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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: Michael’s Night

As the closing notes were sung tonight, it marked the beginning of the end of the semifinals and heralded the rise of the Top 12. So, with only one more episode standing between us, the loyal viewing public, and the reveal of this year’s finalists, I wanted to do a recap of some things I hope we leave behind in the semifinals round. Without further ado, here are the Top 5 Things I Don’t Need to See (or Hear) on “Idol” Ever Again:

1. Kara and Simon forgetting there’s an actual live telecast and chatting with each other while Ryan is trying to tell the audience how to call and vote. Can’t they do that at commercial?
2. Ellen comparing any contestant to the ripening progress of a banana. It’s just creepy.
3. Ellen abandoning her post and leaping across the stage to give someone a hug. Wouldn’t it be better if she just got up and clapped her hands above her head like Paula used to do?
4. Ryan Seacrest shamelessly promoting Justin Bieber. He’s asked almost every 16-year-old contestant whether Justin is their personal idol. Does Ryan get royalties if he mentions his name?
5. The following phrases: “That’s hot dawg,” “You worked it out/you did your thing,” “pitchy,” “sweetie,” and “dreadful.” It’s 2010 and I demand a new Idol vocabulary.

But back to tonight’s action, the Top 8 men battled for spots in the finals, though only a few can be considered sure things. Here’s how I ranked all 8 guys, beginning with the best and ending with the worst:

Best of the Night- Michael Lynche- To quote the verbally-challenged Randy Jackson: “Whaaaaatttt?” I felt exactly like Randy sounded after hearing Michael deliver a moving performance of Maxwell’s “This Woman’s Work.” It was soulful, it had heart, it exuded emotion and it even made Kara cry! I really enjoyed how his personality shone through on the song and was happy to see someone actually give a performance. As Simon said, Michael 100 percent nailed it, and we’ll definitely see him in the finals.

Lee Dewyze- After a great performance last week, my opinion of Lee completely turned around. His rock vocals are some of the best on the show and I think he’s got way more originality and heart than a lot of his competitors. So, I was a little concerned when Ryan said Lee was going to be playing Owl City’s “Fireflies.” First of all, I’m not really a fan of the song (probably because they play it on the radio every 2.3 minutes). Second, I was also worried because it didn’t seem like a great showcase for Lee’s impressive vocals. But boy was I wrong. Lee actually improved on the original, giving it some nice growly moments and some interesting runs. The judges all said he made it his own and though it didn’t wow Simon, he did say it showed great progress.

Andrew Garcia- I still have faith in my original favorite, though it’s decreasing steadily every week. I thought his performance of Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle” was the best song Andrew has sung in the semifinals and it brought back some of the vibe we liked from when he sang that Paula song in Hollywood. (I don’t have to name it, because the judges remind us of it EVERY week.) Near the end, Andrew started to really change up the melody and I suddenly wished he had treated the whole song like that. The judges think he peaked too early, while Simon thinks he’s going backwards.

Alex Lambert- I’m still not sure what to think of Alex. There’s no doubt he has an interesting voice and his smooth, old-school vibe on “Trouble” was pretty nice, but I’m not sure he believes he’s a contender yet. The judges aren’t quite sure what to do with him either, as Randy compared him to Ray LaMontagne and Ellen compared him to a mushy banana. Kara channeled her inner Zen Master and said “the only one standing in the way of you winning…is you.” Thanks Kara. But Simon may have the best advice, saying Alex just needs to relax. (Though he later suggested Alex picture Randy in a bikini, so we can’t totally trust Simon. Yeesh, that’s an image that’ll haunt me.)

Casey James- Mr. No Shirt, a.k.a. the guy that Kara used to fawn over, was just OK this week. He delivered a safe, competent version of Keith Urban’s “You’ll Think of Me,” but it didn’t really showcase many of his talents. I think it may have been too slow, which made it a little boring. Randy agreed with me, while Simon thought he sounded great, though he called it his second best performance.

Aaron Kelly- It’s very hard to not like Aaron Kelly. He seems like a happy kid and with all those “ma’ams” and “Sirs,” he’s definitely the most polite contestant we’ve ever seen. But even though he’s channeling his inner David Archuleta, I don’t think his vocals are as good. That being said, there were points during his performance of Lonestar’s “I’m Already There” tonight that I thought were brilliant. If Aaron sticks around, and I’m pretty sure he will, he needs to focus more on songs with big, showy, power notes, and try to avoid his lower register.

Toddrick Hall- Singing Queen’s “Somebody to Love,” Toddrick tried to infuse a difficult song with some gospel flavor. But it all felt a bit forced and showy, though I really liked his last note. Randy declared that Toddrick “was back,” while Kara said he was too dramatic. Simon pretty much shot down his dreams of recording label stardom when he told him he should be a Broadway singer, though it may actually be a good fit for him.

Tim Urban- The judges can say whatever they want. They’re the ones who make the big bucks and they’re the ones who are obviously trying to find something nice to say about the guy who replaced Chris Golightly (someone who could have gone a long way, in my opinion). I agree with the judges that this was Tim’s best week as he sang Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah,” but if you compare him to how Jason Castro sang that song during his season, it kinda pales in comparison. And what’s up with all those cheesy, earnest facial expressions he keeps flashing to the camera? I feel like any moment some Muppets will pop up and start singing next to him.

What did you think of the Top 8 Guys? Were you surprised by the power note Michael Lynche dropped on the judges? Do you think Andrew’s in the middle of a comeback? And am I the only one who doesn’t understand what the judges see in Tim? Leave your music-loving comments below and don’t miss the results on Thursday and the revelation of who’s in the Top 12! –Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on March 10, 2010 11:44 PM
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