Thursday, May 27, 2010

The American Idol Is Crowned 2010: Finale Part 2

Welcome back. It's been a long couple days or so and we are back with the full recap of the American Idol finale. I know that it's not news anymore but this is "I'dol Be The Judge"'s take on the show.

Before I begin I want to thank anyone and everyone who has read "I'dol Be The Judge" over the past couple of months. It's been fun and we hope to be back next season. Please come back within a week or so for our next entry on "Ways To Fix American Idol". That will be a fun post.

But that's not why we're here today. We are here to talk about Lee DeWyze, Crystal Bowersox and the American Idol Finale. Ryan informs us only 2% of the vote seperated Lee & Crystal, so it should be interesting.

Judge's Are Introduced: For the last time Simon Cowell is introduced as a Judge on American Idol. He gets a large round of applause and even Randy Jackson gives him a standing ovation.

Top 12 Sing: They sing "School's Out For Summer". Orianthi plays the guitar and Alice Cooper comes out stage and we quickly remember how awful the Top 12 really were. Luckily, their voices are pretty drowned out by the loudness of the band and inclusion of Alice Cooper and the backup singers.

Reigning American Idol Champion Performance: Kris Allen, handing over his title to either Lee or Crystal. Allen definetly needed to win last year just so he can make his appearance on the American Idol finale every year. It will keep him in an elite group forever. Adam Lambert has made a name for himself outside of American Idol and has proven that he didn't really need the win. So in that respect I can understand the judge's push to make Lee the winner. They probably believe that Crystal doesn't really need it as much because she is so much more skilled vocally. They pretty much said as much. Despite past non-winner's clams that just making it to the Top 10 is enough, Kris Allen, Taylor Hicks & Ruben Studdard prove that winning is incredibly important because outside of American Idol it's a bit rough out there, sometimes you have to win. Thus making tonight pretty important, especially to Lee.

Simon Cowell Retrospective on Being The Consumate Professional: They begin to show clips of Simon being Simon. Ryan, Kara, Ellen, Randy, even Paul Abdul each have a take on Simon. One of my favorite clips of Simon was during an audition he begins to eat some potato chips and slurping his drink.

Siobhan & Aaron Perform: They sing "How Deep is Your Love" with the Bee Gees. Pretty cool. I don't see a lot of connection to Siobhan and Aaron but having the Bee Gees is interesting.

Michael Lynche Performs: He sings "Takin it To The Streets" with Michael McDonald of Doobie Brothers fame. So far American Idol is definetly targeting an older audience with The Bee Gees and Michael McDonald but I guess it's better than Justin Bieber.

Simon's Greatest Insults: Dane Cook sings some of Simon's greatest insults. It's more of a roast then anything else. Then some of the more "memorable" bad performers from auditions come out on stage. I guess it was kind of funny. I think it was probably a better concept then how it actually panned out.

The Ladies Perform: Siobhan, Crystal, Paige, Lacey, Didi & Katie sing Christina Aguliera's "Beautiful" and "Stronger". Lacey and Paige really are still pretty bad. Didi, Katie, Siobhan and obviously Crystal sounded pretty good. Didi definetly left the competition too early.

Christina Aguliera Performance: She finishes up "Stronger" with the ladies and then sings her new song. No shock that she came out to perform given they sang 2 of her songs. Aguliera definetly has one of the strongest female voices out there. She's been gone for awhile but her voice is still as great as always.

The Men Perform: They sing Hall & Oates' "I Can't Go For That" & "Maneater", I wonder who is going to come out next...

Hall & Oates Performance: Again, no shocker that they come out after the boys sang a couple of their tunes. They sing their old tunes. Sounds good.

Crystal Performs: She sings Alanis Morrisette's "Ironic" and then Alanis Morrisette comes out and she and Crystal sing "You Oughta Know". They had to change a couple of the lyrics since American Idol is on broadcast television. Their voices compliment each other really well. They sound different in parts and then sound kind of similar interestingly.

Carrie Underwood Performs: She sings her new song "Undo It". It was 5 years ago that she was crowned American Idol. She is at least tied with or at this point might have even passed Kelly Clarkson as the most popular American Idol winner. Unlike most of the other winners, American Idol isn't nessarily the first thing people think of when they think of her. To me, that's the biggest sign of success for an American Idol winner.

Lee & Crystal Ford Music Video: Crystal and Lee are first awarded new Ford cars. They are kind of subdued when they realize that they won. Kind of on par with the season as a whole I say. At least they didn't win Toyotas.

Casey James Performs: He sings "Every Rose Has It's Thorn". Then Bret Michaels of Poison comes out and joins Casey. Given the guy was in the hospital recently with a brain hemmorage Bret Michaels looks and sounds pretty good. Plus he is rumored to be a possible Simon Cowell replacement. Though a lot of names are being thrown so we'll see on that one.

Lee Performs: Lee performs with the namesake of his hometown, Chicago. They sing a medly of their songs. He sounds and looks so much more relaxed then performance night. No one ever said the guy doesn't have talent, it's just he let the performance night overtake him. When he is in his groove, his in his groove.

Simon Cowell Retrospective on Being a Flirt: This clip package is pretty cute. They show some moments with Paula and some of the past audtions with girls fliriting with him.

Pants On The Ground: For a few minutes back in the Winter, "Pants On The Ground" was a pretty big deal. Everyone was talking about it. It was pretty funny and American Idol isn't one to let something like that go. They squeeze every last drop of funny out of every moment.

Simon & Paula: They show a clip package of Simon and Paula's good, bad and...different moments. Then live on the stage Paula Abdul comes out. She gets a huge standing ovation. She never had a sendoff herself so I am glad she came back. She looks great, is pretty coherent, and is pretty funny. Paula was always pretty funny when she had a script in front of her, and it only got interesting when she would have to think on the fly or if her Coca-Cola cup was filled with something other than Coca Cola.

Goodbye Simon Retrospective: To Frank Sinatra's tune of "My Way" they show many of Simon's greatest moments. He really did do a lot for not only American Idol but television in general. He made being honest the in thing to do. The whole reality dynamic changed because of American Idol but mostly because of Simon Cowell. They end the package with Simon saying to American Idol and its audience, "Thank You, I'm Going To Miss You". In reality, we definetly are going to miss him. No matter what, the show will forever be drastically different. If it lasts 2 more seasons or 8 more it won't matter, it's best years were with Randy, Paula & Simon. So Thanks Simon for a great 9 years.

The Past American Idol Winners Perform for Simon: Sans David Cook(who had a previous committment to a charity event), all the past American Idol winners sing together on stage all dressed in black. They sing "Together We Are One". No matter how many contestants auditioned or made the Top 10 over the years, only 8 people can go up on that stage and say they are the American Idol winner. It's an elite club that Lee or Crystal will soon join. Then many memorable contestants come out on stage all dressed in white. From just panning quickly on stage it consited of many of the runners up and former Top 10 contestants, like Justin Guarini, Bo Bice and others. Simon says a few words and thanks everyone from the bottom of his heart.

Getting back to Lee & Crystal and the Top 12:

Janet Jackson & The Top 12: They sing Janet Jackson's "Again", then she comes out on stage with an incredibly short haircut. She actually looks incredibly beautiful. Not a lot of people can pull off that kind of haircut. She then sings "Nothing" and then "Nasty". A bit of trivia many people know is that Paula Abdul choreographed Janet's "Nasty" music video back in the 80s. So it's all full circle. She still has it after all these years.

Lee & Crystal Retrospective: They show us a clip package of Lee & Crystal's journey to the finals.

Lee & Crystal Perform: Lee & Crystal sing "With a Little Help From My Friends". The Joe Cocker version not the Beatles version. Most notably utilized as the Wonder Years theme song.

And after all these months it is time for the winner to be announced, either Crystal Bowersox or Lee Dewyze.

And The Winner Is.....: Lee DeWyze. He almost passes out when Ryan announces his name. The Top 12 rush to give Lee hugs. Lee begins to get emotional and is in just total disbelief and shock. I kind of feel the same way. After getting pretty severly beaten during performance night, I thought it was more of a foregone conclusion that Crystal had it in the bag, but that obviously is not the case. Lee is a genuine guy and really does have a great voice. Congratulations to him. To end the night Lee sings his new single "Beautiful Day.

Final Thoughts on Lee & Crystal: Well, in a few short days I will be posting ways to fix American Idol and how and why Lee DeWyze won will be included. I'm not saying that Lee DeWyze wasn't a decent contestant and probably one of the more interesting story, but that's not a reason to win. It should be based on performances and he just got blown away during the Finale. But as I said, Lee was a decent contestant, although Crystal Bowersox was the overall better performer and carried the show on her own at several points during the season. She lost a little momentum over the past couple weeks and that was her ultimate downfall. Another factor, which can't be overlooked is Casey James. Casey James had plenty of teen girl votes and when he left, more than likely those teen girls went to the other cute boy, Lee. They probably did not go to Crystal. I truly believe that if someone like Siobhan was in the Final 3 with Crystal and Lee, then Crystal would have had Siobhan's fans and probably would have won. But again, we can't go back. Congratulations to Lee DeWyze.

Final Thoughts on Simon Cowell & American Idol: Well it's an end of an era. I'm not saying that the show will be cancelled after next season because Simon Cowell isn't on the show, but the show will be changing dramatically. With rumors flying that everyone and no one will be replacing Simon, the main responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Randy, Ellen & Kara(if they are all still around). Supposedly American Idol is looking to have a different guest judge on every single week for the entire season, or the now rumored Bret Michaels. Either way, Simon Cowell was American Idol and him leaving will leave a huge gap. I don't know what's going to be, but since the ratings were down significantly this year with Simon still on the show I can imagine what it will be like next year when he isn't. I'll probably still watch just to see what is going to happen, but it's going to be incredibly different.

Thanks again to all those that came to I'dol Be The Judge. As I said we will be back shortly on the "Ways to Fix American Idol". They are plentiful so stick around for that. Thanks for joining us for Season 9. Have a great summer and we will see you back here soon.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The American Idol Is Crowned: Finale Part 1

Due to technical difficulties the full American Idol Finale Idol Be The Judge Blog will be posted at a later time. The blog will include not only opinion on the winner and runner up but Simon Cowell's last night on the show as well as other performances during the Finale.

But for those needing to know right away. The American Idol is....Lee Dewyze. Despite an off night and Crystal's reemergence after a few difficult weeks, Lee still came out on top.

We have known for several years now that it is only teen girls calling and voting in large numbers, and despite Crystal blowing Lee out of the water last night, he was able to carry all the good vibes of last week and a whole lot of momentum and win it all.

As I said the Full Idol Be The Judge Blog will be posted at a later time, but congratulations to both Crystal Bowersox for being a consummate pro, and to Lee DeWyze for winning. Where he will rank in American Idol winners is anyone's guess, but for tonight, he is on top of the world.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Top 2 Finale Performance Show

Welcome back. Well, it's been a long, long season. Many memorable and not so memorable contestants and moments this year, but we've finally made it. We are down to Crystal and Lee. Front runner Crystal Bowersox has had a few okay weeks while Lee definitely has the momentum. We'll see if Crystal can get back to her winning ways and make us forget about her rough spots, or can Lee take all of the positive feedback and unbelievable judge's praise and take it for the win?

On the "Ellen Degeneres Show" Simon Cowell said that if it was a 4-5 weeks ago then Crystal would have won hands down, but now he thinks Lee will win it. But as he said, he's been wrong about the winner the past couple years, first thinking David Archuleta would win against David Cook then Adam Lambert over Kris Allen. We'll see what happens, only Crystal and Lee can determine the outcome...oh and the American audience. Ryan flipped a coin last week determining who would go first and second, Crystal won the toss and decided to go second. They will be singing 3 songs. Their favorite performance,the executive producer's choice and what their single will be if they win. Let's get to it.

How Did The Contestants Do?

Lee(The Boxer, from Inspirational Week): Lee chose this as his favorite performance, and for me, it was my favorite Lee performance, although Treat Her Like A Lady was pretty good as well. For this performance he changed it a little from last time out. He's added a little more band arrangement, more chimes and drums. Really decent start. Randy thought Lee sounded good but needs a little more energy. Kara agreed with Randy and said he needs to fight a little more. Simon said he expected more passion and excitement and said it was like a kiss on the cheek when he wants a kiss on the lips, but not from Lee. Funny. I agree, but he has 2 more songs so we will see how that goes. Grade=B-

Crystal(Me & Bobby McGee, from Billboard #1 Week): Crystal did a great job this whole season so picking one song is probably a bit more difficult. She has decided to stay true to the same arrangemnt from her previous time out. She definitely is also more into her song then Lee seemed. Crystal pretty much blew Lee out of the water on energy level. Randy thought Crystal was dope and needs to make a record like that. Ellen thought Crystal was compelling. Kara thought that Crystal has fire in her belly. Simon thought Crystal was terrific and that it is a great competition tonight. Round 1 definitely goes to Crystal. Grade=A

Lee:(Everybody Hurts: Exec Producer's Choice) This song is pretty perfect for his voice. He has an interesting voice like Michael Stipe of REM does. It allows Lee to get a little more energy into his voice. He doesn't particularly look excited but his voice definitely picks up from last song. Randy thought it was definitely better and pulled it together. Ellen thought Lee went off a few times and that Lee pulled back a little from going all out. Kara thought Lee told a beautiful story. Simon thought it was a great song choice but ultimately thinks Lee is nervous and needs to come out and be 10 out of 10on the final song. Grade=B

Crystal(Black Velvet, Exec Producer's Choice): Very interesting choice. Crystal is without her guitar and going for more sultry and placing more focus on vocals. She is doing a lot with the song and her voice is definitely in key from start to finish. She is again showing that she wants to win this thing. She's definitely doing things with her voice that she hasn't done all season. Randy says that this is the Crystal he loves and that she is in it to win it. Ellen thought she was fantastic and gives her a standing ovation. Kara sees that Crystal can feel it and wants it. Simon feels that she took a song that has been done over and over and just nailed it and was very impressed. Round 2 goes to Crystal.

Lee(Beautiful Day): No more original songs, this will be Lee's single if he wins the show. This is U2's song. Lee is still holding back and although his vocal is pretty solid he doesn't look like he wants to win it. He doesn't look in the camera even once. He kind of seems like a beaten man. He needed to come out and really make his last 2 songs be a thing of the past and he didn't really do that. Lee initially looks pretty upset about his performance. Randy thought that Lee got his groove back through the middle to end of the song. Ellen says more about Lee's overall time on the show rather than this performance in particular. Kara thought Lee got swallowed up by the arrangement but thought that Lee still deserved to be there. Simon thought although it wasn't his greatest performance that Lee is still a great guy. Mainly, the judge's feel that tonight wasn't his night but through the competition he has grown the most and developed into something great. Lee definitely had a rough night and he needs his fans tonight to help him. There was no way the judge's were going to bash him, they tried to let him down easy without coming righ out and saying he wasn't so great. Grade=B+

Crystal(Up To The Mountain): All Crystal needs to do is what she has been doing and the night will be a clean sweep for her. This performance was definitely less energy, but her vocal was just tender and perfect. There were no big band arrangements, it was simple but quite effective. Crystal definitely swept the night, almost no competition. Randy thought Crystal was amazing and was so proud and felt it was her best performance at the perfect time. Ellen thought that Crystal was so unique and in a league of own and was glad to be a part of the rise of Crystal's career. Kara thought that Crystal was completely invested in the song and really blossomed. Simon in his last judging critique, thought it was the best performance of the night and that it was outstanding. Crystal sums up her journey as unbelievable and that she's incredibly grateful. Grade=A+(First one I gave out the entire season)

Musical Interlude: Will Young, from Pop Idol U.K, Sings The American Idol Departure Song. Definitely a beautiful song. The highlights of the season play over his voice.

How Was The Show?:
Going into the show I didn't mind who won either way. They both have done a great job and were both the standouts. I thought Lee had the momentum going into tonight but it could go either way. But after tonight's episode Crystal has to win. It used to be Lee & Crystal and everybody else, but tonight it was definitely Crystal and Lee became like everyone else. She completely proved why she is much more a seasoned performer than Lee. Lee got swallowed up by the moment and the intensity of the night, while Crystal continued to just put on a concert. Crystal did everything right while Lee kept getting in his own way.

Every week I have written who I think should be voted out, this week I will post who I think will win.

Who Should Win? Crystal. She has been the most consistent contestant this entire season. She carried the show when the show needed a bright light on a terrible crop of contestants. She by far outperformed Lee tonight on every single song. She said the right thing, especially right before Simon gave his critique she gave him a few nice sentiments and thanked him for his work. Simon even got a little misty eyed when she said that. Crystal was a class act then and though her songs and deserves to win.

We'll see you right back here tomorrow when the American Idol winner will be crowned.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Top 3 Results Show

Welcome Back. Tonight is a very important night, tonight will determine who makes it to the Finals and who will come up just a bit short. Tonight American Idol will show us the hometown visits that the Top 3 experienced this past week. Ironic that they show us their homes and all the joy they had of going back, but in reality they don't really want to go home, especially not this week. Should be a fun night.

Let's Get to The...Oh Wait A Minute. This is American Idol, first we get some more talking and filler. We get the Top 3's take on their experience on the show. It's an hour show there is a lot of filler tonight. Casey admits he never imagined winning nor did he ever think he would get this far. Crystal said that she has thought about winning and is cool with whatever happens but definitely wants to win. Lee wants to win actually he says he really wants to win. Other than that we just get 5 minutes of Ryan trying to be the next Oprah.

Hometown Visit #1: Casey James. Casey just seems like a nice Texas guy. He definitely has a large female fan base. Casey visits the hospital and the doctors and nurses that helped him after he was in an accident a few years back. It really got him emotional. We will see if his large fan base pushed him through this week, he's going to need a lot of help.

Musical Interlude #1: Travis Garland. I've not only never heard of the song he is singing but never heard of him before. I think there should be a rule that the musical guest actually has to be better than the contestants currently on the show. This guy is quite terrible. He belongs in a boy band from the late 1990s.

Hometown Visit #2: Crystal Bowersox. Crystal's hometown is Toledo, Ohio. Crystal just personifies cool. She's sarcastic, down to earth and extremely well versed. She seems like she is already a superstar, she speaks like a well trained, seasoned professional. Plus her hometown had something called BowerStock, get it, like Woodstock but BowerStock. I dig it. Very cool.

Hometown Visit #3: Lee DeWyze. Lee's hometown is Chicago. Lee gets to throw out the first pitch at the Cubs game, gets hugged by screaming women and men. Lee visits his old job at the Paint store. Probably doesn't seem that long ago but it's really a lifetime since he worked there. Lee gets very emotional and gets choked up at almost every turn. He gets a pretty large turnout during his mini-concert and even gets choked up during his performance. This is a side of Lee that we don't often see.

Musical Interlude #2: Justin Bieber. Sorry, I can't recap this. I honestly can't listen to him. So if you are a Bieber fan please go to Youtube to find his performance but I can't sit through it.

Now, Let's Get To the Results:

First Safe Is? Lee DeWyze. Not a shocker considering the judges fawned all over him last night, plus he really did deserve it.

Next Safe Is? Crystal Bowersox. Deservedly so.

Going Home? Casey James. Definitely the right way to go.

Final Thoughts? Couldn't have asked for a better Final 2 this season. Crystal and Lee deserved to be in the Finals. They were the most consistent and were the most talented of the entire group. Casey gave it a good run and went as far as he could.

Have a great week, we will see you next week for the finale when either Crystal Bowersox or Lee Dewyze will take home the American Idol crown.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Top 3 Performance Show

Welcome Back to American Idol. This is a very important week. This week determines who makes it to the Finals. This is also Simon Cowell's last week on the American Idol set. Next week they will be at the Nokia Theatre. A little bittersweet. But a lot to do tonight. The contestants will sing 2 songs. 1 chosen by them, and 1 chosen by the judges.

How Did They Do?

Contestant's Choice:

Casey(Ok, It's Alright By Me): I never heard of the song but Casey just said he chose this song because it's something he could've written. Um, ok...well let's just work on getting through this week before you take credit for someone else's song.
A very interesting song choice. Not very popular, but like last week he chose one that didn't have his guitar dominate him and he just played along with it. The song ended kind of abruptly and the audience didn't even know to start clapping, but maybe that's the plan...actually probably not. Randy calls the song alright for him. He didn't like how safe and easy Casey's choice was. Ellen also thought Casey didn't bring it. Kara says that this was probably the worst time to sing a song that no one has ever heard of. Simon thought Casey didn't bring it and it was just a bad time for him not to put it all out there. Grade=C+

Crystal(Come To My Window): At least Crystal chose a song that people know and can identify. She is changing up the song just enough to make it her own, plus I like the addition of the harmonica. Is it her best performance? Probably not, but she still sings the song really well. Randy loves Crystal's vocals and thought it all worked in the end. Kara thought it was a good vocal but didn't have a moment. Simon thought Crystal hasn't compromised herself as an artist once throughout the entire competition, which he gives her a lot of credit for. Grade=B

Lee(Simple Man): After a down week last time out Lee needs a good week and his first performance tonight definitely was a step in the right direction. He was a little sharp in some places but definitely better than last week. Randy likes the song choice and feels that Lee is in it to win it. Ellen thought that Lee has turned from a baby lamb into a grown cat. Kara feels the first round goes to Lee. Simon thought that Lee's song choice was right on the money and he crushed the other 2 in the first round. Grade=A-

Judge's Choice:
Casey(Daughters: Randy & Kara's Choice): Kara and Randy chose this song and hope that it will make him vulnerable and that he will sing it well. Casey sang the John Mayer song and put more emphasis on piano then on guitar, which actually goes against what a lot of us would have thought. It definitely makes him vulnerable because there is a lot of focus on his vocals, which in the past didn't work out for him. I think Casey could have done a lot more with that song. Randy enjoyed his song choice over Casey's choice. Ellen liked this performance more than the other one. Kara thought it was artistic and gives herself a good amount of credit for making the choice she did. Simon thought it was a much better song choice but thought the arrangement was kind of lazy and didn't give Casey enough climax in the song. He pretty much thought there wasn't a wow moment, and there wasn't. He sang well but it really wasn't exciting and even the usual rambunctious crowd was kind of tepid. Grade=B-

Crystal(Maybe I'm Amazed: Ellen's Choice): Crystal goes guitar-less and shows a lot of vulnerability even starting on the stairs and ending up on the catwalk behind the judges. She did a beautiful job with this song. She showed a lot of range and power. Randy calls Crystal in it to win it, just like he said to Lee. Ellen said she couldn't have asked for more. Kara thought that Crystal did something with her voice that she hasn't done before, and Crystal agrees. Simon questioned the song choice after initially hearing that Crystal would be singing it, but after hearing it he thought that it brought Crystal to the finals and that she might want to thank Ellen for getting her there. Personally, Crystal brought herself to the Finals if she gets there, and after hearing her compared to Casey, it will be tough for her not to get there. This was one of the best if not the best performance that Crystal has ever given. Grade=A

Lee(Hallelujah: Simon's Choice): An interesting choice for Simon because this song has been done many times before and actually done only a couple months ago by Tim Urban(who actually did a nice job with it). Risky, but the reward is incredibly great if he pulls it off. Lee definitely did something different with that song. The production value might have been a little over the top but Lee really had a great moment that might have propelled him to win the whole thing possibly. Randy thinks that Simon's choice was fantastic and feels Lee really is in it to win it. I kind of feel he said that about 3 times tonight, but we get the picture. Ellen calls Lee's performance stunning. Kara thought that Lee personifies what the show is all about, starting from one place and getting to this kind of moment, and he is the heart of the show this season.Not sure I agree with that either, but again, we get the picture. Simon is very proud of Lee and said he's proved that he is a star and hopes that Lee makes it to the Finals next week. At this point, it would be a crime if he didn't. Grade=A

How Was The Night? For Lee & Crystal the night couldn't have been better. They both proved why they have been the cream of the crop the entire season. It took many months but we are almost there. It took a Tim Urban, a depleted female contestant crop and too many inappropriate Ryan Seacrest moments, but we are almost there. Casey had a rough night. He first chose a song that no one has ever heard of, then took a slow song and made it slower. Crystal on the other hand did something with her voice that propelled her to another level. Lee definitely has stepped up his game. He saw the immense popularity and positive feedback that Crystal was getting and decided to do more with this competition than just be happy to be there like many past contestants have stated. Lee started to really believe that he could win the whole thing, and this changed the way he approached all of his performances from there on out.

Who Should Go Home? Casey. Unfortunately he just isn't nor has he ever been in the same league as Lee & Crystal and tonight proved just that. Casey was the best of the rest, not the best of the best, and if all goes as it should Casey will go home tomorrow night allowing Crystal and Lee to take their deserved place in the Finals.

See you here tomorrow night when we learn who makes it into the Finals next week.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Top 3 Judge's Choice Songs

The Top 3's song choices selected by the judges were announced today. Spoiler alert for those that want to be surprised to stop reading now. But for everyone else...please continue to read.

Crystal Bowersox: Maybe I'm Amazed by Paul McCartney & Wings. Chosen by Ellen. I'm never going to say anything is wrong with doing a Beatles or Paul McCartney song, but it's a little disconcerting that Simon didn't choose Crystal's song. There has only been 1 maybe 2 times in American Idol history that Simon didn't choose the song for the eventual winner, the time was in Season 4 he chose for Vonzell Solomon instead of eventual winner Carrie Underwood. Other than that one season he has chosen for the winner. So we'll see how this season plays out.

Casey James: Daughters by John Mayer. Chosen by Kara and Randy. I can definitely see this song for Casey. It's very acoustic and not too big of a song that will bring out the bleating lamb voice that Kara perfectly described a few weeks back. It's going to take a lot for Casey to outdo both Lee &/or Crystal this week but this song might help.

Lee DeWyze: Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. Chosen by Simon. This song puzzles me. Not because it's a bad song or one that I think Lee can't handle, but because it has actually already been done once this season, actually done nicely by Tim Urban. And it was done a couple seasons back by Jason Castro. I have read many times that people think that Castro's interpretation of that song ranks as one of the best live performances, I don't know if I'd go that far but given I barely remember songs that were sung this season, I actually still do remember Castro's performance so it was pretty memorable I suppose. So, we'll see how Lee handles it.

Hopefully this will keep you going for another couple days. See you back here right after American Idol on Tuesday night.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Top 4 Results Show

Welcome back. Tonight we will learn who this season's Top 3 will be. Most likely Crystal and Lee will sail safely into next week and Casey or Michael going home, but stranger things have happened. Another hour results show so lots of filler tonight. Let's get right to it.

Musical Interlude #1: Fantasia. We actually haven't seen Fantasia on the American Idol stage in awhile. They always have the past American Idol winners come by during the season or most likely during the season finale but she was on Broadway for awhile and hasn't come back. So it's good to see her. I know that in the past Simon has called Fantasia his favorite winner so it's nice she came back considering he only has a few episodes left.

The stools have moved and the 4 finalists are sitting in the middle of the stage. I guess no more Bottom 3 considering there is only 4 left, but having them in the middle of the stage is a little awkward. Speaking of awkward...

Ford Music Video: I really am curious how many people have purchased a Ford due to those "commercials". I'm guessing the number of people doesn't equal the cost of making one of those commercials.

Past Top 3 Hometown Visits: A little behind the scenes video on the past season's Top 3 hometown visits. Next week the Top 3 will have theirs. Although it's filler, I do enjoy seeing some of the former contestants again, if only in video.

Ryan asks the contestants what it would feel like to go back home and be a part of the Top 3. Then Ryan shows us the families/friends of each of the contestants sitting on the couches on stage, less than 10 feet away. Since one of these people are definitely going it's going to be way awkward pretty soon.

Onto The Results:

Casey=SAFE. Strange they would start off with him but maybe there will be a shocker tonight. Who knows? I guess we all will, shortly.

Musical Interlude #2: Daughtry. I have absolutely nothing against Daughtry but to me, he is one of the reasons why American Idol has lost some of it's thunder and impact over the years. He has proven that you don't need to win, or even come super close to winning to have a successful music career. That's why when I read or hear contestants from this season or last say that just making it the Top 10 or Top 5 is really enough and everything else is bonus, then it really pisses me off and takes away the competition aspect of the show and diminishes the importance of the show.

After he sings Ellen and Randy tell the contestants that they need to bring the fire and enthusiasm and drive just like Daughtry just did every single week from here on out. I think the judges have been getting a little antsy that no one has been stepping it up consistently for weeks now. It'll be tough to remove the fact that this is probably one of the weakest seasons of American Idol ever, but if the Top 3 can step it up then it could only help.

Back To The Results
In No Particular Order.

Crystal and Mike are left. As Ryan said it's in No Particular Order so this isn't necessarily the Bottom 2. For all we know the Bottom 2 could be Casey and either Mike or Crystal. My only hope is that if Mike was Safe they wouldn't have had him be left in the "Bottom 2" for the 5th or 6th time this season. Getting a little nervous about Crystal but hopefully this will be wiped away shortly.

Musical Interlude #3: Bon Jovi. I'm only really thinking about Crystal and her not going home but Bon Jovi is definitely pretty cool.

Who's Sent Home? Mike.

Final Thoughts: Mike was due to go home for several weeks. I definitely am glad Crystal didn't go but if they wanted to fool people a little more they would have had the Bottom 2 as Casey and Mike. But it's all good. Since Mike got all the way to the Top 4 I guess the judge's save wasn't for nothing. He will be the reason that the Judge's Save will probably remain a staple on American Idol. Because he did so well and survived he might save a contestant next season or season's to come. So, for that, maybe the judge's save was used on the right person. Last thing before we go, does anyone else notice that Lee talks way too much for a guy who always seems uncomfortable on stage when not singing? He has to shorten the sentences a little, I know that the show is an hour but he doesn't have to fill it all up with his nonsensical sentences. Either way, Goodbye Big Mike. Crystal, Casey & Lee Welcome to the Top 3.

Please join us next week for the penultimate episode of American Idol. The Top 3 will be singing 2 songs each. See you back here directly after Tuesday's show.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Top 4: Movie Theme Week

Welcome back to American Idol. Only a few weeks left until the finale. We are left with the Top 4. This week the contestants are singing songs from Movies. The contestants also delve into duets. Crystal and Lee will sing a duet and Michael and Casey will sing a duet. The guest mentor is Jamie Foxx. He is rumored to be on the list to replace Simon Cowell next year. I don't really see that fitting, but at this point I don't know who could replace Cowell.

How Did The Contestants Do?

Lee(Kiss From a Rose:Batman Forever): Lee is actually singing my favorite song of all time, my only hope is that he doesn't mess it up. My first take is that it seems that he is having a tough time catching up to the speed of the band and backup singers. Plus he hits a few bum notes and he sounds like he is running out of breath a little. Not a really great performance, but like Crystal last week he was due for an off week. Randy thought that Lee had a tough week and was "pitchy". Ellen believes that Lee could have done more with the song but is still soooo good. Kara thought the arrangement was way off and he got lost in it. Simon also thought that Lee chose the wrong song. It was reinforced that although he had an off night he is still good...Translation, America shouldn't forget that he has been so good for so many weeks. Lee fell into the trap Crystal did last week and past season front runners have, they might get a bit too comfortable after being so good and only getting positive criticism and they start to believe they can coast to the Top 2. Not saying he is going to get kicked off but maybe this can be his reality check. Grade=B-

Michael(Will You Be There: Free Willy): Again, a really powerful song, so Michael better make it so good that we forget how unbelievable Michael Jackson was with this song or he will get lost in it. Overall, I'm not very enthused about Michael's performance. I feel he could have done a little more with it and showcased his voice a little more. Randy didn't really "feel" the performance. Ellen feels that Michael was good but found it predictable. Kara was looking for a great performance and didn't think that Michael did that and didn't step outside of his box. Simon feels that Michael tried hard but still could have chosen another song. Grade=C+

Lee & Crystal(Falling Slowly: Once): Dueling acoustic guitars. If I had my choice this would be the Top 2 for me. The beginning was a little rough, but they both pick it up and they sound really nice once the band picked it up. Randy calls it amazing and unbelievable. Ellen calls them the new Captain and Tenille. Kara calls it one of her favorite moments of the entire season and they brought out the best in each other. Simon calls it a fantastic song. They both knocked it out of the park. Grade=A

Casey(Mrs.Robinson:The Graduate): After Casey's dreadful performance last week without his guitar he brought back his instrument this week. It's a very subdued performance, like he could be playing the song while people are performing Yoga. Grade=B-

Crystal(I'm Alright: Caddyshack): Crystal decided to lighten the mood for the night and pick a fun song. Ryan asked Crystal if she thought the judges were hard on her the past couple weeks, she said she did but she's tough and could take it. Her performance tonight was light hearted and seemed like she was having a good time. The judge's thought she was back in the game. Didn't know that Crystal was ever out of the game but either way this was her best week in a few weeks. Grade=A-

Casey & Michael(If You Really Love A Woman:Don Juan DeMarco): They also are playing acoustic guitars together. They aren't looking into each other's eyes like Crystal and Lee were. It's a subdued version and meshes their very different voices pretty well together. I was a little worried they wouldn't fit together but it actually does. The judge's overall thought they blended really well together.

How Was The Night?:
Go Big or Go Home. This is my sentiment about tonight. At this point, the contestants shouldn't be just good, they need to go out there and put it all out there. As Ellen told Michael when Michael said he wanted to just make it to the Top 3, at this point in the competition you should be trying to win the whole thing not just getting by. Michael and Lee both had that problem during their individual performances. They played it safe. Lee & Crystal, though, stepped it up way up once they hit their duet together. They both proved whey they should be Top 2, as Kara said their duet was her favorite moment of the season, and it was mine also.

Who Should Go Home? Michael. He has been Bottom 3 or 2 for the majority of the weeks, and I think Casey did just enough to get by this week, but you never know. I think despite Lee's off night he will be safe, and Crystal should glide safely into the Top 3.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Top 5 Results

Welcome back to the Top 5 Results show. I hope this is a non shocker show, meaning Casey or Aaron go. At this point the judge's shouldn't be just saying that they had a good performance, but saying can they win. Only Lee & Crystal have shown that they can actually win. With Lady Gaga & Harry Connick Jr performing tonight it should be a fun show.

Group Performance: The Top 5 sings a medley of Frank Sinatra standards. They are definetly playing up the fact that Crystal is the only girl left. Other than that I can always do without the Group Performance.

Ford Music Video: I never understood why they don't sing a song from the week's theme to promote Ford, instead of some random song but it's part of the time wasting-ness of the American Idol Randomness.

How Are Their Tuesdays? We get a clip package of how much the contestants Tuesdays used to be compared to now. Yes, it's really that exciting. I do like the Behind The Scenes aspect, but the results show is just so long that I just want to get to the Results.

Onto The Results:

Lee: After it seems like 10 minutes of question and answers with Ryan and the judges, Lee is SAFE.

Musical Performance # 1: Lady Gaga. She is as crazy as she is talented, so she is definetly very talented. I like her because she is different than a lot of people out there. There is no other performer that looks and creates an atmosphere on stage like she does.

Closer Look into Guest Mentor Harry Connick's Time With the Contestants: Connick Jr is possibly my favorite mentor of all-time. He's hilarious and right on the money, a great combination.

Musical Performance #2: I normally don't really care about his music but after doing such a great job with the contestants I am willing to hear him out, plus he sings "And I Love Her" a Beatles song.

Another Group Performance: The Top 5 sing a medly of Harry Connick Jr songs. Um, okay. They are really kind of pushing it now.

Back To the Results:

Crystal is sent to the far side of the stage. Michael is sent to the middle of the stage. Aaron joins Big Mike. Casey joins Crystal.

Ryan tells Lee to choose which group is safe, he declines.

Ryan tells us that the group that is Bottom 2 is Michael and Aaron, meaning Crystal and Casey are SAFE.

Bottom 2

Michael and Aaron. I thought these guys should have been gone a long time ago. I don't mind who leaves tonight, either one will help the show.

Who's Going Home? Aaron Kelly. He was due to go home for a long time. He is taking it like a champ, smiling and not crying.

Final Thoughts: I've thought that Aaron should go for many many weeks, so I am glad that he is gone. Casey definetly had a worse night than Aaron did last night, but overall Casey has been more consistent. Crystal has to step up her game next week. She easily still could have been the Top vote getter but the judge's are getting a little upset that she isn't pushing herself, and so am I. Lee has to just keep doing what he's doing. To think that Casey or Michael will be at least Top 3 is a little disturbing. By far, this is one of the weaker Top 4's American Idol has ever had. It got a little bit better because Aaron isn't in it, but probably not since Season 3 has the Top 4 been this weak.

Please come back for the Top 4 Performance Show Recap right after next Tuesday's American Idol.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Top 5: Frank Sinatra Week

Welcome Back to I'Dol Be The Judge. On this week's episode of American Idol the contestants will be singing from the songbook of Frank Sinatra. I'm wondering how many times the judge's will say that the contestants sound old fashioned.

Harry Connick Jr is mentoring the contestants. Although I couldn't name any original song of his, I know his voice is very Frank Sinatra-Big Bandish, so in that way he's probably a pretty perfect mentor. He is also creating the musical arrangements for the contestants. That's very interesting. I am glad they are featuring the mentor a little bit more and seeing how they really can help the contestants.

With only Crystal left in the supposed "season of the woman", we will see if she is able to rebound from last week, if Aaron can continue being less annoying and if Michael & Casey are able to stay out of the Bottom 2. They really can't hide behind Paige Miles or Katie Stevens anymore, they have to either put up or they go bye bye.

Although American Idol would love to waste as much time as possible, I say:

How Did The Contestants Do?

Aaron(Fly Me To The Moon): Connick Jr is really involved, he is even playing piano for Aaron. But unfortunately it can't hide Aaron's crackly voice. There's just nothing there, he can't sustain a note for more than a half second. On a good note, his hair looks better than it has the past several months. Randy and Ellen feel that Aaron has beautiful vocals. Kara isn't as enthused, thankfully. I don't really get what Randy and Ellen are thinking or hearing. Simon calls Aaron a mouse, but says that he has a likability factor. We are getting to the Top 4, should we keep someone who is likable but not particularly that great vocally? That seems to be the way it is going. I hope not, he should have been gone weeks ago. Grade=C

Casey(Blue Skies)Text Color Connick is super into being a mentor. I love it. He is also very funny. Casey doesn't have a guitar which is a nice change. Given he's been Bottom 2, for 2 weeks straight it makes sense to change it up. Plus with Frank Sinatra/Big Band it's tough to have an electric guitar. Unfortunately, Casey is no Big Band singer. He is just brutalizing the song. He is trying to do an impression of Harry Connick doing an impression of Frank Sinatra. Really really rough. That was a long minute and a half for me. Randy calls it Casey's worst performance, and I agree 100%. Even Ellen didn't like it, so it must be bad. Kara I think called his voice like a lamb. Simon said he at least can make his band's gig next week at home. Casey definitely didn't do himself justice, he is definitely in shape to be back in the Bottom 2, possibly going home. Grade=D+

Crystal(Summer Wind): Harry likes Crystal because she is singing about something personal, even though she doesn't say what. He doesn't even give her advice because she knows what to do. She sounds a little light in the beginning, like she's a little nervous, but picks it up towards the middle and her voice gets stronger. Kara and Ellen like the performance. Simon doesn't call it her best performance and it isn't, but it's still solid. Simon tells Crystal to start to step it up and take advantage of the stage and chance. Crystal says that she is and she wants to stay within herself and doesn't want to change because it's American Idol. I agree with both her and the judges, don't change who you are but show you want to win. Sometimes Crystal doesn't really seem like she cares either way. Still, this show needs her to win, and there's really no reason for her not to win, given Casey's dreadful performance. Grade=B

Michael(The Way You Look Tonight): He just looks and seems comfortable onstage. More than any of the past contestants who went tonight. He sounds really nice, works with the music beautifully and didn't try to do too much with it. Randy says that Michael is in it to win it. I don't think he is winning anything, but he definitely had a nice performance. The judges also love how comfortable Mike looked. Simon believes that Michael was the best performance of the night and I actually have to agree. Grade=B+

Lee(That's Life): Lee just looks like a Big Band singer. He fits right in with Harry Connick Jr, who plays the organ(which is awesome). Lee fits the part of the song perfectly. Although he went off key a little bit, Lee did a really nice job. Ellen says that if this was the last night of performances he would have won the whole thing. Kara says that Lee can win this whole thing. Simon loves that Lee gave it 110% and called it the best performance of the night, which probably pissed Michael Lynche off because Simon had just said that about him. But honestly, Lee did a great job, especially since Crystal the other front runner has had a couple of subdued weeks. If Crystal continues not pushing herself to her limits then Lee can accidentally win this thing. Grade=A-

How Was The Show?: Gotta love Harry Connick Jr. I love that he was so involved in the process and was even on stage during the performances. I wish every mentor was so involved and not just there to promote an album or song. Overall the performances were a mixed bag. When Michael has one of the best performances then you know it's probably an off night. No matter who leaves tomorrow this will almost undoubtedly be the weakest Top 4 in American Idol's nine seasons.

Who Should Go Home?: Casey. He has been Bottom 3 or 2 for the past several weeks and even mentor Harry Connick feels that Casey just didn't have it during the live performance.