Real talk: These two-hour episodes are going to fucking kill me. I was grateful that someone somewhere decided to put the kibosh on the originally scheduled Teen Idol theme night and replace it with a far less specific Billboard Number Ones theme, but with a series of ridiculous song choices and unmistakable displays of bad taste, our remaining contestants still managed to make last night one of the most excruciating episodes ever. I made it all the way through, though, so now you have to read about it. Sorry.
Lee Dewyze: “The Letter” by The Box Tops
I knew things were going to go very poorly last night, as soon as Lee Dewyze got through an entire performance, plus commentary from the judges and a brief convo with Ryan, without mentioning the fact that the dude who made the song famous, Alex Chilton, died less than a week ago. The world, in case you didn’t know, does not make any fucking sense at all. Also: Lee acted like a total idiot last night, dancing around the stage like some JV soul-man. His voice sounded fine, but the whole thing was embarrassing and completely off-message for him (the message, of course, being fly-over rock). And yet the judges loved it. Go figure.
Paige Miles: “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins
The night was full of clear indicators that, seriously, these people are just not very cool at all, but this was the clearest of all. Phil Collins? A 24-year-old? In 2010? On American Idol? Singing a fucking Phil Collins song? And one that isn’t even “Sussudio?” Shit is completely crazy. But anyway, this was possibly the worst performance I’ve ever seen on Idol—she may not have hit a single correct note the entire time—and the judges told her all about it: Randy just kept saying shit like, “Honestly, that was honestly terrible, honestly… terrible.” While she was singing, I actually typed the words “the other nine shouldn’t even have to sing.” She’s very, very obviously going home.
Tim Urban: “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
This was sort of interesting. Tim Urban decided, flat-out, that no matter what decisions the producers made, this was going to be Teed Idol night for him. It was an all-out cheese-fest: Swinging his hips like Elvis, sliding across the floor, walking out into a little section of the stage surrounded by screaming audience members, shaking their hands, etc. It was painful and pandering and terribly outdated, and surprisingly, the judges recognized it. Kara pointed out that he hadn’t yet reached the level of fame where such displays are warranted, and in general, there was just a lot of eye-rolling from all of them, which you have to believe is progress: I genuinely thought they’d love it. It doesn’t matter, though, because bad taste or not, I bet my 7-year-old niece loved it, and that’s all that matters.
Aaron Kelly: “I don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith
Aaron is a nerd, through and through, and the sight of him alone makes me want to vomit, but he sounded pretty good last night. His voice had more of a country vibe to it, as he seemed to enunciate more than usual, and he hit some pretty big notes toward the end, despite having laryngitis or something. Seacrest called him David Archuletta, which, you know, yes. The judged were pretty much on board all around.
Crystal Bowersox: “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin
I hope everyone soured just a bit on Bowersox when she had Miley Cyrus autograph her guitar because she’s, quote-unquote, a beautiful and talented woman. (Yes, Miley Cyrus was the mentor for the evening, and no, I won’t be saying anything else about that because it gives me a headache and I have other things to do.) Gross. Anyway, Crystal was fine: boring at first, then a little better during the loud parts toward the end, but still not as good as I wanted it to be, and certainly not as good as stupid Randy and Simon said it was. Ellen, though, correctly pointed out that there seems to be something between Crystal and the audience, and Kara agreed. And so do I.
Mike Lynche: “When a Man Loves a Woman”
This had potential to be the standout performance of the night, but it wound up being completely underwhelming. His voice sounded good, but not great, and he didn’t even do all the awful dancing/gesturing that usually makes me so angry… in a way, I almost wish he had. The judges weren’t quite feeling it either, thank god: Kara said it was indulgent, and Simon agreed.
Andrew Garcia: “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”
This dude is just completely fucked. He’s been thrown so far off-course by the judges that he has no idea what to do next, and as a result, he wound up dancing around the stage like a buffoon, during a performance that would have gotten him laughed off the stage at Hollywood Week. The judges seem to realized that they messed with this dude’s head, and they almost apologize for it every week. He seems like a good dude, and I really like his wife’s hair, but man… let’s just say thank god for Paige.
Katie Stevens: “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie
Well, she did exactly what the judges wanted her to do, and, frankly, what I wish more people had done last night: she chose a song from this decade and didn’t act like she was in a covers-only bar-band in 1990. She sounded ok, probably the best she’s capable of sounding, which I’ve already said isn’t really all that good. Certainly solid enough to get her through, though.
Casey James: “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis
With as many songs at their disposal as the contestants had last night, it seems safe to assume they all chose songs they actually like, yes? And so we now know that Casey James is a big fan of one Mr. Huey Fucking Lewis and, presumably, the News, which is honestly just one of the most insane things I’ve ever been forced to consider. I almost have to give him some credit, though, because dude sounded exactly like ol’ Huey, for whatever that’s worth. The judges agreed that it was an idiotic song choice, and Simon went on to point out that it sounded old-fashioned when it came out 25 years ago.
Didi Benami: “You’re No Good” by Linda Rondstadt
Another dumb song choice, proving once more that these people like the blandest music imaginable. Didi tried to do the sultry thing again last night, and it was sort of painful. The vocals were off in spots, but mostly acceptable. When the judges were talking to her, she did her best Brooke White impersonation and chimed in to let them know she doesn’t want to be pigeonholed, and that she’s a special flower of something. She’ll be safe, but not for long.
Siobhan Magnus: “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder
Siobhan started off a little slow, I thought—completely solid and basically flawless, of course, but still just a little bit uninspiring. She seemed a little uncomfortable during the verses, like she was just waiting for the end to come around so that she could belt out some of her crazy-ass notes again, which she did, again, and which were awesome, again. The judges recognized a bit of a formula happening, and in response, Siobhan said if she could do a whole song of those crazy notes, she would. And I hope she does.
So who’s going home? Paige. And if not, I quit.