It was Inspirational Songs week this week, and the guest mentor was the fragrant Alicia Keys (a woman who is partly responsible for the too-many-notes warbling style of a lot of American Idol wannabees, but we’ll forgive her for her turn in ‘Empire State of Mind’).
Will someone please tell Casey James to stop smiling? His self-satisfied grin throughout a shouty version of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Don’t Stop’ made me want to slap him, frankly. Sometimes the judges say to the contestants “You don’t realise how good you are.” I think Casey has the opposite problem.
Like Michael Lynche’s foreshortened version of ‘In the Ghetto’ last week, Lee De Wyze had to sing an edited version of ‘The Boxer’ which robbed the song of its narrative build and power. Nevertheless, he did a very nice job with one of the best performances of the night.
Little Aaron Kelly again punched above his weight with ‘I Believe I Can Fly.’ He mightn’t be able to actually fly (even Simon Cowell can’t do that) but he can most definitely sing. His head’s a bit big for his body, which I find distracting, but he’s only 16 so he’s presumably still growing.
Michael Lynche churned out a passable rendition of ‘Hero’ (the Spiderman one, not the Mariah Carey one). Tim Urban’s* Idol career took a backwards step with a pitchy attempt at a Goo Goo Dolls song, and Siobhan Magnus showed once again that she’s pretty, yet pretty mediocre, with ‘When You Believe.’
Then up stepped Crystal Bowersox. The only one of the acts to really get a grip on what the category “inspirational songs” might involve, she sang Curtis Mayfield’s ‘People Get Ready.’ Utterly, totally brilliant. She looked beautiful, and her singing was incredible, starting out acapella and going via soaring vocals to end in a sob. Watch a video here.
*( Sadly the Goo Goo Dolls were Tim Urban’s undoing, and he came last in the vote).
Posted by PLA (more American Idol posts here)