On tonight's American Idol, I'm hoping to hear much less about what kind of artists these people are going to be and more good singing. (But seriously, if they wanted people who already knew what kind artists they were, then the age range for the show shouldn't be 16-28.)
Lee Dewyze sings "Fireflies," a song I loathe, but at least it's (note to the women) current! It's a little weird, though. Randy Jackson says it's a soft song for such a big voice, but he worked it out. Ellen DeGeneres likes the rock-ization of the song, despite some pitch problems. Kara DioGuardi says he looks confident, and he says he had fun. She also thinks he made it a better song stripped down. Simon Cowell says there wasn't anything to rave about, no "moment," but he's making progress and has a great chance of Top 12.
Alex Lambert is next, singing Ray LaMontagne's "Trouble," which I immediately think is a great choice for his voice. He does a nice job with it, but there's still a little something missing. Randy says he didn't really feel wowed, though Alex did a nice job. Ellen calls him a mushy banana because he's ripening so fast and getting better week after week. Kara tells him that the only thing keeping him from winning the whole thing is him -- that he needs to just let go and be himself. Simon agrees and says he needs to let go.
Tim Urban, we're told, is singing Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah," and my first reaction is: Don't mess this up. This is one of my favorite songs, and I'm actually quite terrified on Tim's behalf. But to my surprise, he pretty much pulls it off. This is by far the most solid he's sounded in the competition, and this song was a big risk since it is so beloved (not just by me). Randy says that is one of the best songs of all time, and it's been done well on this show before, and he did right by it. Ellen actually runs up onto the stage and gives him a hug and tells him it was fantastic. Kara says she thought he was going home a few weeks ago, but now she thinks he's back in it with his honest, full-of-feeling performance. Simon says he feels responsible for Tim's success because he gave him a confidence boost last week.
Andrew Garcia is taking on Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle," kind of going back to his "Straight Up" roots. And this is actually a good decision because it's a reminder of why he got here. It's not outstanding, but better. Randy liked the idea but not the execution. He felt like the song sounded like it only had three notes. Ellen liked the choice and that the end it got good, but she wishes he'd made it more interesting sooner. Kara says he is in a hard position because he peaked so early. She appreciates the effort, but she felt like he was fighting the rhythm of the song with the guitar. Simon says it felt a little bit desperate and not comfortable.
Casey James hits the stage with his guitar to perform Keith Urban's "You'll Think of Me." This is a great choice because it works with his voice even though he's not technically perfect. Randy thinks it was a safe pick and would like to see him have more edge, like Stevie Ray. (Yum, Stevie Ray!) Ellen says he was so comfortable sitting and playing and singing, and she thinks he sounded great. Kara says she is kind of back on the Casey train. She thinks he did a much better job, but she wants to see that spark. Simon says this was his second best performance on the live show, but it did make him seem sincere.
Aaron Kelly continues the country vibe with Lonestar's "I'm Already There." He starts out really shaky, but he gets over it pretty fast. He's still pitchy here and there -- and he still looks like a kid trying out for the school talent show. But he closes strong. Randy says that he did a good job, but at first it wasn't great, but then he hit his power moments. Ellen says he's 16, but he has the confidence of someone who is 30. (Really?) But the singing she thought was not terrific tonight. Kara says every week he gives it his all, but this song was a weird choice because it's about a man calling his children, so it had no relevance to him. He says he was trying to tell the story. Simon says Kara is talking rubbish and that it was a good choice even though it wasn't his best vocal.
Todrick Hall takes a big risk with Queen's "Somebody to Love." At first, I thought it was going to be a disaster, but he kind of pulls it off! I'm shocked! Randy says Todrick is back and just proved that he can sing. Ellen says he is a brave young man, but he made it sound like a gospel song and it worked. Kara says that was really good singing, but she still says she had moments where she didn't know whether to laugh it or love it. Simon says it was good in parts, and he has shown he is a Broadway singer, but he still made an attempt to perform, and the song may have saved him.
Michael Lynche is last, with "This Woman's Work." He performs the heck out of it, and he has some really good moments. Plus, it's nice to see some energy after last night! (See a video of "This Woman's Work" above.) Randy: "Really? Really-really?" He is so overwhelmed, he's barely making sentences. Ellen says it was so beautiful, and it feels like the show just began. Kara says she's never cried after hearing something like that, but she is crying now. She says it's relevant to him and his life right now, and his respect for his wife. Simon says this was so "needed" because he nailed a very difficult song and gave the best performance they have had on the live show at all this season.
So what did you think? Weigh in on the comments or the poll below (this time with a question!).