Idol Gives Back, a charity event that was launched by American Idol in 2006 and skipped in 2008 due to the recession, is back this year. The event, which is also the results night following the Top 7’s performance the night before, was started off by President Obama and the First Lady on a taped message. They thanked everyone who helps and takes part in Idol Gives Back.
American Idol host Ryan Seacrest teamed up with guest co-host Queen Latifah, who took care of the main Idol Gives Back charity concert in Pasadena. Black Eyed Peas, Carrie Underwood, Jeff Beck, Annie Lennox, and Sir Elton John performed. At the Kodak Theater, the AI Season 9 Top 12 was reunited for a while. Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige graced the stage. AI Season 7 Champ David Cook returned to share his experience in Ethiopia. It was a good, moving, and inspiring albeit unnecessarily extended American Idol results show.
In breaking rounds, Ryan slowly revealed the bottom 3: Casey James, Aaron Kelly, and Tim Urban. It was Casey’s first time to land in the bottom 3, a spot that I thought would be for Michael Lynche this week.
Casey used to belong to a power group in American Idol Season 9 that has not had a taste of the bottom 3. Now that group is down to three members: Crystal Bowersox, Siobhan Magnus, and Lee DeWyze. I have correctly predicted that Casey James will be the first to “fall from grace,” but I didn’t think he would get less votes than Mike Lynche, who was saved from elimination by the judges two weeks ago. This should be a wake-up call for Casey that while he had a solid bunch of supporters, the effect of the previous eliminations are now catching up with all of them, giving extra votes to some of his competition, and he is no longer as strong today as he was, say, three weeks ago. He should also understand that his take on Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” really lacks of heart, grip and inspiration. He’s just too walled, too masked, and too cold all the time. If you look back at all his performances in quick succession, you’ll see that he does everything in the same way, although he changes guitars. And so he has become so boring.
Meanwhile, Michael Lynche, who sang “Hero” by Nickelback last night, was more believable and intent on inspiring people with his music than Casey and Tim combined. Aaron Kelly was stuck in the voter’s group of the younger ones. With his rendition of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly,” there was no way he could get a solid block of votes from other age groups. These other age groups voted with some younger ones for Lee, Siobhan, and Crystal.
Finally, Ryan Seacrest announced that Tim Urban, who was at the bottom 3 for the fourth time tonight (after three consecutive weeks in the past), was voted off. His interpretation of the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Better Days” did not gather enough votes.
Ryan told the audience that the songs of Shania Twain will be the theme next week. Casey James could take advantage of Shania’s best country beats and take a spin on something that fits him best. Aaron Kelly could pull off a Shania Twain song, as long as he stays away from faster beats, even if Kara DioGuardi had asked for it. He is just not ready to perform up-tempo music and by this time, he should use that knowledge to his advantage, stick to what he does best. It’s the only way for him to outlive Michael Lynche. Aaron Kelly can sing, all right, but he’s an awkward performer. Mike Lynche and Crystal Bowersox will have no problem with Shania’s music. Siobhan Magnus will sound weird (again), and Lee DeWyze will be extremely nervous about it, but he will do just fine.
In a previous article, I said, a Magnus-Sox or DeWyze-Sox may happen in the Finals. I’m now sure I don’t want to see Magnus in the Finals. Her “When You Believe” cover last night was neither strong nor heartfelt. Her face was blank and void of inspiration throughout the song. Was she all about the high notes? In that case, I’d be delighted to see a Lee-Crystal face off. That would be the best way to redeem an otherwise humdrum season.