March 30, 2010

MUSIC: American Idol 2010: R&B/Soul

Usher is our mentor for a stroll through the R&B and soul songbook, and it's a particularly uneven night, with some of the season's best performances and some of its worst.

The rundown:

Siobhan, "Through the Fire" -- The opening verse -- you know, the part of the song that she actually sings -- is quite pretty, but then there are a few sour notes in the chorus, and then she starts screaming at us again, and I'm starting to wonder what happened to that singer I liked so much a few weeks back.

Casey, "Hold On, I'm Coming" -- He's right that this song is exactly his style, and it's a solid performance, but it's never exciting or distinctive in any way, which is becoming Casey's pattern. He's a really good bar band singer, but I'm less convinced each week that he's ever going to be a star in his own right.

Michael, "Ready for Love" -- Very nice. It's not much of a song, and I think he ran out of breath a little sooner than he'd expected on the last big note, but it's well sung.

Didi, "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" -- Well, she may feel a deep emotional connection to the song, but not a lick of it makes it into her performance, which is emotionally empty. And as is always the case with Didi, there's such a wide wobble to her voice that she never quite seems to be on pitch.

Tim, "Sweet Love" -- Oh, dear. There was nothing good about that. The song is too big and too difficult for his limited skills. It was almost enough to make one long for the song stylings of Sanjaya Malakar.

Andrew, 'Forever" -- That was lovely, sweet and charming, with more personality than Andrew has shown in weeks. There's not much to the song, but he doesn't try to make it anything more than the fluffy little bonbon that it is. Nicely done.

Katie, "Chain of Fools" -- She's got a strong voice, but there's no soul here at all. It's just a series of very pretty notes with no emotional force behind it. Dull.

Lee, "Treat Her Like a Lady" -- Lee has improved more and faster than any of the other contestants since the semi-final rounds; he's turning into a serious contender. This had energy, excitement, and more passion than almost anything we've heard tonight.

Crystal, "Midnight Train to Georgia" -- The piano is distracting her from the singing a bit at the beginning, but she's good enough to get through it, and once she stands up, she's terrific. It's just enough outside what we expect from her not to feel as predictable as last week's performance did. She's still the frontrunner to win this thing.

Aaron, "Ain't No Sunshine" -- Another pretty voice with no emotion to back it up. It's not an awful performance, but there's nothing memorable about it. The tween girls and the "he's such a nice boy" grandma vote will keep him around for another week or two, but that's about all he can hope for.

For the night: Andrew, Crystal, Lee, Michael, Casey, Siobhan, Katie, Didi, Aaron, Tim

For the season: Crystal, Michael, Andrew, Lee, Casey, Siobhan, Didi, Aaron, Katie, Tim

Let's send home: Tim.

No comments: