'American Idol' Top 4: We are 'Falling Slowly' for Lee Dewyze, Crystal Bowersox
The judges were absolutely right -- the duets blew the solos out of the water Tuesday night (May 11) and we definitely think the Top 4 could have chosen better songs.
Here is our list from best to worst:
No. 1 Lee and Crystal's duet, "Falling Slowly"
Duet on stage: We have only one word written down in our notes -- "goosebumps." We were completely taken with this from the moment they started setting up Lee and Crystal's staging before the show came back from commercial. Best performance of the show so far. It sucked us in, it was intimate, the harmonies were good and they both were able to still rock out.
Duet on TV: We have nothing to add. This was so good that we downloaded it off iTunes (both versions). It's the first time we're downloaded anything so far from this season. They need to duet again on either this song or something new for the finale because their voices complement each other so well.
No. 2 Casey and Mike's duet, "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman"
Duet on stage: Casey didn't start off great on this one and he sang so long by himself that we actually wrote, "Is this a duet?" We also weren't sure if they were going to actually attempt the harmonies or just take turns singing, so it was awesome that they did try the harmonies and surprisingly they worked. The song is more in Big Mike's wheelhouse than Casey's but overall it was a strong performance.
Duet on TV: The Casey opening was even rougher on TV, but once Mike took over and then they sang together, it really came together. Mike was like melty chocolatey molassesy goodness on this song, he carried it, but we do have to give Casey props on the high harmony and the guitar work.
No. 3 Crystal Bowersox, "I'm Alright"
Crystal on stage: We did miss the driving, swing-y beat of the original because that's what makes it fun, but we will applaud Crystal for the change-up. She's only No. 3 because the other three performances were worse, not because she was the best, if that makes sense. It was definitely better than she's been in weeks but she still felt disconnected from the song.
Crystal on TV: This got even better upon the second viewing and we rescind our comment that she's the highest-ranked solo because the others were worse. She was clearly the best and this got back to what we like about her. It was a funky kinda groovy kinda thing (Randy Jackson'd) and it suited her perfectly. We still wish it would've just been a little more driving with the beat, like maybe lose the bongos in favor of some real drums, but that's a minor quibble.
No. 4 Casey James, "Mrs. Robinson"
Casey on stage: We actually disagree with the judges that this wasn't that great. It actually let Casey get back to his quiet moments of goodness, like on "Jealous Guy" and "Don't." He also managed to make it sound original, which is hard to do with such a well-known song.
Casey on TV: This is kind of a boring song. It's fun and we love it, but it's repetitive and not that interesting, so it says something that Casey gave it his own groove and made it interesting. His tone was very pretty and he nailed all the weird little minor notes in the melody.
No. 5 (tie) Lee Dewyze, "Kiss From a Rose"
Lee on stage: The opening was rough. He couldn't reach the high note on "love" and the "didja know that when it snows" part that goes from high to low twice in a row was off pitch too. Once he hit the chorus, though, he really let it rip and got back to the Lee we all know and love.
Lee on TV: When we could hear Lee with the levels balanced, it turns out there were more note flubs than we realized in person, even on the chorus. This just felt very karaoke until the very end. The last line was the one shining moment -- good tone, a little half-smile from Lee. But other than that, it was one of his weakest nights.
No. 5 (tie) Michael Lynche, "Will You Be There"
Michael on stage: At least in the studio, Michael got totally lost amongst the amazing background singers. It was like he was almost interrupting a gospel choir performance and the bridge of the song became too rushed and the lyrics were almost incoherent. Not a strong week for Mike.
Michael on TV: This was actually better on TV than it was live because the background vocals were balanced so as not to overshadow Mike. The bridge was still a mess, but his gorgeous tone came through 100x better with the gospel choir reined in. He also hit the key change better than we initially thought. His TV performance actually bumped him up into a tie with Lee.
Who should go home?
Honestly, it's a toss-up between Mike and Casey. Casey had a better solo this week but Mike was stronger on the duet. As long as it's not Lee or Crystal who goes, it really doesn't matter that much at this point.
Thoughts & Tidbits
- What was up with the judges tonight? First of all Randy and Simon, stop acting like the Idols had every song that has ever been in a movie since the dawn of time available to them. The initial list had only 34 songs on it and a lot of them were stinkers -- hence why they added 16 more songs. 50 songs is still not very many. The song list was incredibly limited and you both look like idiots when you act like the Idols had every movie song since "The Great Train Robbery" hit theaters in 1903 at their disposal.
- The Casey James-Kara cougar thing is old and tired. Get a new joke, fellas. Way to make a complete mockery out of a decent performance.
- Speaking of completely missing the point, the same goes for the "Free Willy" shenanigans. Oooh, "willy." Let's all act like we're 5 years old and just discovered our penis! Critique Mike and the song and leave the stupid movie out of it, which has nothing to do with anything anyway.
Check out our Dispatch from the Studio here for all the off-camera action and then check out our backstage interview with the Top 4 Idols here, where Crystal talks about her crush on Lee and Mike divulges his secret romance with Casey.
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