This year’s top 4 night on American Idol followed last year’s format by throwing duets into the mix. The last four standing – Crystal Bowersox, Casey James, Lee DeWyze, and Michael Lynche – took part in one of my personal favorite themes, Songs from the Cinema. Jamie Foxx, who led last year’s top 5 during Rat Pack week, came back to lend his expertise as they took on songs made famous from Tinseltown’s hits. I personally thought that he did another excellent job in giving great advice and constructive criticism. But…which Idols got a star on the Walk of Fame this week and which ones made the Hall of Shame?
Lee DeWyze – “Kiss from a Rose”
I had a Twitter exchange with someone last week about what Lee should sing for this theme. I suggested “Iris” from City of Angels because it’s an awesome song and I thought it would suit Lee’s voice to a tee, but my friend said that it’d be too predictable and suggested that he do “Kiss from a Rose” instead. I had never thought about that but once I heard her choice I was like…”That just might be the death of me.” So I started fangirling when I found out that he was singing this song. But upon watching the performance, I realized my expectations might’ve been a little too high. Don’t get me wrong – I did really enjoy the performance but it wasn’t as up there as some of his greats like last week’s “That’s Life” or “The Boxer.” It was really middle-of-the-road for me. He didn’t do anything different, and I thought the guitar was a clutch for him this week – he would’ve been fine without it (Imagine me as Chris Pine in the bar scene in Star Trek saying this…never mind). It was also pitchy in parts. Overall though, his song choice was great, and I’m looking forward to listening to the studio version!
Michael Lynche – “Will You Be There”
Michael took on Michael [Jackson] and when you take on an epic song by someone that great, you’re most likely going to be held to a really high standard and not reach it. My honest opinion is that I actually enjoyed this better than his performance last week (Which was so overrated, in my opinion), but the chills I got only lasted for so long. He sang it well, as he usually does with most of his performances, but I wish he brought more power vocals to the song. I guess it was an okay choice – in fact, I predicted that he probably would’ve chosen this song, but a better choice would’ve given him a better performance. Simon’s comments and not knowing about Free Willy got me rolling though! “Was it about a willy?” Keep it classy and totally not free from sexual innuendo, judges!
Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze – “Falling Slowly”
Kris Allen was the first to perform this Oscar-winning hit last year and probably once again, many of his fans may have been dismayed that season 9’s power pair sang a song that he just owned. However, once you saw it, you probably were won over. The judges straight-up GUSHED over this performance, which saw both singers face each other and play the guitar together. Now it’s time for me to gush and say that I am just in absolute awe and in love with Lee and Crystal’s duet! Their voices were perfect together and for this song, and they both really felt the emotion. It really felt, looked, and sounded like they were lovers singing to each other. I truly believe this is the best performance of season 9, and this duet further solidifies why Crystal and Lee and no one else should be the top two this season.
Casey James – “Mrs. Robinson”
I so knew the Kara jokes would be coming! The judges’ reactions to this choice and performance were actually pretty hilarious. Onto the performance itself though, I actually enjoyed Casey this week – my, my, how I’ve been so on-and-off with him this season! I thought his vocals were solid and that he told a story very well. I think I still would’ve rather have seen him go up-tempo this week though.
Crystal Bowersox – “I’m Alright”
Mamasox just brought down the house last night! Not just in her duet with Lee, but in this fully entertaining and energetic performance. I loved that she was the only one who chose to go upbeat for her solo and again, she just demonstrated wonderful vocals and musicality. Bluesy jams are totally her thing and I’m glad she got to go back to that route again as she demonstrated her versatility in other genres in recent weeks.
Casey James and Michael Lynche – “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman”
Chris Daughtry surprised the judges and fans during his season with this sexy ballad, and Matt Giraud almost got eliminated last season because of this song (Then the judges saved him). I don’t know what choosing this song will mean for either Casey or Michael, but all I know is that I loved it! Casey’s phrasing was a little rough at first, but he soon got back on track and was able to rock the guitar like he’s known for. Michael also played the guitar, and was able to express himself in his smooth velvety voice quite nicely. The two men chose a great song that suited the both of them. They played off of each other’s strengths very well, and I was also glad to see that both of them looked so comfortable on stage together singing that song (Remember Kris and Danny last year? Yeah…I don’t want to remember. Sorry I brought it up again). Kudos, boys!
An overall great and solid night for the top four…even the worst performance wasn’t bad by any means.
RANKING OF LAST NIGHT’S PERFORMANCES:
WHO SHOULD BE ELIMINATED: Mike
WHO WILL BE ELIMINATED: Mike