American Idol 9 Finals: Week 3

Well, we all think we know what happens this week, right?  The 10 touring finalists sing, and Tim Urban quietly goes home tomorrow night.  Of course, American Idol isn’t performed in the blogiverse, it’s performed on stage at Television City… so will Tim rise to the occasion, or will another Idol fall… TONIGHT?!

Cold open time… setting a new standard for awkwardness and forced dialogue… leading to a shot of the crowd gone wild from the center-stage doors…

THIS… is American Idol! *cue the music and the Mark Thompson intro*

Third week in a row that Katie leads the contestant procession on stage… not like the producers are pushing anyone, eh? 

The theme is Soul and R&B, and that leads to B-Roll introducing the mentor… Usher.  It’s part of the promotion for his new album, Raymond vs. Raymond, dropping today (of course)… then into the audience for Ryan to interview Usher in the Official Mentor Front-Row Seat.  Wonder if it worries Usher than Miley Cyrus sat in that same seat last week… 🙂 and we jump right in with our first singer… who admits to being “wicked nervous”…

Siobhan – “Through The Fire”, Chaka Khan – Good… no crazy hair, just the “Missy Elliott boots”… problems with the high notes early on… and she did manage to get her screech on… but the song, overall, is a nice showcase for her voice… good start to the show.  Obviously, I liked it more than the judges did.  Now if we could get the judges to shut up…

Backstage footage?  Live?  This is new… as Siobhan goes back to the green room, clearly shaken by the judging, as Big Mike gives her a Big Hug…

Casey – “Hold On, I’m Comin’”, Sam & Dave – Makes sense for the rocker to do a track from one of the more rock-friendly soul acts… he’s on electric guitar… credit for not trying to be Sam & Dave (or the Blues Brothers)… this was a clear example of “make it your own”… solid performance of a song that was a great choice for him.  This one’s going to turn a few heads. Yes, Kara wants to see “everything [Casey’s] got”… we know that… enough drooling, Kara, you’re married…

SCORECARD: Casey > Siobhan

Michael – “Ready for Love”, India.Arie – Michael may need to get away from the parade of love songs at some point… on guitar tonight… and performing on the small stage behind the judges… I’m somewhat surprised… this came off a bit flat… and there’s an element of deja vu… it was good, and he won’t get voted off… but as Simon likes to say, we’ll forget it 20 minutes after the show… and again, the judges and I disagree completely.

SCORECARD: Casey > Siobhan > Michael

We’re getting backstage insights from everyone, it seems… I’ll advise if something fascinating comes up…

Didi – “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted”, Jimmy Ruffin – Interesting choice… a bit shaky on the vocals at times… and a bit rushed… you can sense the nerves… solid, but I don’t know… I feel like the performance misfired a bit, like she left an opportunity behind… sure, THIS one the judges agree with me on… props for absolutely refusing Ryan’s invitation to pimp her dead friend’s memory in the post-song interview… although it would explain the shaky performance…

SCORECARD: Casey > Siobhan > Michael > Didi

Tim – “Sweet Love”, Anita Baker – Oh my… is “Teflon Tim” going to go out with a thud?  Wow.  If he survives this performance, VFTW can shout to the hills.  Vocally all over the place, he completely ignored Usher’s advice to sing *to* someone, and just went through the words.  Say goodnight, Tim.  You made the tour.  Enjoy it.  As a performer, you ought to worry that a judge’s singing gets more applause than yours… give Tim credit, he’s got a sense of humor about this, and he probably has a future in entertainment… just not as a pop singer.

SCORECARD: Casey > Siobhan > Michael > Didi > Tim

Tim said that the judging “wasn’t as bad as it could have been”.  That’s only if it “could have been” a beheading, Tim…

Andrew – “Forever”, Chris Brown – Another interesting choice… on acoustic guitar… I was prepared to hate this, but Andrew surprised me with this performance… he just let it all go and put himself into the song… definitely one of tonight’s better efforts, and one he desperately needed… well-earned round of applause at the end… and the Ritchie Valens meets Buddy Holly look is interesting… 🙂 nothing like a little manufactured “controversy” over Simon’s comments…

SCORECARD: Casey > Andrew > Siobhan > Michael > Didi > Tim

Katie – “Chain of Fools”, Aretha – You have to wonder if this is too big for her… but if she pulls this off… it’ll change the game… OK, the song suits her voice, but she seemed to be holding back a bit… this is a song you can really dig into and go big with… like Didi earlier, I think she left an opportunity on the table… good, but not what she could have done… the judges don’t seem to know how to handle her, either… Simon’s right… Katie *is* a bit cold and robotic… that’s why she’s not going to win this… and they had to play the judges off twice to get them to shut the hell up…

SCORECARD: Casey > Andrew > Siobhan > Katie > Michael > Didi > Tim

Lee – “Treat Her Like A Lady”, Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose – There’s one I didn’t expect to hear tonight… on guitar… Well now… this is definitely a case of “making it his own”… this rocks more than the original, and it’s a version I’d listen to again.  Great energy.  His best, and one of tonight’s best.  Well played.  The judges were clearly told to keep it short… but they’re right… this has the potential to be a breakout performance, if he can grab and keep the momentum.

SCORECARD: Casey > Lee > Andrew > Siobhan > Katie > Michael > Didi > Tim

Crystal – “Midnight Train to Georgia”, Gladys Knight & the Pips – The big surprise turned out to be a piano… Crystal’s put the guitar down in favor of tickling the ivories… I was ready to give her the title two weeks ago, and I’m still convinced… another terrific performance.  She connected to the song, and to us, and… I’m a huge fan, sorry… and so are the judges… this was a good time for her to take a risk, and I fully expect her to be toting a guitar against next week… 🙂

SCORECARD: Crystal > Casey > Lee > Andrew > Siobhan > Katie > Michael > Didi > Tim

Aaron – “Ain’t No Sunshine”, Bill Withers – Not quite “go big or go home”, but he needs to be memorable in the Pimp Spot… and in a good way… This might have been too big for him… one of the most soulful and mournful songs there is… and he gave it a lite-pop interpretation… didn’t really blow it, but didn’t quite grasp the song, either… middle-of-the-pack… which could be problematic…

PRE-MONTAGE SCORECARD:  Crystal > Casey > Lee > Andrew > Siobhan > Aaron > Katie > Michael > Didi > Tim

The Big Finish:

I have to note that Usher seems to have done good work as a mentor… several performers improved greatly tonight…

POST-MONTAGE SCORECARD:  Crystal > Lee > Casey > Andrew > Aaron > Siobhan > Katie > Michael > Didi > Tim

  • My vote: Crystal
  • My elimination: Tim (with Didi and either Aaron or Siobhan in the bottom 3 – Katie and Michael have voting blocs that’ll save them)

Usher, Diddy, Dirty Money, and Ruben Studdard all appear tomorrow night… and we cut from 10 to 9… at 9/8c.  Your late local news is next…


Your bonus video tonight is from AI8 semifinalist Jackie Tohn’s duo, Powerfox and Ponymane.   Jackie’s in the purple dress.  Enjoy “No Scrubs”…

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Author: Rob Hoffmann

Occasional blogger, full-time computer techie, radio producer (basketball, mostly), generally nice person (if you ask me).

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