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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: Last Minute Substitutions

I was all psyched to hear the Top 10 women sing tonight, but instead of the melodic sounds of Didi, Lilly and Crystal, I had to endure the discordant musical stylings of John Park and Tim Urban. That’s right, tonight was the guys’ night on “American Idol.”

As it turns out, the women were supposed to have performed tonight, but a last minute medical emergency sent front-runner Crystal Bowersox to the hospital. Ryan Seacrest told the crowd that Crystal’s doctor said she could not perform, so the producers decided to switch things around and let the guys duke it out tonight. All I can say is- Get well soon Crystal! This competition needs you!!!

Back at the Idol studios, I was worried how the guys were going to do. I mean, they had a whole week to practice last time, and they stunk. So how would their performances suffer this time with one less day to practice? Not so bad, actually. As they’ve become more comfortable on stage, and shed some of that visible nervousness, some clear power-players have begun to emerge in this pack of hopefuls.

Also adding to the fun that has been missing- people seemed happy again! The judges were joking around (especially Ellen, who up until tonight has been mostly humorless), Ryan Seacrest seemed to loosen up and the contestants mostly seemed at ease (well, except for Alex “Nervous Nelly” Lambert.)

Here’s a look at the singers who are starting to take the lead, and those that are falling behind:

Power Players, or “Here Comes the Sun”:

Michael Lynche- Coming off a week where he was swallowed alive by the arrangement of Maroon 5’s “This Love,” Michael tried on his R&B voice and it fit him well! He sang all the right notes on James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s World” and proved his star power. Randy gave his first standing ovation of the season, while Simon likened his week-to –week transformation to a pussycat turning into a lion. I think Michael will sail into the Top 12.

Aaron Kelly- Let’s just call him Gary LeVox Jr. and get it over with. Much like the lead singer for Rascal Flatts, Aaron has a certain twang, some power notes and spiky hair. Unlike Mr. LeVox, Aaron sings a little too many vocal runs, instead of just singing the notes. But boosted by some good compliments last week, including a drive-by ‘good-job’ from Simon, Aaron looked much more comfortable on stage. Simon said it was too old-fashioned, which it might have been, but I believe the girls are gonna keep this kid in the competition.

Lee Dewyze- I think I wrote Lee off too early in the competition. When I saw the judges move him to the semifinals, I was confused. Who was this guy? Did they really think he could sing? After listening to his performance of Hinder’s “Lips of an Angel,” I’ve changed my tune. Lee’s got a great rock voice (similar in style to Mr. David Cook) and he matched the original singer’s rendition note by note. The judges seemed to like him and Simon said he’s the got the best singing chops of any guy in the competition. Much like Michael, I think Lee has the potential to stick around in this competition for quite awhile.

Middle of the Road, or “Whataya Want From Me”:

Casey James- We’ve already established how much Kara likes this sometimes shirtless rock singer, but now I’m starting to wonder if she likes him for anything other than his looks? He put a hard rock slant on Gavin Degraw’s “I Don’t Wanna Be,” which had some good moments but still had plenty of jarring moments as well (can we turn the guitar down a little bit?). I think if he picked the right song, it should showcase his growly rock voice, but right now it’s kind of getting lost. Might I suggest a Creedence song? Or maybe a stripped-down version of anything by Daughtry?

Andrew Garcia- Ellen hit it right on the head when she said Andrew set the bar so high with his version of “Straight Up,” that everything else he does just seems like it’s going down. Last week he rearranged a Fall Out Boy song for no good reason (and with no good results), while this week he took another chance with his take on James Morrison’s “You Give Me Something.” I think the last two weeks he has been the victim of indulgent song choices, meaning he’s picking songs he likes instead of songs that work well with his voice. And his rearrangements, which people were so looking forward to, have left little to be desired. I’m hoping with the millions of songs that have existed in the world, he’ll choose something that puts him back in the lead. (I’m still pulling for another stripped-down acoustic version of a classic 80s song.) But after two weeks in a row, I’m worried he’s going down the path of former contestant Chris Sligh, who was different and unique, but was knocked out early.

Alex Lambert- Despite sharing a last name with last year’s runner-up, this singer displays none of the same confidence or charisma. Often looking like he’s being sent to the electric chair, I’m not sure if Alex is connecting with anyone at this point. He sang John Legend’s “Everybody Knows,” which the judges all agreed was a decent song choice. But with his unique raspy tone, Simon wants him to choose better songs and develop a “killer instinct.”

Jermaine Sellers- Singing Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” seemed an appropriate title for Jermaine’s season thus far. He has a good voice, but often looses it amongst thousands of vocal runs and really cheesy lounge versions of the songs. The judges said he was trying too hard, using too many tricks and watering the songs down. Jermaine needs to focus on relating to the lyrics and not over-singing the notes if he wants to stay.

The Bottom of the Pack, or “You Had a Bad Day”:

Toddrick Hall- How many times does everyone have to say it? Stop changing songs just for the sake of changing them! Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It” didn’t need fixing, and Toddrick’s version didn’t do Tina, or himself, any favors. I’m with Ellen, that Toddrick should work some more dance moves into his performances, or he’s gonna get the boot.

John Park-Things aren’t looking good for John. He comes off a bit pageanty in his performances and often it seems a little fake. I think his a cappella roots are starting to seep through, and it’s getting a little showy for me. Plus, his song choices aren’t very good. His voice is low, so he should try songs by contemporary, jazzy singers that can fit his voice. How about some Michael Buble?

Tim Urban- If things weren’t looking good for John, they’re looking downright bleak for Tim. Looking like a frat boy at a talent show, Tim put forth his best effort on Matt Nathanson’s “Come on Get Higher,” but it just didn’t work. His voice sounded a little flat and he didn’t seem believable. Ellen recommended he join the cast of “Glee.” Now, there’s a thought, Tim!

How did the Top 10 Guys do this week? Did you see some improvement or are you still underwhelmed by this year’s crop of men? And with so many singers picking the wrong songs, which ditties would you choose for these singers? Post below and be back Wednesday night as the Top 10 women (hopefully) sing for your votes! –Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on March 3, 2010 9:52 AM
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