This week’s theme on “American Idol” was “Inspirational Songs,” but the result, with one exception, was rather uninspired (which — let’s be honest — really keeps with the season’s overall theme). For me, “Idol” is becoming less of a competition reality show and more of a gateway to “Glee” — the show, not the emotion.
I’m sure that the rest of DVR Nation will agree that missing the last musical number of the much-publicized “Power of Madonna” episode due to “Idol” running over does not incite happiness in anyone. Couldn’t we just have cut Tim Urban’s song instead?
Now, when one thinks “inspirational songs,” obviously her thoughts go straight to Hilary Duff’s “Fly” or to various selections from “Legally Blonde: The Musical.” (There’s just no way to pick one!) The Idols, on the other hand, gave us songs that bring to mind presidential campaigns and movies featuring Bugs Bunny. What’s up with that, Doc?
CASEY JAMES — “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac
Once I realized that President Bill Clinton was not in the “Idol”-Dome, I relaxed and tried to enjoy this performance for what it was — Casey’s upteenth audition for “American Guitar Idol.” Mentor Alicia Keys thought that Casey would be fine if he just showed a lot of personality. Oh, Alicia, haven’t you been watching? That’s like asking Seacrest to show a lot of tact. Yes, he has a good voice and his messy ponytail is more “sexy” than “female tween soccer player,” but the jam band thing just doesn’t translate well to “Idol.” Save it for when you open up for Phish.
LEE DEWYZE — “The Boxer” by Simon & Garfunkel
I wasn’t exactly expecting Lee to sing “The Wind Beneath My Wings,” but “The Boxer” seemed like an odd choice. Somehow, though, he made it work. I’m not a huge fan of DeWyze but this will be the one song that I will download from this episode. In fact, Kara even said that this performance, not last week’s, constituted his “moment.” I’m inclined to believe her, seeing as I don’t even remember what he sang last week. DeWyze is emerging as a real contender, and if he can up the likability factor and continue to really connect to his songs, he may have a shot as a finalist.
TIM URBAN — “Better Days” by Goo Goo Dolls
It’s amazing what you can get done during Tim’s weekly performances! I usually use this time to vacuum, which works out perfectly because I don’t have to listen to his voice but I can still enjoy his angelic good looks. (Yes, it’s a small apartment.) Unfortunately, last night was one of those nights when I actually listened to Urban’s song stylings. Again, an odd song choice. Kara found it hard to “believe” his performance and so did I. “Tonight’s the night the world begins again?” A little presumptuous, don’t you think, Tim? In the end, I don’t need to believe, and neither does Kara. The tweens believe enough for the both of us.
AARON KELLY — “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly
This song immediately called to mind two things, “Looney Tunes” and pedophilia, neither of which is really appropriate for Inspirational Week. Yes, this song, featured in the Bugs Bunny/Michael Jordan vehicle “Space Jam,” was recorded by R. Kelly. I still contend that Kelly (Aaron, not R.) is one of the most naturally talented singers in the contest; he just needs a vocal coach to help him even out that vibrato. Talent aside, I think that he might be the one to leave this week. Something tells me that Nashville will embrace Kelly no matter where he places, though, as his voice clearly has a country vibe to it. It’ll be funny to see what kind of songs he ends up recording. I’m thinking less whiskey and pickup trucks, more skateboards and soda pop.
SIOBHAN MAGNUS — “When You Believe” by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey
Everyone knows you’re not supposed to sing Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston on “Idol.” But to sing a song that was originally recorded as a Houston-Carey duet? That takes guts. Alicia Keys told Siobhan to take a moment before hitting her “money spot.” I’m not sure what that meant (was it a sexual thing?) so I don’t know if it happened or not. What I do know is that Magnus came out looking like Lola got lost at the butterfly preserve on her way to the Copacabana. The look was strange but it’s part of the reason I love Siobhan. Her singing seems to be getting worse while her (alleged) Asperger’s seems to be on the mend, as evidenced by her articulate answers to the judges’ questions about her song choices. She’s going to need another “Paint It Black” moment to get her to the finals, though.
MICHAEL LYNCHE — “Hero” by Nickelback
Ryan told us that Michael Lynche has been planning his “Idol” song choices for years. With a repertoire of 200 songs, I was dying to know what he would pick. My suspense was over when he announced that he was doing “Hero.” No, not the Mariah Carey “Hero.” Not Enrique’s song either. Nickelback! (Huh?) This song immediately got me thinking of the “Spider-Man” movie, which then made me think about “Kick-Ass” and how great that movie was and then … the song was over. It’s not a good sign when your inner monologue is focused more on superheroes than on super-singing. Simon seemed to share my thoughts when he said, “That was about Spider-Man, wasn’t it?” Hopefully America will keep Big Mike around, though, as the competition is in desperate need of big personalities.
CRYSTAL BOWERSOX — “People Get Ready” by The Impressions
Who would’ve thought that dreadlocks were the perfect compliment to an evening gown? From the first a cappella moments of the song, it was obvious that Mama Sox was in a class all her own vocally. In fact, it almost seemed like she and the other Idols were in two separate competitions; it was that much better. Bowersox seemed to realize how good it was, too, as she started audibly sobbing before the song was even over. It was moving but more importantly, it painted her as having the humility that some may think she lacks. I mean, it’s hard to be humble when you’re so much better than everyone else on the show! Ellen loved her homemade mic stand, which looked suspiciously like an old bong. Appropriate, I guess, as it was 420. (Ellen, I had no idea!)
Tune in tonight for “Idol Gives Back” and the elimination, which Seacrest warns will “most likely” go over.