It’s still early, and the show doesn’t air on the West Coast for another hour and a half. I know the results, so I’ll just get that out right away:
Siobhan Magnus’ weird, unpredictable, at times amazing and at times horrible run as Idol’s Season Nine Cinderella struck midnight. The bottom three were Casey, Mike and Siobhan, with Casey again standing there at the end. I haven’t seen it yet, but Mike Slezak of Entertainment Weekly reported that Siobhan reprised her performance of “Think” from the Semifinals, and blew it up. I look forward to seeing that later, when I watch the show.
During the results segment Ryan asked Siobhan to walk towards the soft seats (where she would be safe) but stopped her just short and sent Mike, Siobhan and Casey to the hard chairs. He does this kind of thing all the time, I guess. It seems cruel to me, when I know what is going to happen. It reminds me of horror movies, when the bad guy tells the victim that he/she is free to go, but just short of the door he says, “oh, just one more thing…..”
Performance: Sons of Silvia. They were originally called the Clark Brothers, and I remember them blowing the stage up with tons and tons of energy in winning a competition a couple of years ago, “Next Great American Band” or something. They were so energetic and dynamic, like a bluegrass band on crosstops, washed down with Red Bull. I was blown away. Tonight’s performance was pretty pop, more mainstream. I don’t know that I prefer this, but they lost their recording contract as a bluegrass band. They probably had to do this, to get their current contract. This sucks. They were terrific; wild and free but poor. Now they are a neutered dog, but they get fed now. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.
Mike was sent to safety. Commercial break, and then the axe for Siobhan.
She was visibly disappointed, mouthing a soft “crap” under her breath before brightening up for the cameras and trying to smile. She obviously didn’t expect to get voted off tonight. She was dealing with the same emotions that Katie was a couple of weeks ago, having to get it in her head that she was done in a very short time, after starting the night with so much confidence. Her way of holding back tears was to purse her lips and suck on her top teeth, while trying not to look at anyone. This is a kid with a busy mind that thinks deeply, and she was thinking very deeply up there. She was distracted by someone in the crowd during her exit video, and missed a good bit of it. She brightened up considerably when she saw her baby sisters in the video late, but she was distracted and nervous by the time they got to her family doing the lip drills, getting ready for her final song.
Her exit video was a very nice way of giving her back herself, as she left the stage for the last time. It was a reminder to us viewers that she wasn’t always the confused, tight, wooden, nervous, balky contestant who talked back to the judges and couldn’t sing three notes in a row in tune through the mountain of nerves that were eating her alive at the end. It reminded us that there once was a dark horse who might have toppled them all.
She was nervous when she started out her swan song, but she relaxed after a few notes. With her head already full, she forgot to worry about the melody and she started to sing freely and she nailed some pretty cool notes along the way, better even than her first performance of “Think”. She kind of lost her intensity when she decided to take the tour, slapping hands and going out into the crowd. Her final scream wasn’t her best, but she held onto it and worked the crowd into a frenzy.
The hugging sequence was different from most shows. Siobhan went out into the crowd and first hugged her sister, then her mother. Ryan made her hug Simon, and it was half hearted on both sides. Simon reluctantly gave her a half hug, and Siobhan looked away very quickly towards Kara, who gave her a real hug. Ellen said “see you on my show tomorrow” (programming reminder), and Randy gave her some nice encouragement and a bear hug. The show closed with Siobhan standing with the final five, Mike rubbing her shoulders. She turned to say goodbye to them as the lights dimmed.
This part (below) was all written before I watched the show:
I am not all that bummed that Siobhan is going home. Ok, that’s crap. I am hugely bummed, because she was the one contestant left that I most looked forward to seeing every week. I am not bummed that it’s over for her sake, though. I am bummed for my own, selfish reasons. The show will be boring without her. She is good art; an immense, young, bright and very raw talent, who tried to give us something special each and every week. It didn’t always work, but that’s half the fun.
For Soibhan’s sake, though, this was a good time for her to go. She got her hand caught in the meat grinder a month ago, and the show was teaching her more bad habits than good habits. Making the final six was a fair representation of her talents, and her accomplishments. She made it deep enough that she will get her own song in the finale, and she will be a star on the tour. I thought that I would get wet eyes when Sha-Von got booted, like I did last year when Allie was tossed, but I am completely dry eyed this time.
I’ve been driving the Siobhan bandwagon for over two months, so I should explain why I am ok with her ouster:
-She wasn’t progressing, and every week was dragging her closer and closer to becoming remembered as a joke instead of as the talented performer that she is.
-I had given up on her ever returning to where she started, and reminding us why we loved her in the first place. This separates into three issues:
-She lost her nutty, quirky, natural look when she gave in to the Idol wardrobe and hair salon. The kitschy glassblower turned into the Bride of Frankenstein wearing Gucci knockoffs that she put on in the dark. I kept waiting for her to bring back her natural look as a desperately needed dynamic change, but she was having way too much fun playing dress-up.
-She constantly overreached, trying to pull off songs that were too big for her current level of experience. She couldn’t resist trying on every trick, every tough challenge. Once she failed to impress the judges for the first time, she lost the confidence that she needed to relax and sing freely. She went from performing naturally to singing by the numbers, worrying about the notes and completely forgetting about the song. Forest, trees…. It was becoming uncomfortable, watching her strain and strive to hit the notes instead of just sing. She started out as a singer, painting pictures with “Wicked Games” and “House of the Rising Sun”. She kept the notes, but because she was concentrating SO HARD on the notes she forgot to look up at what she was painting; visualizing the song as a whole. The results were becoming increasingly disjointed and, frankly, hideous at times. Last night’s performance of “Any Man of Mine” was so bad that, had it been the first time that I had heard her, I would have written her off as a total hack.
-She had lost her air of the underdog, and was in danger of becoming something of a diva if she survived much longer. The worry signs were there; the talking back to the judges, her increasingly obtuse vision of what she was capable of, her fake smiles when the camera came on, her complete lack of joy and spontaneity on the stage.
-She lost her edge when she butchered “Through the Fire”, and that was about the last time that she smiled in any kind of genuine way. She was preoccupied and frightened the rest of her run on the show. While she seems to have been getting along with the other contestants, she also seemed to be getting distant and pulling into herself more and more every week. She went from lip drills and weird dancing to becoming a girl that seemed to be too serious about everything.
I am cautiously optimistic about Sha-Von’s future. She has a beautiful, lilting soprano voice, and some huge power behind it. While she has very real confidence issues, she has been portrayed consistently by Ryan as the hardest worker on the show. Once she gets past the seduction of the Idol stage and gets back in the real world, she will have to face her own demons of self esteem and fear. These are real for her, and she has failed some tests of her resolve in the past. She will need to toughen up, or she will get swallowed up by the cycles of failure that most performers deal with. If she can, though, there are dammed few singers around with her skill set. I wish her the best of luck, and I will keep tabs on her. I will miss seeing her on the show, but I am relieved that I won’t have to see any more train wrecks. It’s time for her to go, and get on with her training. Thanks, Sha-Von, for making it so fun for awhile. Now get your butt back in the woodshed. We’ll be waiting.
5: Big Mike– He sings in tune, but he bores me on the stage at this point. Does have anything left to surprise us with?
4: Casey James– I am really impressed with the voters lately. They saw past the judges in the last two weeks, correctly picking out the worst performer despite glowing reports from the judges. Casey won’t last much longer unless he does something that he has never done before. Don’t hold your breath.
3: Aaron Kelly– This is really weird listing Aaron this high, but his voting block just added Tim’s voters and probably a good bit of Siobhan’s voters.
2: Lee Dewyze– He moves up a bit this week, from a distant second to a solid second with a punchers’ chance of winning. This isn’t because he sang well. It’s because….
1: Crystal Bowersox– Crystal has lost control of her nerves two weeks in a row. She is so much better than everyone else that she should win, but nobody is going to win if they lose it on stage.Crystal is showing major cracks. Is the schedule getting to her? She has health issues and confidence issues despite being the favored contestant at the judges’ table for several weeks. I worry that the grind is getting to her emotionally, and physically.