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 7 Review: If only we could have made tonight the finale, Crystal Bowersox wins!

We could have had just two contestants tonight. They would be Crystal Bowersox against the best that each of the other contestants has to offer, and Crystal would just blow them all away as if they were dust.

1. Casey James – Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow – Fleetwood Mac – Casey did leave us thinking about tomorrow, yesterday and any time but not as we watched. He did the song well enough, but he was off key throughout which destroyed a classic for us. We don’t care that he attempted to imitate the song as much as possible, but his vocal sounded more like an off key Huey Lewis instead of Lindsey Buckingham. We have said throughout he is not a soloist, and should be in a band, and that rang true again, but this week, even a band could not have saved the performance. For the first time we can remember, Casey was off key and it wasn’t pleasant. (6/10)

2. Lee Dwyze – The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkle – Lee is possibly the most artistic of the group of performers this year and he also has possibly the most recordable style. Each week we can close our eyes and imagine bopping down the highway cranking up a Lee Dewyze tune. He knows how to really twist a song so it is current and catchy. When you can do that with one of the greatest Simon and Garfunkel songs of all time, that says you are a star. (9.8/10)

3. Tim Urban – Better Days by Goo Goo Dolls Tim did a wonderful arrangement of this song.  His guitar was nice.  But unfortunately, he didn’t sing a single note on key.  He was off key throughout and it hurt to listen to.  We think that had he been on key, this would have been a great performance for him, or at least as great as it could be for Tim.  But it wasn’t.  (4/10)

4. Aaron Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly – R. KellyAaron took this song and made it his own.  He made it spectacularly boring, off key and frightening.  Instead of giving us a life changing experience, he gave us a channel changing one.  Aaron has a great voice, no doubt, but he is so awful on stage.  And we could still never see him doing anything we would ever want to listen to without a fast forward on our DVR.  He should be in the bottom three. (4/10)

5. Siobhan Magnus – When you Believe – Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston (Theme from the Prince of Egypt) – You know, Siobhan can sing, but she takes the songs and makes them all sound like they came from a Disney movie.  We were waiting to see if Mickey Mouse and the crew would take the stage behind her waving at the audience.  She hit one saintly note at the end, but she was pitchy, dull and quite honestly bad.  She keeps saying how much the song meant to her, but that isn’t an excuse for a poor performance.  This was another channel changer.  (6/10)

6. Michael Lynche – Hero – Chad Kroeger feat. Josey ScottThis is a classic power ballad sung by two powerful vocalists that play off each other’s sound.  When a single person does it, it loses that appeal.  However, Michael belted this song out.  He did not pucker like he was going to eat the microphone as he usually does, and he hit every note on target.  It was a strong performance even if the judges didn’t necessarily see it.   We did not believe Michael should have been saved when he was, but this was another example of his better performances, when he stands still, doesn’t come across as Shrek and doesn’t do his fish imitation.  Still, those steroids do nothing for us. (8/10)

7. Crystal Bowersox – People Get Ready by the ImpressionsCrystal took kind of a gospel song and performed it like an absolute pro.  Of course, she is an absolute pro, every week.  She cannot miss.  We believe she could sing a Miss Piggy song at this point and still win this competition. (10/10)

-0-

So now to weed out the most painful performers of the night.  The two absolute worst by far were Aaron and Tim.  Aaron should be gone by now.  He is dull and horrible.  There is no way he could ever win this and he is so outclassed it is pathetic.  Tim is only still here because of votefortheworst, a joke of a website that just seeks to make fun of Idol.  We would like to see both of these jokers go.

But we need someone else for the bottom three.  That would be between Siohban and Casey.  Both were equally bad tonight.  But they were still leaps and bounds better than the Bobbsey Twins of horror.  Either one goes and we will let out a cheer.  We favor Aaron to go over Tim, but not by much.

We were wrong on one artist on double elimination week.  Siobhan or Aaron should have been on the train out of LA.  And they both proved they are not capable of winning unless a miracle happens for one of them.  Tim, well, the miracle happens for him every week.  The Sanjaya of the season.

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.

American Idol Top 9 Beatles Review: The Judges Truly Moved Us This Week…

And after we were done, washed our hands of American Idol as a viable venue for judging talent, and returned from the john, we sat down and tried to analyze what was clearly one of the worst weeks in Idol history from a performance and judging perspective.

One huge problem with this week was the Beatles theme. Out of approximately 400 Beatles songs, not including those done by the individual artists, the bulk of this hapless bunch picked the most overdone and/or boring possible.

But the worst part of all was not listening to the performances themselves, but listening to the judges bickering about style or suffering through the inconsistent and nonsensical comments after each performer had struggled through their respective debacle. (Note all the performers were not horrible, just most of them)

We are changing our rating scale this week. Normally we rate each performance on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being akin to glass being dragged across a chalk board, and 10 being a performance we would like to hear on the radio, or maybe even add to our personal collection!

This week, each artist butchered their particular song in their own special way save a couple. And the judges were clueless. Some of the comments made by this hapless lot prove these individuals are oxygen deprived and suffering from severe brain hemorrhage.

So, this week, we will rate the contestants from 1-10, 1 being the least likely to make their audience barf and 10 being the least likely to get their audience to turn off the radio for the rest of their life.

Before we begin, we send out a humble apology to Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr for the embarrassment American Idol has caused you, and we hope that John Lennon’s and George Harrison’s memorials can be repaired after the severe disturbances resulting as they continually rolled over in their graves.

1. Aaron Kelly – “The Long and Winding Road” – We were certain after this performance and after Aaron had to go first, he was certain to rank even below Tim Urban. Aaron picked this song because he has been deluded into believing he can sing. It is painful to watch him because he takes himself so seriously and we feel embarrassed, like when we watch a relative we know can’t hit a single note jump up at a wedding and do a karaoke performance of some outdated love song. This was pure pain because the song, while beautiful, requires an extremely strong artist, and was made popular by one of the best pop vocalists of all time. Aaron made it his own, entering a performance consistent with listening to the after lunch symphony in a men’s room. On a nauseating scale of 1-10, this rates an 8/10.

2. Katie Stevens – “Let It Be” – If you are going to pick a Beatles song, and you honestly believe you are going to compare to them in any way, you shouldn’t pick one of the biggest hits of all time. We don’t normally criticize song choice, but Katie proved we are wrong about that some of the time. For anyone to think they can perform this song well demonstrates a total lack of any understanding of music, or a total inability to grasp how insignificant the performance will be. Katie was far from unquestionable talent on this performance. After babbling and making idiotic comments about Aaron’s Long Whining Toad, the judges started actually arguing about whether this performance was a country or pop/R&B style. They are so clueless, and they get millions to embarrass both America and the worldwide audience. To add insult to injury, the judges liked this horrific, although on key performance, that sounded more like what we would hear during a mid-summer church service while we daydreamed about bolting for the beach as soon as the final note was over. On the nauseating scale of 1-10, Katie almost matched Aaron. (7/10)

3. Andrew Garcia – “Can’t Buy Me Love” – Andrew did a fun and inspiring performance of this song. We think it a bit too pop for his style, but he performed it extremely well and embarrassed the performers that went before him. So, what did the sub-80 IQ judges say? They dumped on it, except for the Ellen, our breath of fresh air. After we had been nauseated two consecutive times by performances upon which the judges commented positively, they bashed Andrew for what was one of his best stage performances of the season, and one we would love to hear on the radio. We can’t rate him up with Crystal this or any week, but he did not make us want to part with our lunch. (2/10)

4. Michael Lynche – “Eleanor Rigby” – We don’t like Michael, but he has a fantastic voice. So week after week, we have these moments where we are so disappointed he is doing well. We didn’t have to worry about it this week. Michael belted out the song alright; it just wasn’t Eleanor Rigby. We have no idea what it was. The judges idiotically claimed they could hear this on the radio. Hopefully not on any radio we listen to. Michael looked comical as he practically kissed the microphone during the performance looking as though if he inhaled he would accidentally consume the thing and have to be rushed to the hospital. This was a horrible performance. Michael destroyed a great song by making it his own. And the judges were clueless. On a nauseating scale of 1-10, (9/10)

5. Crystal Bowersox – “Come Together” –Crystal once again was the shining star. She was so far above the performers that went before her that we think she should go straight to the finals. The only negative comment this clueless bunch of judges could make was to say that it wasn’t her best performance, because there is nothing really negative to say at all, and the judges would do best to just say nothing at all. (1/10)

6. Tim Urban – “All My Loving” – Leave it to Tim to make All My Loving sound like a Ringo Starr song. He played guitar on this song, and it reminded us of a young child that had just finished his first year of guitar lessons and was finally playing for his parents for the first time. He took the song, which is fun and romantic and made it into a dull and senseless torture. After it was over, the judges appeared to be trying to convince the audience not to vote for him any more by actually praising this horrific disaster, even saying they could listen to it on the radio! On the nauseating scale of 1-10, Tim didn’t do all that badly, but only because Michael had been so completely nauseating. (7/10)

7. Casey James – “Jealous Guy” – Casey chose to do a John Lennon song, which we didn’t care for much. It wasn’t because he didn’t nail it, he did. It was because there are so many wonderful Beatles songs so why do an obscure Lennon tune. We could list at least 40 songs he could have done and demonstrated equal talent and the audience could have better identified with. Still, he had a driving performance and received great praise from the judges in their first successful attempt of the night to judge musical talent. So, Casey gets a 1/10 because he was far from nauseating, but we give Crystal the nod on what we would rather hear on the radio.

8. Siobhan Magnus – “Across the Universe” – Well, somebody should change Siobhan’s world this week. What in John Lennon’s name was she thinking? She butchered this song performing it as though it was a Beatles song being performed by a no talent high school opera singer. We weren’t totally nauseated as we were with Michael, but it was pretty sickening. (7/10)

9. Lee Dewyze – “Hey Jude” – Once again, a choice of one of the biggest hits of all time and that has been so overdone on this show and on television by artists that cannot hold a candle to the Beatles. So, what do we get out of Lee this week after some great performances we thought for sure would put him into our MP3 player? We get a boring and foolish off key performance in which a bag pipe player walks down the stairs to join him at the end. A bag pipe player. On Hey Jude. Did we say he was playing a bag pipe? Did we say he was wearing a Scottish kilt? Did we say how completely idiotic it made the performance? Still it was not as sickening as most. (6/10)

So, this week, we have to ship out those contestants most likely to send us rushing to the rest room.

Crystal, Casey and Andrew were great and did not rank among the toilet humor of this show. So, they are safe, thankfully, because we were running out of undigested food.

The rest were all horrible. The four most nauseating were, in this order:

1. Michael Lynche

2. Aaron Kelly

3. Tim Urban

4. Siobhan Magnus

If the audience listens to the judges, who were horrible and defied common sense this week, but still unfortunately influence votes, one of the best performers of the week, Andrew Garcia would go home, and the worst, Michael Lynche just cinched a place in the finals. That is how completely off the mark these judges were, and we hope the audience sees right through their fallacy of self importance.

Our bottom three have to come from the four above, which is almost in direct contrast to the judges’ stated opinions. These four were all horrible, but Michael stood out in the tidy bowl bunch, and if he doesn’t make the bottom three this week, just give him the million bucks, because no one can hear anyway and we can save time.

Aaron should have gone last week but he survived thanks to the tone deaf judges. Once again, they assisted him when they should have just plain out stated he stunk worse than Tim Urban has all season. He is in our bottom three for sure and we hope he doesn’t circle the bowl long before he gets flushed.

Tim Urban was as bad as always, but the Judges have started to actually praise him. Despite the fact that Tim’s haircut looks like it would be effective for cleaning the toilet, we think he wasn’t much worse than Siobhan. The judges praised his flatulent performance and could fool the audience into saving him again this week.

Siobhan was horrible this week and destroyed a great Beatles tune. We think this gal needs a wake-up call because she is good, but she has been butchering songs for several weeks now. If Tim isn’t in the bottom 3, or if Mike is saved because of the blind, deaf and dumb judges failing to flush him, Siobhan should kiss the bottom of the bowl this week.

All that said, we think Michael should go home. If Didi can be eliminated for a bad week, then Michael should go before he swallows a microphone. Didi had a real chance to make the top five if she had gotten to this week. This is exactly the style of music in which she excels. But she blew it on a bad performance last week. Michael blew it worse this week and should go. He shouldn’t be saved.

However, if we are rating the overall nausea factor over several weeks, we would like Aaron to go and would cheer as well if Tim were the chosen one.

Nuff said, we have to go clean up.

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.

American Idol 9 Top 11 Performance Review: it’s time to turn the ‘Paige’!

Hey, we’re here! We decided to start covering American Idol when it is down to the more serious contenders in the competition. We watched the early episodes of the whole season 9 but was not impressed. Clearly, there is no Adam Lambert this year.

It is time for the judges to realize that each artist is different, and that the “choice of song” excuse they use for criticizing people is so far off the mark that it has become a joke to the viewing audience. In the first two years of “24” they constantly used the phrase “focus”. The writers caught on people were making fun of them and adjusted, but these judges appear oblivious for their own good.

Ellen Degeneres brings a new feel to the judges and certainly is an amazing comedienne, capable of introducing spontaneous comedy and laughter out of the show while also stating her opinion. What we like about her is she often does not judge the music, but the performance. And she has more experience performing for an audience than any of the silly judges that sit beside her.

The thing is people do it right, people do it wrong, but there is no “wrong song”. The greats can do anything and have you begging for more, and supposedly that is what this show is supposed to be about. Finding the greats.

As bad as the judges were this week, let’s cut to the chase.

1. Lee Dwyze (Boxtops) “The Letter” – Lee has a haunting soulful voice. The closest comparison we can come up with in recent history is the lead singer for Sister Hazel. The sound is so similar at times, we were ready to buy their new album. Lee belts it out, has fun and is unique. We like almost everything about him, but he needs a band to have the stage presence he needs. That is something this show badly misses. When a lead singer stands out, they are treating him or her as a soloist. Lee belongs in a band and if he chooses the right path, that is where he will soar. (8/10)

2. Paige Miles (Phil Collins) “Against All Odds” – The judges were right that Paige was way off the mark here, but they missed the reason. It wasn’t song choice. She stunk. She was off key and did not hit a single note. She was nervous, pitchy, and dull. No top ten here. (3/10)

3. Tim Urban (Queen) “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”– OK, so we aren’t big fans of Tim. He is a cheap version of Bobbie Sherman, and just not as cute. His haircut is goofball and outdated. His look with the sneakers and sport jacket was downright shabby. And then he takes on Freddie Mercury???. Freddie was one of the greatest rock singers of all time. Even the best can’t approach his amazing abilities. So, take an average guy like Tim, and all it does is make him sound corny. Tim is a poor and immature performer with a middle of the road voice. He can’t tackle Donny Osmond, let alone Freddie. (4/10)

4. Aaron Kelly (Aerosmith) “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” – We hate it when the judges pander to a performer. When David Archuletta would have a bad week or forget the words, they would roll over and say how great he sang the one word he remembered. Unlike David, Aaron is not good. He didn’t miss the lyric, but he is pitchy (off key) and has no personality. We don’t like him, we don’t care much for his voice, but he was better than deserving elimination this week. What was disgusting though was his statement that he has tonsillitis. Dude, if you have it, you won’t survive weeks without major treatment. Go get some ice cream and quit this show. If you are lying, it will come out. The treatment takes weeks or even months. (5/10)

5. Crystal Bowersox (Janis Joplin) “Bobby McGee”– Crystal is the purest crystal of all. She is a diamond that emerged from the ashes this season. There is no doubt with every performance she is the best. We love Janis Joplin’s version of Bobby McGee, and Crystal did it on par with Janis. None of the stars on this show to date have performed on par with the professionals, except for Crystal, and it happens every week. Bravo. (10/10)

6. Michael Lynche (Percy Sledge/Michael Bolton) “When a Man Loves a Woman” – We don’t like Michael when he overperforms. He is huge and it looks like a Shrek performance when he awkwardly bounces about the stage. Yet he has a loveable quality about him, so as long as we aren’t placing our hands over our face in embarrassment, we have to admit, this man can sing. Tonight he was much more still, and he belted out his performance like a pro. He felt it, he brought soul to it and you know what? He killed it. (9/10)

7. Andrew Garcia (Smokey Robinson/Creedence Clearwater) “I heard it through the grapevine”– Another case of Idol not even knowing the source of the song, let alone knowing if it is the right one. The idiotic comments that came after the misguided introduction by Ryan Seacrest made us shake our heads. First, this is not a Marvin Gaye song as Ryan introduced it. This song was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong in 1966, the single was first recorded by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles. It was a huge hit done again by Creedence Clearwater Revival 34 years before Marvin did his version. Marvin did a version of it in 2004, but it is NOT a Marvin Gaye song any more than it is Andrew Garcia’s. As far as Andrew’s performance? It was horrible. The judges said it was a bad song choice (the standard nonsense they spew when they have no idea why it was bad). It was a perfect choice for Andrew. It is a soul song, and Andrew is all about soul. It is his style. But he was dressed dumb, he performed it with no soul (where did it go Andrew?) and he was stiff throughout. It came across as “Revenge of the Nerds” do Motown. (5/10)

8. Katie Stevens (Fergie) “Big Girls Don’t Cry”– Fergie is amazing. So, please, if you are going to sing her biggest hit, at least be on key. Katie was off key throughout the song. If Paige hadn’t been so horrible, we would place her last and yet the judges praised her, suggesting they need hearing aids. We do admit she looked fantastic, which is a major improvement over past attempts at mass appeal, but she has no recording voice and is lucky to be in the top 10 in a weak year. (4/10)

9. Casey James (Huey Lewis and the News) “Power of Love”– When the judges miss a performance, which is common, it is because they just don’t get the performance. Huey Lewis was all about fun on stage and Casey brought it. We loved him this week. The judges were less enthusiastic, but we believe they never saw Huey in person. Now, granted, without the backup vocals and harmony, Casey could not be equivalent to Huey, but he nailed this song. And the judges were grasping for why he didn’t sound the same as Huey WITHOUT the News. We got “news”. The artists are not all soloists and we feel Casey is another great band lead. (9/10)

10. Didi Benami (Linda Ronstadt) “You’re No Good” – People often don’t get Didi. She is off beat and unique. Listen to artists like Lenka, Meiko, or Vanessa Carlton. Our closest analogy though is Suzanne Vega with her haunting song about Luka. If Didi did that song, we are certain, she would haunt the audience voting for her. The judges don’t get it either. The issue here is sound quality and recordability. Didi has it and performed wonderfully, and yet the judges criticized her about song choice. Wow, how wrong could they be??!! She nailed her performance and was top notch. Perhaps the song is dated, but the performance was far from. (8/10)

11. Siobhan Magnus (Stevie Wonder) “Superstition”– Now, sometimes we believe that a performer did not concoct his/her name (or tattoo), and they are just unique. This name, though, is almost concocted. Siobhan is not the amateur she pretends to be and we expect that to come out. The woman can scream and belt out a song, but other than the scream this week, she was rather dull. (7/10)

Well, it all comes down to the person that was the worst…right? That is unless you believe the unendingly dull website “votefortheworst.com” that suggests everyone should vote for the worst performer. But even then, only one can be at the bottom.

We don’t believe in any talent contest you should vote for the worst just because some dull website scrounging for hits says you should, but hey, YMMV. Such a suggestion would have the “next to the worst” get eliminated each week until you could stand the worst no longer.

What we do believe, and it plays out by the end of almost every year, is that talent will rule supreme and those that don’t have it, will fall by the wayside. There are some reasons we believe some of the seemingly best talents do not win. We believe the most common are the great band leads. Daughtry is our prime example. He is great with a rock band, but you don’t want to hear him sing a Stevie Wonder solo. We do feel this show does do some of these “band” performers a disservice.

Our biggest critical comment of the judges to date though has been hypocrisy. The judges often say, as a contestant is eliminated, that it is just the beginning. Then, week after week, they state BEFORE the elimination, how losing could be the end of their dream or career. It is like they cannot hear themselves.

The gist of it, though, is you can be on week to week, and then miss one week and lose. You can be a fantastic band rocker like Daughtry and lose because you are asked to sing an “out of character” Elvis solo. You can be “off beat” and the judges don’t get it, so you lose because they beat you up week after week. But in the end, the audience knows. And we all know. The hits don’t lie.

We won’t get into who we think are the most recordable voice this season. We saw one eliminated recently, but we didn’t think she should win this year; we just find her voice catchy and memorable. What we will say so far is that there are some major talents in this group, but the froth is only bringing out one as the leader so far. You already know who that is, so we will not go any further.

Bye bye Paige.

American Idol 9 Andrew Garcia, Casey James and Katie Stevens lead the most fans in Facebook

Just for kicks we searched the names of all the Top 24 American Idol Season 9 contestants in Facebook and compared fan numbers. We weren’t surprise to see that Andrew Garcia (35,513), Casey James (23,583) and Katie Stevens (20,255) show the most number of fans with a combined total of 79,351 fans as of February 28th. These numbers were most likely related to the three doing so well in the Audition and Hollywood week, and not so much on their Top 24 performances. Good for them, they were the Idol producers’ favorites as well as the judges’ early picks- they had the most air time among all the contestants!

Surprise, surprise John Park comes in 4th with 18,370 fans. If we were judging based on his dry “God Bless the Child” Top 24 performance, we would have booted him and saved Joe Munoz instead! Poor Joe, he showed very little exposure on Idol that his cute Jason Mraz “You and I Both” didn’t save him from being cut. He’s got 2,049 fans on Facebook. Fifth in line with most fans is teeny-bopper crush material Aaron Kelly with 17,269.

Didn’t the judges openly admit they want a girl to win this year? While Facebook fan numbers isn’t necessarily a good predictor of who is going to win this season or who is leading on the Idol stage, it is somewhat close an indicator on who will at least make it to the top 12 to go on tour! The low turnout of fan numbers may also very well say that if something as easy as clicking a button on Facebook (“become a fan”) couldn’t do it, then people are not going to spend time and money to text the contestants number or push the dial on the phone.

The Top 12 American Idol Contestants based on number of Facebook fans:

Guys:

1. Andrew Garcia (35,513)
2. Casey James (23,583)
3. John Park (18,370)
4. Aaron Kelly (17,269)
5. Tim Urban (10,449) really? we thought he should “apologize” for his sloppy performance on AI night.
6. Lee DeWyze (8,211) dark horse among the guys!
7. Jermaine Sellers (6,250)

Girls:

1. Katie Stevens (20,255) sing contemporary, age appropriate songs and you’ll keep the lead.
2. Crystal Bowersox (9,810) the rocker mom’s got the nod!
3. Didi Benami (8,404) If you have the urge, please do not sing Colbie Caillat or Sara Bareilles, UNLESS you make a new arrangement of the songs; they’re too SAFE and easy and they’ve been so overplayed people are tired of hearing their songs. Surprise us!
4. Lacey Brown (7,019) she better do well on her next performance. the audience might not be forgiving the second time!
5. Siobhan Magnus (6,095) – dark horse among the girls!
6. Katelyn Epperly (5,144)
7. Lilly Scott (3,085) we think she should be in the top 12 but perhaps she is too “Indie” for an Idol platform so she’s not getting enough fans?

A twist is that Tyler Grady (8,191) has more fans than Jermaine or Alex and he was cut. Janell Wheeler (3,126) and Ashley Rodriguez (4,548) have more fans than Lilly Scott and they were both cut. If it isn’t too early to predict that the next to go are Michael Lynche (1,258): he’s a mediocre a capable singer really but lacks star quality; his backstory brought him to the Top 24 and/or Todrick Hall (4,353): takes too much risks! and or Alex Lambert (4,852): too uncomfortable on stage; can’t fight off the nerves and it shows in his face!

The next to go in the girls might or could be Michelle Delamor (1,559), too sound-alike, good voice but not enough and or Paige Miles (3,816): Simon really likes her but a lot of people do not know her well. Like Michelle, she didn’t get enough exposure during the audition and Hollywood week and or Haeley Vaughn (2,088): Haeley, dear Haeley, we would have voted you off based on that shrilly “I want to hold your hand” performance. You are the weakest link.

Any of them could go and they will not be missed on the Idol stage… Prove us wrong you guys!