Tuesday, May 4, 2010

AI Season 9-Top 5 Performance

We pan the glammed kids as Harry Connick Jr. reminds us that This. Is. American. Idol. Good thing, because we may have forgotten, and we only have an hour to do this tonight.

Whoa- is that Anthony Hopkins in the audience? And Rob Reiner?

Randy is wearing a gray, short-sleeved polo shirt with a blue striped collar. Ellen is wearing a black blazer over a white shirt and a soft polka-dot scarf. Kara isn't sparkly tonight, but she does have straight hair and a plunging neckline. Speaking of plunging necklines- Simon, for the sake of all that is good and innocent, button up. Please.

I knew that he was young, but I didn't realize that HCjr was only 22 when he did the sound track to When Harry Met Sally. He still looks fairly young, though scruffy, as he explains who Frank Sinatra was. You know, with the constant whining about the kids being current, I can't imagine why they decided to delve into the total opposite with the Rat Pack songbook. HCjr is taking the hands-on approach to his mentoring duties by bringing his own band members, and playing backup for the performances, which may or may not work well.

Aaron is up first. He's looking very snazzy in a button-down shirt, vest and tie. It seems to me that he might be the only one for whom this music is a natural fit.

But before we get to Aaron, Ryan introduces Nancy and Tina Sinatra, who present a monogrammed hankie to Simon, who seems genuinely touched. Note to Nancy: step away from the collagen.

Aaron is singing Fly Me to the Moon, and I think he's a bit ahead of the music. As usual with Aaron, he hits some sour notes, though on the whole, he hit more good ones. His problem, also as usual, has more to do with his age than anything else. He does look adorable though.

Casey is wearing a lavender button-down shirt, a charcoal vest, and matching tight pants. His hair has been tamed and pulled back. He's singing Blue Skies, and for the first time, he's appearing onstage without a guitar. Unfortunately, this arrangement highlights the flaws in his voice (no depth, no control of the vibrato) and performance ability (without a guitar, he's stiff and unnatural). He's trying hard, but this is not working, and it's not his fault. Casey is very good at playing to his own strengths, but this musical style is totally out of his normal range.

Crystal is wearing a strapless lace Barbie Dress, and her hair is in a tall pouf. Her makeup looks fantastic. I really really wanted her to sing (One for my Baby and) One More For the Road. I thought that would suit her voice and sensibility. Instead she's singing Summer Wind, which doesn't excite me. The band is way too loud, and her beginning is uncharacteristically tentative. But she does warm into it, vamping it up, and putting her own spin on the song. Technically, her voice is just fine, but the song doesn't fit her persona very well, no matter how much she says it means to her. It doesn't surprise me that she gets faint praise from the judges, and while I totally blame the theme, this is my least favorite Crystal performance.

Well, this is the one and only week where a silly hat is okay, and Mike is taking advantage of that, though the hat makes his head look small (or maybe it's just a small hat). He's wearing a snappy black suit and he looks great. He's singing The Way You Look Tonight, which seems like the perfect choice. He begins well, slow and sultry, but soon the arrangement speeds up (this seems to be an HCjr trend). This is half of a really good performance.

Lee, in a black suit jacket and loosened tie, is singing That's Life, which is getting the Ballpark Organ treatment from HCjr. The opening is good, great in fact, but once again, the band ramps up to the Speed of Blah, and Lee is having a hard time keeping up. His phrasing is wonky, and he's chopping his words off oddly. Again, this is half of a really good performance which did not deserve the Judge's tongue bath.

The best tonight: 1/2 of Mike. The worst: all of Casey. Everyone else goes in between.

Maybe next week, they'll let the kids sing The Eagles to make up for this trainwreck.

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