After last week’s lackluster performances on “American Idol”, I wasn’t surprised that Michael Lynche was voted off. I was hoping that this week would be different. I was hoping that instead of a series of least worst performances, there would be a stand out- a contestant to rise above the rest. It seems my wish was granted. In tonight’s performances, Lee DeWyze stood out, proving, as Randy so eloquently put it, he’s “in it to win it.”
Tuesday night’s performances started out in a predictable fashion, beginning with Casey James. Don’t get me wrong, I think Casey James is an above average singer, but he’s never really gotten my attention like others have. His first and second performances of the night were at the very least predictable. I feel like I use that word after every show, but once again, it’s fitting for Casey. The first song was his choice, but the second song (as was the case for the rest of the night) was chosen by one of the judges. In Casey’s case, Randy and Kara picked “Daughters”, by John Mayer. The judges have criticized Casey for being a little generic and safe in his song choice, and yet they picked a song that fit the same profile. On one hand, I feel like he was cheated, but on the other hand, given the performances from Crystal and Lee, I’m not sure he had a chance anyway. As the judges pointed out tonight, Casey is commercial. And do we really need another generic, commercial, predictable pop star?
Crystal Bowersox followed Casey and definitely raised the bar. I thought her personal choice of Melissa Etheridge’s song “Come to my Window” was an excellent choice. Sure, it was a little predictable, but she has a certain Indie edge to her that lends itself well to that song, and that immediately sets her apart from the other performers. The second song was picked for her by Ellen, and again was a great song and unlike the pick for Casey James, Crystal’s song showcased another side of her, while staying true to those characteristics that set her apart. Singing Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” is no small feat, and yet she pulled it off with style and grace, and even with the force of the song, she was still able to show a softer side. I’d be surprised if she didn’t go on to the finale.
And then there was Lee DeWyze- both performances tonight were incredible. I thought his personal song choice was a little unexpected, but only because it’s not something I would automatically think of him singing. Still, his rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd “Simple Man,” was (dare I say) almost as good, if not better, than the original. Lee’s somewhat raspy voice lends itself well to the song’s vocals and emotions. As for the judge’s choice, Simon couldn’t have picked a better song. Lee executed Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” perfectly. It stood up well to my personal favorite cover of the song by Jeff Buckley. In short, Lee’s performance simply blew me away.
I’ll be surprised if the finale doesn’t involve a stand off between Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox, and even more surprised if Lee isn’t the next American Idol.