American Idol 9 Finals: Week 4

A couple of side notes before we roll into the recap of Lennon/McCartney Week:

  • To absolutely nobody’s surprise (except the geniuses at FOX), Sons of Tucson has been cancelled.  Look back a few weeks, I called this one. 🙂
  • The mentor for next week has been unofficially announced (by way of a Twitter post and other leakage): Adam Lambert.  Yes, that’s right, last season’s runner-up will mentor from the perspective of “having been there”.  Needless to say, VFTW and other Idol blogs are gleefully predicting major wreckage.  And a scheduling note – next Tuesday’s show is set for the utterly random length of 88 minutes (leading into “Glee”… whoopie!).  Adjust your recording devices (if you use them) or your schedules accordingly.
  • Speaking of VFTW, they’ve found a Facebook page which *may* claim that Casey James is gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  It would explain why he’s been so bemused about Kara undressing him mentally each week…

With that out of the way, it’s time for what will prove to be a very interesting couple of hours – with just 9 singers, there will be time-fillers galore (and they’ll still go over the 10:00 hour)… and Lennon/McCartney is not slam-dunk music.  Song choice is going to be, again, crucial.

We open (after a Glee plug) in the control room… where Ryan walks us through a few key shots… by way of a rather low-key cold open.

This… is Lennon/McCartney Week… This… is your Top 9… and THIS… is American Idol! *cue the music and Mark Thompson’s dramatic intro*

Wow… maybe someone reads this blog. :)  Katie does not lead the contestants onstage tonight, Big Mike does.   And this leads to the theme B-Roll… cue a quick tribute to John Lennon and Paul McCartney… and some taped Macca wishing the finalists well.

So here we go… no, wait, the judges have to blather first.  And we have to go to break.  Feh.

Aaron – “Long and Winding Road” – B-Roll tonight is the finalists talking about each other.  Aaron, apparently, is Yoda.  Weird, that is. I’m not thrilled with this version.  He’s a bit shaky, audibly shaky, But he does come around a bit at the end, finishing well and leaving a good impression.  Not terrific, but not awful.  Mid-pack, and probably gets him back next week.  Unless the judges’ carping costs him votes.  Backstage, he felt “great”.

Katie – “Let it Be” – Poor Katie, she’s been asked to 5 proms by Idol viewers.  She’ll go to prom with whoever voted for her the most.  On the B-Roll, she’s “everyone’s little sister”.  That pink dress and hairstyle are right out of the ‘60s… For a song she said she’s known “forever”, she seemed rather tentative with it.  Or maybe calculated.  Hard to tell.  No connection, no enthusiasm, no signs of life.  This performance won’t do anything to sway people who think of her as an Idolbot.  Like me.  She sang it, but didn’t quite get it.  Meanwhile, the judges are pimping the hell out of this rather mediocre performance.  Gotta love Idol, don’t you?  Backstage, she wanted to come out with a “bang”.  Ooookay…

SCORECARD: Aaron > Katie

Andrew – “Can’t Buy Me Love” – The other finalists portray him as the "comedian” of the group.  He’ll be on guitar.  He did say he tweaked it, and it started to veer into lounge-y territory early on.  He reined that in as the song went along… interesting take, in the end, and I think it’d grow on me if I listened a few times.  He’ll be OK.  Shut up, Kara… and Simon had a point, I think. Backstage, he was glad he had fun doing Lennon/McCartney.

SCORECARD: Andrew > Aaron > Katie

Michael – “Eleanor Rigby” – Katie called him “The Incredible Hulk” when she first saw him (they happened to be on the same plane, but didn’t know each other yet)… but they’ve decided he’s the “teddy bear” of the group.  The first phrase scared me, but once he got into the song, he did a soulful but reasonably faithful version.  He found the place between “making it his own” and “murdering the song”.  It did get him a little out of his comfort zone, which is a good thing here.  Strong finish, strong performance, I’d like to hear him do the full song.  The judges seemed to actually like it.  *gasp*  Stunner… Michael liked his performance… and manhandled some competitors backstage…

SCORECARD: Mike > Andrew > Aaron > Katie

Crystal – “Come Together” – Well, the fan nickname of “Mamasox” made it backstage… she’s apparently the den mother of the group.  And they got a didgeridoo on the performance!  Crystal’s on guitar.  There really isn’t anything to say but “she did it again”.  Another killer performance from the most-talented artist on the show.  Loved it.  The judges fell all over themselves to like it – and stretched really far for the few criticisms.  Face it, she is GOING to make it big… she will be the breakout star of Idol 9 regardless of the voting.  Post-performance, she hung with Didgeridoo Guy and said she’d “didgeridoo it again”.

SCORECARD: Crystal > Mike > Andrew > Aaron > Katie

Ryan announces the singers for tomorrow night – Rihanna, Jason DeRulo (a Kara protege, sorry), and David Archuleta.

Tim – “All My Loving” – His fellows call him "the guy who smiles all the time” and “Mr. Happy”.  Uh huh.  Tim’s on electric guitar.  Well, it’s not bad… actually, it turned out really well. Kind of a ‘70s vibe, to me, and what do I know? :)  This is the first of his performances lately that indicates that he has any idea what he’s doing… kind of likable, uptempo, fun… he may not need VFTW to save him this week.  Randy has given up and is judging the “Tim” category now.  The other judges actually… liked this.  And Simon gives Tim credit for grace under pressure.  They’re taking the fun out of it for VFTW. :)  Tim was happy backstage, for obvious reasons.

SCORECARD: Crystal > Mike > Andrew > Tim > Aaron > Katie

Quick cameo from “Bones” stars David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel.  They’re on FOX, don’tcha know?  The show’s 100th episode is Thursday night, in case you cared.

SHENANIGANS!!! “Jealous Guy” is not a Lennon/McCartney song.  I will be writing the next section under protest. :) 

Casey – “Jealous Guy” (Lennon) – “Playboy”, “Goldlocks”, and Michael makes it a point to mention that the girls love him.  Hmmm… (see above).  He’s also, apparently, got a huge laugh.  And his guitar.  This really didn’t do anything for me.  Nothing else to add – it was a nice, quietly professional, and entirely forgettable performance.  He’ll get through, but this wasn’t all that great.  Best performance?  REALLY?  Either the judges or I don’t get it.  I’ll let you decide which.  Backstage, Casey said this is a song he’d perform in a show back home.

SCORECARD: Crystal > Michael > Andrew > Casey > Tim > Aaron > Katie

Siobhan – “Across the Universe” – “Amazingly weird” (says Michael), “unique”… in other words, the finalists see what we see… 🙂 An ethereal performance… which is a decided change, as she didn’t screech, she sang… an interesting choice.  I am waffling on this one.  I liked it, but I wonder if ditching the glory note is going to hurt her… And the judges seemed to have a hard time with it as well… to the point where they were letting random hecklers have a moment… As has been her general pattern, Siobhan didn’t talk to the backstage camera.

SCORECARD: Crystal > Michael > Andrew > Siobhan > Casey > Tim > Aaron > Katie

Lee – “Hey Jude” – He’s the “worrywart” of the group, always thinking he’s going home… he’s on guitar… and there’s a bagpiper on stage… And Lee is off painfully at first jump… which didn’t get all that much better as we went along… enthusiastic, yes, but kind of ragged… So, of course, the judges are wild about it.  As he’s last, he doesn’t get a backstage moment.

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

The Big Finish:

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

  • My vote: Crystal
  • My elimination: Katie, but since she seems immune to voting, I can see anyone in the last 5 names above going home.

We cut from 9 to 8… and hear from the artists mentioned about halfway up this post… tomorrow at 9/8c.  Your late local news is next… on time, surprisingly enough!


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