This week’s performances by the American Idol final three included one song that each artist chose for themselves and one the judges chose for them. Up until recently Crystal was most commonly referred to as the standout to win it all, but Lee DeWyze may in fact be stealing that title now. Lee seems to have gone from a good, but reserved singer to a true artist and entertainer in just a few short weeks. And this week on American Idol’s performance night, he effectively crushed the competition with both performances.
Lee’s song choice for himself was “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd and hit a pretty nice homerun. Lee said he chose the song because when he sings he really gets into it, and that choice definitely paid off. Kara said, “You showed us everything you’ve got.” Simon said it was “absolutely on the money.” All very impressed, the judges talked about how far Lee has come since the first day of the competition and said he definitely has a strong chance at winning.
Then Lee hit an even bigger homerun singing “Hallelujah”, the song chosen for him by the judges. He kept the arrangement close to the original version but slightly tweaked it to fit his style, and he pulled that off completely. This particular song for Lee was Simon’s idea and Randy said, “Thank Simon because he helped set you up with your biggest moment of the season.”
Casey James received disappointing reviews with “Ok, It’s Alright With Me” (Eric Hutchinson). The judges called it a very “safe” performance. It just wasn’t at all near the level you would expect from a performer in the top three at what is meant to be the most intense time in the season. It was also a risk to pick a song not many people know. Picking a popular song and changing it up to make it more original and suited to your style is usually the best idea because it holds the interest of the audiences better and helps the fan get into the performance.
For their pick the judges chose John Mayer’s hit song “Daughters.” It worked well for Casey’s vocal style and, like Kara pointed out, showed a little more of him as an artist than most of the songs he normally does. However, for a performance in the top finalist round I have to, in part, agree with Simon. It just didn’t seem dynamic enough. It’s a great song but it is also extremely mellow and contains only minimal levels. Simon blamed the other judges for choosing that particular “one level” song for Casey on such an important night much more than he blamed Casey.
Also, not far into the song the tempo became very noticeable. Generally, you only want to slow down a song that has a faster tempo. When you’re performing a slow song and you slow it down even more it makes for an awkward rhythm. Overall, he performed it well, but was it enough to keep him in the competition?
Crystal Bowersox chose the Melissa Etheridge song “Come to My Window” and reminded fans why they love her. Though the judges weren’t fond of the arrangement they loved the performance and thought it was a great song choice for Crystal. Simon also commended the young mom by saying, “From the first time we met you all the way up to now, you haven’t compromised yourself as an artist. I have a lot of respect for you.”
For Crystal, judge Ellen DeGeneres chose Paul McCartney’s song “Maybe I’m Amazed” and said she was very interested in what Crystal would do with it. For this song she performed without her guitar and still remained comfortable and natural on stage. All four judges were impressed and Kara said, “You took some really big risks tonight and they paid off.” And since the song was chosen specifically by Ellen, Simon ended his critique by saying, “You may be thanking Ellen next week for putting you in the finals.”
So, what do you think? Is Crystal still the best of season nine or is Lee taking over that spot? Does Casey James have a chance at making it past this week’s elimination?
American Idol, 20th Century Fox