After weeks and months of talking about how “American Idol” contestants need a “moment” during performances, judges Randy Jackson and Kara Dio Guardi robbed Casey James of any chance for his.
Tuesday night the final three contestants were allowed to choose a song and then the judges chose one for them. James went first with his choice and he decided to do “OK, It’s Alright with Me.” The performance was … OK, just alright. He sounded fine on it, but it was somewhat boring. All four judges, including Jackson and Dio Guardi, chastised James for not choosing a song that would allow him to stand out.
It was revealed later Jackson and Dio Guardi chose John Mayer’s “Daughters” for James to sing. Again, the performance was fine, not outstanding. When judge Simon Cowell told James he was confused by the lack of a climax in the performance – and that he blamed the two judges at least in part – Dio Guardi defended the decision by saying the song is supposed to be level and not have a climax. In essence, she and Jackson picked a song for James that guaranteed he would not have a “moment.”
Likely it will also help guarantee he will not be in the finals next week.
Crystal Bowersox sang “Come to My Window” by Melissa Ethridge. It was better than James’ first performance, but it wasn’t great. She was also told the choice wasn’t the best but that she did a pretty good job. The arrangement was a little off and she had a rough beginning, but by the middle of the song she was back to herself, which is very good.
Ellen DeGeneres chose Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed,” and this was a much better choice for the contestant. Bowersox went sans guitar this time and the song really allowed her to take some chances and do some things vocally we haven’t seen from her all season. Cowell praised DeGeneres for her choice. Though she’s gotten on my nerves the last few weeks with a comedy routine always preceding her comments, Degeneres proved she knows what she’s doing on the show.
However, the best of the night, all night, was Lee DeWyze. I found his choice of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” to be odd at first, but he showed he knew what he was doing. He blew the other two out of the water and his stage presence has really come a long way. In fact, this looked like something we might see in the finals or by one of the professional acts during a results show.
Even better, Cowell chose “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. As good as his first performance was, Cowell’s beaming face after DeWyze finished “Hallelujah” said it all. To his credit, Jackson pointed out Cowell gave DeWyze a “moment” song, though he failed to add that was something he did not do.
At any rate, it almost certainly will be DeWyze and Bowersox in the finals battling to become the next “American Idol.”