Shania Twain returned to mentor the singers as American Idol's top 6 took on the country-pop superstar's songbook. For the first time all season, there wasn't a stand-out bad performance, but country did not sound good on everyone either. So, which singers were the best? Let's find out.
After her charming appearance while guest-judging the Chicago auditions, Shania proved to be a solid mentor this week. She made the singers connect to her songs and gave apt advice that helped contestants like Big Mike make the most of their two minutes on stage.
Ryan Seacrest kicked off the night with a bit of uplifting news: "Idol Gives Back" raised $45 million last week. In other Idol news: the 49-city North American tour kicks off July 1 in Auburn Hills, Mich. You can order tickets here beginning May 15. On to the singing!
Lee DeWyze, "You're Still the One"
Shania told him his fantastic style doesn't need to be buried behind his guitar, so he starts the song without it. Once the song kicked in, Lee was in his comfort zone, but I am continuously amazed at how Lee manages to sing in a way that makes bum notes go unnoticed. There were several bad ones in this song, but Lee's spin did make the song feel like it belonged on the radio again right now.
Judging the Judges: B+ Simon said it was the perfect song choice, even though Lee seemed hesitant at the start. Kara said Lee's voice is always relevant.
Michael Lynche, "It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing"
Michael chose one of Shania's songs that I am not as familiar with, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I actually enjoyed his version of the song a great deal, but found when watching the replays at the end that I didn't really remember it compared to others. Still, his smooth vocals sounded nice, and he kept his schtick mostly in check.
Judging the Judges: B Ellen correctly compared the performance to Luther Vandross, and Randy said there is space in the music market for a balladeer like Mike. Kara loved it, but Simon said it was a little too girly for Big Mike.
Casey James, "Don't"
Casey bounced back after two disappointing weeks. He said this is the first week he's chosen a "singing song," and I am not sure why he didn't realize that sooner. In any case, he pushed himself further tonight than ever before, hitting some really big notes and nicely incorporating a tender falsetto at times. I really hope he sustains this in weeks to come.
Judging the Judges: A Randy and Ellen said it was Casey's best performance to date, and Kara said he was an artist because he didn't hide his vulnerability.
Crystal Bowersox, "No One Needs to Know"
Well, it was bound to happen eventually. While Crystal sang the song just fine, the performance was boring and not up to the usual standard Crystal sets. Crystal said it wasn't a big performance, and bigger isn't always better. My take: Karma was just getting back at Crystal for dogging her boyfriend for not "manning up" and proposing to her.
Judging the Judges: B+ Everyone agreed that it wasn't Crystal's best, but Kara liked the honesty of the performance. Simon said it was limp and forgettable.
Aaron Kelly, "You've Got a Way"
It was no surprise that a now-17-year-old Aaron was right at home crooning country tunes, and it couldn't have happened at a better time. He's been really struggling, and even though he chose yet another ballad, I didn't find myself dozing off. In fact, I was a little bummed when it ended. I am continuously impressed by his maturity.
Judging the Judges: B Simon said Aaron sounded like a different artist, and Kara liked that he changed the lyrics about making love in order to connect more with the song. (Especially since Aaron said he was singing it about his mom!)
Siobhan Magnus, "Any Man of Mine"
I was really into Siobhan for the first time in weeks... right up until the last 30 seconds. I have been over the big, screeching notes basically since Siobhan started doing them, but tonight they were even more forced and out of place. (And out of tune.) Sigh.
Judging the Judges: D Ellen and Randy loved it, and Kara was glad to see sassy Siobhan back. Simon said the end sounded like Siobhan was giving birth.
So, who did you like? What did you think of Shania's mentoring? Share all your thoughts below.
Shania Twain returned to mentor the singers as American Idol's top 6 took on the country-pop superstar's songbook. For the first time all season, there wasn't a stand-out bad performance, but country did not sound good on everyone either. So, which singers were the best? Let's find out...