Review: Shania Twain Night
It was only one week ago that I foolishly prophesized a Crystal vs. Lee finale and I’m already prepared to eat my words. Mr. DeWyze must be feeling substantially less secure today after a regenerated and focused Casey James shone brightest on Shania Twain Night by heeding the beautiful mentor’s spot-on advice. Picking the worst of the evening, however, is much less obvious business. So let’s review the performances, going from strongest to weakest:
CASEY JAMES “Don’t” - Shania Twain is one of the top-selling artists of the past 15 years, but I must admit that I’m not familiar with a lot of her songs, including Casey’s selection of one of her more recent releases. After revealing to Ryan that he’d looked back on last week’s lackluster performance and realized that he “didn’t give anything new or different,” Casey took Shania’s counseling to heart and let his confidence come from the inside. In other words, he didn’t rely on the charm of that blinding smile quite so much and focused instead of the song’s heartbreaking lyrics. Grade: A
AARON KELLY “You’ve Got a Way” - I had a feeling that the evening’s theme would be a natural fit for Aaron, who will probably find himself safe from the Bottom 3 tonight. Although he sounded a little nervous in the quieter parts, he hit all the big notes with power, confidence, and ease. And those who like their Idols angelic were likely enamored with Aaron’s dedication of the song to his mother. Grade: B
CRYSTAL BOWERSOX “No One Needs To Know” - First of all, I have to address her pre-performance exchange with Ryan, where Crystal remarked on the glow of positive energy that surrounds Shania. Ryan strangely replied that Ms. Twain also has “really white teeth.” Was that a jab at Crystal? Anyway, the night’s most overtly “country” rendition also seemed to be the one most lacking in personal connection. Shania told Crystal that it’s a happy song and suggested she smile more, but the whole thing just didn’t feel very authentic to me, despite the presence of a lot of credible-looking musicians. Also, her first experience with less-than-glowing feedback from the judges brought out a slightly defensive side of Crystal that I found a bit unattractive. Grade: B
MICHAEL LYNCHE “It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing” – Shania told him that the ones that make it all the way are those that are feeling it the most. If that’s the case, then Simon’s observation that Big Mike seemed like he was performing in a Broadway show would indicate a disconnect with the emotion of the song. I would agree with that notion, but I have to say that technically, Mike’s singing made this one of his better offerings. And what to make of Simon’s proclamation of this being a “wet” performance? Simon says wet means “girly”? Okay, I’m not going to touch that one. Grade: B-
LEE DeWYZE “You’re Still the One” – What a difference a week makes, as Lee slips from frontrunner status to suddenly being in jeopardy. Selecting Shania’s most well-known and classic song was a great move on his part, but having to shift gears and interpret such a soft and sensitive number proved to be a challenge that an off-key Lee simply wasn’t up to. If he’s lucky enough to avoid the guillotine tonight, hopefully our resident rocker can return to his grittier style next week. Grade: C
SIOBHAN MAGNUS “Any Man of Mine” - Last week Kara told Siobhan that she “didn’t know who she was” and I imagine last night only provided further image confusion for most. Although she received generally favorable reviews from the judges, my own ears were put off by her overall nasal tone and shaky delivery of the verses. In his one pointed criticism, Simon informed her that the big final note made it sound like she was giving birth on the stage. It’s hard to disagree with that. Grade: C-
BOTTOM 3 PREDICTION: Siobhan Magnus, Lee DeWyze, and Big Mike
GOING HOME: For me, the worst of the evening was Siobhan, but my son Simon (who is not a regular viewer of the show) was quite impressed with the big notes she hit at the end of her song. She’s probably safe this week. Lee DeWyze has strung together enough strong performances in weeks past to benefit from the goodwill voting of supportive fans, so I’m hoping he is spared as well. My money is on the elimination of Big Mike.
Who is your favorite? The paint salesman, the glassblower, the mother, the father, the construction worker, or the high school student? (Vote in our poll on the right?) And who do you think will exit tonight? Sound off below with a comment!