB Chris Brown.  Hmmm.  Suspect song choice on a family show, for God’s sake.  But at least Andy’s back with the acoustic guitar and not dancing around like an awkward gigilo.  I’m sort of bored – is it possible his voice isn’t really that good, it just sort of has that contemporary vibe and he highlights it with unusual song choices?  I think that is, in fact, probable.  He hits wrong notes all over the place in his low register and doesn’t demonstrate much range overall.  But I do agree with Randy that it’s the best in a while, because he seemed comfortable for once. 

Katie Stevens – “Chain of Fools,” OPB Aretha Franklin.  Wow!   What an original choice!  I’ve only heard this like 90,000 times in the last eight seasons of Idol.  Haaaate.  She’s gone from virgin to Madonna (circa 1984) and looks not unlike myself at age 8 dressed up in my Mom’s cast-off nightgowns and costume jewelry.  Her voice is a bit shrill and all up in her throat, Shakira style.  She’s trying to walk the stage with confidence, but looks a tad foolish, “If I’m being honest” (tm Simon).  I mean … better than I would be at age 17 in front of millions of folks, but ugh.  So tired of the baby munchkins. 

Lee Dewyze – “Treat Her Like a Lady,” OPB The Temptations.  Usher :hearts: Lee!  I still don’t forgive you for Punk’d, RAYMOND.  Dave Matthews-esque vocals morph into strong, powerful, rock vocals akin to a DAUGHTRY or a COOK.  Ladies Love Cool Lee, keep it up.  This was your moment.  Just stellar.  Love Simon and your drama. 

Crystal Bowersox – “Midnight Train to Georgia,” OPB Gladys Knight and the Pips. Crystal on piano – the big “surprise” of the night.  Simple, soulful, and using the back-up singers to the best of their ability at first.  And like so many of Crystal’s show-stoppers, she swells at the end, shows off her big vocals, and wows everyone.  It wasn’t her best performance of the season, but it was, as usual, one of the best two of the night.

Aaron Kelly –   “Ain’t No Sunshine,” OPB Bill Withers.  What is going on with the Danny Zuko hair.  For as many times as this child has gotten his hair cut, you’d have thought someone would suggest an eyebrow trim.  He’s not murdering the song – all the notes are right, basically – but there is no SOUL here.  Has he ever faced a lack of sunshine in the absence of anyone?  Zoink.

Didi may be in trouble, but will The Powers That Be let another girl go home? If rigged, which it certainly is, then maybe … I just don’t know.  Andrew?  Baby Tim? 

 

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