Review: Idol Gives Back Tim Urban
In a way, I think it’s fitting that Tim Urban was eliminated during the week when “inspiration” was the theme, because his story can certainly be used as an example of just how far a limited singer with a great attitude can go. In case you’ve forgotten, Tim initially wasn’t even named as one of the Top 24 at the end of Hollywood Week; he was brought back as a last-minute replacement for Chris Golightly, who was deemed ineligible. And then, week after week, Tim smiled bravely through the judges’ sometimes-harsh criticism, taking their comments to heart, and often improving dramatically the next week as a result. The 20 year-old singer can definitely exit the season with his head held high, and if there’s a television casting agent out there with even half a brain, they’ll quickly snap up Mr. Urban and find him a place on the Disney Channel where he can continue to make those young hearts flutter. Joining Tim in the Bottom 3 were a clearly nervous Aaron Kelly (who was the first returned to safety) and the cool-as-a-cucumber Casey James, who I think could easily pull a rabbit out of his hat next week and keep the party going a while longer for himself.
Of course, the bigger theme of the evening was the yearly Idol Gives Back event. And although I find the juxtaposition of doing important charity work with the ending of an Idol-hopeful’s dream a little strange, the two-hour special provided several moments that were deeply touching and inspired me to pull out my credit card and head to the website with a donation. (It’s not too late to make a contribution: Go to amercanidol.com, if you are so inclined.) Here are some other thoughts and feelings I had about last night’s show:
* Wanda Sykes spun some terrific comedy out of an Idol question that has bugged me from day one: Why on earth do they make the just-booted contestant sing again??
* Carrie Underwood is not only the most successful American Idol of all time when it comes to record sales, she is also a perfect angel from heaven who has never hit a bad note. Ever. No one is allowed to disagree with me and this is the end of that discussion.
* The Black Eyed Peas’ current CD has produced four massive hit songs so far (“Boom Boom Pow”, “I Gotta Feeling”, “Imma Be”, and “Meet Me Halfway”) that are all phenomenally good. Their fifth single “Rock That Body”, which they performed last night, seems to indicate that this album’s well has finally run dry. And I also found it troubling when the show segued from the Peas’ party vibe on the Pasadena stage directly to footage of children dying from malaria in Africa. There must be a way to make those difficult transitions a little smoother.
* Is Annie Lennox a saint? Every year, she manages to provide the most emotional moments on Idol Gives Back and her singing voice is as impressive as ever.
* I’m not a big George Lopez fan, but he definitely got in some sharp jabs at Simon Cowell. (“Could you mix it up every now and then and wear a large t-shirt instead? We can tell how cold it is in the studio. And one question: Saline or silicone?”) Too bad he couldn’t find a single remotely-funny thing to say about Ellen.
* Have any of you ever heard the Idol group number that was performed last night called “Keeping the Dream Alive”? Part of the melody was a ripoff of Cyndi Lauper’s “All Through the NIght” and I just couldn’t get past that.
* Next week the singers are tackling the Shania Twain songbook. Do you think there are enough well-known hits to make for an interesting night? Shania was a great guest judge during the audition rounds, so I hope she’ll be an equally engaging mentor. At least she’s somewhat current!
* And finally, I’d just like to address the fact that I think it’s awesome that the #1 television show in America (for 9 years in a row) uses that enormous power and influence to put on an inspring event like Idol Gives Back. Every year this show reminds me that my own problems always pale in comparison to what it going on in the world around me, and, most importantly, there is something I can do to help those in need.
What did you think of last night? Sound off with a comment below!