Saturday, May 01, 2010

American Idol Preview
Top Five

The best thing about getting down to the last five contestants used to be that the real talent began to shine. By this time, in previous seasons, the top 5 consisted of the strongest candidates in that year's competition. But there was always that one person whose early elimination brought howls from fans, who would swear off the show because their favorite was voted off. In Season 3, it was Jennifer Hudson, Season 4, it was Constantine Maroulis, Season 5 ended the journey for Chris Daughtry and Melinda Doolittle was the strongest singer in Season 6.

While this phenomenon did not occor in the past two years, who else do you explain John Stevens, Scott Savol and Sanjaya Malakar going as far as they did.

Well, as I predicted that week, it seems that when we get down to the last five or six, voters feel complacent enough that their favorite will win, that they either vote for someone else that week, or they don't bother to vote at all. That is the only reason I can find for Siobhan Magnus' early elimination. She was certainly the most interesting and, I dare say, the most entertaining contestant since Adam Lambert.

While I will keep watching till the end, I do believe the show has lost a great deal without her.

5. Aaron Kelley (last week #6) -- This past week, Aaron had his best performance by far. His rendition of "You've Got a Way" was both passionate and memorable, and he certainly deserved to stay an additional week. However, this was just one great performance and I fear his time on the show is coming to an end. By this stage of the competition, consistency is a must and Aaron has not shown that he can consistently perform as well as he did last Tuesday. His voice is excellent, that's for certain. But he has not been able to really make the sons his own, and that is the difference between being the top 2-3 and the middle of the pack.

4. Michael Lynche (last week #5) -- Every time I think Big Mike is way too cheesy for his own good, he surprises me with a solid, if unspectacular performance. His version of "It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing" was a bit too mushy for my tastes, but he did swoon the audience. I do believe, however, that Mike is where he is in the competition because of the judges, who saved him once and consistently give him high, but not necessarily deserved, praise. Personally, I felt he should not have been saved, and had they held back that decision, Mike would be out and Siobhan would still be here. However, his rising popularity should keep him from being eliminated before Aaron.

3. Casey James (last week #4) -- Casey is an interesting guy, and I wholeheartedly agree with Kara when she says she's not sure who he is. When he performs from the heart, like he did this week with "Don't," and a few weeks back, with "Jealous Guy," he looks like he could content for the crown. But then he throws in these weeks where he is nothing but a front man for a garage band. To his credit, this week's performance was outstanding and if he can continue to show his vulnerability and passion the way he just did, we could have a top 3 as strong as any before.

2. Lee Dewyze (last week #2) -- So here is the question, can Lee defeat Crystal? Well, based on the way the two of them have performed over the past couple of weeks, the gap between the two is inching ever closer. This week, Lee had the fortune to perform Shania Twain's best known hit, "Still The One." At first, I was concerned that he chose a song that was so well known as a female vocal. But he really made it his own and did an outstanding job with it. You can see week to week how much more confident Lee has become and it is showing in his performances. While he isn't quite to the level of a David Cook, he has the same humility and similar type voice. Not bad company to be in.

1. Crystal Bowersox (last week #1) -- For the first time this season, Crystal's performance was not in the top half of the group. While she sang "No One Needs To Know" well, she at times seemed disinterested and it came out in the performance. Of course, she is still the front runner and one off-week is not really going to hurt her run for the title. But Crystal best beware that Lee is coming up strong. If Season 8 taught us anything, it taught us that when it comes down to the finals, nothing is certain (how else do you explain Adam Lambert, the long time front runner, losing to Kris Allen?). This week's theme - Standards - could be a big boon for her, if she choose the right song. I'm guessing she will.

Well, I didn't get my wish. Randy is still booing Simon and Ellen is still not adding anything to the critiques. I enjoy her humor, don't get me wrong. But the contestants need direction and more time to finish their songs. The amount of time used by having three judges who are consistently agree with each other is simply wasteful. If you want to keep Ellen, then fine. Personally, I think she'd be better suited to co-host with Ryan.

Can someone please tell Kara that her crush on Casey is getting a little old? I have to give Kara credit for her progress from last year. She has really developed into the second best judge on the panel. But every week, she shamelessly mentions Casey's "good looks." Please Kara, just get a room already.

Boy, you can really tell Simon has his foot out the door already. He's been especially stubborn and petulant these past few weeks. His animosity for Ryan is very uncomfortable for the audience and his own personal feelings about the themes is unprofessional. We all know you aren't a country music fan, Simon. But give it a break - it isn't the contestants fault they have to sing those songs. Furthermore, while he has been guilty of this in the past (see Fantasia), his playing favorites with Crystal may just turn off enough viewers to send Lee to victory.

So that's my list for this week. If you have anything to add, or would like to tell me why I'm completely off my rocker, please leave me a comment.

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