Tuesday, March 16, 2010
AI Season 9- Top 12 Performance
Ah-it's this season's first night on The Big Stage. The judges enter from the stage itself, welcomed by that guy who announces Wheel of Fortune (I think). Kara is in a vaguely Egyptian, charcoal gray dress (does she ever not wear sparkles?). Ellen is in an Ellen outfit. Randy is in a periwinkle cardigan and those beads. Simon is caught the cardigan fever, and is wearing a golf sweater too. They're back at the table in front of the stage, and it feels like home.
The cameras pan the Top 12 lineup, and oh my, there are some massively bad outfits in the mix. Ryan reminds us that we're doing the Rolling Stones. While I can admit their influence, and certainly their longevity, I also have to say that I've never loved The Stones. Their catalog isn't exactly comprised of singer's songs, so this will be interesting... if by interesting, I mean: trainwreck.
Michael is a Florida boy who was a child performer and a football player, who gave up football and took up music again as a coping mechanism after the death of his mother. He's wearing a black short-sleeved shirt and a black vest. He's singing Miss You, and Michael Jacksoning all over the place, but it works. His wife is adorable (as is their new baby) and she obviously loves him a lot.
We waste a bit of time with a staged bit of tension between Ryan and Simon (how do I know it was staged? Ryan spoke directly into the camera when he was supposedly addressing Simon).
Didi is playing Biker Chick in a purple satin bustier, low rise jeans (with a black tucked tee, so we're not getting an expanse of skin), lots of bracelets, amber drop earrings, great hair, and boots. She's from Tennessee, and was a middle child. A loud, willful, middle child. She starts Play with Fire on the staircase. Her version is sultry, and except for a couple of wonky notes, it's really good.
Casey is a Texan. His mother looks exactly like you'd think she would look. Casey was a sickly kid and a younger brother. He's singing All Over Now, in a red and black shirt, and loose hair. He's throwing a country-spin on the song, and it's good, but I could hear this in any smokey bar in South Dakota (if I wasn't too old to frequent smokey bars). I never noticed how tall Casey was until Ryan stood next to him.
Ellen makes a joke about her sexual orientation which is pretty funny.
Omigod Lacey, can you dress like an Earth Human just once? Tonight's fashion concoction consists of a one-shouldered prison-striped knit shirt under a ruffled lace tube top, a wide black belt, a short black skirt, stilettos, and sparkly nylons that may be thigh-highs. There's no way around it- this is a hooker costume. Lacey is also a Texan, and her dad is a pastor, who tries to convince us that Lacey was shy and introverted. She's singing Ruby Tuesday, which opens with a string quartet. This is weird, but it's not awful. She has such an unusual voice, which I like more than I did last week.
Andrew is wearing an odd gray blazer with military ribbons and a zipper front over a red and black checked shirt. His dad was a musician. Papa is emotional and very supportive. Andrew is singing Gimme Shelter, without a guitar. Okay, this is what he needed to do- come out and sing the song, and remind us that he has a great voice. This was an excellent choice, even if Randy disagrees with me. Andrew's wife has really, and I do mean really, unfortunate hair.
Katie is wearing a Grace Kelly dress, if Grace Kelly had ever favored animal prints. Her brother and his friends are in the audience, and they're all waving Katie cutouts. I do wish she would have given herself a few more years before trying out for this show, because she truly does have a great voice. What she doesn't have is a shred of onstage personality. She's singing Wild Horses, on the stool, and with dramatic lighting. It's wobbly at first, though she works her way into the song, but boy oh boy, she needs seasoning, which isn't going to happen between now and May.
Tim is also a Texan. He has five sisters and several brothers, who all look alike. He's wearing a striped knit shirt, and the 70's hair has been trimmed and shaped a bit. He's singing Under My Thumb with a Reggae beat. It's not a great vocal, but I like this arrangement, except for the spoken interlude in the middle. The judges are right, it was okay, but there was no Wow. Oh, and Tim? Shut up.
Siobhan is from Cape Cod and her hippie family is big into *aht*. She's wearing a navy strapless dress, combat boots, and Barbara Streisand The Way We Were hair. She's singing Paint It Black, with you guessed it... red and black lighting. It's Total Drama, but she's pulling it off, with lots of big, long, high notes. So far, it's the best of the evening.
Lee looks like he's wearing a gray vinyl jacket with the sleeves pushed up. He's a Chicago boy who used to work in a paint store. He's singing Beast of Burden with a guitar. His version is very Jack Johnson, and though I've never seen what the big deal was about Lee, I like this a lot. I take back what I just said, this is the best of the evening.
Paige is from Florida, and was a church singer. She's wearing a khaki romper with a leather arm belt, tights, and matchy matchy boots. She's doing Honky Tonk woman, and I steel myself for the worst, but you know what? Paige threw a country flair onto the song, and it worked. Afterward, we learn that she has laryngitis, which makes her performance pretty amazing.
Aaron is from Pennsylvania, and was adopted. He's a nice kid in a brown western style leather shirt over a tie-dye tee, and aggressively spiked hair. He's singing Angie, which is a tuneless, boring song. But he's doing much better than I expected. He's giving Katie a run for the No-Stage-Presence Money, but this song was an excellent choice.
And finally, it's Crystal's turn. She's from Ohio, and grew up on a farm. Her dad was a Roadie, and looks every inch of it. I am not in the least surprised that Crystal knew what she wanted to be at age 10. She's singing You Can't Always Get What You Want (which always makes me think of the funeral scene in The Big Chill), in a black top, jeans and cowboy boots, and Lilly's peacock feather in her hair. Crystal has become my favorite AI contestant ever, and she's great as always. She owns the stage. And she's gracious besides, especially in her praise of Siobhan's performance.
So, I was expecting nothing but awful tonight and that didn't happen. If I had to choose a worst, I guess it would be Katie.
Best: Siobhan, Lee and Crystal.
Good job, kids! I don't have a clue who'll go home tomorrow night, but whoever it is, he or she will go out on a high note.