When we tuned in on Tuesday night to see what we’d been waiting for since the first auditions: the Top 12, where the games really begin. And here’s what we found…
Big Mike, “I Kiss You”
Maddie: Big Mike had an excellent vocal to break in the new stage, as per usual. The big guy does have a big voice to match the size of his body, after all (let’s just say that I wasn’t very surprised to hear that he was a football star in high school).
But I wasn’t big on his performance like three out of four of the judges were. For me, it was just OK. Big Mike did use his big personality to fill the stage as Kara said, but he still failed to connect with me in the way that he did last week and with the other judges.
So Simon was right: It felt corny. Although the irony of being corny while wearing a chain on your pants is laughable.
Emmy: Big Mike is a favorite no doubt, but I do not like him at all. I don’t think he deserves to win nor he will, but then just watch, he’s going to. We don’t need another Ruben! But sadly America likes him, so he will be staying around for a while. As Ellen pointed out she knows that she might be disappointed at one point, so that might be the time to say adios to Big Mike and his very corny performing. I agree with you there, Simon!
Did Benami, “Play With Fire”
M: Didi does, undeniably, have a gorgeous tone to her voice. It’s not the tone that you hear every day, but it matched “Play With Fire” beautifully when she hit the long notes and belted out the song’s chorus and name.
It was an amazing song choice for her slow and Colbie Cailet-comparable voice; had she chosen an all-out rock song, she just would have failed, no question about it (if Season 8 winner Kris Allen can’t rock Rock Week, then neither can she). But she showed her cool, calm and collected kind of style with her more subdued choice of song. Well done.
And not to mention, I’m incredibly jealous: I want to be “on fire,” too.
Casey James, “It’s All Over Now”
M: Why was I not surprised that Casey chose to pull out the electric guitar for Rock Week?
With what I was surprised, however, was that Casey chose to sing a song that fast. When Casey pulled out the electric guitar in the Top 20 and got negative comments for “trying to be a rock star,” I was sure that he’d go back to more subtle performances that first got him rave reviews from the beginning.
It was definitely better than his first wanna-be rocker performance, but better than his first performance in the Top 24, in which he wowed both the judges and the rest of the “Idol” community with his pure vocal perfection? No way.
And let me just say this: Ellen DeGeneres, I love you. Way to be yourself.
E: As much as I like Casey there is no way I can see him winning this competition.
M: As I waited to hear Lacey on the new stage, I considered whether her voice could sound any more annoying on a larger stage. “Surely not,” I assured myself. “Maybe she’ll even improve with better sound equipment.”
Ha. Nice try.
As usual, there was no spark, no connection and no wow-factor — just a lot of screeching. I don’t think that she was “over-thinking it”; if she had even listened to herself sing once before, then she probably would have at least noticed how her voice sounds to the ear: painful. Which, as she’s still attempting to get crowned the next American Idol, I’m doubting.
Remind me how she beat Lilly Scott again?
Andrew Garcia, “It’s Just a Shot Away”
M: A custodian? Garcia? After that performance? Give me a break.
If Garcia had me doubting his ability to compete on the “Idol” stage, this performance proved me totally and completely wrong. All of the judges may not have raved, but his performance left me more satisfied then I’ve been after any of his other songs on this show.
I love the rough edge to Garcia’s voice that breathes both familiarity and uniqueness simultaneously — while it may have a wide range that is a part of most “Idol” contestants at this stage, it has a certain rough feel to it that no one quite has. Lee has the closest to it, but even there, it’s not quite comparable.
And Kara? He couldn’t have had any more intensity in his voice. Even if he had brought out a tank.
E: I always enjoy listening to Andrew. He’s a better performer than the last four performers we have seen on this stage. Tonight he is doing well and I bet the judges will still compare him to that Paula song, but you know what. It’s time to let that one go!
Katie Stevens, “Wild Horses”
M: At the start of the performance, Katie had me torn in two. On one hand, her voice, as usual, was clear and powerful; if anything will be an issue for her in this competition, a lack of vocal ability will not be it.
But at the beginning, I also felt a lack of connection to the song, which had me dreading the judges’ comments overall.
But I needn’t be worried. As she moved on into the song, I felt her opening up for the first time all season. As Simon said, Katie Stevens finally picked the right song.
“Wild horses” couldn’t drag her away from this competition, and voters, I’m fairly sure, won’t either.
Tim Urban, “Under My Thumb”
M: Why did you move on from wanting to be an athlete, Tim? Had you stuck with your impossible dream, you never would have tried out for “American Idol” and ruined my life.
OK, exaggeration. But he definitely ruined the two minutes during which I watched him perform.
He and Lacey should get together; their problems on the show — and, consequently, my problems with them — originate from the same source: their voices. They both might have potential as TV personalities (Lacey because of her actress-like qualities, Tim just because of his looks), but on this TV show, they stink.
His arrangement was bizarre enough, but even without his strange transitions from slow to fast tempos, Tim’s voice is just hard on the ears. It just sounds bad.
Although I must applaud him for one thing: the haircut. Because based on the old family pictures that were showed before his performance, Tim doesn’t look quite as hot with shorter hair.
But then again, had he kept that less-than-flattering style on his head, maybe America would have sent him home when they should have: the first week.
E: Tim’s brother, Benjamin, kinda of looks like him, but the badly dyed blonde hair version.
M: I only have one reaction to Siobhan’s (admittedly excellent) performance: What was with those glasses?
OK, one more: No matter how incredible her voice and dramatics may have been (which, yes, were pretty much insane), she’s no Adam Lambert. Don’t even try.
Lee DeWyze, “Beast of Burden”
I expected Lee to come out and wow us with the guitar again on the first week on the big “Idol” stage, and I was not disappointed.
Lee’s rough rocker-edge in his voice complimented the song perfectly, not only landing on pitch with note after note but also giving his own voice — and I mean that figuratively — to a song that has been played countless times by one of the world’s most famous rock groups.
Lee’s proving himself as a singer-songwriter, just as The Dawg said, but I will agree with Simon that Lee needs to work on his confidence issue at least to a certain extent.
And, as I’ve said about three times, his camera face. Stop looking like you’re going to throw up on the judges, Lee, and smile! Prospect loves you, and I know that America does, too.
Lee’s performance was awesome and I don’t care if that he was nervous or the judges bash him. I loved it and I am itching to buy his song on iTunes. Why can’t they jut sell them after they perform.
IF YOU’RE BACK?! LEE IS GOING TO BE BACK! Hey my votes probably are half that he receives. My finger hurts from hitting redial and end call so many times. But it’s totally worth it for Lee DeWyze. I want to wear my neon yellow shirt a bunch more weeks!
As she showed in her first two weeks of the live “Idol” shows, Paige’s strength as a performer shines through he capabilities as a vocalist, and tonight was no exception. Even if I wasn’t crazy about the song, I can’t say anything negative about her voice, which can belt to no end.
And that voice brought her performance to success. The song wasn’t my favorite that I’ve ever heard, but for that liability she’s got assets to spare: She’s got presence, she’s got vocals and she’s got personality — what else is there to have?
And to be able to sing like that with larangitis? I want her voice. I just do.
E: Paige looks like her mom. In the video they showed the girl in the background looked like Siobhan. Scary.
How is it possible to somehow bring a country vibe to ROCK Week?
Apparently, it’s possible if you’re Aaron Kelly.
His performance of “Angie” may not have technically been of the country genre by genre, but with the familiar country sound of Aaron Kelly singing its notes, it felt like country despite the group that first sang it.
And hey? It worked. Aaron worked. His voice worked. Even Ellen’s — excuse me, Aaron’s — hair worked. It all worked.
So, little buddy? I guess we’ll be seeing you next week.
But at least Ryan is taller than a contestant.
M: We rocked the guitars tonight in the Top 12. And while all those who came up with a guitar gave it their all, no one rocked it as well as Crystal.
Her voice, so soulful and alive, had me captivated with every note; her attitude, so contagious, had me involved with every stroke of the guitar or turn of her head. It was what we in “Idol” land call a hit.
There’s no denying it: Crystal gave me — and America — what we wanted.
E: Hey another song performed on Glee, but obviously Crystal will make it better.
So far so good. I love Crystal. She is my favorite girl contestant. I could see her getting into the top three along with Lee and (ugh) Big Mike.
I loved Crystal’s performance tonight! It was super!
In the end:
The Hits: Crystal, Siobhan, Lee, Garcia
The Misses: Tim, Lacey
Middle o’ the Road: Aaron, Big Mike, Casey, Paige, Didi, Katie
The Bottom 3: Lacey, Didi, Tim