Tuesday, May 18, 2010

AI9 Top 3 - The Lee Show

Lee DeWyze and two other people sang tonight for a spot in next week's American Idol finale. Lee also talked to the audience, his fans and the judges. A lot. He may have even talked more than host Ryan Seacrest. Oh, and some other people were there. There was this blond hippie girl who should thank Ellen DeGeneres for making the finale. And then some tall blond guy with a guitar who apparently only has female fans and has no business being in the finale, if you listen to the judges.

Lee and those other two each sang a pair of songs, one of their own choosing and one chosen by the judges. Usually, they do the contestants' choice last, but this year, the contestants' choices were nothing to write home about. Plus, THE MOMENT was going to come on Simon's choice for Lee - Hallelujah. As he told us ... before Lee even sang. Um, if you have to tell us it's a moment before it happens, it's not really a moment. Just sayin'.

Cougar Bait (aka Casey James), Personal Choice - OK, It's Alright With Me by Eric Hutchinson (Studio Recording | Performance Video)
(Original artist: iTunes | Amazon)
So the judges think the song choice was "just alright with me", "safe", "a first-listen song", the equivalent of salad, and a "dud" song choice. Granted, it's not the most dynamic song in the world, and with "Daughters" being his second song, more dynamics was probably needed from him. But at least he's attempting to be contemporary.

Hippie Chick (aka Crystal Bowersox), Personal Choice - Come To My Window by Melissa Ethridge (Studio Recording | Performance Video)
(Original artist: iTunes | Amazon)
Crystal really limited herself from a performance standpoint by strapping that harmonica holder to her body, making her look like Joan Cusack wearing a back brace in Sixteen Candles. And for what? Maybe 10 whole notes? That was pointless, IMO. I didn't think her vocals were all that great here, but the song choice, as the judges said, was right on the money with her and exactly the kind of music she should be doing after the show.

LEE "IN IT TO WIN IT" DEWYZE, Personal Choice - Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd (Studio Recording | Performance Video)
(Original artist: iTunes | Amazon)
This was actually a good vocal from Lee, save for the last warbly note. Apparently, this is a song he has performed a bunch of times pre-Idol. Way to go out of your comfort zone, dude. But whatever. If you're Casey James, you get your chops busted for doing a "safe" song. If you're Crystal Bowersox, you get praised for staying true to yourself. If you're Lee DeWyze, the judges practically hand you the trophy. Kara proclaimed Lee as the winner of Round 1, earning a quick side-glance from Simon Cowell, who is usually the one to proclaim such things. And he tried to one-up her by saying he not only won the round, but he crushed the competition. As much as I dislike the uneven treatment of the contestants, I can't say I'd disagree with that notion.

LL Casey J (Casey James), Judges Choice - "Daughters" by John Mayer (Studio Recording | Performance Video)
(Original artist: iTunes | Amazon)
The judges are on crack. This song was worse than the first one. Casey was pitchy, the song was boring, and the best thing about it was the "limp" guitar solo.

Crystal "Say Thanks, Ellen" Bowersox, Judges Choice - "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney (Studio Recording | Performance Video)
(Original artist: iTunes | Amazon)
That was pitchy and shrieky. Did Siobhan take over her body?!

LEE "MOMENT" DEWYZE, Judges Choice - "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen (Jeff Buckley version) (Studio Recording | Performance Video)
(Jeff Buckley version: iTunes | Amazon)
Simon introduces the song that he picked by saying it's been done on the show before but never like this and we're going to see a moment with this. Um, jackass, Jason Castro had a huge moment with it in Season 7 (all by himself with no choir backing), but they seem to forget he even exists even though he's signed to a major label and just released an album that actually sold fairly decently. And you know what? He sang the song the way it should be sung. Subtly and beautifully. Lee plowed through the song with raspy and sometimes screamy vocals in the same manner in which he plowed through the similarly subtle and beautiful Falling Slowly. Does Lee even know how to do subtle? Even Adam Lambert did subtle when it song called for it. Sheesh.

Should and will go home: that blond lothario Casey. I'm hoping Vote for the Worst helps him out here because I hate the judges/producer manipulation so much, and Casey has had his moments (Jealous Guy, Shania song, Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman), but I think he's already in too big of a hole, and he didn't do much to help his cause. Last year's finale was "supposed" to be Adam Lambert and Danny Gokey, but Kris Allen grabbed the bull by the horns and earned his way into the finale and eventually the win with his game-changing, brilliant take on "Heartless." For as much as the judges crowed about Lee being in it to win it (and he was), what he did was NOTHING compared to last year. Or S4 with Bo Bice.

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