Well, this just isn’t going very well, now is it? What started as one of the more promising seasons in recent years has fallen apart to the point where it is nearly impossible to watch. And shockingly, it has almost nothing to do with the contestants. It’s the producers who are to blame, with ill-conceived theme weeks not only making the whole franchise seem completely out of touch, but also slowing things down to an absolute crawl.
Even worse, though, is that they’ve made it impossible for us to learn anything more about the contestants than we already know. Last week, there was the Shania Twain debacle, in which the Top Six were forced to sing mugging, outdated country songs by a woman whose entire recorded output isn’t a whole lot more than an indie-rock flavor of the month. And then things went even further downhill this week, with the Top Five forced to sing Frank Sinatra songs— a terrible idea in its own right, made much worse by the fact that Harry Connick Jr. was also on hand, serving not only as mentor for the evening, but as arranger and band leader, too. So the contestants had to sing 50 year old songs and have them arranged by a dude who has made a career out of consistently pretending it’s 1960, only much cheesier.
So for all the judges’ talk about “Dawg, you really made that song your own!” the contestants have for two weeks now been prohibited from making anything their own. The results were predictably underwhelming: Aaron Kelly did what Aaron Kelly always does, and Frank Sinatra would have beaten the fuck out of him if he’d been alive to see it. Crystal wore a fancy dress and sang “Summer Wind” in a way that I already do not remember. Casey James made a fool of himself trying to sing without his guitar, and Kara correctly made fun of him for his lamb-like vibrato. Lee Dewyze did everything he could have done with “That’s Life,” which, frankly, wasn’t much, but in the context of the evening, it was an actual highlight. As was Mike Lynche’s straightforward performance of “The Way You Look Tonight,” which wasn’t much of a surprise, really. Of course Mike Lynche can get into costume and do a Sinatra song. And of course that’s not at all interesting.
Who’s gonna go? Probably Casey, hopefully Aaron.