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'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.


Contestant Lee DeWyze impresses the judges with his rendition of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer." (Michael Becker -- Fox) Click on image to see gallery of performance highlights.

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.

Never miss another "American Idol" after-show analysis. Text "IDOL"
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By Lisa de Moraes  |  April 21, 2010; 7:13 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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Next: "Dancing" dancing beats "Idol" singing again this week

Comments

Real tears, Lisa? I think you've been taken. Crystal apparently played you and the judges perfectly with that well-time "choke" on the very last word of the song.

So not buying those tears.

Posted by: Jayne | April 21, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

SECOND!!!

Posted by: igetdeadbeats | April 21, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Jayne, you're far too cynical.

Posted by: Duodenum | April 21, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I think the tears were genuine. She was pleading for people to get ready, and her dad showed up half-dressed in a T-shirt.

Does Mike get to squeeze anybody he likes? I so want to see one of those obnoxious moves rupture the spleen of a mentor.

Posted by: jd121 | April 21, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Real tears. Music industry tears are all about "I'm gonna cry unless you applaud for me." Crystal just burst out crying, no setup for the audience, therefore real tears.

Posted by: DC2LA | April 21, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Lee was my favorite of the night. Targon did well again as usual, but when the judges told her she keeps evolving I can't figure out if she is changing into the Predator monstor or a Navi from Pandora... Simon's sweetie cupcake was pretty awful, but somewhere the frozen head of Walt Disney is salivating over the thought of getting him locked into a long term, soul crushing, TV and music contract. Mike and Casey were pretty good, but Spiderman? Really?? I think that Siobhan should have gone with a Bjork song and then dedicated it to the Icelendic volcano. And finally, O Lord why hast thou forsaken us and not gotten rid of Timjaya yet?

Posted by: ozpunk | April 21, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

According to EW, Siobahn said backstage that her outfit was a tribute to "Ferngully."

This girls is absolutely nuts -- she has GOT to stay on this show! (Oh, and she's got a great voice, too)

Posted by: NotDoc | April 21, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

What was up with Michael "I'm pumped full of HGH so you better love me" Lynche picking up Alicia Keys? I was expecting 5 dudes with lead pipes to descend on his 'roid butt and stomp him like a burned out cigarette. No justice. He should go on Glee so Sue Sylvester can open a can of whup ass on him.

Posted by: bdean1 | April 21, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Mike needs to go. I am hoping it's Lee and Siobhan in the end.

Posted by: maris1 | April 21, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Crystal Bowersox and Ellen DeGeneres are the only reasons I'm watching American Idol at all this season. Everyone else is a complete snore.

Posted by: AmericanIdolHoopla | April 21, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Siobhan does not know how to edit. Both sartorially and vocally she needs to learn that less is more. Take half of what you put on (clothing - as well as rills, riffs, runs and glory notes) and press DELETE.

Stand there in a nice but non-distracting gown and sing the heck out of a good song. Yes - Crystal did that. Look and learn, Siobhan.

Posted by: jqw3827 | April 21, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I hope either Lynch or Urban goes home tonight. I'm not holding my breath though. I really like Siobhan and hope she is a finalist. I'm not on the Lee bandwagon, his voice is way too raspy for me, though I can see his appeal and I have no doubt we'll be hearing from him in the future.

Posted by: MrsKirby | April 21, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I like Lee, but can hardly forgive him for what he did to "The Boxer," which is one of the greatest songs ever. He removed its rhythmic drive plus 3/4 of the lyrics, and chose to spend most of his minute-and-a-half singing, "lai, lai, lai." And the judges LOVED it. I know, I know, I shouldn't expect much of this show, but I was deeply disappointed.

Posted by: chantooz | April 21, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Michael should have sung Patti Labelle's "New Attitude". It fits his vocal style, it would've given him the opportunity to move about the stage and it definitely would've given the show a little bit of pep (dare I say inspiration?). Especially if he sang it with anywhere near the energy Patti sings it in concert.

I'm hoping against hope that Tim leaves tonight.

Any guesses on how far over the show is going to run? 15 mins? 20 mins?

Posted by: SheldonAlexandria | April 21, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, tonight's the overlong, overwrought, overmaudlin "Idol Gives Back" dreck - do you really think anyone's going home?

Posted by: jhorstma | April 21, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or did Crystal look like she was singing into a bong? And on 420 no less. She's definitely got the potheads behind her!

Posted by: Russtinator | April 21, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Wife notices fashions more than me. When Siobhan Magnus came on, she lurched. "WTF is that??" I said she looked like some tree or forest elf. Later we hear she was inspired by Fern Gully. OK - she's whacked...but whacked in an endearing, creative way. Disagreed with judges too. Crystal was better, but we also heard one incredible singer when Magnus opened her mouth.

Word to Moraes about Magnus doing a comment filibuster basically telling the judges sloooowwwly - to shove it. If it was painful for the judges - good. Each time a contestant has stood up and defended themselves it is started when Kara dumbly makes a remark at the character or artistic heart of a contestant and DARES them to talk back. Tim did, Katie did twice, and Siobahn is up to at least 3 times.
Yes, Crystal and Lee never talk back! Why would it be necessary to expand on the judge's worship ceremonies each week?? Casey doesn't give a darn either way, Aaron's too wussy to do so, and Mike just thumps his chest and glowers something about iTunes.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | April 21, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

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