May 18, 2010

MUSIC: American Idol 2010: Contestants'/Judges' Choice

The rundown:

For round one, the singers choose their own song, and their performances turn out to be crystalizations of the strengths and weaknesses they've shown all season.

Casey, "OK, It's Alright WIth Me" -- Give the guy freedom to pick any song, and he chooses this? At a moment when he really needs to make an impression, he goes with something that's not very challenging, not very exciting, and not very interesting. It is, in fact, Casey in a nutshell: Everything is OK and alright, but rarely is anything any more than that.

Crystal, "Come to My Window" -- A solid performance; Crystal has certainly been the most consistent of the remaining contestants. I can't remember, though, when we've ever had a contestant get this far in the competition whose stylistic range was so narrow. There's a sameness to her performances, and they start to blur together in my mind. I'm rarely disappointed by Crystal, but I'm even more rarely surprised.

Lee, "Simple Man" -- In the quieter moments, this is quite a lovely performance; but when Lee gets loud, his voice takes on an ugly, harsh rasp and his pitch starts to get shaky. He's been an uneven mess of a performer all season, and this gave us both sides of Lee. When he's good, you can imagine him winning this thing in a landslide; when he's bad, you wonder why he wasn't sent home three or four weeks ago.

For round two, the judges choose a song for each contestant.

Casey, "Daughters" -- He needed a terrific performance to have any shot at the finals, and this wasn't it. He was unusually mush-mouthed, mumbling most of the lyrics (maybe he hadn't really learned them yet?), and his unfortunate goat-bleat vibrato reared its head at a few moments.

Crystal, "Maybe I'm Amazed" -- I suppose there's no graceful way to rewrite the "maybe I'm a man" passage, but it does make the song sound a bit odd coming from a woman. Aside from that, most of the song is shouted rather than sung; she doesn't sound so much amazed as she does angry. Not Crystal's best moment.

Lee, "Hallelujah" -- The first verse was lovely indeed, but by the end, Lee was screaming at us, ends of phrases were just dropping away (in both pitch and volume), and I just wanted it to be over.

For the night: Lee (but this is not so much a "best" award as a "least disappointing"), Crystal, Casey.

For the season: Crystal, Lee, Casey.

Let's send home: Casey. And then let's hope that the good Lee turns up for the finals; if he does, it'll be a reasonably competitive night.

No comments: