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 His haircut is goofball and outdated.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.