'American Idol' Elvis week: Crystal Bowersox, Lee Dewyze, Michael Lynche rock the King
We also had Tim Urban and Aaron Kelly flip-flopped and "In the Ghetto" for Crystal instead of Mike. Those choices at least count for something, which means we got half of the songs right. We're considering taking our act on the road as an Elvis psychic.
But let's get to the Idols -- we didn't love them all tender, but we'll try to not be cruel and rock this jailhouse all the way to the heartbreak hotel of two Idols going home.
Here's our list from best to worst:
Tier 1: Crystal, Lee, Michael
No. 1 (tie) Crystal Bowersox, "Saved"
Crystal on stage: Most of the Idols should've just gone home after this one. Her cool, bluesy-gospel sound kicked the night off right. It was fun, it was rockin' and vocally it was spot-on, as always. We agree with Ellen -- it's hard to find new ways to say that Crystal is great. Also, we feel like we finally saw some more of Crystal's personality -- she seemed to really loosen up on this jam.
Crystal on TV: This was 100x better on TV and that's because between the horns, the backup singers and guitar, Crystal was actually a little hard to hear in person. The video just reaffirmed how awesome most of it sounded live.
No. 1 (tie) Lee Dewyze, "A Little Less Conversation"
Lee on stage: The performance was verbatim what we suggested he should do. Take this song, slow it down a bit and then let his raspy voice go to work. It was incredibly current. Elvis is so iconic that it's hard not to hear his voice in your head during every song, but Lee managed to make us completely forget about Elvis. Perfect choice, A+.
Lee on TV: Is Lee finally loosening up? Cracking a smile or two? It's about time. Flubbed words aside, this was awesome. It sounded like a current radio hit! We can't even find all the words to describe it, Lee hit it right on the head. At this point, it should really be a Crystal-Lee finale.
No. 1 (tie) Michael Lynche, "In the Ghetto"
Michael on stage: The vocal was Michael's best so far on the show. He took a rather cheesy Elvis song and made it sound like a current R&B hit. We love how restrained Michael was, not getting into his usual histrionics with the crazy runs. He held back until the final phrase where he threw in a run, which made the run special instead of overdone. Beautiful job -- pitch-perfect and tender.
Michael on TV: Hearing this on TV, where the vocal levels are turned up and nothing gets lost, actually bumped Mike into a tie for first. Talk about redemption after last week. His falsetto was gorgeous and lilting, the end run was spot-on R&B without being too much. Sorry, it wasn't sleepy at all (Randy), it was just a beautiful ballad.
Tier 2: Casey, Tim, Siobhan, Katie
No. 4 Casey James, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy"
Casey on stage: Solid but boring. There was nothing wrong with the performance, but there was also something lacking. Other than the big growl on "bye bye," there was no oomph on the song. Casey needed to heed Adam's advice and ramp this up.
Casey on TV: The TV version did nothing to sway our opinion one way or the other except to say the growl on "bye bye" was goat-ier than we originally thought. This was like what you'd see a band do at any country bar in the Midwest. It was fine and fun, but nothing special. Certainly not what the show should've ended on. The episode should have been bookended with Lee and Crystal.
No. 5 Katie Stevens, "Baby What Do You Want Me To Do"
Katie on stage: The song was good but we wanted great. She got about halfway there with the growls and the attitude, but it needed to go all the way. We kept writing "more" in our notes and while we applaud Sassy Katie, she needed to really own it.
Katie on TV: Not much to add. She needed to be at a 10 but she was only at a 6. The choice was a perfect song for Katie to have her "moment" and really grab the competition by the cajones. Instead, it was a solid vocal but a bit precocious.
No. 6 (tie) Siobhan Magnus, "Suspicious Minds"
Siobhan on stage: She picked the song we wanted for her, but she chose to sing it as a funeral dirge, which is not okay. The judges were right -- the second half was better. The first half was on-pitch and showed off her gorgeous lower register, but it was borinzzzzzzzzzzzz. No Doubt covered this song and they rocked out. Siobhan needed to do that.
Siobhan on TV: The first half of the song was even worst on TV. It was like crawling through mud. When she broke it down on the bridge it was awesome. The ending was pageant-y and overall the performance was all over the map. We can't criticize her actual vocals because she hits all the notes, but the schizophrenic song was a hot mess. Siobhan may be in some trouble this week.
No. 6 (tie) Tim Urban, "Can't Help Falling In Love With You"
Tim on stage: By far this effort was Tim's best performance of the competition. He managed to put a new spin on an oft-covered song. Tim sounded on pitch and current. Our one quibble is that he needed to smooth out his phrases. It didn't need to be, "Can't [breath] help [breath] falling in love [breath] with [breath] you." But other than that, Tim finally turned in a (dare we say) great performance? He certainly did go from "zero to hero," as Simon said.
Tim on TV: Hmm. This wasn't as pretty on TV as it sounded live, it actually dropped Tim a couple spots on our list. The imperfections were showing, definitely some bum notes "would it be a sin" was especially bad). That being said, still his best performance so far. On the Sliding Scale of Tim, it was a home run.
Tier 3: Aaron, Andrew
No. 8 Aaron Kelly, "Blue Suede Shoes"
Aaron on stage: Trainwreck. The whole thing was cheesy, cruise-ship karaoke. If you're going to do "Blue Suede Shoes," which is one of the most recognizable Elvis songs, you need to go 90 miles per hour with your hair on fire to compete with the original. Hip swivels and using the drum cracks. "It's ONE for the money, TWO for the show." This felt like a kid playing dress up in his dad's closet.
Aaron on TV: The DVR viewing just felt like singing, not a performance. Aaron was going through the motions. We've seen all the tricks we're going to see out of young Mr. Kelly and while he is adorable, vocally he just needs to grow up and figure out who he is.
No. 9 Andrew Garcia, "Hound Dog"
Andrew on stage: "Hound Dog" on valium is the best way to describe. We applaud Andrew's risk-taking -- he tried to change up a very iconic Elvis song. But unlike Lee's "Little Less Conversation," this change-up didn't work. Vocally it was sleepy, even if he was on pitch. At this stage of the game, being on pitch should be a given. We shouldn't even have to comment on it as a positive thing about a performance. At this point, the Idols should be commanding the stage, not just hitting the notes.
Andrew on TV: Repetitive, boring, three notes. And actually, without the band to hide behind, this wasn't as on-pitch as we initially thought. Also, every single time he sang "mine" it was really nasal. We do give an A+ to the crazy ladies with the red hair and giant cardboard Andrew glasses in the audience, though. Red mohawk, FTW.
Who should go home?
Andrew and Aaron were pretty rough, but the way this season has been going for the women, Siobhan might be in serious trouble this week. Those are the only three we see being in danger, though.
Thoughts & Tidbits
- Upon seeing Katie's outfit, we wrote, "So that's what a Bratz doll looks like in real life."
- Aaron Kelly sang "Blue Suede Shoes" while dressed like he was singing "Beat It." Maybe there was a post-"Idol" rumble we are not aware of.
- Tim Urban is like an evil genius. He bops along with his mop-top hair and beautiful smile and gets a bazillion votes every week. Then he has one good week ("Hallelujah," now "Can't Help Falling in Love") and suddenly we are going to hear Seacrest telling us our 2010 "American Idol" is "Turban" and all our heads will explode.
- Speaking of Turban, we love how Adam Lambert gave him advice right on the video montage and then he totally didn't take it. Not that Adam is the end-all, be-all, it was just funny. Remember when Danny Gokey did that last year? It's like, "Yeah, thanks for the advice, but... no, I'm not gonna do that."
- After Katie performed, the first three judges liked it and Simon didn't, but he just basically said, "Who gives a fig?" He is just running out the clock 'til "X Factor" starts, isn't he?
- Adam Lambert was a great mentor -- he seemed to have actual constructive criticism for the Idols.
Check out our dispatches from the "Idol" performances here!
Follow Zap2it and Zap2it Andrea on Twitter and Zap2it on Facebook for the latest TV, movie and celeb news.
'American Idol' Elvis week live: Ryan Seacrest dances while Turban sings
'American Idol' bandleader Rickey Minor heads to 'The Tonight Show'
Adam Lambert talks 'Idol': 'It's a phenomenon'
'American Idol' judge Kara DioGuardi gets naked for Allure
All of Zap2it's 'Idol' coverage
Photo credit: FOX