The clear winner on tonight’s “American Idol” competition amongst the remaining 4 contestants was Crystal Bowersox who sang a spirited version of the theme song from Caddyshack entitled “I’m All Right.” Other than Crystal’s good remarks from the judges, the other kind words were reserved for the duets, including Lee and Crystal singing “Falling Slowly” from the film Once and Mike and Casey harmonizing on “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” from the film Don Juan DeMarco.
Simon Cowell commented that the duets were “one million times better than the solo performances.” Simon also seemed to be out of his element; the theme of the evening was songs from the movies; Simon knew almost none of the films. He seemed particularly perplexed by mention of the film Free Willy, but he was also unaware of the Bill Murray film Caddyshack, from which Crystal’s Kenny Loggins composition was taken.
Considering how far along in the competition we are, the performances, by and large, were lackluster. Some of the blame for that can be laid at the feet of fairly lame song selections…or, in Lee DeWyze’s case, really difficult ones.
Lee started the evening off on Songs from the Movies night singing Seal’s Kiss from a Rose, which is a tough song to sing well under any circumstances. Randy said, “For me, you did nothing with that song. It was just okay. It didn’t work for me.” Randy suggested that a better song choice might have been something like Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory.” Ellen said, “You’re so good. I loved it,” but she, too, seemed underwhelmed by the song choice. Kara, after mentioning some out-of-tune issues, said, “You are still great.” Simon agreed with Randy, called the song “verging on karaoke” and said, “If you’re choosing the T-shirts, you’ve gotta’ take the one that says ‘Contestant.'”
That last remark was a reference to the night’s mentor, Jamie Foxx, who had brought black tee shirts, some of which said “Artist” and some of which said “Contestant.” The implication was that a truly great singer would receive the “artist” designation, rather than just the “contestant” shirt.
Following Lee came Big Michael Lynche of St. Petersburg, Florida. Prior to his performance, Jamie Foxx said, “Once he lets go, I think that’s when he’s really gonna’ shine.” Earlier, Jamie said, “Music is everything. It really is the soundtrack of our lives.”
Big Mike’s remarks from the judges were: Randy – “Once again, I didn’t love this. You’re a rhythm and blues kind of guy, but it was just all right. It started out kind of wrong.” Ellen said, “You are consistently good but this was a little bit predictable.” Kara said, “I want to have goosebumps. I didn’t feel that from you.” Simon became very confused about the movie from which the song was taken (Free Willy) and finally commented, “At least you gave it 100% and I kind of felt that you meant it.”
After Mike’s performance, Crystal and Lee sang together. All the judges loved the duets. Randy said, “A great song by two great singers. That’s how you do it!” Ellen said, “You’re like the new Captain and Tennille. God, that was great!” Kara called it, “One of my favorite moments of the season.” Simon said, “Not a good song: a fantastic song.”
Casey James performed next and selected the theme song from The Graduate, “Mrs. Robinson.” It was an odd choice. Randy called it “curious.” Ellen made a humorous comment about the small guitar Casey accompanied himself with saying that she wished they had given him ” a big boy guitar.” Simon said, “That song was not the substance I expected from you. It was a little bit lazy. I think you could have made more of an impact. I think there have been some very strange song choices tonight and that was one of them.” (Hear! Hear!)
Since none of the first three out of the box had done that well, Crystal Bowersox’s rendition of “I’m All Right” was stronger, as a solo number, than any sung by the men who preceded her. Randy said, “You are definitely an artist. Nice job.” Ellen said that she had “taken that song and made it better,” which she dubbed “crystallized it.” Kara echoed Randy’s comments about Crystal’s being an “artist.” Simon said, “You, Crystal, are back in the game after that performance.”
The final performance of the night was the duet by Big Mike and Casey and the song’s title (“Have You Ever Really, Really Loved A Woman?”) brought the funny remark, from Ellen, “As a matter of fact, yes, I have loved a woman.” Randy said, “Loved the guitar playing. You guys sounded really good.” Kara said, “The duets were better than the solo performances.” Simon agreed and was the one articulating the idea that the duets were “one million times better than the solo performances.”
Jamie Foxx urged all the contestants to change from “caterpillar to butterfly” as they face the elimination of one contestant tomorrow night and the field shrinks to three. Big Mike and Casey are the most vulnerable, as they have been all along. Stay tuned for further developments tomorrow night.