April 27, 2010

MUSIC: American Idol 2010: Shania Twain

Country music is often a stumbling block for the Idol wannabes, but going in to the evening, you'd think this batch might be better suited than most to handle the theme; you might point to Michael and Siobhan as potential weak links, but everyone else ought to be able to do reasonably well. Does it work out that way?

The rundown:

Lee, "You're Still the One" -- I am driven to distraction by the way he's breaking up those phrases in the chorus ("You're still the one I dream. Of."), and unfortunately, that's the most interesting thing about the performance. It's tepid, harmless, bland, (insert your own synonym for "dull"), and forgettable.

Michael, "It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing" -- The low notes on those dips in the chorus tend to disappear ("it ONLY hurts WHEN I'M breathing," and so on), but aside from that, this was very nice. Michael does better than anyone in this year's crop at showing vulnerability, and his emotional connection to the material was solid.

Casey, "Don't" -- I don't think we've really heard Casey in this upper part of his register before, and I like the power and the clarity he has there. (There are moments, oddly enough, when I'm strongly reminded of Huey Lewis.) It's a lovely performance, though it could have used a bit more emotional oomph.

Crystal, "No One Needs to Know" -- This is the most chipper bit of pop I think we've gotten from Crystal, and she seems a bit out of her comfort zone; she hasn't lightened the natural darkness in her voice enough to be convincing singing something this perky. It's not an awful performance, and the high notes at the end are beautifully sung; it's just not up to her usual standard.

Aaron, "You've Got a Way" -- He's a talented kid surrounded by talented grownups. Three, four years down the road, he might turn into something special; right now, watching Aaron is like watching the winner of a good high school talent show. The money note at the end was strong, though, and might be enough to save him for one more week. (Plus, he'll pick up a lot of "vote for the nice young boy" votes now that Tim's gone.)

Siobhan, "Any Man of Mine" -- She's on the wrong track right from the start, when she's all pretty and breathy sounding. This song demands a toughness, a core of steel; you have to believe that any man who doesn't live up to her standards is going to be kicked out on his ass, and Siobhan never seems capable of such a thing. Plus, again with the big shrieking notes at the end? Oy.

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

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

Let's send home: Siobhan had some good moments early on, but it's been one disappointment after another for weeks now.

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