Yes, Getting Better is an actual Beatles song, and very fitting, as I think this was the best night of Idol in a LONG time.
Okay, so here are the things I’m not understanding about Idol this year - well a couple of the things. One, I don’t understand all this backstage chatter before the show starts. It reeks of filler in a show that’s already too long! And two, I don’t understand this shout out they do to the departed. It’s so half ass. Seriously, here’s how it went:
Ryan: Last week we said good-bye to Didi.
Ryan: Well, that’s how it goes.
I mean, what?
Anyhoo, tonight the Idols take on the music of Lennon and McCartney. Hmmm...I hope Lee Dewyze sings Come Together. Ryan waxes cute with the judges, and I have to say that I’m liking Ellen a lot more these days. I’ve always been a fan, but I just didn’t feel like she was really adding much. But here lately, she’s been a lot funnier, and being herself, and doing what she does best - just commenting on music she loves, and not trying to be Randy’s parrot. Randy is his own parrot; we don't need another one.
It would appear we are going mentor-less tonight; instead, the Idols get to talk about each other. Little Ed Norton (LEN) is first up, and they call him Yoda. How ironic that he his nicknamed for a character that’s a bazillion years old. He’s singing The Long and Winding Road...on this song, Aaron reminds me of a David Archuleta. A nice, sincere voice. This song seems a bit big for him, or he seems nervous - I’m not sure which...but he sounds a bit warbly in the beginning, in my opinion. I didn’t love this. Neither did Randy. He likes that he has a great voice, and a beautiful tone, but that the performance was boring. Ellen calls it the long and winding song. Heh. And they are right. That song ended and I barely noticed. Kara kind of jumps off the Aaron bandwagon, saying that he’s kind of becoming a one-trick pony. Simon says that Aaron was boring and old fashioned. I think, if he doesn’t change it up, and change it up BIG next week (cuz I doubt he’ll be booted), his weaknesses are going to get more and more magnified. I just don’t see LEN having that Kris Allen moment deep into the season where everyone goes...”um, maybe Adam (or, for this season, Crystal) ISN’T a lock.”
Next up, Katie Stevens...yawn. Yeah, i’m sorry, I’m over her. Ryan talks about how it is prom season and that she’s gotten five offers for dates, and Katie says she will go with whoever has voted for her the most. And despite what I’ve written, it didn’t come off as prom prostitution. She’s singing Let It Be...sigh. One of my favorites, and I hope she doesn’t make a mess of it. Ut-oh...dare I say it. Oh, I cant say it. This is...very nice. Oh yeah - she kinda owned that. The end was a bit wonky, but all in all, that was lovely. Nice job, Katie. Randy calls it her best performance ever, saying that it wasn’t a mistake that she’s in the Top 9. Ellen calls it a great example of changing a song just enough without disrespecting the song, and I totally get that. Kara said she owned the song, and that she blossomed on the stage. Simon says the she got it right tonight, and that the reason she did was because of him, that she’s leaning country. Um, Simon - put the cup down. Simon said she felt more genuine tonight, and not robotic. I may still be over her, but there’s no denying that was great!
Next up is Andrew Garcia, and all of the other contestants pretty much love him, and that doesn’t surprise me. He’s singing Can’t Buy Me Love, and admits that he only twisted it a bit, that he didn’t want to mess up such a legendary song. And right there, I kind of love him more. Oh...he’s kinda done a little Michael Buble thing on it, it’s a’ight. It’s not blowing me away, but I don’t think it’s horrible. It’s just kinda there for me. Randy says it was a solid performance, and while he wasn’t jumping up and down, it was good. He said it edged on corny. Ellen starts off that "you can indeed buy love, right Simon?" And. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Because seriously, Simon can afford to buy love for all of us. Ellen says she loved his song choice. Kara wants to love it, but she can’t say she sees anything new from him this week, thinking she could have done more with it. But she loved the breakdown during the song...and I did too, actually. Simon compares it to a wedding performance, but says he knew what he was trying to do, but the band’s overwhelming performance made it corny and irrelevant. I think Andrew is a bit corny, which I love, and in that, the performance was genuine.
Mike Lynche is up next. And from the other contestants feedback, he sounds like a big goofball. Goofballs are very near and dear to my heart. He’s singing Eleanor Rigby...hmmm...this could be interesting. I don’t love this arrangement, even though I do like the strings. I appreciate that he was trying to change it up, but I think he took Eleanor to a place where she just didn’t need to go. The vocals were good, but the song was...not. I usually roll my eyes when the judges use the word Broadway, but this, I feel was too theatrical to be believable. Randy says he’s reached a point where he’s got enough confidence to do whatever he want, and that he could record that on his album. He does note that it didn’t all work, but what worked, worked well. Ellen says it was a huge risk to change the song so drastically, but it worked. Kara liked the dramatic license he took with the song, and that it worked, but she didn’t ding him for it being cabaret. So cabaret is better than Broadway if I can follow the very confusing AI scorecard. Simon didn’t love it as much as the others because he doesn’t like musicals...so he DID think it was too cabaret! He thought it was too over the top, and he’s confused about the kind of artist she wants to be. Randy says that this year, cabaret works because Glee has blown up on Fox. So THIS YEAR, cabaret works. Ryan brings his big shit-stirring spoon on stage to ask if there was tension between Simon and Randy. Mike steps on the smug-o-meter just a bit, challenging Simon to a pec contest, and you know, I think Simon would win that contest for me. And not at all because he’s a cogillionaire. But because Simon couldn’t love me to death. Seriously, Mike is an imposing dude.
My friend Crystal Bowersox says she’s been a little under the weather again...Lee calls her BSox, which I kinda love, but it’s too close to the Boston Red Sox for me to own it. She’s singing Come Together, not Lee. Hmmm...Ooh, and they have a digeridoo on stage. And I’m happy because I love the word digeridoo! Okay, this got off to a bit of a shaky start for me, but it really comes together about a third way through. Get it?? Come together! Waltie just said there’s no reason she wouldn’t win this, that she’s head and shoulders above the others. And...yes. You can tell she’s a little congested, but still, she rocked the house. Again. Randy calls it another solid performance from her. He didn’t know if it was her best, but that she got into a groove about the end - he says the digeridoo was a bit of a distraction, and in the beginning, it was! I thought it was playing notes that weren’t there. Because Ellen is as big of a goofball as I am, she loves the digeridoo too. One might say she do the digeridoo. I’m cracking myself over here. Ellen loved it, saying it’s hard to come up with new synonyms for great. Kara says it was one of her favorites, and she says it was playful and sexy, which is something BSox doesn’t do often. Simon just says it just works, that she works. That it’s natural for her to do the digeridoo, because it was quirky, and it’s her. And. Digeridoo. Just because it’s an awesome word.
Tim Urban is up next and all of the contestants comment on his smile. Andrew Garcia has a bit of a crush. He chooses All My Lovin’. A simple song, and it should work for him. Uh...it’s okay, but it does demonstrate that he has the weakest voice of the remaining contestants. It’s a nice performance, certainly better than the hot messes he’s been making over the last few weeks, but it didn’t make me tear myself away from my crossword puzzle. Randy says it was better than he’s done over the last couple of weeks, but notes that he’s in his own little world. Ellen says it was her favorite performance after Alleluia. Kara said that it’s obvious he took some of their criticism to heart, and that he did a good job. Simon says it’s not fair to judge him in his own little world, but taking everything into consideration, he did well with that. No gimmicks, and it was the right thing to do for him, and that the song suited his voice well. He appreciates that he takes the criticism like a man, and he appreciates that about him, that he (Tim) seems to get that American Idol is a shortcut to fame and that he’s trying to take every advantage of this opportunity. And that’s a good point, though I’m hard pressed to see Tim doing anything beyond the tour. But that’s just me.
The Idolettes have a lot of fun at Casey’s expense - about his soap opera hair, and his nicknames (including Trevor and Fabio). He’s singing Jealous Guy, a Lennon tune. I never noticed this vibrato that Casey has, and it’s nice. This performance is very VERY nice. After rocking out for the last couple of weeks, this is a nice change, and this arrangement is very nice. Oh yeah, he’s owning this. This is, without a doubt, my favorite performance of Casey’s. It was absolutely lovely. And did I mention he looks GOOD! I want to know what hair products he uses. Randy says that he was impressed that he took a leap like this, and that he set himself apart with this performance. That while there were a couple of pitch problems, but that it was so heartfelt, he liked it. Ellen said it felt very soulful and it was his best performance to date. While Ellen is giving her critique, Kara is looking at Casey like she wants to rip his clothes off and devour him the way my family devoured the twice baked potato casserole Easter Sunday. She says that tonight he shows a vulnerability that’s been kind of lacking. She says it was a tasteful performance and that it showed depth, but that she wants more. She’s high maintenance. Simon calls it the best performance of the night - that, unlike Crystal who just rocks all the time - his growth has been “ginormous”. Simon’s word, not mine. He notes that he did get a little emotional, and when Ryan asks why, Casey says he was thinking about being a jealous guy. So I’m giving Casey a back story that involves a lost love because he was too jealous, going all Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse on some dude. And, I still miss Patrick Swayze. Still remember his meringue in Dirty Dancing. And I mean the meringue dance, and not a pie topping.
Siobhan is singing Across the Universe tonight. You know what I find interesting about her? She’s a totally different performer than she is person. In her interviews, she's kind of reserved, and quirky, but totally different on stage. That's kind of cool. Her dress is kind of Bjork-y, and of course, on her, it works. This performance? I just don’t know how I feel about it. Part of me feels like she’s begun the song in too high of a register. But a large part of me appreciates how controlled this performance is, that the screams are, as of now, at a bare minimum. Okay, I didn’t love this performance, but it showcased her voice very nicely, I think. It reminded me that she really can sing. And I’m glad, because I was starting to not like her...Randy says he loves wondering what she’s going to do, and wear. He says that while it was a bit of a sleepy performance for her, but likes the control she had over the song. Ellen is a big fan of her individuality, and that she thinks she should always “honor who she is”, which, I love that as advice, period. She thinks she did a great job. Kara notes that from a singing perspective, it was accurate, but that it was restrained and polite, and that it didn’t seem like her. She’s not sure one would hear that version on the radio, but she did like her vocals. Kara was confused enough to stop talking. Simon asks Siobhan what she was thinking about - and she gives a very heartfelt speech about who she is and what’s important to her, and how even though what’s happening is crazy, she still is who she is, and her sisters are still what’s most important to her. Wow. She teared up and so did I - that was sweet. Simon says she was much better than she was last week, and then they actually call out the heckler who’s been giving them so much shit tonight. Anyhoo, after such a sincere moment, who’s going to criticize? I think that was nicely done, and a nice return to all the things I like about Siobhan.
Lee Dewyze is closing the night with Hey Jude, and he remembers to bring a bit of confidence from last week. Oh Dude! A digeridoo AND bagpipes...this is the night that Idol truly went international. Unfortunately the bagpipes kind of distracted me. I still love his voice though. Lee is just a good singer, and I think as the weeks progress, he’s becoming a great performer. Randy says he doesn’t have to be nervous, that it was another hot performance. Ellen also notices that he bought his confidence this week too, and didn’t get distracted with the guy (bagpipe player) got separated from his parade. And. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Kara says he has some good moments, some awkward moments, but that all in all she loves him. Simon wonders what the hell the budget is for Idol that they can afford a digeridoo AND bagpipes. Simon says he wouldn’t have done the bagpipes (because they were distracting. Not that he actually said that, but that what he was thinking). Lee owns the decision to have the bagpipes, which I respect, even though I’m not sure it paid off.
So all in all, the Idols really stepped it up tonight. If I had to pick the bottom three? Little Ed Norton, Andrew Garcia, and...the third one is too hard to call. Because I really think they all had pretty a pretty strong showing tonight.
Good night, Friends!