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I struggled this year over whether or not I would blog and podcast again about American Idol. I tried to stay out of it, but decided just this week to go ahead and give my two cents about this year’s contestants. I’ll try to give my rundown each week until the show is over. Following, you’ll read or hear what my opinion is about the final 10 on Idol for this season. You may or may not agree with me, but I welcome your comments. Each week, the order that I list the remaining contestants will start with the one voted off (Didi for this week) and will end with the one that I believe, at this point, has the best chance of winning the competition. I hope you enjoy.
Didi Benami – “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted”
The first several times I heard Didi sing, I loved what I heard. Much of what I heard reminded me of Megan Joy Corkrey from last season. I really liked Megan Joy’s voice and her originality. Didi made me feel like she was back in a way. But, over the course of the last three weeks or so, it became evident that Didi just didn’t seem to be able to find her own vocal niche. And not to sound like the judges, but she really didn’t seem to know what to sing when it came to giving a solid performance. Instead of improving over the last few weeks, she seemed to become less sure of herself. As a singer myself, I can understand how intimidating it must be to have to perform live and be compared with other great talent, especially those like Crystal Bowersox, who already appears to have come into her own, even at the start of the season of Idol.
Now to Didi’s performance of “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” – Well, I’m not typically one to vote for Idol contestants, unless I feel particularly inspired in some way. Last week, I actually voted for Didi, not because I thought she would win, but because I wanted her to have another chance. Unfortunately, when I heard her sing this week, the only thing that I could say to myself was “it’s time for her to go.” This has nothing to do with her likeability either. This song was worse than her previous songs. And, in comparison to the other performances this week, Didi’s stood out as being at the bottom. I don’t know if her nerves just got the best of her or what, but the song dragged and she was really off pitch. To be quite honest, it was painful to listen to, and I just wanted to turn the channel at the end so as to not hear what the judges were about to say to her.
I’m sad to see Didi go, but she really didn’t seem to have what was required to compete with the others any more. I hate to say that. Like I said, I really love hearing her sing, when she’s in her element. Hopefully, she’ll soon find herself and reemerge as a successful recording artist. Best of luck to her.
Tim Urban – “Sweet Love”
“Sweet Love” seemed to be an unusual song choice for Tim. I don’t think it was necessarily bad, but it wasn’t anything that stood out as wonderful either. Much to the chagrin of the judges, Tim’s smiley, sweet nature seems to be winning him votes with the voting public. Vocally, he’s probably out of his league when you compare him to the others in this competition. Nevertheless, he’s appealing to a young crowd looking for a heartthrob, in my estimation. Maybe that’s why he chose “Sweet Love” as his song choice. If he wises up a bit on his song choices and gets his act together better, he might just stay around for a few more weeks. No matter what you think about his ability, you can’t help but like him. And, likeability can take you a long way.
Siobhan Magnus – “Through the Fire”
Well, Siobhan has proven to be very unique and interesting over the past few weeks. With her wailing voice and quirky nature, she’s definitely added some much needed interest to American Idol this year. Still, there’s the issue of this week’s performance of “Through the Fire” by Taylor Dane. To me, it was screeching and awful. Quite frankly I was cringing as I heard her sing it. Just as the judges stated, her low notes were unimpressive and her wailing was over-reaching. It was just not a good performance at all. And I have to agree that her garb was kind of ridiculous too. I’m not one to comment on one’s appearance, but Siobhan’s outfit seemed to embody her performance – out of control and a bit whacky. I think she’s got an amazing voice, but if she doesn’t get her act together, she’ll be gone in a couple of weeks (in my humble opinion). Her niche may be to be kind of weird, which may work for her, but the fact remains that if that’s her true niche, then she needs to do it well. This week she simply didn’t.
Aaron Kelley – “Ain’t No Sunshine”
Aaron Kelley, no doubt, has an amazing voice, especially considering the fact that he’s only sixteen years old. His rendition of “Ain’t No Sunshine” was good. I enjoyed his performance, but it wasn’t my favorite. That being said, he still gave a solid performance. While I watched the clip of his practice session with Usher, I felt like he had more control over his voice and showed more passion in the small bit that they showed him singing. His live performance felt a bit less solid, but after all, who wouldn’t be a bit nervous singing in front of millions on television. Aaron is an extremely talented kid and should go far with the instrument that he’s got. Unfortunately, he won’t be winning on American Idol this season, in my humble opinion. There are a couple of others who are primed and ready for the win. Give Aaron a few years, with a bit more experience and maturity, and it’ll be interesting to see just what he’ll do with that voice.
Katie Stevens – “Chain of Fools”
Katie, in my opinion, has no chance of winning American Idol this year. She just seems too young and inexperienced. But, that’s not at all meant to diminish her talent. In fact, Katie can sing – really well. You hear it when she’s in her groove vocally. And if she’s managed right, in a little time, she’ll soon find herself in the midst of a thriving music career. I hear traces of great singers such as LeAnn Rimes in her when she’s performing, especially this week when I heard her do “Chain of Fools.” In my opinion, she did an awesome job. She was a little pitchy at times, but her voice richly resonated as she performed. She also looked very comfortable, fearless and in control on the stage. When you consider her vocal talent and performing ability – in light of her very young age, she’s quite remarkable. As for her genre of music, I’d have to agree with Simon. It’s not that she can’t sing R & B and Pop, but I think she’d have a much more successful career in the country realm, just as Carrie Underwood has. In my opinion, if Katie took on pop country as her genre and stuck to it for the remainder of the show, she might actually have a chance of winning this year. Right now, she just seems kind of clueless about what her niche is. For this reason, I don’t think she has a chance of winning.
Andrew Garcia – “Forever”
The judges raved about his performance of “Forever”. As Randy Jackson says about everyone, “It was a bit pitchy.” I enjoyed Andrew’s performance, especially when he jumped to the higher portions of his range. In the higher parts, he was more energized and precise with both pitch and emotion. It was in those moments that I felt like the song came alive. The beginning and the lower parts were a bit boring to me. Overall, the guy gave a solid, professional performance of which he should be proud. While Andrew is extremely talented with voice and guitar, I doubt he’ll be the victor this season on American Idol. That’s not to say, though, that he doesn’t now have the potential for a successful singing career as a recording artist.
Michael Lynch – “Ready for Love”
While Michael Lynch’s performance of “Ready for Love” was quite good, moving and heartfelt, I have to say that I can’t get Ruben Studdard out of my head when I hear and watch him sing. For that reason, I just don’t see him winning this year. While he’s been consistently good, he still seems to be a cut below Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze. For me, they seem more original than Michael, which will probably better ensure their success in this year’s competition. That being said, it still wouldn’t surprise me to see Michael in the top three, as long as he continues to be consistent in his craft.
Casey James – “Hold On I’m Coming”
Casey James is a great performer. As Kara DioGuardi stated, “he always brings it,” or something like that, I have to agree. Casey is just a talented professional singer. It’s obvious. He appears fearless, dead on with his vocals and totally in his element when on stage. He exudes confidence and talent when he performs. Unlike many of the other contestants this year on Idol, Casey looks like he was born to be a performer and entertainer. Now, for his rendition of “Hold On I’m Coming,” I thought it was fantastic, although I kept hearing him channel Huey Lewis in his voice, after his previous performance of “The Power of Love.” All in all, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Casey in the final three of American Idol this year, although I have my doubts that he’ll win. But, if he really steps it up, it certainly is possible.
Lee DeWyze – “Treat Her Like a Lady”
Lee has a unique pop sound that sets him apart from the rest of this year’s American Idol contestants. Coupled with his guitar playing ability, he’s a definite contender for the win this year. In my humble opinion, when it’s all said and done, I believe that it’s going to come down to Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox for the win. Lee has consistently performed since his first showing on Idol this year. While his raspy voice is not my favorite to listen to, he definitely has thus far proven that he’s in his element on stage. He tends to be more unique than Casey James, yet pretty equal with Crystal. All in all, I’d say that Lee is in for the long haul as a recording artist. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him win American Idol this year, but he just needs to continue to stay on his game as he’s done so far. There’s really nothing more to say about his rendition of “Treat Her Like a Lady” than to say that it was a great performance. He was spot on, looking just as good as any professional singer or recording artist that you would see nowadays.
Crystal Bowersox – “Midnight Train to Georgia”
I’m not going to mince words here. In my humble opinion, Crystal Bowersox should be this year’s American Idol. I realize that contestants return to Idol each week due to popularity, but if I’m to judge solely on pure, raw talent and ability, Crystal has already proven herself to be worthy of the win. I’m not trying to diminish the talent of any of the others on the show, it’s just that Crystal arrived on the scene, already in her element, crazy gifted knowing who she is. Her rendition of “Midnight Train to Georgia” was awesome. I’ll admit that her piano playing felt a slightly uneasy compared to her usual guitar grace, but she still was outstanding. If I had to choose someone to win right now, it would be Crystal.
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