American Idol Top 10 Review: Consistency Wins, Popularity Rules and Tim Urban Stinks

We have weeks when we watch this show and feel we had no idea where the judges were coming from.  We have had weeks when we watch the show and feel we had no idea where the artists were coming from.  And we have had weeks when we watch the show and feel we had no idea where the producers were coming from.  They all screw up, and they all do great things at times, but this week, it was all cut and dry.

Let’s cut to it quick.

1.       Siobhan Magnus – “Through the Fire” by Chaka Khan – we like Siobhan and are from MA ourselves so would like to root for her.  But we find she is often over the top, and have said it before.  She has strong pipes, no doubt, but in this performance and many others, we feel she lacks maturity and also lacks the knowledge of her place in the world.  This song was underdone and off key some of the time and on pitch but overdone the rest.  While it was not an elimination performance, give it a week or two and it could be. (7/10)

2.       Casey  James – “Hold On, I’m Coming” by Sam and Dave – Casey  is a stationary band style performer that always looks like he is having fun.  He did a Huey Lewis song last week and we loved it, because that is the kind of performer we see in him.  Feeling it, hitting the notes consistently and having fun.  Still, he is just a tad too stationary.  So while his vocal is great and he gets our feet tapping, his posture is saying he has no idea how to handle the stage.  But this is common with many band performers because they aren’t the entire act, just the lead.  Once again this week, this “dawg” nailed it, and we would have cranked up the radio on this performance. (9/10)

3.       Michael Lynche – “Ready for Love” by india.arie – For a steroid worshiper, the voice Michael has is surprising.  He looks like a jock from the gym, which he is, and then comes out with these soulful moments that catch you off guard.  He has you shaking your head because things don’t seem right.  Like tonight, he was playing the guitar and his hand looks bigger than the body of the guitar.  His size is in direct contrast with those we would classify as great musical performers, and we think it will impact him.  Still, Shrek killed it again, despite being rather boring.  (8/10)

4.       Didi Benami – “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” by Jimmy Ruffiin – We hope that the broken hearted only become broken for a week, because Did broke our heart this week. We find that when an artist says he or she performed  a song because it meant something to them or because it was for someone like their dead granny, the performance stinks.  We are not sure why; maybe it is because it sounds like they are doing it in their living room rather than for millions of people.  Didi contradicted her own performance claiming she was out of her style doing R&B, which we believe, but then she said how much the song meant to her.   None of it rang true.  She could have drawn this song into her style, and instead she adapted her style to the song, which failed miserably. Didi has that great off beat persona and style, and this week presented an amazingly weak performance with no beat or style.  We are torn, because we like Didi, but she stunk.   So should she get points for her prior performances?  We won’t do that…yet. (4/10)

5.       Tim Urban –“Sweet Love” by Anita Baker – the only possible savior for Didi this week is Tim.  He is just awful week after week.  His look is corny, his haircut atrocious, and we believe the teeny boppers even have to be getting tired of him.  This was a difficult song to sing, but most are difficult for Tim because he just isn’t that good.  But he does always “just have fun out there”. We see him as having zero chance of being a successful musical artist in any music style going forward.  So what do we do this week when he actually outperformed Didi despite being awful?  Sigh.  Well, he only outperformed her by a quarter point, so we will round down. (4/10)

6.       Andrew Garcia – “Forever” by Chris Brown – Now, we said Andrew had soul.  And the judges said, when he picked a soul song last week, it was a bad song choice.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  This guy has soul and can draw in his audience, but he has to get past the lack of confidence.  Soul is all about feeling and emotion and if you come across as timid, well, it is very difficult to express soul. This week Andrew had soul, felt and reflected it in his song, and drew a tear or two.  Great job Andrew and a winning performance.  Best performance of the season by Andrew and we would turn this one way up on the radio. (10/10)

7.       Katie Stevens – “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin – Lack of maturity is something that does not always break a performer.  We have seen some great 17 year olds on this show that do not perform at all like children.  But no matter how you dress Katie up, no matter how sexy you make the presentation and no matter how seasoned the song, she still has trouble portraying maturity beyond that of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the Power Rangers. Her vocal tonight was OK, but her sultry look drew a cringe because it wasn’t her.  Simon says she should do country music.  You know, that is kind of clever for her, because she looks silly trying to be a sexy adult at this juncture, but can belt out a tune.  A song that tells a story and that portrays her having fun, rather than making the audience feel she is attempting to seduce them, would be better and more believable.  Country offers that.  But we don’t like her much and think little will help to make this gal a star. (6/10)

8.       Lee DeWyze – “Treat Her Like a Lady” by Cornelius Brothers – This is one of the best Motown songs of all time. If you try to do it like the original, you are likely to lose, but if you go far off the original, you have to have great talent to get fans to like your version.    Lee has great talent.  This version was almost unrecognizable,  but if we heard this on the radio, we wouldn’t just crank it up, we would be Googling it to find out where we could buy it.  Lee has amazing creativity, a unique vocal style and a soulfulness to his sound that we just can’t resist.  And he is starting to get it, which makes him even more scary. (10/10)

9.       Crystal Bowersox – “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and the Pips – Now, when someone like Crystal does Gladys Night and it sounds like the Pips are backing her up, you wonder if you have lost your bearing with  reality.  Crystal was attempting to step out of her box this week, and we understand that because the judges constantly encourage it.   But Simon is also right when he says if you have a winning style, stick with it.  We don’t want to see Crystal follow this week’s digression from her style and stray too far from her roots, because she is already fantastic.  We think she can play the piano in future performances, but  she has to be less focused on the instrument  Still, we can’t fault her for that here, because despite it all, her performance was brilliant.  And she made us actually want to listen to a Gladys Night song.  That is a major feat.  (10/10)

10.   Aaron Kelly – “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers – Well, we were kind of hoping Aaron would go away on this performance.  While he offers a better vocal than Tim Urban, we see little hope of this boy being a performing artist.  He is dull, unbelievable and much too immature.  He makes the Janus Brothers look old.  And when he does an older song, it shows he only has hope at this juncture by trying to find some appeal as a teeny bopper, surrendering to the reality he will be used up by the time he is 19.  Aaron was off key and will never win this competition, but was not as bad as Didi or Tim.  (5/10)

OK, we were dead on last week in our calls.  We called the bottom three and the loser.  Let’s see how we do this week.

The tie for last place is between Tim and Didi.  This is a shame, because Didi can be so great if she gets back to that off beat style we love her for.  When she uses that style and doesn’t get wrapped up in the nonsense about the song meaning a lot to her, we like her.  You can take things too seriously, and Didi was a major victim of it this week.  Her saving grace this week is that Tim is hard to take seriously at all as is Aaron.

We can’t see any of these three being a winner this year, or any year, but we can see Didi having a career with her style.  We see no hope at all for Aaron and Tim and feel they are both destined for obscurity.

We are tempted to say Bye Bye to Di Di, but Tim is the least talented in the group and the only explanation for his presence on this stage is votefortheworst.com.  We think that will end this week and Tim will go home.  But Didi is in trouble, and if Tim or Aaron draw teeny-bopper votes, we could see her go.

The only thing we are certain of is that they make up the bottom three.

So we hope to say bye bye to Tim, who we think should go.  We wouldn’t mind seeing Aaron go, but he was better than Tim this week.  And we want Didi to stay because she has style, but you know what?  Didi isn’t likely to last more than another week or two anyway.

They all get to go on tour now anyway?  So until you get to the top 5, this is all kind of meaningless.  And none of these three, unless something dramatic changes, are top 5 material.

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