In Frank Sinatra week, the Top 5 American Idol contestants were performing without instruments. I did not have a lot of hope for a great show, even though Renaissance man, Harry Connick, Jr. is truly a top notch guy. If he couldn’t get the best out of the contestants in Frank Sinatra Week, no one could. Connick wrote the arrangements and orchestrations for the contestants and was even playing piano behind their performances. He certainly went all out.
Frank Sinatra’s daughters, Tina and Nancy, were in the audience and had a gift for Simon Cowell – a monogrammed hanky that belonged to Frank Sinatra. Nancy Sinatra had her own big hit song back in the 60’s with “These Boots Are Made For Walking'” and also sang the duet “Something Stupid” with her father.
Aaron Kelly opened up the night with a performance of “Fly Me to the Moon,” sounding far more mature than his 17 years. Randy and Ellen were really worried about Aaron because of his age. I wasn’t particularly worried about Aaron because he does well with Frank Sinatra type songs. Kara and Simon pooped on the parade. Kara felt Aaron lacked charisma. Simon said if Frank Sinatra was a lion, Aaron was a mouse. Someone should have told Aaron he was being judged against an icon. Judges score: +2 My score: +3. (Assume one vote for each judge and 4 for me). It was a good job and his voice is suited to songs of this nature, and it’s not even that he doesn’t have charisma. How can you have charisma at 17 with that particular song? It’s too old for him.
Casey James chose “Blue Skies.” Casey and Ryan joked about a friend of his who doesn’t watch TV and told him they had a gig tonight for $50 and free food. Harry Connick thought it was cool that Casey made it “not about the lyrics, but to create this bluesy vibe.” The audience loved it but Randy said it was pitchy and his worst performance. Music expert Ellen thought it was about swagger and he was too stiff (a criticism she undoubtedly read online). Kara really threw Casey to the wolves, saying his vibrato sounded like a lamb (this has been brought up before by Vote for the Worst in the form of a goat – something you might expect from Vote for the Worst, but not from Kara on national TV.) Simon thought he came off embarrassed and uncomfortable and said the good news was that he has a gig waiting for him. The audience was booing this total savaging of Casey while he took it all in stride. Judges: 0. Me. 1 for effort at least. It’s not his genre at all but still, I hate when contestants don’t do the obvious in this predicament. He would have fared better with “I Only Have Eyes for You” or even “Something Stupid.” Oh well, as picks go, “Blue Skies” sort of was something stupid. But according to Harry Connick, Jr., in Casey’s defense, he did it well in rehearsal. Harry meant well but pretty much threw him under the bus with that one, too. Casey was, quite literally, the sacrificial lamb.
Crystal Bowersox delivered “Summer Wind” in a floor length black gown. Decent performance except for when she went up on a high note that sounded pretty weird to me. The judges were not particularly raving about her performance but they were not rude or unkind (see Casey). Randy said it was “sleepy.” Simon said: “The first half was too jazzy, too small nightclub. The second half got a lot better,” but it was not, according to him, one of her best. During these mixed reviews, Crystal talked back like she did last week. Simon said she sang too softly and she defended herself: “If you were singing softly to your lover, you’d sing it sweetly.” Judges: +2. Me: +2. I took off one point for the high note and one for talking back. Bad form.
Michael Lynche sang “The Way You Look Tonight.” Talking about sleepy, Mike started this off really sleepy, but then picked it up. Then, he was in his element just as I predicted he would be. Randy clearly thought it was the standout performance of the evening, and the remaining judges concurred. Judges: #4 Me: #3. If we’re going to complain about sleepy parts, let’s not overlook anyone.
Lee DeWyze offered “That’s Life.” Harry Connick said Lee looks like a new and improved version of him and his wife thinks Lee is cute. (Harry actually looks more like Jeff Goldblum than Lee, don’t you think?). I was curious to see how Lee did when he looks like he is singing out of the side of his mouth. Bobby Darin used to really sing out of the side of his mouth, but I think Lee just smiles that way. Randy loved it. Ellen thought he would have won with this performance if it was the last show. Kara asked Lee if he thought he could win. Lee thought yes. Simon credited Harry Connick Jr. with bringing out Lee’s confidence and said it was “by far the best performance of the night.” Not true, but that’s what he said and he even went so far as to say he was speaking for all the judges. Judges #4 Me: #1. I really didn’t even like it and don’t see why the judges threw bouquets at it. On top of that, I wonder if Lee’s answer to Kara’s dumb question will cost him. I’m remembering something similar happening to Adam Lambert last year when Ryan Seacrest put him on the spot where his honesty was mistaken for cockiness. Well, even so, it’s probably not bad enough to save Casey James this week.
So it’s looks like we’ll be saying adios to Casey tomorrow night, but who else will get the lowest votes? Gee, I don’t know but it sure as hell better not be Big Mike. He is the one who really gave the best performance of the night.
Find out tomorrow when Lady Gaga will be performing on Elimination Night.
American Idol on Fox: 5/4/2010
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A Brand New American Idol: After Simon Cowell 4/30/10
Casey James Rocks (Video) 4/29/10
Shania Twain’s American Idol 4/27/10
Alicia Keys Mentoring Couldn’t Save Some 4/20/10
Lloyd Price Gives Casey James Props 4/19/20
Elvis Week 4/13/10
Lennon/McCartney Songbook 4/6/10
Soul and R&B Week 3/30/10
Billboard No. 1 Hits 3/23/10
Stones Week on Idol 9 3/16/10