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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: Didgeridoos and Don’ts

When I first learned that our Top 9 singers were going to sing selections from the John Lennon and Paul McCartney songbook, my heart fell just a little bit. It’s not because these aren’t good songs. On the contrary, some of these songs are legendary. No, the reason I felt bad was because “Idol” seems to pull this theme, or something like it, out of its bag of tricks every season. Is it too much to ask for some different themes that would keep us entertained? Wouldn’t a “One-Hit Wonders” night be fun? How about 80s Rock Night? Anything but another generic Billboard #1s!

Now that I got that off my chest, let’s take a look inside the “American Idol” yearbook and find out how the contestants did tonight:

Most Likely to Be Compared to Yoda- Aaron Kelly

I’m not sure if it’s because he’s a small guy. Or if it’s because his ears stick out a little bit. Maybe he’s just really good at dispensing incorrectly worded, but sage, advice. No matter the reason he’s called Yoda, Aaron never fails to give a solid performance. His voice was decent on “The Long and Winding Road,” though it was a tad boring. The judges called it when they said he seems to repeat his performances each week. Aaron needs to shake things up, maybe by rocking out for once and showing a different side of himself. Also, if he wants to last another week, make his performance current he must.

Most Likely to Cause a Riot at the Judges’ Table- Katie Stevens

Despite her young age and amazing voice, Katie has a knack for sounding older than her years. Tonight’s performance of “Let It Be” gave her what I call an “almost moment,” which means she’s almost there, but there’s still something missing. Which is why I think the judges almost rioted after her performance. You see, Katie is really good at straddling several different genres, including, but not limited to, R&B, soul, pop, country and salsa. OK, I just threw that last one in there, but seriously, when is Katie going to pick a sound and just go with it? About three-quarters of the panel want her to go the R&B/Pop route, while Simon continues to insist she’s a country star. For once, I’m going to have to disagree with Mr. Crankypants, and say I’ve never thought that at all. It’s possible this confusion will land her in the Bottom Three again this week.

Most Inconsistent (or Most Likely to Open His Own Vegas Revue)- Andrew Garcia

Andrew is the guy I want to root for the most, though he’s also the one that lets me down the most. Do I think he peaked with that Paula Abdul song waaaay back in Hollywood? No. Do I think we’ve seen the best of him already? No. Do I think he has a bad case of “Horrible-Song-Choice-itis?” Most definitely. Seriously, after hearing him sing his own version of Chris Brown’s “Forever” last week, I figured Andrew was back in the game. And then he came out tonight with his best Elvis impersonator version of “Can’t Buy Me Love.” I agree with the judges that it was a bit corny and that he needs to step up his game and start picking interesting songs.

Best Bear Hugs/Most Likely to Have a Pec Contest with Simon- Michael Lynche

Michael “Big Mike” Lynche is probably one of the most consistent singers in Season 9. When Mike’s on stage, you know what you are getting. It’s probably going to be a love song and it’s probably going to be sung very well. So, I was a little surprised to hear he was tackling “Eleanor Rigby” which is a much darker song than what he’s used to. He still infused the song with his romantic style, though it wasn’t his strongest performance. Simon was the only one who didn’t like it, comparing it to a musical, while all the other judges thought he did an admirable job.

Most Likely to Introduce the World to a Didgeridoo- Crystal Bowersox

After shaking things up last week with a trip to the piano, Mamasox returned to her comfort zone with her trusty guitar on “Come Together.” The judges were right when they said it had a certain Bonnie Raitt-vibe. Crystal has always had a great voice, though I’d say she’s also one of the most improved performance-wise. Tonight she did several things that wouldn’t have even crossed her mind a few months ago. She smiled at the camera! She looked at the camera! She even opened her eyes! What a difference a few months makes! The only weird part of the whole performance was that out-of-place didgeridoo, but I give Crystal points for trying!

Most Likely to Sing With Muppets- Tim Urban

Wait, Tim’s still here? How did THAT happen? Oh, that’s right, someone had to take the annual Sanjaya Spot and coast through the eliminations. Well, I gotta give this kid credit. He’s always smiling! Randy tells him it was a good performance on the “Tim scale” and Tim keeps smiling. Kara congratulates him for keeping a stiff upper lip, and Tim keeps smiling. Simon usually tells him he’s awful, and Tim keeps smiling. But tonight, after his pretty good version of “All My Loving,” Tim actually earned some good reviews. The best part was when Simon told him he was proud of him for taking all the criticism like a man. As for his singing, I’d say these were his best vocals yet, though his earnest, vacant stares into the camera still make me think Kermit, Elmo and the gang are going to pop up and sing along.

Loudest Laugh/Least Likely to Keep His Shirt On- Casey James

Casey’s one of the few contestants who seems to be on a roll these last few weeks. His vocals keep getting better and his stage presence is blowing some of these other kids off the stage. His voice was a little warbly on “Jealous Guy” tonight, though I’ll overlook it because he sang something that hasn’t been heard on the “Idol” stage before. Randy said it best when he applauded Casey for his heartfelt performance. Add that to his choice of an acoustic guitar and I’d say Casey had an “almost moment” tonight as well. If he keeps this up, and keeps earning praise like he did tonight, Casey could be a Top 5 contender.

Most Likely to Get a Hug From a Guy Named Earl- Siobhan Magnus

Her fellow contestants have a great way of explaining Siobhan: “amazingly weird.” But that’s one of the best parts about our resident glass-blower. She’s unique and definitely marches to beat of her own conga line. I dug her vocals on “Across the Universe,” even though they were a bit too soft, and I liked that she toned down her big voice for a night. (After all, it was time to stop screeching.) She has great control, shifting her range from low to high notes effortlessly. And I really liked her weird choice of outfit. The best way to describe her style is it’s like Lady Gaga was born in the early 1900s. The judges weren’t sure what to make of her restrained performance, but Simon said he liked her because she’s unpredictable. I’m guessing she’ll crack the Top Three later this season. And I’m guessing that random audience member Earl who Ryan brought on stage to give Siobhan a hug, will be rooting for her the rest of the season.

Biggest Worrywart- Lee Dewyze

How many compliments do you have to get and how many great performance do you have to give before you start believing in yourself? In Lee’s case, it’ll probably take a few more. His fellow singers say he’s constantly worried about going home, though after hearing his take on “Hey Jude,” I’m pretty sure he’ll be in the Top Three. His gruff voice is awesome and he has a great way of turning any song into a rocking good time. Hey, I even dug the bagpiper! It fits right in with this year’s theme- wacky!

How did you think the Top 9 contestants handled themselves? Which singers stood out and which ones sealed their own fates? Do you think odd choices like adding didgeridoo players and bagpipers add to a song, or are they best left in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade? And is it looking like a Siobhan, Crystal and Lee showdown this year? Post your crazy “Idol”-loving comments below and tune in Wednesday night as we’re joined by a strange trio of performers, Rihanna, Jason Derulo and David Archuleta! –Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on April 7, 2010 12:33 AM
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