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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: Viva Las Lambert

It’s been a week since the producers saved Big Mike Lynche from elimination and I’ve been worried ever since that they made the wrong decision. Don’t get me wrong, Mike has a great voice and amazing stage presence, but now that the Judges’ Save is gone, what happens if someone like Lee or Crystal gets the boot now?

With two singers on the line this week, I was interested to see how motivated they were to sing their hearts out during Elvis Week! Even more interesting was the revelation that this week’s guest mentor was none other than the King of Scream himself, last year’s “Idol” runner-up, Adam Lambert. This is an interesting choice on the producers’ part, choosing a former contestant as a mentor. It’s never happened before and I’m surprised the first honor went to Adam. Was Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood or Chris Daughtry busy? (Heck, I probably would’ve even settled for Fantasia or Taylor Hicks. Maybe somebody with a little more experience?)

To help me gauge this week’s performances, I did a little recon and recruited a panel of “Idol” experts to give me a little of their insight about each of the Top 9 singers. Meet tonight’s “Idol” panel:
Chris L. “The Idol Expert”- He knows every name for every contestant that’s ever been on the show (yes, even that red-haired guy who sang Frank Sinatra songs). Plus, he guessed last year during the Hollywood Round that Adam Lambert would be in the Top 2. So I’d listen to him if I were you.
Katie G. “The Fiancé”- As in my fiancé, who has been watching this show with me for all 9 seasons. I think she’s ready for the Idol madness to end.
Lori “The Simultaneous Lost/Idol Watcher” – One of my coworkers who harbors the same love of television that I do. If they show it on TV, there’s a good chance one of us has seen it.
Katie H. “Loves Tim Urban” – Another one of my coworkers, she loves “Idol” and Tim Urban. And when she doesn’t like a contestant, she lets me know. (And I’m sure she’ll let you know too.)

Using what they’ve seen throughout the season, my guest panel offered their predictions for how Elvis Night would go and who has the best shot at sticking around. So check out what they thought would happen, followed by how it actually went down:

Crystal Bowersox

The predictions:
Chris L.: As usual, Crystal will do well - so far she's been able to mold her sultry voice into each genre very nicely. I can't see her messing up Elvis too much.
Katie G.: I think she’ll do great as usual. She’ll pick something more bluesy Elvis and make it her own.
Lori: She will rock out as always!
Katie H.: Perfect week for her! I’m still waiting on something more current!
How it actually went down: In what we’ll call Missed Opportunity Part 1, Crystal chose “Saved” to start off the night. Adam Lambert said her voice is authentic, Randy compared her to Bonnie Raitt and Simon said it sounded original. I’d say that even though her voice was on point once again, this wasn’t Crystal’s best showing. At points it sounded a little Wayne Newton-esque (which fits with the Elvis theme), and I worry voters may forget her since she was in slot #1.

Andrew Garcia

The predictions:
Chris L.: Andrew should do well if he is able to find the right song he is able to make his own. (or change up a song enough to get a comparison to "Straight Up").
Katie G.: I hope he’s not so scared of Elvis that he doesn’t make one of these songs his own.
Lori: He has the ability and style to make this his night.
Katie H.: Andrew has potential; however I doubt he’ll pull through.
How it actually went down: Ignoring Adam Lambert’s advice on how to punch up “Hound Dog,” Andrew fell back into lounge singer mode. His voice sounded great but that wasn’t enough to rise over the boring arrangement and too-slow melody. The judges seemed to want a little swagger too, so unfortunately it looks like Andrew definitely failed at making this song his own. It looks like the Katies pegged this performance.

Tim Urban

The predictions:
Chris L.: I think luck has been on his side lately. I can't hear him doing Elvis at all and I think his time is near.
Katie G.: If Elvis was ever on Sesame Street, this is how it would’ve looked like. Just add Muppets!
Lori: Cute guy, but not feeling it. Elvis in High School Musical? Not!
Katie H.: Such a doll baby! He actually may surprise us again this week!
How it actually went down: Katie H. was right, he did surprise us! I’m still not a Tim fan, but his stripped down version of “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” was, as Kara said, one of the better Tim performances. He should’ve stuck with Adam’s advice for singing in a higher octave at the end and it would’ve completely sold the performance. Though you know you had a good performance when Simon tells you that you’ve gone from “zero to hero.” I can’t help but agree with Katie G. though, that one of two things needs to happen. Either vote this guy out or get some Muppets from Sesame Street. Seriously, this guy needs to duet with Kermit.

Lee Dewyze

The predictions:
Chris L.: I think rocker Lee Dewyze will be the best. I can easily see him doing some top Elvis rock numbers - Hound Dog or Heartbreak Hotel would be my picks for Lee.
Katie G.: This theme could work for him.
Lori: Lee will kill it! This is right up his alley!
Katie H.: Lee is amazing regardless! He will definitely rock out this week! Hottie!
How it actually went down: The guest panel was right, Lee rocked out tonight. His version of “A Little Less Conversation” was amazing. His voice showed a lot of strength and he made the song sound more current. He even showed more personality! All in all, this guy just keeps getting better.

Aaron Kelly

The predictions:
Chris L.: To me, Aaron sounds like Rascal Flats. Elvis did some country - if Aaron is able to find the right "Elvis-country-song-that-sounds-like-a-Rascal-Flats-soundalike" he'll do just fine. I'm sure all the little girls will vote for him, even if he only gets on stage and burps.
Katie G.: Poor little Aaron Kelly, he’s as far away from hip-shaking Elvis as you can get!
Lori: I don’t think he is strong enough to do Elvis.
Katie H.: I’m over this year’s David Archuleta- Boo!
How it actually went down: “Blue Suede Shoes?” Really? Out of all 800 Elvis songs, and out of all of the King’s country catalog you pick this song? I figured he’d pick a lesser known country tune and modernize it. But this is what we got instead. I give him points for showing some more swagger, hitting all his notes and finally settling on a more current (and dare I say, Justin Bieber-esque) outfit. But the guest panelists said it best: Aaron Kelly is no Elvis.

Siobhan Magnus

The predictions:
Chris L.: Adam Lambert will probably figure out a way to get a SCREAM from Siobhan doing an Elvis song. Didn't Adam do that last year with Ring of Fire?
Katie G.: I think it’ll be a match made in heaven, but not between her and Elvis, but her and Adam Lambert- they both love to scream their songs.
Lori: She gets on my nerves, so I don’t think she’ll do good.
Katie H.: As long as she doesn’t scream- hopefully I can become a fan again!
How it actually went down: I was excited to hear somebody sing “Suspicious Minds,” but I’m pretty sure Siobhan killed that dream. I’m not sure if it was her weird 1980s Star Search outfit (or as Katie G. called it: “she’s like a character from ‘Dallas’”), or if it’s her weird whisper-scream-whisper-scream tendencies, but this performance was not very good. I figured she’d do well with an oddball mentor like Lambert, but things just didn’t click for her this week. Lori called this one.

Michael Lynche

The predictions:
Chris L.: Elvis had tons of soul and so does this guy. After tempting elimination last week, I'm sure he'll "bring it" with a great Elvis soul classic.
Katie G.: I’m intrigued to see how Big Mike turns Elvis into an R&B love song.
Lori: The judges love him, so whatever he does they will like it.
Katie H.: Ehh…Big Mike and Elvis…Idk?!?!
How it actually went down: This had the potential to be the worst of the night and I’m happy to say it was actually one of the best. Singing “In the Ghetto,” Big Mike did what our guest panelist Katie G. thought he might- turn an Elvis song into a cool, R&B sorta-love song. His voice sounded the best it has in weeks and he sounded very heartfelt. I think Big Mike redeemed himself and should garner enough votes to stay in the competition. Randy said his vocals were hot and Simon said it was a terrific choice.

Katie Stevens

The predictions:
Chris L.: I think Katie will do well with a slower Elvis number - Suspicious Minds, Can't help Falling in Love or Are You Lonesome Tonight would be good for her. I think she would mess it up with an upbeat Elvis number. If she tries that, she's gone. No doubt.
Katie G.: Big voice, big song- could be hit or miss, but it’ll probably sound like a 30-year-old sang it.
Lori: If she sings a slow song like “Love Me Tender,” she’ll be OK.
Katie H.: Song choice will be key- she has an amazing voice!
How it actually went down: Katie decided to channel her frustration at all those confusing judges’ comments into “Baby, What Do You Want Me To Do.” It only sorta worked. Her voice was crystal clear as usual and she always hits her notes, but the arrangement left me feeling like something was missing. The guest panel said song choice would be key here, and I think she sang the wrong song.

Casey James

The predictions:
Chris L.: Casey should fare well with his guitar. In other words, his guitar should do well. For some reason, I can't hear Casey doing an Elvis number. His guitar playing should easily outshine his singing.
Katie G.: He will probably do “Jailhouse Rock.” He’s probably salivating over this theme.
Lori: Oh yeah…hot guy that sings great- he will be awesome!
Katie H.: He should do well. I’m still wanting a little more though.
How it actually went down: And we’ll call this performance Missed Opportunity Part 2. Singing a song I’ve never heard of, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” Casey’s performance sounded like a jam session we would’ve heard on CMT’s “Crossroads.” Once again, like many of his fellow contestants before him, Casey didn’t take Adam’s advice. Adam suggested creating a more interesting arc with the song, but instead it all fell flat. On the plus side, this guy’s voice has never sounded better! And just like Chris L. said, this performance was all about Casey’s guitar.

Based on all we heard tonight, I’d say the best of the night have to be Crystal, Lee and Michael. And the Bottom Three will most likely be Katie, Aaron and Andrew.

What did you think of the return of the Top 9? Were you impressed with their takes on the King’s music, or are you looking forward to seeing two contestants get the boot? Did you agree with tonight’s blog guest panel? Is there any chance Adam Lambert will duet with cooky glass-blower Siobhan? And did you think it was a low blow when Ryan Seacrest openly dissed his former TV partner Brian Dunkleman? Leave your comments below and tune in Wednesday as we say goodbye to two more Idols! –Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on April 14, 2010 1:02 AM
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