'American Idol' 2010 Top-7 seek inspiration
It's Inspirational Night on "American Idol" in honor of the charity fundraiser that is Wednesday night's "Idol Gives Back" results show.
Speaking of "Idol Gives Back," you can still buy tickets to attend at Ticketmaster with just 24 hours to go, show host Ryan Seacrest says. As if we needed further proof 'Idol' has lost its mojo this season.
Alicia Keys is this week's mentor and her first at-bat is with Casey James. He's going to play guitar while singing "Don't Stop." And though he is hitting the "Idol" tenets of Know Who You Are and Just Go Out There and Have Fun, the judges slam him for Showing No Growth. Even judge Ellen The Generous announces she's going to "be a little tougher now" because the Idolettes "have to be great now, and it wasn't great." "You made yourself like everybody else," says Casey cougar Kara DioGuardi, mourning what might have been. But Casey has reached the highest level of consciousness that can be attained by an Idolette -- he's over the judges. Casey looks at them -- tolerant, but dismissive. He's an inspiration to us all and a fitting start to the evening.
Keys gets Lee Dewyze to recite the lyrics to "The Boxer" to make sure he can convince people he IS the boxer. A song about a wounded soul suits him perfectly -- no judges nagging him for not smiling. In fact, songs with no smiling required are Lee's sweet spot. On Pop Standards Night, he should go with "Cry Me a River." On Rockers Night, it should be "Adam's Song," the blink-182 ditty about the guy who "never thought I'd die alone." Hey, we just found nine entries in the category "songs about the extermination of indigenous peoples" on Wikipedia, Lee -- knock yourself out! The judges react like they're in the presence of Van Gogh. Judge Randy Jackson: "You are a great artist." Ellen The Generous: "You Have So Much Soul." Judge Simon Cowell: "That was sincere, it was emotional, it was inspirational" and the difference between Lee and Casey is "staggering."
The producers have accessorized Inspirational Night on 'Idol' with Capt. Sully Sullenberger, who is in the audience. Nice touch.
Tim Urban + Inspirational -- we're trying to get our head around this concept. Of course Tim is an inspiration - he's mediocrity triumphant. He's the punch line to the set up, "Anyone can be a finalist on 'American Idol' -- and now anyone is." Tim Urban sings "Better Days." It's a mess of pitch problems. But, oddly, the judges are kind to him which can only mean some audience survey placed his Q score ahead of the judges. Ellen The Generous signals with her Canned Joke Coming face that she's going to deliver a canned joke; it's about how he's like the soup of the day but today she doesn't like the soup. Kara goes on about how he "found your lane... but wasn't the best execution". Simon: "You have improved over the weeks but it was a little bit of a let down."
Aaron Kelly has been performing "I Believe I Can Fly" since pre-school graduation. You'd think he'd have it down by now, but his voice is wobbly, though toward the end, when he spreads his feet wide, he gets slightly better. Randy gives him props for trying. Ellen The Generous winds up with the Canned Joke Face and delivers "There was a brief time in the 70's when I thought I could fly." Kara likens his performance to one of those airplane takeoffs that do so much to keep the anti-anxiety drug industry so robust. Simon notes that, in the real world, if we heard that performance on the radio, we would have turned it off in 10 seconds.
Why, oh why, did Siobhan Magnus go and choose Whitney/Mariah tune "When You Believe" as her Inspirational song, knowing Randy was going to enforce his No Mariah Covers policy? Why is Siobhan wearing a vegetation costume with butterflies nesting on her shoulder? Siobhan continues to try new things each week and, except for Ellen The Generous, the judges are provoked. Randy can't forgive that she picked a tune that had been done by Mariah and Whitney -- what a shock. Kara is back to her weekly "I don't know who you are" gag. Simon, who has never liked Siobhan, goes on disparagingly about the arrangement and the dress. But Siobhan is the champion post-judgment filibusterer and, once again, manages to convey "shove it, you music-industry hacks" sweetly, explaining "the song touched me very deeply" and that she picked it because it relates to "the meaning of why I'm here right now... regardless of being compared to Mariah and Whitney. No one compares to them."
Seabiscuit does Michael no favor when he reveals Michael had a "game plan" to win 'Idol,' including a "playbook" of 200 songs, because it makes him look so calculating. Michael's buried under a way overproduced arrangement of "Hero". He may have sung it well, but it was hard to pick out his voice from the background roar. Randy says, "you held your own," which is like saying nothing but making it sound like a compliment. Ellen The Generous notes that time is short and, apparently bereft of a Time Is Short Canned Joke, settles for "great job." Kara says the song was "unrecognizable," and Simon takes him down for singing a song "about Spiderman" because, apparently in Simon's book, super heroes aren't inspirational. This seems to catch Michael by surprise because, apparently, Spiderman IS Michael's hero. We could have sworn it was The Hulk, who Michael resembles more each week. Michael is now virtually bursting out of his clothes. "No, it was about being a hero," Michael blurts out in response to Simon's dig. Geez, if getting a gig to do a movie theme song doesn't count as making it outside the bubble of "Idol," Simon just moved the bar way out of reach.
Crystal Bowersox has the good sense to pick a religious song on Inspiration Night. Hello? Was that so hard to figure out, other Idolettes? She starts out singing "People Get Ready" a capella, and it's a winner from the get go. The black gown she's wearing is a game changer for her too. At the end -- real tears. It doesn't get any better. Randy gives her a standing O; Ellen The Generous and Kara also rave, and Simon calls it "inspirational." Crystal tells Seabiscuit she got choked up because her dad is in the audience for the first time.
See a gallery of performance highlights from last night's show here.
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April 21, 2010; 7:13 AM ET
Categories: "American Idol"
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