Shania Twain came to work with the American Idol top 6 finalists this week as they picked out her songs to perform. And mentor she did. Apparently, Shania offered up some great tips to the performers as their performances this week catapulted past my expectations. Here’s how the evening panned out.
Lee Dwyze kicked off the show with Shania’s “Still The One.” Lee is coming on strong in the final weeks of the competition. He took Shania’s song, and her advice, and really claimed his performance this week. If he keeps this up he could definitely be a dark horse in the final weeks.
Michael Lynche sang “It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing.” This was my favorite performance of the night. Ellen compared his voice to Luther Vandross which is close to a perfect comparison. Simon, on the other hand, said Michael’s performance was “wet,” as in “the opposite of dry.” He clarified that it was a little “girly feeling. ” I think he was going for “mushy.” But I loved the “wetness” of his performance.
Casey James performed “Don’t.” As Casey put it, “it’s a singing song.” And he really sang. This is my favorite performance of Casey’s since “Jealous Guy.” All the judges agree that it was an amazing performance. And he even got to kiss Shania to boot!
Crystal Bowersox performed a stripped-down, bluegrass version of “No One Needs to Know.” A mediocre performance by Crystal’s standards, but she is so amazingly good that it doesn’t matter. She takes chances with her song choices and knows how to do it well. Simon said it’s “something you would see in a coffee shop when they hire a group to sing to you even when you don’t want them to.” I get the feeling that American Idol judges don’t particularly like country in general. But Simon and the others are right – Crystal’s performance this week was more forgettable than previous weeks.
Aaron Kelly crooned “You Got A Way.” This was great song choice for Aaron. It really showed how his voice can really shine. He’s got a range and a crystal clear tone. This is probably my favorite performance of Aaron’s so far in this whole season. Surprisingly, Ellen nailed it – it really showed his maturity. Even though he sang it for his mom.
Siobhan Magnus belted out “Any Man of Mine” and drove straight into country week. She really put out one of her very worst performances to date. I hated her song choice, but the judges ate it up. Randy called her performance a cross of country and punk. I didn’t hear that at all…it sounded REALLY country to me. The only part I thought was hot was her wailing high notes she tagged onto the end. She’s so good at that, it doesn’t matter what comes before. Once those ridiculous high notes come out, you forget all about what you were thinking before.
Well, as the show ends I have to give some major kudos to Shania Twain. She, of all the mentors this season, really worked with the contestants and gave great constructive criticism and wonderful advice. She, in essence, made elimination this week probably the toughest it’s been all season long. All in all, Shania Week performances were above and beyond any other week’s performances to date. She is an amazingly talented singer, songwriter and performer. Thanks Shania!