Well...imagine my surprise when I see Miley Cyrus. On the TV screen. Giving advice to people. About singing. What is going on with Idol this year? I think Simon is jumping ship right before the bow gets sucked under the waves. (I hear the string quartet in the background...."It was a pleasure playing with you all tonight....") Okay, here's my two cents.
Aaron Kelly....didn't want to miss a thing...tried to do a song that only Steven Tyler could pull off. I didn't get it, although I get the country pull he's leaning toward. He reminds me of Randy Travis, but not necessarily in the good ways. I also find him immensely annoying to watch...not sure what it is but I just can't get past it. The "aw shucks" attitude and the "up with people" smiling are getting old. For me, at least.
Andrew Garcia...sang without his guitar...and still stunk up the stage. Sad, because I also liked the Straight Up rendition he did in Hollywood week. He is so deer-in-the-headlights that it's hard to watch him. He's uncomfortable, out of tune, reaching, trying, and not succeeding in any area. I suspect his days are numbered.
Casey James...should go play guitar in a band and sing backup. He would look good in videos, could work with an image consultant on that horrible joker-y smile of his, and just plug in and play to his hearts' content. Gotta hand it to him, though, it is amazing he is singing as well as he is while he is playing...and I mean "Playing," as opposed to most contestants who bring a guitar up there and just play rhythm.
Crystal Bowersox...well of course she should be singing Janis Joplin! Why did it take so long? She seemed, to us at least, to finally be trying up there, instead of phoning it in. We haved loved her from the beginning, but she almost has been acting like she's too cool to be there. I think lastnight she finally tried to rope more people in and didn't seem embarrassed to be on their stage.
Didi Benami...yes, she has improved over the weeks, but she is just not a star presence, to me....lastnight's song was odd and confusing and she was totally doing what they said; acting like she was playing a part in a musical. I love the little "cool quality" in her voice, but it is so sporadic and not reliable that you just can't count on hearing it all the time. I guess I can see where people are attracted to certain aspects of her voice, but I just don't believe it when she sings.
Katie Stevens...I still believe she should have waited a few years. Yes, she tried to act younger, but I didn't buy the Fergie vibe...Kara did, (and I used to agree with her more last year) but I didn't buy it. I agree with Simon, at least as far as Katie is not cut out for pop/rock. I wouldn't pay to buy that or sit and listen to it...I still don't buy that she could sell country, either. She needs to live a little and grow up and pay some dues and try out later, when she knows who she is. That little sideways smile thing is way past annoying now and it just makes me sad to see them sell their gimmicks like that. Just stand up and sing, man!
Lee Dewyze...needs a girl/boyfriend who tells him he is the bomb. Then he needs to believe that. Then he needs to go out and get bombed, and then go on stage and sing like he doesn't care. I believe that is where he would shine. For now, though, he is lacking confidence and is trying to please everyone, which will not work for this venue. He should ignore all of the advice and just pick his own music and sing the way he wants to. He's better than "The Letter" showed lastnight.
Tim Urban...I just do not get it. I guess he could be considered cute, maybe by the 13 and under crowd, but the boy "just can't saaang", folks! Come on! It was sad. Then, to tackle a Freddie Mercury song???? What? That song only worked the first time because Freddie did it. I just think Tim is not meant for this competition. He really sounded like a high schooler at a talent show whose mom begged him to sing that song. Ugh. Hard to sit through.
Paige Miles...LOVE HER, but think her days are numbered. Her voice is obviously raspy and hoarse, and if she has any smart friends or vocal coaches or judges, they would tell her to bow out now before she develops nodes on her vocal chords and ruins her chances of singing for life. It's even uncomfortable to hear her speak, she is so hoarse. She is absolutely stunning, though, and should be able to find a great gig modeling or acting. I think she can sing circles around most of this years' contestants, but we aren't going to get evidence of that as long as she remains hoarse. Too bad.
Michael Lynche...well, he proved again how great he sings...probably one of only two contestants who I can listen to throughout their song and not hear any pitch issues...or, at least, very few. He is smooth and on-pitch and cool...he is also usually safe in his song choice and delivery, which has sometimes worked well in the past for some contestants. We'll see how many risks he takes in the weeks ahead.
Siobhan Magnus...Well, an Idol contestant finally tackled Stevie Wonder...and did not fall flat on their face. She is a pure, raw talent, and talk about spot-on pitch...I think she is overusing the high register, BUT, if you can sing that well up in that range, it's hard for anyone to fault you. I suppose she may annoy some naysayers, but there's no way anyone with any musical background can hear that and try to dismiss her. Hello! It was also awesome because I just love Stevie songs, and that's one of the best for me. I agree that Siobhan is only comfortable on stage, which is how it usually is for big stars.
Prediction: In my world, here is the order, from the best to the worst:
skip a few hundred feet, and then:
skip about 50 feet, and then:
the rest of them. Seriously, that's how huge I think the gaps are this year. It's like, high school talent contest-ers all the way up to real singers. Hmmm. A confusing year, to be sure.
In a perfect world, they would be sending Tim or Andrew home tonight. Another possibility would be Didi. There...that's my two cents! Now, bring on the "judges pick the music" night! Can't wait for that! Also, American Idol producers, PLEASE use better judgement in making your "very-talented-successful-musically minded-mentor" phone calls...come on! Miley Cyrus? We are still not past that in our house. Miley Cyrus?!?!?!