'American Idol' - 'Three Finalists Compete' Recap
by Kona Gallagher, posted May 18th 2010 11:59PM
I've got to say, I'm pleasantly surprised by this Top 3. Crystal, Casey and Lee are performing tonight, and I honestly can't think of any other contestants I would rather be in their place. There's no real theme tonight, but each contestant is singing two songs: one that they picked, and one that the judges chose for them.
It's always pretty interesting to see how each song choice goes over. Generally the ones they choose for themselves kind of suck, because they end up being more indulgent. The best performances this season have often been with songs that weren't necessarily in the contestant's wheelhouse -- it helps keep things unexpected.
Casey James is up first, singing 'Okay, It's Alright with Me,' by Eric Hutchinson. I fully admit that I'm not familiar with the original, so I don't really have a basis of comparison. However, it doesn't blow me away. Casey performs the song really well, and is clearly enjoying himself, but it's pretty generic. I automatically tuned out and just listened to it like I listen to any other folksy-blues song on the Coffeehouse radio station on Sirius.
Randy basically agrees, saying that it was "just alright" with him. He points out that we're down to the wire, and Casey can't afford to do a safe, easy kind of song like that. Ellen goes on and on about nothing, really, but she says "die" a lot, which makes Casey nervous. In the end though, she agrees with Randy. Kara brings up the fact that it's hard to pick a song that nobody knows, because he can't really make it his own. Simon calls him a "salad," and says that he sounded like he was "busking for a couple of dollars," but he sounded good.
Crystal Bowersox is singing Melissa Etheridge's 'Come to my Window' as her first song, and it's hard to imagine a way in which this could go wrong. Sure, there's the danger of her being too much of a sound-alike, but overall, come on. It's Crystal, and it's Melissa Etheridge. That just makes sense. Surprisingly, there actually a couple of places in which she hits some weird notes, but she kind of goes crazy with it (in a good way) at the end, which totally makes up for it in my book.
Randy didn't love the arrangement, but he loved her vocal. Ellen thinks it was a good song choice, and that Melissa would be very proud of her. Kara says that Crystal was fighting with the arrangement because her voice doesn't have the rasp of Etheridge's, but that it was a good vocal nonetheless. Simon agrees with the other three. He doesn't think it was the most stunning version of the song that they're ever going to hear, but he loves the fact that she hasn't compromised herself as an artist.
Lee Dewyze is singing, 'Simple Man,' by Lynyrd Skynyrd. What I find most impressive about this performance is how much more confident Lee has become over the past few weeks. It's this new-found confidence that has really made me sit up and take notice of him after all this time. He seems like he's just let go, and his performances have improved drastically as a result.
Randy thinks that it was a brilliant song choice, and that "someone here is feeling like he can win this." Ellen tells him that he was a scared little lamb, but that he's like a jaguar now. Kara tells him that what he did tonight is what ever contestant needs to do. She also says that "round 1 goes to Lee." Simon tells him that his song was "absolutely on the money," and that he "crushed the other two."
After the first round, we get to see a little bit of the contestants' trips to their hometowns. In the first clip, we find out that the judges chose John Mayer's 'Daughters' for Casey. This household is not pleased with that choice. Mainly because that song is super-creepy. Poor Casey does not look like he's enjoying himself, although he does do some nice vocals near the end. The basic effect is just everybody's uncomfortable all around.
Randy, however, is quite pleased with himself and tells Casey that it fits him like a glove. Ellen tells him that there are going to be a lot of "mothers, daughters, and maybe even sons" voting for him after that. Kara tells him that it shows his sensitive side, and that he changed it up where he needed to. Simon says it was a "bit of a lazy arrangement," and that he needed a much bigger vocal moment. Also, I wish they would stop saying "climax" so much.
Crystal goes back to Northern Ohio, and finds out that she's singing 'Maybe I'm Amazed," by Paul McCartney. It's an interesting choice, if not a little safe. However, she switches it up immediately and commands your attention. I really enjoy this performance, because I kind of feel like she's going to jump out of my TV and murder me. I like it.
Randy says that "we've got somebody else in it to win it!" Ellen says that she couldn't have asked for more, while Kara says that she showed us parts of her voice that we haven't heard up to this point. Simon tells her that she just proved that she has soul, and that after that, she may be thanking Ellen next week for putting her in the final.
Lee doesn't even get off the jet in his hometown. Chicago is a tough crowd after all. However, we find out that Simon chose Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah.' Lee, of course, is doing more of the Jeff Buckley version, as that has definitely become the more popular of the two. Here's my deal: I'm calling bullshit on the soul choir right now. This would have been a fantastic performance, but this, right here, is hacky as crap. Lee does an AMAZING job with this, but the whole thing is so overdone I can hardly stand it. I will say though, that he did an excellent job of not being overpowered by the arrangement.
The judges, however, are going to completely lose their minds over this; I can already tell by Simon's smug expression. Randy says that it was "unbelievable," and Ellen calls it "stunning." Kara tells him that she's what this show is all about. She calls him the heart of the show and tells him that he just owned the entire night. Simon tells him that with that performance, he's proved that he's a fantastic singer and a great person.
I've always been pulling for Crystal to win, but I do feel as though Lee may have edged her out tonight. What do you think?
|Casey James||41 (4.5%)|
|Crystal Bowersox||301 (33.1%)|
|Lee Dewyze||545 (60.0%)|