April 20, 2010

MUSIC: American Idol 2010: Inspirational Songs

Alicia Keys is our mentor for the annual night of inspirational songs, and she doesn't inspire much greatness in her pupils. It's as mediocre a night as Idol has ever given us, with only one performance that rises at all above the blandly adequate.

Casey, "Don't Stop" -- Pleasant. Competent. Boring. He desperately needs to find a way to bring some excitement to his performance, to have (as Simon would say) a "moment." He can coast into the top 2 or 3 with this kind of blandness, but it'll take more personality than this to win it.

Lee, "The Boxer" -- The arrangement doesn't quite work, I don't think; it drains the energy out of the song, and shout as hard as he may, Lee doesn't manage to put any back into it. A singer should never seem to be working as hard as Lee is here; it's tiring to watch him.

Tim, "Better Days" -- He's making smarter song choices lately, and finally figuring out that simpler works better for him. But there are a few very sour notes along the way, and he might as well be singing in Esperanto for the lack of emotion in the song.

Aaron, "I Believe I Can Fly" -- He sounds nervous; there's more vibrato than usual, and he's not always in control of it. Not to mention all the notes that start off in tune and drift sharp or flat before they end. Throw in the fact that this is a godawful cheesy nightmare of a song, and it's not a pretty picture.

(Is anyone feeling inspired yet? Yeah, me neither.)

Siobhan, "When You Believe" -- The beginning and end are better than she's been in weeks, as Good Siobhan shows up -- quiet, understated, simple -- but she can't resist the temptation to let Evil Siobhan out for about twenty seconds of ugly bellowing midway through. Still, it's better than anything else we've heard tonight.

(On a side note, "I love the song" needs to be removed from the vocabulary of all would-be Idols. "I love the song" is not a good reason to sing anything. I happen to love the Queen of the Night's Aria from The Magic Flute, but I'm damned sure no one wants to hear me sing it.)

Michael, "Hero" -- This wasn't awful, but it's a bit much of a stylistic stretch for him; he's too mellow to pass for a rocker. He's not helped any by those red lights, which are terribly unflattering.

Crystal, "People Get Ready" -- Very nice performance, and it would have been even with the unnecessary crying theatrics at the end, but that's what will convince people that it was a brilliant performance (which it wasn't).

For the night: Crystal, Siobhan, Michael, Casey, Lee, Tim, Aaron.

For the season: Crystal, Casey, Michael, Aaron, Siobhan, Lee, Tim.

Let's send home: Tim. For the love of whatever deity you hold dear, it must be Tim.

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