American Idol's top 9 take on Lennon-McCartney songbook, and despite the use of some odd backing instruments (a didgeridoo and bagpipes for The Beatles?), the performances were mostly solid. Thanks to the show's two-hour running time, there was plenty of filler and lots of unnecessary bickering from the judges' table. But even so, there were some standout performances. So, who hit the right notes and who fell flat? Let's find out.
Aaron Kelly, "The Long and Winding Road"
Yoda, as his fellow singers like to call him, again invited the David Archuleta comparison by singing a song Archie covered back in Season 7. As usual, Aaron sang it well, but he was slightly boring. And Kara was right: This performance felt just like every other performance he's done this season. He promises to bring the tempo next week, but I am not sure he will still be around.
Judging the Judges: B+ Randy didn't like the sleepy arrangement, which Ellen called "the long and winding song." Kara said Aaron's yet to be great.
Katie Stevens, "Let It Be"
Could it be? I actually liked Katie for the second week in a row. First, I adore the song, and I was impressed that Katie did such a respectable job considering how much I liked Kris Allen's version during the semifinals last year. She added some bigger notes here and there, and I think she just might be able to crawl out of the bottom 3 with that song.
Judging the Judges: F Randy and Kara thought it was hot and that Katie's blossoming into an artist. Simon said for the first time Katie wasn't robotic. I gave the F grade because again, Simon launched the "Katie should go country" argument, which in turn led Kara to do some impromptu singing. Kara makes me angry.
Andrew Garcia, "Can't Buy Me Love"
Even though it wasn't a blockbuster performance, this might be my favorite thing Andrew has done since Hollywood Week. The song is infectiously listenable, even if it doesn't have the best melody to show off one's singing ability. More importantly, I think Andrew showed some personality in the performance, which the judges requested last week.
Judging the Judges: C Randy said it was just "aight" and Kara said it didn't show her anything new about Andrew. Simon called the arrangement corny.
Michael Lynche, "Eleanor Rigby"
And...hammy Michael is back. I didn't mind it as much tonight, though I think Mike oversang certain sections. The rest was pretty well done. I am impressed at the versatility Mike has shown, but Simon is spot-on in calling the performance something you would see in a musical.
Judging the Judges: B Randy said Mike proved he's an artist and Ellen liked seeing yet another side of him. Kara said he was on fire, but Simon thought it was a step backward.
Crystal Bowersox, "Come Together"
Crystal was great. The didgeridoo? Not so much. Not only was it visually distracting, but the instrument's sound didn't add anything to what Crystal was doing. Luckily, she covered it up with some Bonnie Raitt-esque vocal runs that somehow made this over-covered song still sound interesting.
Judging the Judges: B+ Kara liked that Crystal was a little "slinkier and sexier" and not so much in her own head. Simon said she remained true to herself and was teriffic.
Tim Urban, "All My Loving"
This guy doesn't deserve to be on the show anymore, plain and simple. He used his borrowed time to deliver an OK performance that in turn earned almost unanimous praise from the judges, which likely means I will have to suffer for another week. In truth, it was unmistakably better than anything he's done in the finals, but I'm still bitter.
Judging the Judges: B- Ellen said it was his best since "Hallelujah" and Kara liked his tenacity. Simon used what I hope is reverse psychology, telling Tim that he takes criticism like a man and that he did really well.
Casey James, "Jealous Guy"
Without a doubt, my favorite performance of the night. It was the first time all season that I didn't know what I was going to get from Casey, and he delivered an emotional and beautifully sung rendition. I loved the simple guitar-cello combo and loved hearing Casey finally go after a big note. (He might want to slow down his vibrato a bit, though.)
Judging the Judges: A Randy loved the sensitive vibe and how Casey set himself apart from the group as an artist. Kara appreciated the depth and asked for even more and Simon praised his growth from week to week.
Siobhan Magnus, "Across the Universe"
When I woke up halfway through this very boring version, the words "peaked too soon" came to mind. What Siobhan did wasn't bad (and it certainly beat the screeching), but tonight her "artistry" seemed false to me. I liked the falsetto notes, but everything else about this overly delicate performance seemed put-on.
Judging the Judges: B Randy said it was sleepy, but he liked the tender side. Kara said it was so restrained she didn't know how to process it. Simon gave her kudos for coming back from last week's disaster.
Lee DeWyze, "Hey Jude"
We've created a monster! I'm kidding, but I do think Lee has become a little too confident. How else do you explain the hubris required to bring a bagpipe player onto the stage during the climax of your performance? Or maybe the bagpipe was to distract from the pitch problems Lee suffered tonight. If Lee can't have fun and sing well at the same time, then bring back the stiff guy.
Judging the Judges: B Randy still liked Lee and Ellen wondered which parade the bagpipe player was looking for. Simon said he thought the bagpipes were a huge mistake, but it shouldn't matter.
So, who did you like? Who do you think is in danger of going home? Share your thoughts below!
American Idol's top 9 take on Lennon-McCartney songbook, and despite the use of some odd backing instruments (a didgeridoo and bagpipes for The Beatles?), the performances were mostly solid. Thanks to the show's two-hour running time, there was plenty of filler and lots of unnecessary bickering from the judges' table. But even so, there were some standout performances. So, who hit the right notes and who fell flat? Let's find out...