Tuesday, March 16, 2010

AI9 Those In Glass Houses

Tonight we have the first night of the finals, when the competition becomes very serious. Twelve people, six men and six women, are vying to hang on at least 2 more weeks to make it on the tour, and the chance to be the next American Idol. Crusty points you that despite all the complaining and belly-aching, you, America, chose the top 12, and now we are going to hear them work it out. The strange disembodied announcer's voice introduces the judges and Crusty, and he points out the stage is the same as last year, and mentions there are 450 people in the audience. And we get the Rolling Stone retrospective, and it prepares us to settle in for the AI tribute to an icon, the band called The Rolling Stones.

First, we get the clips that tell us Michael Lynche turned to music when his mother was sick, and it helped him cope. And we learn he is going to sing Miss You, released in 1978. He made it an R&B pop tune, with hints of Michael Jackson. For me, it was a little odd, for the original had a drive, a push, and was a bit on the bravado and sarcasm, all of which are missing in the version tonight. But he did hit all the notes, and delivered a version very different than Mick. All the judges are on board but Simon, who thought it was a bit corny and desperate. But then Crusty decides he doesn't like Big Mike getting the attention, and tries to make it all about him and Simon. [eye roll]

Didi Benami's mother can't be there to watch, for she is too nervous and would only make Didi nervous, too. But she is staying in LA and supporting Didi, and it is a great thing. She sings Play With Fire, released by the Stone in 1965. She slows it down a bit, and adds all kinds of drama and a bit of darkness. It actually works well, she sounded great. She scored with all the judges.

We learn Casey James had some medical issues when young, and he would hum before he talked. There is a bond with the family because of it. He sings It’s All Over Now, 1964 release. He is on stage with the electric guitar, and adds a southern-fried rock touch to the song, and it is working for it. He sounds good doing it, and the guitar was great. All the judges, save Simon, loved it. Simon thought it was good, but lacked star power. I think Simon has a point, Casey lacks a bit of seasoning with his showmanship, but the vocals and playing were very good.

Lacey Brown is a preacher's kid, and is an introvert. She was told if she doesn't ever stand out, she couldn't move forward, and she stepped out to sing. She sings Ruby Tuesday, the 1967 release. She drips with quirkiness, and that is all the first third seems to offer. It picks up at the chorus, but she buttons it with more quirk. The reviews are mixed, Simon thinks she is overthinking the performances.

Andrew Garcia's father is a musician and singer, and Andrew started out by playing guitar. They were poor folk, but filled with love and music. Andrew sings Gimme Shelter, the 1969 release. He is without the guitar, and is mixing it up with the song. The chorus is very rough, he doesn't have the lower end to really pull it off. He lacks in dynamics, too. The judges are mixed, with Ellen loving it, Randy thinking it was pitchy, Kara thought it lacking in understanding or conveying emotion, and Simon seemed to think nerves got the best of him.

We discover that Katie Stevens was a bit of a ham from the time she was a baby, and performed in public the first time at her uncle's wedding. It was pitchy, but cute. She sings the 1971 song Wild Horses. Wow, in the first shot, I see Katharine McPhee! That was shocking. No, it is Katie, and she is doing a rather nice job with an adult contemporary ballad version of the Stones. The judges liked it, and she is encouraged for the first time in a few weeks.

Tim Urban grew up in a big family, one of ten kids. He loves being part of the Urban family, but getting to step out into the spotlight as an individual, that is something new and he likes it. He sings the 1966 hit, Under My Thumb, and makes it into a reggae song, which is just silly. Sorry, I like him. and he hits the notes, but really, reggae Stones? And is Tim going to be a big reggae singer. Randy hated it, Ellen didn't like it, Kara applauded him trying something, as did Simon, who pointed out it didn't work. Tim just wanted to have fun, and he did. Good for him.

Siobhan Magnus comes from a large family, and she sings with her father, and he is nothing but proud. Siobhan sings Paint It, Black, the 1966 hit. She is playing with the tempos, and it is working. She has the depth of voice to pull it off. This is really cool. There was slight issues with the big note at the end, but she just barely hung on, then ended nicely. The judges are in agreement it was the best of the night, and Kara even trots out the Adam Lambert card. Cause you know, Kara can't let an artist be themselves, ya know?

Crusty quizzes Lee Dewyze on paint colors, which is a bit silly. In the video, we find out he was incredibly shy, and wouldn't sing in front of the family, and he has come so far. He is singing 1978's Beast of Burden. He is doing an acoustic thing with strings. He is more in tune than usual, but when he pushes even a little, he falls off. There are notes that hurt my ears. That last note wasn't good. Randy loved it, as did Ellen. Kara wants to celebrate he was not as pitchy as usual. Simon thinks it is all about confidence. I am confused why pitchy is problematic for him...

Born and raised in Naples, Florida, Paige Miles was raised by her mother as her father died when she was four. She sang she was eight, and has soon was singing all the time. She takes on the 1969 hit, Honky Tonk Woman. She is sounding pretty good tonight. She is especially strong on the chorus, when she is letting loose. I liked it. The judges like it, and discussed her being sick this week. Simon thinks it was a bit generic, but there were some very nice moments. I agree with Simon.

Aaron Kelly is an adopted child, and he talks about he doesn't know where he gets it, since his mother can't sing... Does he realize he is adopted? There is a great bond between them. He sings Angie, the song from 1973. What have they done to his hair? He starts off well enough, but he has a few rough spots as he holds the notes, but that is clearing up. Wow, he got this under control. That is the best he has sounded yet. The judges are on board, and he is getting raves.

Crystal Bowersox grew up in rural Ohio, and her pony-tailed father was her roadie. He talks about her as a songwriter, and it brings him to tears. She sings You Can’t Always Get What You Want, a 1973 hit song. She brings some gospel to it, and is very good. This is her style, and she does it very well. It had an odd build, or lack there of, but I think that was a time constraint. She was very good.

On the video recap, we see Andrew was better in rehearsal, and Lee mumbled more. Siobhan killed both, as did Aaron and Crystal. They were the top performers, with maybe Didi added in there. If I were to place a bet, I would guess the bottom three will be Tim, Lacey and Andrew. And I can't say who will go home. This early, you can never be sure, but history has proven it is often a woman the first out.


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