Concert Review: Gin Blossoms Bring Tempe-rature Up In Barnstable; Inundates Audience with Nostalgia (Photos/Videos)

Gin Blossoms Live in East Falmouth, MA |
July 16, 2011Robin Wilson

We rarely review concerts, despite attending many, but we have decided to start after positive feedback on our review of the Counting Crows disaster at the Cape Cod Melody Tent last season. We had paid $70 a pop to see this band destroy their concert in a drunken flurry of forgotten lyrics and faulty delivery.

We were delighted to get an opportunity to see another classic band, the Gin Blossoms, perform on the stage in East Falmouth, MA. The cost was a modest $10 admission to the Barnstable County Fair. And unlike the lead singer Adam Duritz and the Counting Crows’ disappointing performance, the Gin Blossoms delivered a concert that was worth vastly more than the small amount charged.

Relevance is fleeting in the world of music. An absence from the scene or a single album that fails to make the charts can, for most, decimate all chances of ever having another successful music release.

Of course, we have all heard of the one hit wonders, those bands or individual artists that seem to possess the ability to hit the radio with one, and only one, hit song. Many later know the hit, but cannot remember the band from whence it came.

The Gin Blossoms from Tempe, Arizona are no one hit wonder. Their first album was monstrous and generated hit after hit for the band going platinum four times over. The album had an array of memorable and captivating songs like “Hey Jealousy”, “Found Out About You” and “Allison Road”. The mix and flow of the album promised these would be absolute superstars.

Behind the scenes, circumstances were not as bright. The co-founder and guitarist that had written the two biggest hits on the album had been forcefully terminated from the band by A&M Records. In 1993, shortly after the release of this phenomenal work, Doug Hopkins committed suicide.

As often happens when a great first album is released, the sophomore album determines the fate of the band. A moderate success is not enough. It is almost expected that the second album be as good as or better than the first. Fatefully and unfortunately, this was not the case for Gin Blossoms without Doug Hopkins. Their second album, “Congratulations, I’m Sorry” went platinum, but it was baron of hits except for “Follow You Down” and did not have the impact of the first. The smash hit song “Until I Hear It From You”, was released before the album for the “Empire Records” soundtrack. Had the song been on this album, it may have spelled the difference between a huge success and the mixed reviews it instead received at the time.

In 1997, one year after the release of “Congratulations, I’m Sorry”, the group disbanded, and it appeared, sadly, that what started as a powerhouse addition to the music scene was to be just a memory.

In 2001, after 4 years, the band reunited to tour the nation. We had a chance to see them perform in Barnstable. And we are here to tell you all, if you are a fan, you will be hooked and thrilled with their performance. If you are not, you will likely be a fan after you watch them perform. They still possess their captivating sound and grab your attention from the outset.

As the concert progressed, we watched around us as young and old alike danced and screamed with joy to song after song. The lead singer, Robin Wilson, immediately got the audience to move forward and stand, and the audience never returned to a sitting position. This is something so few bands possess, the ability to maintain an audience’s attention throughout a performance, over the gravity that draws their derrieres to their seats.

Yet, despite getting the audience excited and enthused, Robin remained totally personable. He exchanged tambourines with some audience members and commented on their musical prowess. When he requested an audience member throw him back the tambourine, however, another fan was beaned on the noggin. He gracefully ensured she was well and gifted her the tambourine adding his personal autograph. (Video 5, during “Learning the Hard Way” song.)


Videos from the concert. Complete set

The play list is below and was a fantastic mix of old and new. At first, the band somehow seemed lethargic on the first oldie song – “Follow You Down”. Scott Johnson, one of the two lead guitarists, skipped over the famous guitar lick we have come to love in the song and that is a signature of its greatness. Robin’s signature vocal was left to carry the song and made it seem like a solo performance. Great still, but not quite enough to get the audience pumped up just yet.

This changed dramatically as the concert progressed and the band captured the audience’s hearts. As the audience gained enthusiasm, so did the band, and the lead guitars began to belt out the riffs we have come to love. And the bassist, Bill Leen, added that background sound we all recognize. Bill’s stage presence is muted by Robin, but his intensity is obvious and makes a major impact on their performance. He playfully fiddled with Scott’s guitar right before the encore, leaving Scott to quickly get his Gibson retuned.

Jesse Valenzuela
, also with the band from nearly the beginning, seemed rather subdued. He appeared happy to hide behind the lights and just play music. Jesse was the original lead singer of the band and has written many of their songs. including Mrs. Rita and their more recent single, “Learning The Hard Way”. Jesse appeared to be more enthusiastic when belting out recent tracks than the older classics.

The band’s signature sound was maintained throughout and is still as engaging as ever. In a later conversation with Scott, he was quick to agree that it is this signature sound that identifies any band and makes them successful. Sometimes it is just the voice of the lead singer. And with Gin Blossoms, there is no question that Robin has a unique and distinctively familiar voice. But this band has a sound well beyond Robin’s vocal ability, and that sound is not only their own; they only make it as a band of five. So we were ecstatic when, by the third song, the band was playing as a tight unit, and the concert really took hold over the audience.

By the end of the concert and the finale, the audience was screaming for more. The band obliged. For the encore, they first performed a classic Eddie Money song, “Think I’m In Love,” in which Robin proved he still has great range with his vocals. Then they finished with “Hey Jealousy” and left an audience dazed with satisfaction at having come to see this classic band live.

The band has had two major studio album releases since reuniting. There were released singles, like “Learning the Hard Way” and “Miss Disarray”, but neither has been hugely successful. The songs they performed from those albums, however, are strikingly Gin Blossoms in their sound and quality. Any one could be a top of the charts hit song and each had the audience bobbing with glee. But promotion appears to be what is lacking. And perhaps the band’s relevance is doubted by a fickle industry inundated with fleeting talent. Our only comments on the more recent singles is they do not capture Robin’s familiar vocal sound in the same fashion as the earlier hits and they seem to miss the clever lyrics like “If you don’t expect too much from me, you might not be let down”.

This concert is not one to miss. The opportunity to see this classic band perform with almost all the members of the band that participated in the “New Miserable Experience” is just too good to pass up. It is not an opportunity missed by the band’s earlier break up because their performance is still stellar. And the cost is modest in a world of unaffordable musical extravaganzas that tend to never live up to the hype.

Gin Blossoms performed as a tight unit and delivered a solid performance that will rekindle the love of their music by every fan, and that will likely make fans out of those that do not know how great they are. We want more.

Gin Blossoms

Gin Blossoms Set list :: Falmouth, MA

“Follow You Down”
“Allison Road”
“Somewhere Tonight”
“Miss Disarray”
“Found Out About You”
“Until I Fall Away”
“Goin To California”
“I’m Ready”
“29”
“Long Time Gone
“Don’t Change for Me”
“Wave Bye Bye”
“‘Til I Hear it From You”
“Learning The Hard Way”
“Think I’m in Love”
“Hey Jealousy”

8/14 Counting Crows Concert Review, Hyannis MA: No Music, Just Noise (PHOTOS)

It is not common for us to review concerts. We attend and usually enjoy most concerts because we get, in general, what we want. They can be too short; they can miss your favorite song; they can even just be plain off the mark that night, but rarely is any concert we attend worth mention in any exceptional way.

The Counting Crows concert at the Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis, Massachusetts on August 14th is a true exception. We therefore feel we have to provide a review so those planning to attend can assess if this concert is worth the price of admission.

We eagerly anticipated this concert and paid much more than we have in the past to see the Counting Crows, because we expected to see a spectacular band and a man with an amazing voice belt out a few of our favorites combined with some jamming, twists and magic. In all the shows we have attended in the past, half a dozen in total, we always experienced pretty much what we expected, without fail. They would deliver on their talent and allow the audience to enjoy many of their superb selection of songs while also demonstrating their diversity and personality in their live performance. In all of these shows, it was evident; you were seeing the Counting Crows at their best.

Sadly, in this show in Hyannis, the band was almost nonexistent. Their music became static noise in the background on a radio station. It disappeared like the parts painted over in an errant piece of artwork. It was as though the Counting Crows weren’t even present, and we were at the concert to listen to bad rap music by rapper NOTA and karaoke vocals of Counting Crows tunes by guest band Augustana.

It appears that the lead, Adam Duritz, was completely hammered drunk during the performance. He appeared barely able to stand, stumbling about the stage like a boob. This man that we had respected so, that had belted out unbelievable vocal performances in the past demonstrating how great he can be, could barely remember a single lyric.

The combination of noise led to the destruction of even the best of songs this band performs. They even destroyed “Rain King” by interjecting a bad Beatles sing-along with nearly 2 dozen noisemakers singing along on stage. We never got to hear the actual lyrics, only the chorus used to play out this sadly hysterical presentation.

We paid $60 per ticket for this concert, when, in retrospect, it wasn’t worth going out of our way to attend for free. A drunk, a rapper and a much lesser band all combined to create a horrific and boring experience. Had we been asked, we may have paid even more just to make them stop.

This lazy group of untalented noise makers may have fooled some of the audience, but this long time fan will never attend a Counting Crows concert again. They were, in the only word that can describe their performance in the English language, LOUSY, and it was primarily because they were also lazy and either didn’t care about their audience or took them for granted at $60 a pop.

Adam Duritz
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More Photos via DBFANSITE on Flickr

American Idol Finale review: Crystal Bowersox Knocks out Lee DeWyze

If anyone that is reading this article remembers Muhammad Ali, you will certainly remember the rope-a-dope.  Ali had used the technique in prior fights, but it became famous in his historic battle to retake the world championship from George Foreman in what was certain  to be a humiliation for Ali.

Ali sat back for seven rounds and let Foreman do his worst.  He essentially played possum and made it look like the only man in the fight was Foreman.  Then, gradually, he emerged, stinging Foreman with shots George didn’t even know existed and certainly had never felt in his career.  The slow motion shots of Foreman’s head being twisted unnaturally b y Ali’s shots with sweat and blood flying are not to be forgotten.  Ali fooled everyone, including big George.

Why do we bring this up here?  Because tonight’s competition was not close.  And one performer had laid back on the ropes for the past several weeks,  performing well enough to stay in the competition, but never knocking anyone dead.  This performer had been knocking them dead the first several weeks, but smartly pulled back.  The other performer worked to the front spot fighting to prove that this was not going to be a one horse race.

The Crystal Bowersox Strategy

The rope-a-dope worked.  We believe Crystal held back the last several weeks intentionally to make this her victory in this finale more convincing.  She brought all we remember her for when she started, and we do not think this was any accident.  She came out with her knock-out punches after seeming to play possom hanging on the ropes.  Now there is no question, she dealt the final knockout blow.

Crystal did not just beat Lee, she humiliated him.  Lee never had a chance.

Lee made it much worse.  Earlier in the season we have noted that Lee has often been OA.  He has had bizarre overplayed performances with church choirs and bagpipes and God knows what, and whenever he does this, he looks stupid.

Instead of just being himself, he did it again.  He had huge choirs and overplayed performances that he would hever do under normal circumstances.  Other than his first rather good performance of the Boxer, he had choirs everywhere.  and they ate up his perforamnce alive revealing his insigificance.  They diminished the voice and the unique nature of the man and left us with wondering what happened to the performer we liked over the last several weeks.

We would try to sum up each song and give the points for each, but Crystal nailed every song, and other than his first song, Lee sounded silly.  He has such a recordable voice and it was buried in noise.  He will still make more money than the petty million dollar token trust fund he would have won anyway, so it won’t matter much.

But we can guarantee, Lee will make it on his voice, and he will never make it if he tries to become the lead in a church choir with bagpipes.

American Idol Season 9 Review: Final Two – Whoops, We Forgot One Already

The final three are the correct final three, but honestly, it has been evident for weeks there are two performers at the top of this competition.

Each performer got to pick a song. and then had the judges pick a song for them. Fair enough it seems, but it gives the judges the chance to destroy a performer’s opportunity by specifically targeting something outside of their comfort zone. It also can allow the judges to screw up a performer’s chances by making a horrible song choice like Paula did to xxx last season.

This season though, it didn’t really matter. What happened was predictable from as early as three to five weeks ago.

Round 1: Contestant’s pick

Casey James – “OK It’s Alright With Me” by Eric Hutchinson– To have to go first is often the guaranteed exit strategy on American Idol. Statistically, it is the position that consistently results in the fewest votes. Casey added to his dilemma by putting in a less than stellar effort. Casey’s song has the potential to be done powerfully and could be made to sound like a hit song. But Casey did it with no variation in the tone and it was dull. It was nice, but it just had no pizazz. (6/10)

Crystal Bowersox – “Come To My Window” by Melissa Etheridge – Crystal clearly has the voice to pull this song off, and we know she can sing any Melissa song and kill it. But she just didn’t come across as though she felt it which is what Melissa is about. The judges tried to pinpoint why the performance was less than stellar, but the primary reason is this song is all about putting your heart into it, and Crystal put her left kidney into it instead. The performance did nothing for us. In this instance, Crystal did not blow our Bowersox off. (6/10)

Lee DeWyze – “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd – They gave Lee the strong position letting him finish last. Just like being first is usually the end of the season for a performer, this position tends to generate the most votes. Lee complemented the position by being great. He honestly does sound like Ken Block of Sister Hazel. And that is a great sound to possess. Just ask Ken and his fans. Lee did an excellent version of the song and made it recognizably his. (10/10)

Round 2: Judge’s pick

Casey James – Kara and Randy choose “Daughter” by John Mayer – We don’t love this song on the radio because it sounds like stupid advice being forced upon us by a total narcissist. John Mayer sounds like he is telling us to be good to our daughters because John might nail one some day. Casey didn’t come across like that at all. He did an excellent version that showed respect for women instead. We liked it…a bunch, and would rather listen to it on the radio than the original Mayer version any day. The judges missed this as Casey’s moment. Unfortunately, that first song was a disaster. (9/10)

Crystal Bowersox – Ellen Degeneres chose “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney – Boy did this song choice sound like an attempt to bury Crystal’s chances. It had disaster written all over it. After that first performance, it was possible even Casey could have sent her packing. Crystal pulled a Pheonix on this one, rising from the ashes and performing this song like she should have done the first. She sang it without guitar, she felt it (and we did too) and sang it so much better than the corny McCartney version that we have to say this was hit material. (10/10)

Lee DeWyze – Simon Cowell chose “Hallelujah” by (Too many covers, originally by Leonard Cohen)- There is an acronym that immediately came to mind watching this performance. OA. It stands for Over-Acting. The performance made us roll our eyes it was just so overdone. We had a choir of black women singing, we had smoke rising like we were all going to heaven with Lee, and we also had trouble holding down dinner. The judges praised this Lee’s moment, but Lee even sounded corny thanking Simon for choosing the song. This wasn’t Lee. At least we hope it wasn’t or he won’t get far next week. It was a predictable performance in an overdone setting. The judges were way off the mark on this one. (6/10)

Conclusion:

So, where does that leave us? Exactly where we expected to be. Casey is done. He is not in the same league as Lee and Crystal and that has been evident for weeks.

That is not a negative for Casey really, because no one was in Crystal and Lee’s league. We could have warped to the final weeks ago and skipped some of those painful evenings like Sinatra night.

Casey pulled off a very respectable 15 points in our judging though, and that places him just inches behind Lee and Crystal after the two blew performances they should have killed. So kudos for being in it Casey. Had you not done that first song like your grandmother was singing it, who knows? Maybe you could have proven us wrong.

Lee and Crystal basically tied. Crystal has to learn she must always feel her songs and sing like she did in her second performance or Lee will eat her alive. Lee has to cut out the corniness or people will be rolling their eyes and voting for Crystal. Choirs and angels are for dead folk or church, and bagpipes belong in Scotland not on the Idol stage.

American Idol 9 Top 4 Review: Movie Themes Are Dull and So Was Tonight

We are kind of getting bored with the this show.  It appears the judges and producers cannot hear themselves.

First they want people to sound current, and then then have them do Sinatra and Elvis.  Now this week, they have them do movie themes?  What could possibly be less relevant for new performers than to sing tunes from old movies?

And then they have the performers play duets?  That is just plain unfair.  You cannot pair up two men doing a duet easily, but a woman/man pairing is much more natural.  So anyone that got Bowersox was going to naturally sound better.  We therefore find the duet competition inherently unfair.

Still, the outcome is rather predictable.


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Solos:

1. Lee DeWyze – “Kiss From A Rose” by Seal from Batman Forever– Lee didn’t change this song up like he normally does.  His sound was great, but he just played the original.  Lee is normall off key at times, and we found it amusing that the judges pointed it out like it was some kind of revelation.  Being on key is not Lee’s strong point, it is being original.  This wasn’t.  7/10

2. Michael Lynche – “Will You Be There” by Michael Jackson from Free Willy– Boring.  6/10


3. Casey James – “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkle from The Graduate – This is a classic tune from The Graduate in which Mrs. Robinson seduced a younger man.  Of course, with the theme of the season being Casey’s seduction by Shania Tain and Kara, we think it a comical choice showing Casey has a sense of humor.  It was taken way too seriously. We liked Casey’s performance and twist on the song, and we liked the mandolin, but still no knock out punch. 8/10

4. Crystal Bowersox – “I’m Alright” by Kenny Loggins from Caddyshack – We like the original.  Some of the judges seemed to think this was better than the original.  It wasn’t. 8/10

Duets:

Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze – “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová from Once – This sounded like it belonged on the radio or as the theme song of a current movie.  It was a classic play off of two great vocals augmenting each to make it sound better than the two alone.  That is what a duet should, and this hit the mark dead on.  Awesome performance. (10/10)

Casey James and Michael Lynche – “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman” by Bryan Adams from Don Juan DeMarco – Corny.  The guitar by Casey was great, but this is NOT a guitar competition.  These two guys look as natural on stage together as plastic and nuclear waste.  it was dull and the performance left us cringing.  The judges praised it, but it honestly stunk except for the guitar. 6/10

Conclusion:

It is obvious from the audience’s responses tonight this is setting up as a Crystal versus Lee final.  Lee will have to be more original than tonight to win, but he has done that all season and the duet with Crystal was a killer.

Comes down to elimination of either Casey or Michael.  We think Casey is better.  We think the audience will too.  Bye Mike.

American Idol 9 Top 5 attempts Sinatra: Mediocrity in Production Leads To Mediocrity In Performance

The hypocrisy of how this show is run never fails to surprise us.  Week after week the judges have decried that the performers should be more current.

In the last four weeks, we have seen themes based on the Beatles, Elvis, Shania Twain and tonight Frank Sinatra.  Are these people oblivious to their audience and most likely their own rhetoric??  Shania Twain is the most current theme they can tap in four straight weeks???   Little question why Fox wants to can this show as it becomes more and more of a joke.

Next week we expect they will use Julia Andrews as the theme artist and have everyone singing tunes from Mary Poppins.  This show has lost all integrity when it comes to production.  It basically sucks.

You could not have paid us to go see a performance of five young rock, soul and country performers imitating Sinatra.  Think about it.  So they torture us on national TV?? Just Grand.  Lawrence Welk even rolled over in his grave.

It seems as though at times that the show is attempting to cater to a specific artist.  For instance, this week, the only artist this could have possibly unfairly favored was Mike.  We believe this show often does cater to the minority element, attempting to keep performers of color as long as possible.  Giving Mike the save over Didi weeks ago just confirms our suspicion.  The way the judges praised Mike’s dull performance tonight was also confirmation.  It was so obviously scripted, it was as laughable as believing the audience does not know the group performances are all lip synched.

Judging will be hard this week.  Why?  Because the show sucked.  Harry Connick, Jr. was the mentor, and is a fantastic artist, but not for a young group of pop wannabe’s.  When is the last time you heard a Harry Connick Jr. song in the top 100?  Would you even know it was his if you did?

We will, as usual, do our best, but our scale this week will be on a boring scale of 1-10, where 1 signifies boredom beyond which no human being could stay awake and 10 indicates boredom subdued to the point where we could actually admire the effort to perform on this sham of a show.

1. Aaron Kelly – “Fly me to the Moon” Half on key this week, this was pure karaoke of Sinatra.  A 17 year old singing Sinatra is comical, and this was akin to watching pinnochio belt out New York, New York.  Painfully bad.  Painfully boring.  Judges kind of liked it, but we have no idea what they were listening to. (4/10)

2. Casey James – “Blue Skies” –  There is absolutely no doubt who this show was targeting this week and last.  Last week they attempted to make us believe that Casey was in the bottom two after being the best of the week.  That said, this was painful.  It was dull, stiff and boring, but Casey, as we have repeatedly indicated, is more of a band lead than a soloist.  So what do you do to hurt him in the competition?  Have him perform a song from a well known soloist who died 12 years ago at 83!!! We give Casey a point extra because this was so unfair. (5/10)


3. Crystal Bowersox – “Summer Wind” This show has twisted Crystal.  They took a talent that was without repute one of the best Idol has seen and made her dull. The staging of the last four weeks makes her look like she is going downhill, but in reality, the show is placing her further and further out of her element and forcing her to perform songs no one wants to hear her sing.  Did anyone ever hear Janis Joplin belt out a Sinatra song?  Well, it was vastly more current then than it is now.  Crystal was interesting as usual, but dull. (5/10)

4. Mike Lynche – “The Way You Look Tonight” – This night was tailor made for Mike.  He came out dressed like Sinatra.  He tried to imitate the Sinatra style (something difficult for Shrek).  And the judges praised him in what was obviously a scripted segment.  They want to keep Mike in the race.  Pucker up Mike. (6/10)

5. Lee DeWyze – “That’s Life” – We have repeatedly said we like Lee, and he gets better each week.  But could he pull off a good night just as we were passing out on the couch?  To repeat ourselves, we believe Lee has the most recordable voice on this show, and he nailed this performance.  It was one we would have turned up on the radio without even realizing we were listening to a song once performed by Sinatra.  Lee just passed Crystal in our top pick for number one because even with all the absolutely dull choices this production crew has made week after week, Lee has stuffed it back in their face with a great performance.  Thanks Lee for taking an absolute sham of a week and making it fun. (10/10)


Results

Last week we were very close to right about who the bottom three would be, but we didn’t think the cutie would go home.  We felt Siobhan would survive despite a horrible performance and a tie with the equally awful Aaron.  And we felt Casey being in the bottom three was just a joke or staged by Idol.  He was great last week, and everyone knew it.

But somehow, and we find it hard to believe it was the voting audience, threw us a curve and placed Casey in the bottom three after a fantastic performance.

Aaron should have gone home, but he didn’t even make the bottom three.  That set up Siobhan for elimination, who we had tied for most pathetic with Aaron.

All that did was leave us to suffer another week of a 17 year old that no one would listen to if paid.  He was lousy and still should go home.  Our scores show the bottom three to be:

Aaron Kelly
Casey James
Crystal Bowersox

Aaron is so outclassed on this stage, the only possible thing that could save him is how badly Casey and Crystal did Sinatra.  Not that it was their fault, but one has to notice that Lee did it with aplomb.  Lee has more swagger than anyone here and beat these three performers into plow shares.

Our bet would be between Aaron and Casey.  Because the judges love to praise Aaron despite how horrible he is, we are leaning towards Casey.  It seems the show is driving him out by repeatedly forcing him out of character.  This is no longer a show comparing the talent of artists to determine the best current performer.  It is now a sham of a show that allows the producers to dictate the winner by manipulating the theme to cater to their priorities.

We will once again say, Aaron should go.  He is immature, off key most of the time, and just plain dull.  But we wouldn’t be surprised to see Casey get the boot given Idol’s apparent objective to take him out.

American Idol 9 Top 6 review: The Shania Twain station week…

The Twain Is Leaving The Station… Corny!!

Tonight was kind of a close night with respect to performance scores in our book.  There was one absolute standout, but for the most part it was an evening of mediocrity.

The problem is all the artists were asked to do a Shania Twain song.  This led to repeated jokes like the “Twain left  the station”, etc.  Ellen D. was off tonight and just didn’t draw any laughs.

The other judges also seemed out of whack again, not being able to discern a bad performance from one you would actually want to hear on the radio.   The judges ran hot and cold, making some calls right and missing some badly.

One major problem the judges had tonight is one they should have gotten over long ago.  It is the tendency to rate artists based on their prior performances rather than relative to the rest of the talent of a given night.  That is one reason we think Daughtry was eliminated early on a cold Elvis night.  He was a quantum leap better than the other performers, but the judges were down on him because it was his worst week of the season.

Shania is that kind of catchy artist that has a decent range of music and acts well as a mentor, but we believe that her repertoire is way too limited for this kind of competition.  It led to some out of character performances and songs we found difficult to identify with. Still, stars should shine given any circumstance, right?

Let’s get to it.

1. Lee Dewyze – “You’re Still the One” Lee did this “one” very well.  It was not all that recognizable, but still had a major “turn up the radio” factor.  It is not the quality of the vocal as much as it is the uniqueness of the sound.  He could likely sing Happy Birthday off key and make it a hit. While we don’t see Lee as the best singer, he seems, at this juncture, to be the most recordable artist. (9/10)

2. Michael Lynche – “It Only Hurts When I Breath” We did not recognize this song at all.  Michael did a nice job on it and we could see it as nice background music, but not a hit.  Still, well performed, on key, and no fish lips made it a decent performance. (8/10)

3. Casey James – “Don’t” Now here is a prime example of a performance in which an artist can shine.  After a sad and off key debacle last week, Casey created a version of this song we wanted to hear again and again.  The style seemed out of character for him, it seemed like the tune was not relevant, and it seemed like the style would be boring.  It was instead great and by far the best performance of the night. (10/10)

4. Crystal Bowersox – “No One Needs to Know Right Now” This was a prime example of where the judges go astray.  This was a very nice tune, well performed, but out of character from what we know of Crystal.  We associate her with more powerful performers like Janis Joplin not pop pinkies like Shania.  Crystal did this performance all country, including a country band complete with pedal steel guitar. It was not her usual driving style, but it would have grabbed most country fans’ attention.  The judges compared it to her prior performances and were very negative, but she was still, at worst, tied with Michael, whom they praised.  Because the judges have proven they can impact the audience, we think this is a poor method of judging because it could imply Crystal was downright poor relative to the other performers tonight and that is so far from the truth it is silly.  But it is exactly what did Daughtry in, not that it mattered for him in the long run. (8/10)

5. Aaron Kelly – “It’s in the Way You Love Me” Please send this boy home.  The judges were way off the mark praising this performance.  It was mostly off key, dull and had a major radio “change the channel” factor.  The look of the kid is wrong and his immaturity is just too much to bear.  We are surprised that votefortheworst did not jump on Aaron after finally losing their poster child last week, but even they probably expect there is no saving Aaron, and they don’t want a new poster child every week.  The judges praised Aaron, but to even say he as good as Crystal when she is singing in the john is a stretch. (6/10)

6. Siobhan Magnus – “Any Man of Mine”

we have no idea what the judges were listening to, but we hated this performance.  The attempt to move about the audience looked fake on Siobhan’s part.  She is the new postergirl for votefortheworst.  We feel she earned her place on that website.  She was off key, her screams at the end out of place, the song not recognizable…need we go on?  The judges were off by a mile. (6/10)

In the end, if all you heard were the judges words, you would send Crystal home.  Isn’t it sad that the judges can be so off the mark and not have the ability to actually critique this as the week to week contest it is?   It is so obvious Crystal still beat out most of the artists here tonight, but the judges have become so obsessed in putting her down relative to her greatness that they could accidentally cause another Daughtry incident, and that severely damages the rest of the season, but it wouldn’t hurt Crystal one iota, just like it didn’t impact Daughtry’s career.  After all, we know which of these artists we would pay money to see, and it ain’t Aaron or Siobhan.

This year, so far, we have been almost 100% right  We once again called last week’s bottom three and the elimination child once again.  And that demonstrates the audience is in tune with the music even if the judges have no clue.

Based on the scoring, the bottom three are:

  1. Siobhan Magnus
  2. Aaron Kelly
  3. Crystal Bowersox or Michael Lynche

Wow, we did put Crystal as a possibility for the bottom 3, but only because there are only six contestants left and Casey and Lee nailed their performances.  We think the judges could have driven her into the bottom three, but it won’t matter, because the audience will not vote her out, and she was better tonight than most artists are at their best.  We would have to go with Michael as the bottom 3 candidate instead, but still, he did well tonight.

We see Aaron going down this week.  We have been surprised at his staying power to date, but he is painful to listen to, and we would never want to hear him on the radio.  Maybe as a country artist, he could pull something off, but we aren’t country fans, so that is not something we can truly judge.

Siobhan will likely survive as the last hottie of the season.  But this performance was horrible and painful.  We don’t think she is finalist material, and shouldn’t last past next week unless Michael survives and does a fish face.

Well, there you have it.  We have been dead on pretty much so far this season, but you never know…

American Idol Top 9 (Again) Review: “A Little More Action Please…”- Elvis

The theme this week was Elvis Presley. We would rather see an Elvis Costello week. The judges harp on how the artists should make themselves more current and then constantly throw dated material at them. This was kind of a boring week. Thus, the title of our article.

It was an Elvis week performance that took out Daughtry. Daughtry could not take it totally seriously and was overconfident at the time, but still was better than his compatriots. The judges contributed to his downfall with negative comments and he was voted out at number 4, but went on to be the most successful artist of that year by far. Elvis was seemingly just too out of character for him. A couple of the contestants tonight showed, however, that you can take some of the old music and make it current. Some did not and some were outright dull.

1. Crystal Bowersox, “Saved”
There is nothing to say. She is spectacular and consistent. (10/10)

2. Andrew Garcia, “Hound Dog”

“You Ain’t Nothing But A Hound Dog…” And Andrew sounded like one. This was possibly Andrew’s worst performance at a very inopportune time. After being badly judged last week and being forced into the bottom 2, it was not a time to screw up. The hardest part was his over-enunciation of the words stressing the last syllable or making two syllable words out of single syllable words and dragging them out with an awkward whine. We didn’t get it DAWG, but you will.
(3/10)

3. Tim Urban, “Can’t Help Falling in Love”

Tim was off key in this, but he did the guitar right this week and brought a sweetness to it which is exactly what he needed. We kind of liked it, although we won’t be putting it on our IPODs. Note, to give this high a score to Tim this week stunned us. (7/10)
4. Lee DeWyze, “A Little Less Conversation”

Lee did a great version of this, made it current and we would want it on our IPOD. Great Job Lee. (10/10)

5. Aaron Kelly, “Blue Suede Shoes”

Dull, predictable, corny karaoke described the first half. The second half went to a blues style we kind of liked, but it may have been too late. We can’t give him top marks, but Andrew keeps him out of last. (5/10)

6. Siobhan Magnus, “Suspicious Minds”

We know the artists are encouraged to change up the songs, but Siobhan overdid it. We liked the powerful vocals but the arrangement was out of place and not pleasant to listen to. She should have just done the song and not tried to make it into something it was not. (6/10)

7. Michael Lynche, “In the Ghetto”

We voted Michael the most pathetic last week, and we were right once again when we picked him as the bottom performer. It was so obvious how bad he was and the judges didn’t see it, although they acted like they did this week. They had praised Michael and said it was a great performance and we cringed the entire song. The judges didn’t fool the audience though, and he was nearly eliminated, but saved by the judges. Tonight, Michael did this song nice, but we don’t think he should have been saved last week even though we don’t see him going home this week because he managed to not pucker during the song. (7/10)

8. Katie Stevens, “Baby What Do You Want Me to Do”

Katie belted out this number. She was on key and drove it home. And they are dressing this girl to kill! We don’t love her though, and felt this was once again a TV style performance, not a musical artist performance, but she was strong in the vocal, and from that perspective, it was her best. (8/10)
9. Casey James, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”

Casey delivered a strong vocal, nice guitar and “lead singer of a band” type performance. The judges continually call him on being a bit too stationary on the stage and, well, as we have said, not all performers are solo artists. Some belong in a band and we think Casey fits that to a T. While this wasn’t his best, we liked it. (8/10)

So who does that put in the bottom? Remember, 2 are done tomorrow.

1. Andrew Garcia – Andrew blew this so badly it was sad. He was not anywhere near as bad as the judges made him out to be last week. He was vastly better than they placed him. This was not a week to convince the judges and the audience that they were right to have put him so close to elimination, and he screwed up, big time.
2. Aaron Kelly – Dull and time to go. Nuff said.
3. Siobhan Magnus – We said last week that if this gal didn’t get out of her rut, we could see her going home. We think Andrew and Aaron are done, but Siobhan is getting close and closer to getting the boot despite the hot outfits and haircuts.

We see Andrew and Aaron as the bottom two this week, and by a reasonable margin. It is unfortunate, because we think Andrew is much better than he turned out to be tonight. But you don’t always get second chances and Andrew has little hope after butchering his performance.

Aaron just isn’t good enough to be a star, so would like to put him out of the audience’s misery.

Finally, though, Siobhan keeps this up and one week, she could flop into that elimination category quite easily and we wouldn’t be totally surprised if she did this week. We just don’t quite see it, but next week, it is a very good possibility unless Tim Urban steps up and delivers a more characteristic performance.