March 10, 2010

MUSIC: American Idol 2010: men's semifinals, week 3

Unlike the women, the men did not respond well to pressure. There were a few good moments, most of them from unexpected sources, but there was nothing truly memorable or exciting.

The rundown:

Lee, "Fireflies" -- He has a rather pleasant voice in the quieter moments, with an appealing airy quality. But when he gets louder, or moves into his upper register, he starts pushing too hard, and his voice takes on a harsh rasp that's very unpleasant.

Alex, "Trouble" -- I do like his voice, but a kid who looks 14 simply cannot sing "trouble been doggin' my soul since the day I was born" with any credibility. It's a song selection that brings on giggles.

Tim, "Hallelujah" -- By far the best he's been, and it's a shame that he botched the ending with that weird long pause in the middle of the final "hallelu -------- jah." A major improvement from someone I had been ready to write off.

(On a side note, can we please declare a moratorium of about five years on the use of this damn song? I am sick to death of seeing it eight times a week in different movies and TV shows and commericals.)

Andrew, "Genie in a Bottle" -- The judges have been nagging him to do "Straight Up 2" for weeks, and tonight he finally does. It's a nice enough performance, but it does raise the question of whether he's anything more than a one-trick pony.

Casey, "You'll Think of Me" -- Definitely better in acoustic guitar mode than he was last week with the electric, but his enunciation is sloppy, and despite his strong charisma and stage presence, this is an instantly forgettable performance.

Aaron, "I'm Already There" -- I don't know if it's nerves or if he's sick or if he just can't hear the band, but the pitch is horribly bad throughout. He's pushing a little too hard, which comes out as way too much vibrato. A major disappointment from someone who probably can't afford one.

Todrick, "Somebody to Love" -- This was the most restrained performance he's given, and therefore the best. He let us hear his voice instead of constantly distracting us with vocal doodads and knickknacks. I still don't think he's any threat to win, but this was a step in the right direction.

Michael, "This Woman's Work" -- The tone of his voice is lovely, and it was an emotional performance. But the goal of singing is to communicate, and I could not understand a single word he said, so the performance must be judged a failure.

Who needs to go home? Lee is the only easy call; he's been in the bottom tier every week. But these singers have been so inconsistent that I could make a reasonable case for sending any of the others home. Force me to pick one? Reluctantly, I'll pick Aaron, who needs another year or two of experience before he'll really be ready for this level of competition.

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