The competition among the males is very wide open at both ends. Of the eight remaining contestants it’s not a mortal lock that any of them will make it past Thursday night, and any of four or five of them could wind up at the top of the power rankings. I’d guess that Casey, Andrew and Lee are safe but I wouldn’t bet my house on it. Well, I’d bet MY house, but you know what I mean. I can envision Mike, Aaron, Alex and Todrick moving up to the top or going home. Only Tim is stuck. I’d be shocked to my toes if Tim was good enough to make it to the top of the rankings. That’s about all that I will assume. The frontrunners are all showing weakness, and the trailers all have the capability to shine. Two weeks ago I had males in my top three power spots. It’s possible that no male will even make my top three on Thursday night. The fellas need to get going, or the gals are going to dominate this year.
The singers, the songs-
Lee Dewyze, “Fireflies”,OwlCity
This was what has become accepted as a vintage Lee performance. It will get him to the tour, but I would guess that he needs to do something outside of the box eventually to be a true contender for the title. He can’t just keep singing songs like this, no matter how well he does them. He was more in tune, which is important for Lee’s future on the show. A thin, weak voice needs to hit a note perfectly to have it spread and soar. Lee’s voice is so thick that he can soar even if he wings the note a little. If he can fine tune himself juuuuust a little bit more and hit the center of the notes, his voice can soar to levels that will pull the crowd out of their seats. He’s close, but not quite there yet. He has to do that, because his voice has to carry the mail for him. He has very little going for him besides than that incredibly woody, smoky, tree trunk of a voice.
Alex Lambert, “Trouble”, Ray LaMontagne
Eyes closed, listening….. He was very solid with the melody, and there weren’t any sour notes to speak of. I liked his phrasing, which is new to me with him. He has been struggling with phrasing. He was miles better this week than even last week, when he was miles better than the week before. He has turned his largest weakness into a strength in just two weeks. I am impressed. His big problem is that he just doesn’t have much experience.
How good is he going to be when he gets that? Voices like his don’t grow on trees. Still, he is trying to find years of experience in a couple of months. As I was saying at the top, he was hard to watch. Not painful, just frustrating. He has this grownup voice, but he is a kid. He doesn’t flow naturally visually. He is wooden and stilted. He isn’t completely sure where to send his eyes, and he keeps betraying too much awareness of where he is. He is getting better at everything, but this is a humdinger of a learning curve for him to navigate.
Tim Urban, “Hallelujah”, Tim Buckley
He picked a perfect song for his voice, and he delivered it with passion and power. I’ve never heard him sound this good, so I don’t really know what to think. He still doesn’t have the kind of range or power to be a real contender. He was good enough tonight that I would be very worried if I am coming up later in the show. He won’t be an easy out this week, and they have to lose two singers.
Andrew Garcia, “Genie in a Bottle”, Christina Aguilera
I dunno, is he going to the same well too many times? When he did “Straight Up”, it was new and exciting. He was good, solid and in tune tonight, but instead of new and exciting he seemed trite and kinda boring. I want to hear some power blues or a soulful ballad from him, not more syncopated versions of pop songs. I would guess that he is still safe, but two have to go tonight and nobody else looks like they are going to leave so far. Andrew needs to step it up. He is going to drop like a rock in my power rankings this week at best, and he is not a lock to avoid the hook. Maybe, if he survives, he can sing a guy song?
Casey James, “You’ll Think of Me”, Keith Urban
This song was a much better fit for his voice. His cool tone came out, and he was plenty good enough to make the final twelve. He was too hyper, I think. He seemed to be struggling to stay relaxed. Casey sings in the manner of a lot of very cool singers, but he doesn’t have the command that most of them do. He needs more reps at this kind of high energy level, in front of huge crowds, to learn how to relax. He’s older than the singers that we tend to use as examples of inexperience, but truthfully almost every Idol contestant is inexperienced. That’s the point of the show; find amateurs with talent, and give them a shot on a big stage in front of millions of people. When someone like Adam Lambert shows up; with sixteen years of stage experience, he stands out because most of these kids, even the twenty somethings, have almost no experience in front of large crowds.
Aaron Kelly, “I’m Already There”, Lonestar
He was nervous and sharp while he was sitting down, but he hit the tuning fork when he stood up. He used every vocal trick that he knows, and he knows quite a few for such a young performer. His range wasn’t pushed, and the judges will probably call this a safe performance. It’s getting tougher and tougher. Nobody has sucked yet, and two have to go.
Todrick Hall, “Somebody to Love”, Queen
That was ambitious, and I am going to miss Tod. He is gone, gone, gone, because he just doesn’t have a good enough voice. I love his originality, and he has a definite future in the business. He will be listed in movie and TV screen credits for decades as a choreographer, arranger and actor. He will almost certainly get some feelers for Broadway. It’s not a long odds bet that Tod will have the most successful post- Idol career of any of the semifinalists this season. It just won’t be as a singer.
Michael Lynche, “This Woman’s Work”, Kate Bush
Mike gets more out of his half octave of range than anyone I’ve ever seen at a singing competition, mostly because he’s the most charismatic singer on the male side. Someone must have told him to show more range, because he added a pedestrian falsetto to his bag of tricks tonight. I see him exactly the same way that I saw him last week, and the week before, and every week since his audition: He’s going to make the tour because of his personality and a decent voice. He ain’t gonna to win unless he craps out a high range in the next couple of months. Mike is Mike.
I’ll give you a list of safe to in danger, but I would not be one bit surprised if my number one choice was ousted – and my number eight choice was the highest vote getter.
Safe to in danger:
This is really tough. Can Andrew, who two weeks ago was the frontrunner to win it all, be ousted before the final twelve? It’s not a long odds proposition. Tim sang so well that he has a shot, but nobody else sang poorly enough to make him safe. Todrick got love from the judges, but it’s probably too late. Aaron was good, but not great, and the judges were dismissive. I think that the top four are safe, but this is not the week to be betting on that. One through eight is about as close as it can get here. It’s not a hand towel, but it’s not a bath towel either. Nothing would surprise me. I predicted a wide open race, but not THIS wide open.