'American Idol' - 'Seven Finalists Compete' Recap

by Kona Gallagher, posted Apr 20th 2010 10:23PM
american idol top 7 alicia keys
This season has actually gone by pretty quickly for me. Top 7? That's completely nuts, yet here we are. Plus, we get a bitchin' mentor this week: Alicia Keys. The theme this week is the nebulous, "songs of inspiration," which could either be completely ridiculous or pretty cool.

Unfortunately, it's a little bit more of the former instead of the latter. I don't know what it is, but when left to basically their own devices, these guys aren't very good at picking songs. Just about everybody gave pretty much a "take it or leave it" performance. Of course, it wouldn't be 'Idol' if there wasn't a standout or two in the crowd.

Casey James is singing Fleetwood Mac's cheesiest song, 'Don't Stop.' I don't dislike the song per se; in fact, I would pay for a Time-Life collection CD of Hacky Songs by Otherwise Good Bands,' featuring such hits as 'Pink Cadillac' and 'Shiny Happy People.' Anyhoo, Casey gives a perfectly serviceable performance, and does some cool stuff on the guitar at the end, but he doesn't blow me away as he has in weeks past. He still has a great shot, but this doesn't exactly propel him to the next level. Randy says it was good, but he wants to see something a little bit different. Ellen tells him that he needs to "be great right now," and he wasn't, while Kara says that he was too "jam band," and was too much like everybody else. Simon doesn't think that his song was very inspirational, and that it was a "lazy song choice."

Lee Dewyze had an interesting choice: Simon & Garfunkel's 'The Boxer.' I love this song, and Lee says it helped inspire him to learn the guitar. His rendition doesn't come close to touching the original, but with that said, I enjoy what he did with it. The fact that this song means something to him is readily apparent, which is nice. The problem is, that this, like most of his performances, doesn't really make me think. I'm sure that by the end of the episode, I won't even remember it. Randy thinks "he's a great artist ready to make great music," while Ellen tells Lee that it was his best performance by far. Kara thinks he had his moment tonight, while Simon says that the song was sincere, emotional, and inspirational. He calls the performance, "absolutely brilliant."

Tim Urban is oft-abused, but I like him. Should he win? No, but I don't think he's the worst thing in the world, as many 'Idol' fans do. However, I hate The Goo Goo Dolls, so this song could very well put me on the anti-Tim train. He's singing 'Better Days,' and it's like nails on a chalkboard during his video with Alicia Keys. While his actual performance wasn't bad, he did seem to struggle in places. It's clear the song affects him, but he was overwhelmed by the music a few times, and there were other points where he just seemed unsure of himself. Randy calls it "okay good karaoke," while Ellen makes another food reference, saying that he was like a soup of the day that she just didn't like. Kara thinks he's where he belongs, but that it wasn't his best execution. Simon tells him that if it was the very first time they had seen him, they would be impressed, however, this was a little bit of a letdown.

Aaron Kelly drives me up the wall. I'm sorry guys, but there it is. I mean, R Kelly? Seriously, Aaron? Seriously? He's trotting out another song from his personal Time-Life arsenal of 'Cheesy Wedding Songs That Make Me Wish I Was at a Funeral -- My Own' (not the catchiest title I'll grant you, but quite the collection nonetheless), with 'I Believe I Can Fly.' Wasn't there an iteration of this song that involved Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan? How am I supposed to take this seriously? Stop making me ask so many questions, Aaron! I'm tired and I just want to watch 'Lost.' When we get to the actual performance, he does a good job. But dammit, he's trying to be all teen-hearthrob-y, and it's creeping me the crap out. With all of that said, I will also add that this is probably his best performance. As much as I disliked it, he did a great job. Randy tells him that he did a good job with such a giant song, and Ellen believes that he can fly, and he's on his way. Kara says that it started off a little slowly, but he got there. Simon commends him for giving it his all, but he says that if he had heard it on the radio, he would have turned it off in 10 seconds.

Siobhan Magnus
is singing 'When You Believe,' by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, so she's definitely not shying away from the big songs. I don't have high hopes for this, but she's better than she's been in weeks. She still sounds really musical theater to me, but she hits those notes. Randy, however, says that it was "just okay." Ellen disagrees though, saying that it's just more confirmation as to why she's here. Kara says she'd like to hang out with her, but still isn't sure if she'd buy her record. Simon thinks it was the wrong song choice, it was old-fashioned, and that the leaves on her dress distracted him, which I really can't argue with.

Michael Lynche
is singing 'Hero,' by Nickelback, and man. If there's anyone I hate more than The Goo Goo Dolls, it's Nickelback. However, I love Michael Lynche. Unfortunately, this song doesn't work for him at all. His vocals get completely lost in this song. I'm so glad he got saved a few weeks back, but this is my least-favorite performances of his. Randy tells him that he "held his own" though, and Ellen tells him that he did a great job with it. Kara tells him that it wasn't her favorite performance, but Simon tells him that he sang it pretty well. However, he doesn't think that the song was inspirational at all. He didn't like the fact that the song was "about Spider-Man."

Crystal Bowersox is closing out the night, and for the first time ever, she's not playing an instrument. She's singing 'People Get Ready,' the oft-covered Curtis Mayfield song. She starts a capella and it only gets better from there. This is the only legitimate show-stopper of the night. Yes, I'm a Crystal fan to begin with, but you guys, this is ridiculously good. The part where she starts crying at the end was a little awkward, but overall ... damn. Randy tells her it was unbelievable and gives her a standing ovation. Ellen tells her that she's never looked more beautiful, and that she did a great job. Kara compliments her for going without the guitar and tells her that she just schooled everyone else. Luckily I have 'Glee' set to record, or else I would have missed Simon's comments. He tells her that it was inspirational, and that she sang it fantastically. Talk about ending the night on a high note.

Who, of the final 7, gave the best performance?
Casey James20 (1.6%)
Lee Dewyze136 (10.8%)
Tim Urban14 (1.1%)
Aaron Kelly13 (1.0%)
Siobhan Magnus63 (5.0%)
Michael Lynche15 (1.2%)
Crystal Bowersox998 (79.3%)

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