This week Alicia Keys graced the stage as American Idol Gives Back kicked off. This week’s theme of Inspirational Songs should have been the perfect avenue for Keys and the remaining seven contestants. I’m a huge fan of Alicia Keys – she’s super talented and should have been able to really give these struggling wannabes some great advice.
So here’s how it all went down.
Casey James chose “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac, which, in Simon’s opinion, was “a lazy choice” for Casey. We all know he can rock out on the guitar, but I have to agree with Simon that it was “not inspiring.” In fact, I was having flashbacks to the week of the Huey Lewis fiasco while he was performing – not a good sign. Come on Casey, you have to live up to the performance that convinced us all – “Jealous Guy” – if you intend to stay in this competition.
Lee Dewyze picked Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer.” While still not quite the “inspirational” song I would expect, Lee continues to grow as a performer and musician. This week he really pulled it out. His performance was original, soulful and inspirational, just like it should have been. Simply put, Lee rocked out, completely the opposite of Casey James.
Tim Urban’s performance of “Better Days” by Goo Goo Dolls was yet another uninspiring performance. This type of song really fits Tim best – sort of emo-alternative rock. But Tim just doesn’t have the control to pull off this level of vocals. He was pitchy from note one. And it didn’t get any easier for him. He ended on a sharp note to top it all off. This was a cheap karaoke knock-off performance.
Aaron Kelly chose to sing R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.” This song has been done so many times. And I’m really tired of hearing people attempt to sing it. Granted, Aaron has the range to pull off a vocal at this level, but his performance was really just another karaoke performance. I think Aaron’s problem is that he’s just a superficial performer and lacks depth. I have to agree with Simon and would have turned it off in the first 10 seconds (or less) if I heard it on the radio. Hey, I heard Glee and High School Musical 3 are looking for some new talent! I bet Simon will put in a good word for ya!
Siobhan Magnus boldly took on the dueling diva duet “When You Believe,” made famous by Mariah Carey andWhitney Houston. Randy said it was probably the toughest song choice, and it was technically demanding. Oddly, Kara had it right on this one – it sounded like Siobhan was performing in a musical and was “a little too theatrical.” Her performance wasn’t great, but it definitely wasn’t terrible. It was just “blah.” And it was boring. I know, not typical for this one-of-a-kind artist. This was not Siobhan’s best performance, but I loved the butterflies.
Michael Lynche challenged us with “Hero” by Chad Kroeger and Josey Scott. I always look forward to seeing what Big Mike will do. But I have to say that, though he performed it well, it was still kind of karaoke. I think I’m seeing a pattern here. I still love Big Mike and believe him no matter what he sings. He definitely has a unique style, but tonight it just didn’t come through.
Crystal Bowersox began “People Get Ready” by Curtis Mayfield standing in the center of the stage with just a spotlight and her big ol’ voice. That’s right; she sang a good portion of the song a cappella. It’s true; Crystal is “a completely different class” of contestant, as Simon said. She has risen above the rest of the contestants, once again. Her emotional outpouring on stage was just the icing on the cake. She looked amazing in her formal length black gown. And her voice never sounded better. Crystal has pulled so far away from the pack that she’s not really competing with the other contestants anymore. She’s just topping her own performances week after week.
So, there you have it. That’s how it all went down. Notice I didn’t say much about Alicia Keys? That’s because, ironically, she really didn’t say much in the way of mentoring these kids. But, her heart is definitely in the right place. She’s huge with helping children around the world and I’m really looking forward to hearing her perform on tomorrow night’s Idol Gives Back show.