Saturday, March 13, 2010

American Idol Top 16 Recap

I was on Spring Break in Nashville this past week, so I just now caught up on American Idol.

On Tuesday night, the top 8 girls performed.

Katie Stevens sang “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson. She finally picked a current song. Her vocals were shaky in the beginning, but the chorus was strong. Randy said Katie's performance paled in comparison to Kelly Clarkson, which made it sounf karaoke. Ellen commended Katie for choosing a young song, but said Katie didn't seem to feel connected to the lyrics. Ellen wants to see more of Katie's personality. Kara said Katie has a great radio voice and is very talented, but she doesn't know who she is as an artist and she needs more experience. Simon said that Katie has been taking the advice of the judges, but she needs more energy ons stage.

Siobahn Magnus sang “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals. She sang the introduction acapella, and it was beautiful. Siobahn is winning me over. She had a great, strong vocal once again. Randy likes that Siobahn takes chances. He said she's not taking the judges' advice, but she seems to be doing well without their help. Ellen said it was a moving performance. She said Siobahn captivated the audience and made the song current. Kara loved the acapella vibe and said the song choice was surprising and brilliant. Simon said Siobahn's performance lacked that "moment" that she had last week and said the song was weird, boring, and dark.

Lacey Brown sang “The Story” by Brandy Carlisle. I thought this song suited Lacey, but I still am not a fan of her whiny and nasal voice. Randy said the song was kind of boring, but this was her best performance. Ellen agreed and said the song sounded like it was written for her. Kara said Lacey made a brilliant song choice, sang effortlessly, and is back on path in this competition. Simon didn't love the song but said that Lacey sang it really well. He still hasn't heard the right song connection from Lacey yet.

Katelyn Epperly sang “I Feel the Earth Move” by Carole King. I like Katelyn's voice, but this performance wasn't great. It was entertaining, but she seemed to pull back a bit. Randy didn't feel the right connection and said there was nothing special about Katelyn's performance. Ellen said Katelyn didn't choose the right song to make people vote. Kara said she felt like Katelyn was just going through the motions instead of competing. Simon said Katelyn sang the song well, but it was too simple.

Didi Benami sang “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac. Didi brought her guitar back out this time. I thought this was a great song choice, and Didi sang it well. It was simple and sweet. Randy said he lacked that "wow" moment from Didi, but she's improving. Ellen liked what Didi did with such a tough song and commended Didi for bouncing back from last week's performance. Kara said Didi's performance was one of her favorite moments of the season thus far. She said this was the Didi everyone fell in love with back in Hollywood. Simon disagreed with Randy by declaring Didi's performance the best of the night so far. He said she made a brilliant song choice and proved her artistry with it.

Paige Miles sang “Smile” by Charlie Chaplin. This was my least favorite performance of the night. Paige's vocals were shaky, airy, and too soft during the verse. It was such a weird arrangement that Paige sounded off tempo in some parts. The chorus was flat and awkward. Randy just said the song didn't work at all, and Kara agreed. Ellen said the song is meant to be inspiring but Paige's interpretation was sad and heavy. She wants to see Paige's personality. Simon said Paige made a horrible song choice and the arrangement was awful. Paige blamed her mistakes on being emotional because Michael Jackson performed this song. Whatever. Go home.

Crystal Bowersox sang “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman. I love this girl. Crystal knows her talent. She rocked the electric guitar for this one. It was a great performance. Randy loved it. Ellen said Crystal's performance was amazing--the best performance of the night. Kara said Crystal knows who she is and she makes great song choices. She said Crystal made the song contemporary. Simon said Crystal is the most improved artist because of her confidence and called her the one to beat.

Lilly Scott sang “I Fall to Pieces” by Patsy Cline. She played the mandolin, which was cool, but I just wasn't intrigued by this performance. Randy said Lilly was in the zone. Ellen said she loves Lilly's voice and originality. Kara said Lilly made Patsy Cline feel current. Simon said Lilly made a brave choice with this song. He said it was cute and quirky, but risky.

My favorite girls this week were Crystal and Didi.

On Wednesday, the top 8 boys performed.

Lee Dewyze sang “Fireflies” by Owl City. I thought this was an interesting song choice. Lee made some variations in the melody and he rocked out the chorus. It was a bit shaky, but I liked it. Randy said there were a few pitch problems but Lee made the song his own. Ellen liked that Lee turned it into a rock song. Kara said Lee was confident and had fun. She said he made the song better with his interpretation. Simon said Lee's performance was nothing to rave about and he can do better, but Lee is improving each week.

Alex Lambert sang “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne. I love Alex's tone. I thought this was a great song choice, but he lacked a connection. Randy said it was a good song choice but there was no "wow" moment. Ellen said that Alex is consistently improving, and said he's innocent, sweet, and real. Kara said the only thing standing in the way of Alex winning this competition is himself. She said he's too stiff; he's not connecting and letting go. Simon agreed with Kara; he wants to see Alex relax and have a good time, but he said Alex has a good, distinct voice and a likable personality.

Tim Urban sang “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley. I love this song, but it’s tough to stand out when so many people have covered it. I thought it was a good vocal performance though, and Tim's best so far. Randy said that Tim walked in some big shoes and he did a good job. Ellen gave Tim a hug because she's been so hard on him and said he did fantastic. Kara said that Tim is finally in the competition. She said Tim's performance was an honest interpretation and she felt the emotion. Simon said it was a smart song choice. He said it wasn't the best version of the song, but it was Tim's strongest performance.

Andrew Garcia sang “Genie in a Bottle” by Christina Aguilera. First of all, he messed up the lyrics in the first line. This song didn't show off Andrew's vocals. I was torn--didn't love it, didn't hate it. Randy said it was an interesting song choice, but it was pitchy and felt like the whole song had three notes. Ellen said it was a great song choice, but didn't get good until the end. Kara said Andrew peaked so early that he's now chasing that moment. She said he was fighting with the rhythm of the guitar during this performance, so she couldn't hear the melody. Simon agreed with Kara; he said that Andrew has a good voice, but he's still going backwards. He said the performance was desperate and uncomfortable.

Casey James sang “You’ll Think of Me” by Keith Urban. Casey played it simple with just an acoustic guitar and a sweet and simple vocal. He doesn't need to do much more though. Casey knows his strengths and how to connect to the song and the audience. I loved this performance. Randy said Casey played it safe and needs to go for more. Ellen thought Casey's performance was great. She said he looked comfortable sitting on a stool and playing guitar; she said it was a good vibe for him. Kara said Casey's performance was better than last week, but she's still missing that spark. Simon said Casey sounded sincere, but he thought the song choice was forgettable.

Aaron Kelly sang “I’m Already There” by Lonestar. I think the verses were too low for Aaron's voice. He had a weird vibratto and some breathing issues. The chorus was stronger, but there were still a few pitch problems. The bridge and the ending were much better. Randy said Aaron needs to work on his lower notes, but the higher parts of the song were good. Ellen said Aaron has a confident stage presence, but wasn't too impressed by the performance. Kara said Aaron gives his all every week, but the lyrics to this song are not relevant to his life, making it difficult to connect sincerely. Simon said this was the right type of song for Aaron. He said it wasn't a great vocal, but he had emotion.

Todrick Hall sang “Somebody to Love” by Queen. I was not a fan of this. I thought the beginning was terrible and too high for Todrick, then he made an awkward transition into the first verse and the lower part was too low for him. The judges liked it though. Randy said Todrick proved he can sing and said it was one of the best male vocals of the season. Ellen said it was a brave song choice. She liked the gospel vibe Todrick gave the song. Kara said it was a good vocal performance but it was dramatic. Simon said Todrick's performance was good in parts. He said it showed Todrick's talent as a Broadway singer.

Michael Lynche sang “This Woman’s Work” by Maxwell. Big Mike stole the show. I loved his tone and the connection he made. It was a soft and tender, yet strong, vocal. Big Mike was definitely in his element, and it was a great performance. Randy couldn't even form sentences, but he loved it. Ellen said it was beautiful and called Big Mike the one to beat. She said it felt like the show had just begun. Kara cried and called Mike's performance amazing and relevant. Simon said this performance was needed tonight and called it the best performance of the season so far.

My favorite guys were Big Mike and Casey.

The results show was on Thursday. 

Katelyn, Todrick, Lilly, and Alex went home.

The group sang “Haven’t Met You Yet” by Michael BublĂ©. Seriously the group songs are too good this season. They must be prerecorded. Either that or these contestants are way better at blending than solo singing.

They did a close up on Casey, Didi, Crystal, and Big Mike. Top 4. Everyone else can go home in my opinion. Though I like Lee as well.

The top 12 theme next week is The Rolling Stones.

Scott McIntyre and Matt Giraud performed together. They both played piano, and it was so fun. I was never a fan of Scott, but I loved Matt.

I’m disappointed that Alex left. I feel like he had a lot of growing to do on the competition. I also liked Katelyn, but she wasn't at her best this week. Paige should have gone home instead. I’m not sure who I would have sent home in Alex’s place—Aaron probably. He’s good, but he’s so young, and he’s not going to grow enough to win it.

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