Breaking down last night’s “Idol” performances in today’s column, and pushing all the other stuff back to Friday. Makes it easier to do Wednesday/Friday columns than cram it all into one. So the stuff about the 20/20 Bachelor piece will be in Friday’s column. Thank you to everyone for the well wishes regarding Maddie and I’s two year anniversary. I tried to get her to be excited about it but, well, she didn’t seem to care. Nor understand what the hell I was telling her. Oh that’s right. I forgot. She’s not a human. Could’ve fooled me. She knows when I’m taking her to Doggie Resort before we even get in the car, so to me, that means she’s fully aware of understanding the English language.
So our first live show of the season and they went with the Rolling Stones theme. Funny, I thought I knew a few Rolling Stones songs going into last night’s show. Apparently not. I guess I only know “Start Me Up” and “Satisfaction”. Sure, I was familiar with a few of the songs from last night, but probably half of them. If only Mick Jagger could’ve mentored them, now that would’ve been a treat. I’m sure a guy like Mick Jagger watches “Idol” on a weekly basis. Or not. Doesn’t it just seem like there’s something missing this season? I can’t pinpoint it, but, every week I’m expecting something that I never get. Talent, maybe? Ha ha. It’s definitely one of the weaker Top 12’s ever, but on the flip side, I thought there were actually some good performances last night.
One thing that I say every season when I talk about “Idol” that I’ll say again. Just because I might not like a performance or a person that you like, doesn’t mean I’m the worst human walking the planet. You may like whoever you like on this show, but just know, so-and-so could’ve given the greatest performance you thought you’ve ever seen, and half of the people watching probably didn’t like it. It’s why the show is the most popular TV show in America the last five or six years. Everyone has their favorites, and it’s the ultimate “water cooler” show. So even though you like someone, doesn’t mean everyone else does. I will never try to convince you that I know who’s gonna win this thing because with teenie boppers and middle aged housewives voting, you’re really pandering to their likes and dislikes. I’ve got guy friends who watch this show that have never voted before. I’ve never voted before. And I don’t think many guys in general vote for this show. It caters to women, so keep that in mind when you see people eliminated every week. On to last night’s performances:
Michael Lynche, “Miss You”: Hey, did any of you know Michael Lynche has a newborn baby? Didn’t know if you were aware of that. I think Michael is a good on stage performer, he’s very confident in his abilities, and has a good voice. But Simon was right last night, the dancing and the theatrics were a bit corny. I thought it was a good performance. Wasn’t terrible, but certainly didn’t have me breaking out the tissues like he did for Kara last week. Solid performance that’ll most certainly have him back next week.
Didi Benami, “Play With Fire”: As you know, one of my favorite vocalists on the show and one of the few who I think could actually win. Chose a good song, sang it real well, and I realize it was more on the serious side for her, but I think she appeals to more people when she’s happy or smiling. I don’t think she smiled once during the song. But definitely good enough to keep her around another week. Not to mention I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her in a spaghetti strap top that showed a lot of back. Always been a sucker for tops that show back. So thank you, Didi. I appreciate you doing that for me last night.
Casey James, “It’s All Over Now”: Judges loved it. I didn’t get it. Thought it was something I’d see at any country bar on Karaoke night. Did nothing to distinguish himself with that performance other than show us he can play the guitar. And make Kara feel all squishy inside again. By the way, the next insightful critique Ellen gives will be the first. Look, I understand why she was brought on the show, to be the “voice of the people” and because she has a huge fanbase, but c’mon. You thought Paula added nothing to this show? I can’t remember one thing Ellen has said where I went, “You know what? Great point. Never thought of that.” Then again, neither has Randy, and he’s been on nine seasons. I’m sure Ellen is still a little nervous and getting her feet wet, and it’s not like adding her has been a disaster or anything. It just hasn’t been this unbelievable find that has turned the show on its heels either.
Lacey Brown, “Ruby Tuesday”: Never heard of this song. Sounded like something the Beatles would’ve recorded at some point. Sweet girl, kinda has the “Tenley” voice going, and comes across as quite likeable. I just don’t know how long that’ll last for her now that we’re down to the finals. I’m trying to pinpoint who she sounds like, and every time, I keep coming back to that Sixpence None the Richer song, “Kiss Me”. Just seems to me that’s the perfect song for her voice and that’s all she can sing. Every time I see her I think of that song. Not a good sign.
Andrew Garcia, “Gimmie Shelter”: His hair is mix between Lou Diamond Phillips in “La Bamba” and President Hassan’s in this season of “24”. And when I start off his critique with that, you know nothing good is coming. Talk about not living up to the hype. He was probably the favorite coming out of Hollywood Week, and frankly, he’s now bombed four weeks in a row. He definitely has a talent to play his guitar and get creative with songs, but in a singing competition, he’s in the bottom half of these twelve in terms of his voice. Not a very loud, demonstrative, or powerful voice at all. Nice kid, but he’s been a pretty big disappointment since his “Straight Up” performance, which basically, he’s going to get compared to every week that he’s on the show, fair or not.
Katie Stevens, “Wild Horses”: As you know, my second favorite female vocalist on the show behind Didi. And some weeks, I like her better than Didi. She was awful for three straight weeks of live shows, but was much better tonight. I still think she has the potential to make the final four. I also think she could end up going home in the next few weeks. After last night, she’s definitely staying. I think that at least earned her another week. I actually thought it was a lot better than the judges thought. I wish I knew what “pitchy” meant despite the fact judges have been throwing out that word for nine seasons now. Is there an exact definition for it? Whatever it is, I didn’t really think she was last night, and I watched her performance twice. She’s got an amazing voice for sixteen years old. Actually seemed a little more confident last night too.
Tim Urban, “Under My Thumb”: Hated it. I just thought it was boring the whole way through. With that said, he’ll be around next week. The teenie bopper vote will keep him in the competition. I just think he needs something else to “wow” people with other than his guitar playing. Remember, the judges didn’t think he was good enough to send through to the Top 24 but got saved when that one guy was disqualified. So he’s playing with house money right now. Not a chance in the world he wins, but at this point, he’s getting face time for his next role as “random guy with moppy hair on some future MTV show”.
Siobhan Magnus, “Paint it Black”: Simon said it perfectly after her performance, “Half of America will love that, and half will hate it.” She took a popular song and completely changed it to fit her style. Kinda like when Blake Lewis beat boxed Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name”. Same thing. Half hated it, and half loved it. I didn’t really care for Siobhan’s performance actually. Especially that scream at the end. Now THAT sounded pitchy. And screechy. She’s probably the only vocalist in the competition capable of hitting that note, but that’s now twice she’s gone to that, and just like Adam Lambert, it becomes overkill at some point. Now, just because I said I didn’t care for her performance of “Paint it Black”, doesn’t mean I didn’t think it was any good. Just wasn’t for me. And thank you to everyone who emailed me the origination of her name. I was asking that rhetorically to be honest, but thanks anyway.
Lee DeWyze, “Beast of Burden”: Once again, Simon is dead on. The guy probably has the most talent of any of the men, but has absolutely ZERO personality. Doesn’t look like he’s having fun up there, no confidence, and never smiles. If you took his talent and combined it with Michael Lynche’s bravado, charm, and stage presence, it’d be your hands down winner. Lee is probably my favorite male vocalist on the show, and I look forward to hearing him each week, but goddam he’s boring. Personality and likeablility, as we know, is a huge factor in determining the winner of this show, and he just doesn’t have that right now. I hope he lightens up because I really think he could win if he does. Very talented artist, but honestly, I have more interesting conversation with Maddie than I would with him. He does realize he’s on a show watched by 25 million people a week, right?
Paige Miles, “Honky Tonk Woman”: Credit to her for singing with laryngitis. Best she’s ever sounded…ha ha. I’m kidding, Paige. Or not. Nice girl, means well, fun at parties, but is probably the least talked about contestant of the twelve. I don’t think she strikes a chord, positive or negative, with anyone who watches this show. I wouldn’t get my hopes up about going on the “Idol Tour” if I were her.
Aaron Kelly, “Angie”: Uh oh. We found out this week that Aaron is adopted. That just bought him a couple extra weeks on this show. His singing was ok. I just can’t take him seriously considering he looks like he just hit puberty last Tuesday. Little girls will like him, and older women probably want their sons to look like him when they grow up to be nine years old, but other than that, I don’t get him at all. He’s not going to win this thing, and he’s also in the bottom half of the twelve when it comes to vocals. I’d put Didi, Siobhan, Katie, Lee, Crystal, and Michael all ahead of him. You gonna argue any of those people have worse vocals than Aaron? Hell, you could probably convince me that Casey does too at this point.
Crystal Bowersox, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”: Nope, she didn’t smile this week either. And she’s still missing two teeth on her top row. Either that, or they’re just pushed back. Even the teeth whitening she got in between Hollywood Week and the live shows isn’t helping matters. She’s got a good story, has a uniqueness to her that’s only matched by Siobhan, and she’s a talented performer – she’s just doesn’t fit on “American Idol”. I don’t think she has a chance in hell to win this thing, despite what Simon says. Doesn’t appeal to mainstream America, but I could see her doing well opening for Melissa Etheridge or the Indigo Girls.
So here’s where I’ll give my top three favorite performances of the week, followed by the three performances I liked the least, followed then by who I think will be in the final three and who I think is going home. Sometimes you’ll see one of my favorite performances also under the list of people I think are in the bottom three, and vice versa. Just because I like it, doesn’t mean I don’t think it’ll avoid the bottom three. And just because I don’t like it, doesn’t mean it will definitely be in the bottom three. My “bottom three prediction” is based on how I think America saw the performances and voted. Obviously I have no inside knowledge, and it’s pure speculation on my part. But last year, I remember doing pretty well. Lets see if I can keep it up.
Reality Steve’s Top Three Performances:
1. Siobhan Magnus
2. Lee DeWyze
3. Didi Benami
Reality Steve’s Bottom Three Performances:
1. Paige Miles
2. Tim Urban
3. Andrew Garcia
Reality Steve’s Bottom Three Prediction:
1. Paige Miles
2. Lacey Brown
3. Andrew Garcia
Reality Steve’s prediction of who will get eliminated: I’ll go with Paige Miles this week. She’s kinda done nothing for almost a month now, and I don’t even think the laryngitis thing can save her. If it does, then I’d expect Lacey to be going home, but I just don’t know how strong Paige is in the viewers minds right now. I’d be shocked if it wasn’t either one of those two, but if you’re holding a gun to my head, I’ll say Paige goes home tonight.
So for the next couple months, I will have my “American Idol Recap” up on Wednesday mornings, with a “Reality Roundup” on Friday covering mostly “Survivor”, “DWTS”, “Celebrity Apprentice”, and any other shows I happen to be watching that catch my eye. This Friday’s column will also have some detailed thoughts on the 20/20 special on the “Bachelor”. I need to rewatch a couple things on there to make sure I have it all covered, but look forward to that on Friday. Any questions, comments, emails, praises, criticisms, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/RealitySteve. See you Friday…