'American Idol' - '11 Finalists Perform' Recap

by Kona Gallagher, posted Mar 24th 2010 1:20AM
american idol top 11
Thank God 'American Idol' is still two hours long. If it weren't, we would have had to cut down the horrendously awkward intro in which Ryan chats with all of the judges. Between Ryan commenting on Simon's v-neck shirt, and his kissing Ellen, I half expect them to just go ahead and get naked. Luckily, they managed to control themselves, and we were actually able to see some performances.

The mentoring thing is always a little weird on this show, but Miley Cyrus? That's certainly an interesting choice. I understand that she's highly successful and good at what she does, but how much guidance can she really give to these contestants? I have a feeling that a lot of their mentoring sessions consisted of them nodding politely at her and then doing whatever they were going to do in the first place. Fortunately, even though she's the mentor, it's not Miley Cyrus night. Instead, the contestants just have to pick a song that was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Lee DeWyze is up first, and he's going for a throwback. He's singing 'The Letter,' and he's kind of reminding me of a super-hyper Tom Jones. I commend him for trying something different with the song, but he's hunched over the entire time, and it just looks like he's trying so hard, that I just want to give him a towel and a glass of water. It's distracting. Ellen loved his performance, however, equating him to her favorite pen, who she ... licks? Kara also thinks that he's improved drastically. Simon disagrees, saying that although he sounded good, it was "quite corny." He didn't have a "moment."

Paige Miles is singing Phil Collins' 'Against All Odds,' which is a great song and a really interesting choice for her. I'm rooting for her, but unfortunately, it starts off really weak. She is beyond pitchy during the intro -- she's all over the place. Once she starts belting it out, she gets more in the groove, but she starts to lose it again. I love this song, but this doesn't work at all. It keeps sounding like it's about to get better, but then it never does. Randy straight-up calls it terrible. He can't even think of anything good to say about it. You wouldn't think it was possible, but it only gets worse from there. Ellen talks about how great Paige looks, but won't even critique her performance at all, while Kara says that she thinks Paige stopped competing somewhere along the way. She also says that it was the worst vocal she's ever heard from her. Simon tells her that she's going to be in serious trouble.

Tim Urban is singing 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love,' which is a fantastic song choice for him. While he's still not near the top of the pack talent-wise, he's better than I've ever seen him tonight. He's on pitch, he's having fun, and he looks like he actually belongs up there. Randy, however, disagrees with me and calls it "bad karaoke." Even Ellen says that it was corny and felt like an audition for 'High School Musical.' Kara further piles on and calls him Zac Efron. Simon calls it "pointless and silly," and doesn't understand why he sang that song. Harsh reviews all around.

Aaron Kelly is fighting both laryngitis and tonsillitis. Ryan tries to make things easy on him by writing out, "are you ready?" But Aaron can still hear, so I'm not sure what good Ryan not talking is doing, but that's 'American Idol' science, I guess. He's singing 'I Don't Want to Miss a Thing,' and I have a couple of problems with this right off the bat: 1) it's way too old for him, and 2) it's such a cheesy wedding song at this point, and Aaron really needs to stay away from that, which is hard, because it's where he naturally gravitates. He does a perfectly nice job with the song, but he didn't go up to that crazy note that Steven Tyler hit, which was disappointing. I don't understand why the judges love him so much, but they give him absolutely glowing reviews. Ellen tells him that he was amazing, Kara says that it was the best song choice of the night. Simon has the only semi-negative comment when he calls Aaron a bit old-fashioned. However, after that, Ryan calls him David Archuleta, which is awesome (and true).

Crystal Bowersox probably has no idea who Miley Cyrus is. However, she has her sign her guitar anyway. Crystal fascinates me. Janis Joplin may be a pretty predictable choice for her, but come on. There have been rumors of a Janis Joplin biopic for over a decade, and I could see her in it if it ever actually happened. What's interesting about this performance, is that she sounds a lot like Melissa Etheridge, and she shows once again how easy it is for her to just let herself go on stage. Randy says her performance is what the show is about. Ellen loved it as well, but still feels like Crystal needs to connect a little bit more with the audience. Kara echos Ellen's sentiments, while Simon says that he wouldn't change anything. He calls her performance as good as Pink's version of that song.

Michael Lynche made Miley all gooey, and it was pretty adorable. He's singing 'When a Man Loves a Woman,' which is another brilliant song choice. The trick here for Big Mike is to avoid falling into the wedding singer trap. I don't even know how he manages it, but somehow he does, in fact, manage to avoid that trap -- he's just that good. He takes a song we've heard a million different times, a million different ways, and makes it interesting. Very few people can do that. Randy doesn't think it was his best performance, but he still loves it, as does Ellen. Kara tells him that while it was technically very good, it was a bit boring and over-indulgent. Simon tells him that he should have stripped it down, but that he has a lot of talent.

Andrew Garcia is singing 'Heard it Through the Grapevine,' and Miley made him put down the guitar, which will be an interesting change. He comes out and is all full of energy and has an attitude that we really haven't seen before. Could it be that Miley Cyrus actually gave him a good suggestion? Weird. I really enjoyed it, but Randy did not like it at all. Ellen loves Andrew, but says it wasn't fantastic. Kara says that he's chasing that moment from the auditions, and he doesn't know what he's doing anymore. Simon even goes so far as to say that he sucked the soul out of the song and ruined it. It's pretty harsh, to say the least.

Katie Stevens is singing Fergie's 'Big Girls Don't Cry,' and she starts off really strong, but honestly, I don't have high hopes. She hits the notes for the most part, but I can't stand the back-of-the-throat tone her voice is taking in this song. I keep on wanting to give her a decongestant or a neti pot in hopes that she can get whatever is going on with her sinuses cleared up. Randy likes that she's been listening to them, while Ellen calls it her best performance yet. Kara thinks that pop with R&B leanings is where she should be heading. Simon, however, thinks she should still go the Country route.

Casey James is singing 'The Power of Love,' and there's something that I love about him singing Huey Lewis and the News. If one thing comes out of this season of 'Idol,' I would love for it to be a Huey Lewis and the News revival. Seriously; it's about time 'Idol' gives back. He does a good job with the song, and he's clearly having fun, but I'm worried that the judges are going to tell him that he didn't make it his own enough. Randy tells him that he's probably the best musician guitar player that they have, and Ellen says that it was the best vocal of the night. Kara tells him that he's ready to make an album, while Simon says that he made an identical version to the Huey Lewis version, and then chalks up his dislike of the performance to the fact that he's English. That makes sense.

Didi Benami (or Benimi, as Ryan says), is singing 'You're No Good.' She's trying to get all sassy with it, and I like it. It's not her strongest performance, but it shows a little bit of a different side to her. She has a confidence that we haven't really seen up to this point, and it's refreshing. Randy tells her that she was pitchy, and Ellen doesn't like the song choice. Kara felt like Didi was playing a character, while Simon says it was like the bad part of a musical.

Siobhan Magnus is closing the show with a big song: 'Superstition,' by Stevie Wonder. If she can pull this off, I'll take back every bad thing I ever said about her, because this is tough. She starts off really well, and while she hits all the notes, she seems to lose her ability to enunciate, and it's hard to make out the lyrics. She also does her crazy scream thing which is good, but she's beginning to rely on it a bit too heavily. Overall, though, it was a strong performance. Randy thinks it was great and loves her conviction, while Ellen wants more from her. Kara doesn't think it was her best performance, but also loves her. Simon tells her that she needs to start pushing herself, and that it wasn't her night overall.

Who of the Top 11 gave the best performance?
Lee Dewyze32 (2.5%)
Paige Miles11 (0.9%)
Tim Urban18 (1.4%)
Aaron Kelly30 (2.4%)
Crystal Bowersox911 (71.9%)
MIchael Lynche29 (2.3%)
Andrew Garcia4 (0.3%)
Katie Stevens23 (1.8%)
Casey James68 (5.4%)
Didi Benami26 (2.1%)
Siobhan Magnus115 (9.1%)

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Umm...you are letting Miley's age intefere with your judgement. Miley is a seasoned pro with, count them, three successful arena tours under her belt (one as an opening act). Plus literally hundreds of other live performances. She has also played in stadiums. Who else are they gong to get with her track record?

March 24 2010 at 6:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce N.

Tim does stink and acts as if he's performing in some big arena as a solo act. He's so not worthy.

March 24 2010 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When the judges love someone no matter how bad they sing, the judges always let things slide or have an excuse for them. I thought Lee was great and I thought Tim was very good. Aaron was not good but he's someone they love and no matter what he does he can do no wrong.
I am actually hating this year. I changed channels at 9:00. I can't stand Kara for telling Tim he's not at the level yet to touch someone's hand in the audience. Give me a f.....g break.

March 24 2010 at 1:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to davidm3825's comment

The only way Tim is at the level of touching someone's hand is to grab for a lifeline. He's consistently stunk every time he's touched the mike. Kara may be a puffed up idiot, but in this case, she was dead on.

March 24 2010 at 3:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Poor Paige- she really should have gone weeks ago. Katie, Tim, Andrew too. Personally, I liked DiDi's tonight. Interesting they fawn over Crystal who stood still behind her guitar (again), who forced (screamed) much more than she needed to last night even with a Janis Joplin song, and who closed her eyes and sang to herself a good amount. Why no comments about it being "indulgent" (Come on!!!!), about connecting to the audience, about using the stage???? I'm not sure she could have chosen a more "safe" song- I do like her, but still think she often sounds and has the presence of a subway singer. At least Tim connected with the fans, DiDi brought something new and worked the stage, and Lee changed things up and got the crowd into it. Just like always, they are very prejudicial toward the one(s) they like and do not seem to judge the contestants fairly with the same criteria. As for Miley, I think she did as well or better than some of the "veterans" they had mentor in past seasons. And, if you want contemporary, why pick the Rolling Stones (although I was very pleasantly surprised)? I still can't forget last season's horrible 2 weeks of the Beatles... why not pick venues that are more current? Since they all but crowned Crystal weeks ago, let's see if we have a repeat of last season when they couldn't fawn over Adam Lambert anymore if they tried... I miss Lilly and Alex!!!!! Too bad we could'nt use the save on one (or both) of them!

March 24 2010 at 1:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't think any contestants had a stand out performance this week. My favorite was Casey, Didi, Big Mike, and Crystal. I think Crystal was ok but many of her performance sound the same and her song choice are getting predictable (Morisette, Chapman, and Miller). Most of the time the judges criticize the contestant when they become predictable (Sibohan with the high note after every song) or they accuse them of being indulgent (Big Mike by Kara tonight). However, Crystal have avoided this criticism so far.

I feel bad for Paige and I am afraid she is headed home. I like Paige but I agree with Randy that last night she was bad. I rather see her stay than Tim Urban. His performance was just as bad as Paige but he was also very corny. I didn't like Katie performance either and I agree with everything Kona said about her. I don't see how the judges gave her a good review last night. I like Andy Garcia but I agree with Simon that he took the soul out of that song. He kind of butchered the tempetation song.

I think the bottom 3 will be Katie, Paige, and Didi. I don't think Didi deserve to be in the bottom 3 but I think she will after the judges rip her last night. I liked her performance and disagree with everything the judges said about her. I hope the bottom 3 will be Tim, Katie, and Paige with Tim being sent home. I doubt Tim will be sent home tonight because young girls love him. I think Tim fans will keep him out of the bottom 3 tonight because they want to see him perform on the Idol tour this summer. I think Paige will be going home tonight.

March 24 2010 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

From the microphones not working when the judges were announced, to the singers who shouldn't even be called that, the episode was just so incredibly poor. There are just so many bad contestants left in this show that it's going to take another 5-6 weeks until there's at least some resemblence of American Idol. Ellen Degeneres has just been a non entity. She really hasn't been funny, and she actually deferred saying anything bad about Paige to Kara and Simon. I know she doesn't like judging people but that's her job. Also, does anyone else notice that she never smiles or even looks at Simon. Wow. Very icy. When Kara is actually not the worst part of the show then the show is really that bad.


March 24 2010 at 12:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's obvious that Crystal has been singing and performing for a while...she is just so comfortable (and talented) on stage. Michael has an amazing voice and can hold the big notes. Siobhan has become this year's Adam Lambert. A good voice but enough with the scream...she is overdoing it just like Lambert.

Poor Paige was awful, I feel bad for the girl. Andrew Garcia can not sing, I don't get him at all.

March 24 2010 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Without a doubt, Chrystal is the most talented performer on the show this year. Michael seems to be a nice guy with a nice voice and a nice personality. That's it. He is nice. Andrew is trying to hard to find his talent. Lee has the charisma of a wall. Siobhan is a very unique young lady with a voice to match. Tim should not have been selected to be in the top 12, but they needed a cute, young guy. Aaron has the voice, but not the oomph needed to be a star. Paige does have a nice voice, but that's just about it - a nice voice. Didi thinks she is the next Ms. Showbiz. Casey can sing, but has absolutely no stage presence. Katie is a beautiful young girl who obviously has not found her niche as yet. Please don't hate on me as these are just my opinions. Thank you.
Based on true talent, Chrystal should win. End of story.

March 24 2010 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Lee DeWyze ...He's singing 'The Letter,' and he's kind of reminding me of a super-hyper Tom Jones.
Actually he's doing the Joe Cocker version.

March 24 2010 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Paige was plain awful - I don't understand why she's still there after she murdered 'Smile' in the Top 24. Crystal is just amazing, I hope her popularity gives folk a well deserved revival. I quite like Siobhan but agree that the screaming is getting old - she's got a nice enough voice just singing and OK, the scream works once in a while, but not every performance. I don't understand how the judges told Katie her performance was good when she was sharp pretty much through the whole thing and then criticize Didi who was a lot less pitchy.

If I had my way I'd continue the competition with Crystal, Siobhan, Didi, Casey and Mike and have done with it a lot sooner. They say every year that the talent is so much better than ever before, but I really, REALLY don't see any evidence of it.

March 24 2010 at 10:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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