American Idol: The Top 7 Sing "Inspirational" Songs

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Were you inspired? Anyone?

[chirp chirp chirp]

Do crickets chirp? Should that have been:

[whrrrrr whrrrrr whrrrr]


American Idol Aaron Kelly

Image courtesy Fox

Anyway, sorry I missed recapping last week, folks. I was out of town, missed the show, and felt that by the time I watched it on Saturday it might not be quite timely enough to post.

Suffice to say: No big surprise Andrew and Katie went home, but seriously ... they weren't actually the worst two, now, were they? More on that in a minute, let's get to it.

I'll confess I was not looking forward to a night of inspirational songs. Haven't we had enough big, treacly ballads for one season? This just never turns out good ... they're all trying to be Mariah or Whitney or Celine, and, um, they're not.

Alicia Keys was the mentor, and that gave me a tiny bit of hope. My first experience of Alicia Keys was when they did that live telethon after 9/11, and all the stations carried it. She sat at the piano and sang "Someday We'll All Be Free" by Donny Hathaway. And it was inspiring. In fact, I think you should watch it now. Just so you can understand why I might have felt a bit let down by the Idol contestants' sad attempts to inspire.

Wasn't that nice? Yeah. You wouldn't have heard anything like that last night. Here's what you did hear:

1. Casey sang "Don't Stop" by Fleetwood Mac

I'm not the only one who still thinks about the Clintons every time I hear this song, am I? Well, it was more fun thinking about them than listening to this version. It started out really weird. Casey was trying to change up the melody, and just doing a dreadful job of it. And it got only marginally better throughout. The overall effect was pretty tuneless. his guitar playing was good, per usual, but there wasn't enough of it to compensate for the truly odd vocals.

Bottom line: Who knows, he might finally hit Bottom Three. I sincerely doubt he'll go home, though.

2. Lee sang "The Boxer" by Simon & Garfunkel

Did I ever tell you that my mom and her sister when to high school with Simon & Garfunkel? It's true. Art Garfunkel's real first name is Jules. FYI. Anyhoo, this was Lee's best performance ever. Ever. It was a pretty plodding arrangement, a little too dreary and string-filled, but he sounded great. Completely on-key. See, it's really not that hard to please me. Singing on-key is really half, no, even three quarters of the battle people! Still not quite sure how The Boxer is "inspirational," but I'm not complaining too much about that.

Bottom line: Safe. Clearly.

3. Tim sang Better Days by Goo Goo Dolls

I am a secret fan of the Goo Goo Dolls. I love their forlorn angsty love songs, like "Name" and "Iris." So, how was Tim at imitating the lead singer/guitarist with the un-pronounceable and un-spellable last name? Well, on the one hand ... vocally it was pretty poor. Too low, which sent him into throaty frog-land. Some off-key moments, and a pretty dull vocal without a lot of build or dynamics. But I will say that I believed him and appreciated the abandonment of the cheesy, toothy smile.

Bottom line: He might make another trip to the Bottom with this one.

4. Aaron sang "I Believe I can Fly" by R. Kelly

Am I the only one skeeved out by a teenager singing something by R. Kelly? Anyway, I found this pretty painful, how about you? He was straining the whole time, trying to hit those big big notes and do those unnecessary runs. He didn't look inspired (or filled with belief that he can fly either). This was a big fat meh.

Bottom line: Is it mean how much I hope he ends up in the Bottom Three? I mean, I know he's like a little puppy dog, but come on!

American Idol Siobhan Magnus

Image courtesy Fox

5. Siobhan sang "When You Believe" by, apparently Whitney AND Mariah

OMG OMG OMG, I just do not want to hear another speech at the end of another mediocre, if not screechy and bad, performance by Siobhan about what a unique flower she is. How she's "gotta be meeeeee." Shut up shut up shut UP!!!!! Just sing better, OK? We don't really care about all those other excuses. And WHY aren't they ragging on her about the excuses, the way they did Didi? The judges look entranced by her excuses.. Well not quite. This was another throaty, sleepy, froggy, bore. Not to mention another really treacly song, but that was secondary.

Bottom line: Are you there, God? It's me, Elisa. Please put Siobhan in the Bottom Three this week?

6. Michael sang "Hero" by Nickleback

This was fine. He was kind of yelling at me the whole time. And I wanted to tell him that that management style isn't actually inspiring. It's more leading by fear than inspiration.

Bottom line: Michael might have yelled too much again for America. It was yelling that brought him down in the past. We'll see.

7. Crystal sang "People Get Ready" by The Impressions

Crystal changed it up last night, standing alone at the mic, no guitar in hand. And wearing a full-length velvet gown. And singing the first verse a capella. The first half was very very strong, and very very inspired. I will say she let her emotions get away from her, and it affected the quality of her vocals. Not just at the end, when she really just lost her shit, but also earlier when she sounded strained and slightly out of control. Not her best vocal, but a great performance anyway...because of the passion and, yes, feeling of inspiration.

Bottom line: Mega-safe.

Bottom Line for the Bottom Three:

Should be: Siobhan (a girl can dream, right?), Aaron, Tim
And while I would probably really send Siobhan home, it's probably Aaron who deserves it. Even Tim changes it up more and is more interesting than Aaron.

Will be: Michael, Aaron, Tim

It's a toss-up, but I'm going to guess Tim.

What did you think?


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