Final 4 Performance Night

Tonight’s theme is songs of the cinema, and the mentor is Jamie Foxx. Foxx was a mentor last season for Rat Pack week, just a couple of weeks after stepping all over his tongue in an interview about Miley Cyrus. I’ll try to keep an open mind about him, but I admit that I don’t like him much. I liked him before that interview, though. He was amazing as Ray Charles in the movie “Ray”.

I have been thinking about some titles for Idol contestants to use for their albums. Here are a few:

Didi Benami- “For Rebecca” (her friend that died in a car accident)

Lilly Scott- “Blue notes from a White Chick”

Alex Lambert- “Green Bananas” or “Songs Tim Urban can’t sing”

Janelle Wheeler- “My Guitars have Legs”

Ashley Rodriguez- “I’m gonna Stick My Boot Up Simon’s….”

Joe Munoz/Michelle Delamore- “Yeah, we were on Idol. Really!!!!”

Tim Urban- “Grooving to Donnie Osmond” or “Karaoke Classics”

Paige Miles- “Church by Day, Honkytonk by Night”

Katie Stevens- “Queen of the Prom” or “For My Grandmother”

Lacey Brown- “The Hoarse Whisperer”

Siobhan Magnus- “Screams in the Key of Life” or “Raggedy Ann in Combat Boots”

Lee Dewyze- “My Favorite Hip/Hop Anthems” or “Bang the Guitar Slowly”

Michael Lynche- “Big Easy” or “Big, Period”

Casey James- “Rockin’ the Pony” or “Bleatings, Earthlings”

Crystal Bowersox- “MamaSox” or “Crystal’s Blues Persuasion”

Ok, enough of that. The final four are singing their own song as well as being paired up for a couple of duets. Adam and Allie blew the doors off of “Slow Ride” together last year, and that performance was one of the main reasons why Adam picked Allie to open for him on his Nationwide Tour this summer.

The singers, the songs-

Lee Dewyze, “Kiss From a Rose”, Batman (Seal)

Lee had some trouble with his breathing, but he hit the notes fairly well for such a demanding melody. I didn’t much like the arrangement. It was too busy and tried to do too much. This song really needs more than a minute and a half. Lee sings pretty stock in his range, hitting his high notes the same way every time – and hitting his low notes the same every time. Give the kid a year of serious professional experience, which he is going to get, and let’s hear him sing this one again. He will be able to make it soar, soar, soar…..

The judges weren’t kind. I guess that I agree with them. Lee has had better nights.

Michael Lynche, “Will You Be There”, Free Willy (Michael Jackson)

Mike doesn’t have good rhythm in his phrasing. He tends to bite things off with grammatical inflections that sound really corny. He was singing a song by one of the true masters of dynamic phrasing, and I think that he was too aware of Michael Jackson’s version. It kept creeping into his own version, and taking him out of his comfort zone. Also, there wasn’t any emotion at all in his voice, his face or his body language. He wasn’t singing the song so much as he was lifting it like he was doing reps with free weights.

The judges were mixed. Simon was fairly positive, and very funny for Simon. He had never heard of “Free Willy”. Ryan got off a good line, asking “Dori” (Ellen’s scatterbrained bluefish character from “Finding Nemo”) to explain it to him.

First Duet:

Lee and Crystal, “Falling Slowly”, Once (The Frames)

Kris Allen did this one last season. Lee and Crystal started out a little bit tentative, but once they hit a couple of tuning fork harmonies they took off and blew the doors off of the song. They ended about as tentatively as they began, but the in between was really, really cool.Crystalis perfectly in her element as a harmony singer, and she was terrific. Lee was also very good, feeding off ofCrystal.

The judges gushed. I wouldn’t put it up there with “Slow Ride”, but it was terrific.

Casey James, “Mrs. Robinson”, The Graduate (Simon and Garfunkel)

Uh oh….

Casey brought out the Mandolyn. Uh oh, my butt. The arrangement was really good. Casey stripped it down, with the mandolyn and some string accompaniment in the background. He slowed it down, giving it more of a Paul Simon feel than the quick pop shuffle of the original; kind of like “Slip Sliding Away” or “Homeward Bound”. His vocal was tight and in tune, though I wasn’t thrilled with some of his melody choices. His eyes were a little bit wet at the end of the song; that was a dramatic contrast from the first two solos, which weren’t emotional at all.

The judges got all over Kara about the song lyrics, and she was beet red. Simon dunned him for the song, but he stopped short of calling him in danger of going home. He stated a general distain for all of the solo performances so far.

Crystal Bowersox, “I’m Alright”, Caddyshack (Kenny Loggins)

Terrific; mini moment. What else is there to say? I loved it, loved it, loved it.Crystalis back, confident and loose tonight. Was it perfect? No, not quite. Amazing? Absolutely. We should be talking about this one for awhile. I can’t wait to hear the studio version….

The judges were positive, but not as much as I was. How could they be? Me, I love that song period, and this cover was every bit as amazing in its own way as Kenny Loggins’ original cut. Just cooooooool…

Second duet:

Mike and Casey, “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman, Don Juan DeMarco (Bryan Adams)

Casey was a little bit wooden as they started out, worrying about his guitar too much. Mike was fine, solid as ever. They really got going when Casey joined in with Mike on the chorus, doing the harmony. They hit one really sour note together and Casey lost the harmony thread once early, but the rest of the notes were very good. I’d call it somewhat clumsy, but it had some really nice moments. They ended it very well.

The judges got a little carried away, gushing about both duets and dismissingCrystal’s moment with “I’m Alright”.

Safe to in Danger-

Crystal

Lee

Casey

Mike

Crystalis almost certainly safe, but this late you just never know. Lee might be in danger, but his momentum has been very strong towards being the second finalist. Mike and Casey, flip a coin. I put Casey on top, mostly because of the outstanding musicianship he showed off tonight.

Grades-

Lee B

Mike C+

Lee and Crystal A-

Casey B+

Crystal A

Mike and Casey B+