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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: Butterflies on My Shoulder

It was a bizarre night for “Idol.”

What was meant to be an inspirational seven-song set list, instead turned into the Whitney Houston/R.Kelly Karaoke night. For every high note, like Lee’s shining moment on a Simon and Garfunkel song, there was a low moment, such as most of Tim’s performance. For everything Crystal did right (the a cappella, the emotional finish), there was everything Siobhan did wrong (the oddly placed butterflies, the peculiar rambling at the end). Yes folks, it was another inconsistent outing from the strangest season of “Idol” yet.

Tonight’s theme was “Inspirational Songs” with our newest guest mentor, Alicia Keys. And while she has some great songs, and I don’t doubt she’s pretty inspirational, I got the feeling she may have been holding back on critiquing our Top 7.

I guess we should look at what went right tonight first. And how can we have that conversation without first looking at the Mamasox herself, Crystal. Singing “People Get Ready,” she really took a chance this week, deciding to sing without an instrument. It was almost as if she’s trying to prove something to all those naysayers who are certain she’s hiding behind that guitar. Well, there was no hiding tonight as Mamasox belted out the entire first part of the song a cappella. As if that wasn’t enough, Crystal matched her backup singers note for note, and delivered a very genuine performance. To top it all off, as if she hasn’t already sealed her appearance in the final two, Crystal began to cry at the end. People should have no problem relating to her this week and she will definitely be back for the Top 6.

Also good tonight were Lee, Casey and Mike. All three have really grown over the last few weeks and seem to be really coming into their respective voices. I would say Casey is the most improved vocally, sounding almost like Huey Lewis tonight as he sang Bill Clinton’s favorite song “Don’t Stop Believing.” The only problem I have with Casey is that he sounds too much like a singer from a different era, making me wonder what kind of contemporary record he’d be able to release after “Idol” is over.

Michael “Big Mike” Lynche showed last week that he was worth using the Judges’ Save on. Tonight, he had more to prove, to show if he was going to last even longer. So I wasn’t sure what he was thinking when he chose the Chad Kroeger song “Hero.” It’s a good song, and just like Simon said, it was a kickin’ choice for the “Spider Man” soundtrack. But was it worthy of Mike’s R&B-infused sound? Actually, yes it was. Mike demonstrated the force of his voice, rising above the backup band, but he probably should have picked a better song. I will deduct points for that totally clichéd point at the crowd, but overall he did well. I predict that he’ll join Lee and Crystal in the top three.

And speaking of Lee, this guy just gets better and better. Tonight he sounded great on his first slowed down rock tune, “The Boxer.” Not only did it show his range, but it showed his versatility. Alicia Keys offered some good advice when she told him to make sure he connected on the song, something he’s been missing over the last few weeks. I agree with Simon that it was sincere and emotional and that he made the song sound current. Hurry up and make an album so I can buy it already Lee!

And then there was our Bottom Three of the night (or at least the three I think will land there on Wednesday night). First, let’s look at the best of the worst, Aaron Kelly. I like the kid, I really do. He seems polite, he calls Ellen “ma’am” and he’s slowly turning into Justin Bieber. Plus, when he’s good, he’s amazing. Unfortunately, I think the producers picked the apple a little too early when they chose Aaron for “Idol.” He started off a little shaky tonight, but he really nailed some of those final notes on “I Believe I Can Fly.” I think once he gets over his nerves, gains a little more life experience and becomes more comfortable on stage, this kid is gonna be really good.

Fighting for the last spot of the night are Tim and Siobhan. Now before you start complaining about how I could put Siobhan, who can sing, in the same category as Tim, who dances with Muppets, let me explain. I’m solely judging these two based on their performances tonight. Tim’s rendition of “Better Days” just fell flat, even though he’s drastically improved since the beginning of the season. And Siobhan’s tackling of “When You Believe” was all over the place, alternating between off-key notes and those awkward butterflies.

So, were you inspired by tonight’s performances or did the Top 7 just make you want to flip the channel? Is this Tim’s week to go home or will someone else be shipped off the show? Did Alicia Keys actually offer any advice? And do you think the producers will follow suit with past “Idol Gives Back” episodes and not send anyone home? (I mean, it’s not very inspirational to kick someone off “Idol” is it?) Leave your comments below and come on back Wednesday for the “Idol Gives Back” extravaganza! –Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on April 20, 2010 11:37 PM
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