Tuesday, April 20, 2010

AI9 An Hour To Inspire

Idol Gives Back puts the Top 7 at the microphone to sings Songs of Inspiration, which is a far-ranging theme to say the least. What is inspiring to some is not so for others. That is the thing about inspiration - you never know from where it might come.

"Your vote saves lives this week, and it is time 'we' give back. This is American Idol." It is a busy night, according to Crusty, who introduces the judges. Tomorrow night is a two-hour show, with a separate venue for some big musical acts. The mentor is Alicia Keys is the 'Empress of Soul' who has changed R & B forever, and named Billboard's #1 artist of the first decade of the millennium.

Casey is up first, singing Don't Stop by Fleetwood Mac. Alicia pushes him to put more of himself in the song. He sounds great on the first verse, and takes a moment for a guitar solo. He is really putting the blues in the song, doing his thing. Randy thinks it was good, but could be better. Ellen thought there was nothing special, and Kara agrees, saying he frustrates her. Simon thought the song choice was back, and lazy. Lee is up, singing Simon & Garfunkel's The Boxer. Lee seems pretty tense for the interview segment of the show, and tells of listening to Simon & Garfunkel with his parents, and it inspired him to play the guitar. Alicia reminds him he is the boxer, and to bring people on the journey with him. OK, he doesn't start out so well for me, with the shouting out of nowhere, something he repeats during the song. An odd performance for me. Randy loved it, and considers Lee an artist. Ellen sees better and better from him, and I am confused. Kara thinks he had a moment with that performance. Simon thinks it was the best of the night, it was brilliant. That leaves me confused. And here is a commercial break.

There is a slight panic, as during the break, the screen goes blank for a minute or two. When it comes back, we still get some commercials, so they didn't

Tim is up next, with Better Days by Goo-Goo Dolls. Alicia likes the song on him, and thinks it feels really good. Wow, he is really being good. This is a perfect choice for Tim. He is on point the entire time, connected to the song, and I was impressed. The judges are not liking it very much, and I am at a loss. The are unanimously negative, and after listening to Lee and his commentary, I am summarily lost. Aaron is up next, singing R. Kelly's I Believe I Can Fly Alicia thinks if Aaron can connect, he can take it to "a whole 'nother place." Aaron starts off a little off, sounding like nerves are hitting him a bit. This is not getting better, he starts rushing the song, getting a bit ahead of the band. Surprisingly, he ends the song well, pulling it back together. The judges, on the other hand, didn't see what I was seeing, as Ellen and Randy thinks he has a big voice. Kara acknowledged the stops and starts, but thought he delivered. Simon likes Aaron, but would have turned off the song in the first 10 seconds. Not only did I listen to a different performance, did the judges?


Siobhan sings When You Believe. Alicia is impressed, and thinks she can take it to somewhere very special. On stage, Siobhan has an odd flapper outfit with butterflies on her shoulders. She is singing well, but the overall feeling is a bit muddled for me. The arrangement isn't very good, and too short for the song to really build. Randy thought it was just OK, but Ellen disagrees, thought it was great. Kara thought it was too theatrical, although well sung. Simon agreed with Randy, and found the butterflies distracted. Siobhan is given a long chance to explain why she chose the song, which is unusual. Big Mike is on deck ready to take his time in the spotlight. The song really speaks to him, for all of us to step up and be a hero. He will be singing the Chad Kroeger song Hero from the movie Spider-Man. Both Alicia and Mike know the song has to really take flight. The first verse wasn't bad, but it completely falls apart in the chorus. Randy feels like he held his own, worked it out. Ellen thought it was great. Kara disliked it. Simon liked it, but thought it never gelled, but Mike will be safe. I am not so sure.

Crusty teases that Crystal is up next, and will be instrument-free. There are several commercials for GLEE, featuring the Madonna songbook in an hour-long episode tonight. Jane Lynch, Sue Sylvester will be on the Fox morning show tomorrow!

Crystal is singing People Get Ready, and Crystal speaks to how grateful she is about everything in her life right now. Alicia loves Crystal best of all, and can't wait to hear her sing. Crystal is front and center, and is singing the bejeezus out of the song. At the end, Crystal breaks down into tears. Randy gives her 'The Standing.' Ellen loved it, and thinks she is beautiful. Kara thought she schooled the rest of the contestants, and Simon thought it was in a completely different class than the rest. She explains she saw her dad, and it brought the tears. And clearly they are correct, she was the class of the field tonight.

The recap reminds us what an uninspired night it was, although for me, there is something different than what the judges saw. Crystal topped the night, and the next two for me were Casey and Tim, the two the judges dismissed entirely. My bottom three would be Big Mike, Lee and Aaron. Crusty reminds us that tomorrow night will be an evening of performances and will more than likely run long, so set your DVR to catch the results accordingly.

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