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'American Idol' - 'Five Finalists Compete' Recap

by Kona Gallagher, posted May 5th 2010 1:35AM
'American Idol' Season 9 Top 5 with Harry Connick, Jr.You guys, I love Sinatra and I love Harry Connick Jr., so I'm super-excited about this episode. I'm most interested in seeing what Crystal does with the theme; not only because she's my favorite, but because she's the one furthest away stylistically from this type of music. She's either going to flounder or knock it out of the park -- I really can't see her just handing in a so-so performance.

The arrangements are also going to be worth paying attention to, since Connick has not only brought along his band to play with the contestants, but he's actually arranging the songs for them. I've always thought the whole "mentor" thing on 'Idol' has been more about promotion than actual help, but this could prove to be a little bit different.Aaron Kelly is singing 'Fly Me to the Moon,' and I immediately love the way Harry Connick Jr. gets all crazy-eyed intense with him during rehearsals. "It's my life!" Aaron looks good tonight -- almost adult, which is nice. I also like seeing him sing a classic song, as opposed to some mid-'90s soundtrack schlock, of which he seems to be so fond.

Aaron should still come in fifth place, but this was by far one of my favorite performances of his. Randy was worried about Aaron, but was really impressed. Ellen, meanwhile was impressed with the fact that she didn't hear any country. Kara thought it was good, but not as strong as last week. She also wants him to have more charisma. Simon's more with Kara, which is no big surprise. He thought Aaron was "a mouse," but that people like him after he performs.

Casey James is singing 'Blue Skies,' which is an interesting choice for him. I'm not sure how I feel about it while watching the rehearsals -- it seems a little weak, honestly. The performance, however, is a somewhat of a different story. He does some fascinating things with his voice that we haven't heard before, and it's overall a very different performance from what we usually see from him. I feel as though the judges are going to hate it, and while it certainly wasn't my favorite of his, it was intriguing.

Randy automatically calls it his worst performance and simply tells him that it didn't work. Ellen tells him that he felt very stiff to her, and that she agrees with Randy. Kara liked how he held notes, but tells him that he sounded like a lamb. Simon tells him he looks a little awkward and embarrassed. He makes a joke about Casey's booking for next week, and the whole thing gets a little awkward.

Crystal Bowersox is singing 'Summer Wind' for "personal reasons," which is intriguing. Harry Connick seems blown away by her in rehearsals, and as soon as she starts singing, it's easy to see why. She too is showing another side of herself, but it's certainly working much better for her than it did for the first two contestants. She effortlessly makes the jump from subway performer to sexy lounge act; it's really amazing to watch.

Randy, however, isn't in love with it. He says it was a little sleepy for him. Ellen wants her to loosen up more, but is really impressed with her different sides. Kara tells her that its out of her element, but that she liked her phrasing. Simon isn't sure he would have chosen this song for her, saying that the first half was too jazzy for him. He tells her that she's had two okay weeks, and now she has to be "in it to win it."

Michael Lynche is singing 'The Way You Look Tonight,' which is such an iconic song, that it worries me. It's been done a million times in a million different ways, and I'm not sure that Big Mike can really bring much that's new to it. In the end, my opinion doesn't change -- he really break any new ground, but he's so charming, that at the very least, he adds personality to it.

It's a nice performance; I'm just not sure it's going to win the competition for him. Randy, however, goes crazy over it. He tells Mike that he's "in it to win it." Ellen tells him that he "moves easier than anyone else," and has a lot of charisma. Kara tells him that he "found the drama in the song," but didn't lose himself. Simon tells him that the first three performances were okay, but with him, it's all changed.

Lee Dewyze is singing, and Harry Connick Jr. thinks that he's a "new and improved version" of him. This is one of those performances that makes 'Idol' really interesting for me. I know a lot of people love Lee, but he's always faded into the background for me. I literally forget he's on the show every single week.

This is honestly the very first time that not only did I notice him, but he gave the strongest performance of the night. He did an absolutely fantastic job. Randy loved that he kept his "rocker self," and Ellen tells him that if this were the last night of performances that he would have won the whole thing. Kara tells him that he needs to have the confidence, because he can win this thing. Simon tells him that he gave it 110 percent, and that it was, by far, the best performance of the night.

Sinatra and Harry Connick Jr. were sure to provide some interesting twists, and they did not disappoint. I never would have guessed in a million years that I would walk away from this episode thinking that Lee Dewyze gave the best performance, but here we are. For the first time, he's actually making me sit up and take notice -- could he really win this thing? Who do you have pegged to take the title home?

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Just because Michael was good this week shouldn't let him just slide, he could easily go based on previous weeks. But given that Casey was in Bottom 2 the past few weeks he is more than likely going to go. If for any reason Crystal gets kicked out I am done with the show. Was she is as good as Lee? No. But she has still had only 2 okay weeks, opposed to everyone(other than Lee)who has made a habit of being bad every time out there. Casey should go based on this week, but Aaron really is terrible and I would love if he were gone.


If you want to play a really neat American Idol quiz on past contestants with real clips, Check out:


May 05 2010 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Michael and Lee were pretty good, but the whole episode was tepid overall. Their song choices made me think it was Disney night, not Sinatra night. I mean, I don't think Aaron could pull of "It Was A Very Good Year," but they need to pick songs with some balls!

Aaron or Casey should go home tonight.

Lee has been my pick to win it all since Week 1 or 2. Nice to see the judges finally getting behind him.

Oh, and could Harry say "bro" one more time? Grow up, bro!

May 05 2010 at 1:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I refuse to watch this show anymore whlie Aaron is still there. He was terrible once more. I am not sure why people say that the judges stack the deck against Crystal. Every week they rave about her but the last 2 weeks she has not been as good so they have said that. They obviously do certain things to keep contestants in the competition. Katie lasted longer than she should have, Aaron should have been gone weeks ago but their comments especially Simons sway the voters. I am still confused as to why they do this with some of the people but its very obvious they do it.

May 05 2010 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with a few of the others - Crystal shouldn't win. I like her more than any other contestant, but it's for that exact reason I don't want her to win. I have this feeling that she'd be tied down and made to do things which just wouldn't be her and she'd lose her personal edge. I think Crystal would be far better with loyal fans who'll listen to her because she's her, and not because she won Idol. I don't know why, but every time I see her I think of Alanis Morissette (not sound-wise) because she's the same story - huge fans, a couple of big hits, but the loyal fans are loyal all the way.

I also think it's totally got to be Aaron's week to go because he's just not as good as the others, although based on last night's performances, either Casey or Mike could go for me. Mike just doesn't interest me, at all. Casey has done an Andrew Garcia for me and peaked with Jealous Guy. Since then, I've lost interest as he hasn't been as good. Lee should win, not because I like him, infact I think he's a pretty average rocker with a growl, but because I think he'll sell the most records and do the job an Idol winner is supposed to - make money.

May 05 2010 at 12:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is the point in the competition where the Idol Producers start stacking the deck. The judges start manipulating their feedback not by the quality of the performance, but by who they want in the finale - which is driven by, of course, ratings. Crystal is so far ahead of the pack this season, it's not even funny.

May 05 2010 at 12:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This season has really troubled me - I thought things would improve towards the end, but last night signaled that nothing can really salvage this year's competition. Sinatra classics were pretty butchered across the board, but they got really killed by some. Tonight, I'm very concerned about Casey James - I think that last night's performance may have been his last chance. It's said since he's one of the most solid (and commercial) contestants on the show. Lee was probably the best, with Crystal, and Michael trailing. Although Michael should be eliminated as well, simply for having no viable star status after the show ends. http://thesmogger.com/2010/05/05/idol-hangover-the-five-sing-sinatr/

May 05 2010 at 12:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

First let me say that I'm a huge Bowersox fan. But with that said,.. I'm beginning to not want her to win. Dan Rille had a good point. Crystal should win simply because she is heads and tails better vocally than the rest, but Lee probably would sell more records (funny that we still say records, but I digress).

The theory that it is better to get 2nd place in AI than 1st has been postulated before, and I would tend to agree with the theory. If Crystal comes in 2nd, she shouldn't be forced into restrictive contractual obligations for recording contracts, which would kill her style. In fact, I'm wondering if she's been "dialing it back" a bit lately so that she doesn't slam dunk the competition too easily. So in that respect, perhaps 2nd is a better fit for her (although I think we can all say she deserves to win it more than anybody).

Aaron should go home tonight
Chris will go home tonight

May 05 2010 at 11:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rob's comment

* Edit: Casey, not Chris (don't know where that came from)

May 05 2010 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the bottom 3 should be Crystal, Casey, and Aaron. Lee and Mike did the best last night. I don't see how everyone thinks Crystal did a good job last night. IMO, Aaron had a better performance last night than her. I agree with Simon that Crystal haven't been good the last 2 weeks.

I think Casey will be going home but I rather see Aaron go this week.

May 05 2010 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan Rille

I thought the show was a huge letdown after last week. Casey was terrible, and Aaron and Crystal were average at best. Mike was very good and I thought Lee was excellent. Of course they want Lee to win because he will sell more records than Crystal ever would. While it is a singing competition, it is also about making money selling records and out of the five left Lee has the best shot at making that happen.

May 05 2010 at 9:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My fav performances of last night were: Lee (great song; great arrangement; less growl and more words) and Crystal (I liked the subdued song, it roped me in from the start).
The ones I think will be in the bottom are Aaron (though I think it was one of his best overall performances to date), Mike (there's just something about his style that has me tuning out) and Casey (been in the bottom 2 the past 2 weeks, plus had a lousy showing last night). I think it will be Casey going home.


May 05 2010 at 9:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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