Review: Songs of Sinatra
The remaining five “Idol” hopefuls took on the songbook of Ol’ Blue Eyes, and by the end of the evening they had me feeling like The Chairman of the Bored. Not that it was entirely the fault of the contestants, who were once again saddled with performing material that was written more than half a century ago. It might have been nice to hear Aaron Kelly put a country spin on his selection or listen to Big Mike turn his choice into a modern R&B number, but instead they were encouraged to deliver faithful covers by guest mentor Harry Connick, Jr., who has made a very successful career out of playing music in the classic Sinatra style. For me, the entire event turned out to be far too predictable, especially in light of the fact that in last Thursday’s blog I guessed that Casey James would probably struggle with the theme, and that Big Mike would likely sing well while wearing a fedora.
So, let’s review the individual performances, going from best to worst:
LEE DeWYZE - That’s Life - An interesting thing happened last week in the Idol poll on this website: Lee DeWyze overtook Crystal Bowersox as the favorite singer. Last night should only strengthen his position since Lee seemed even more confident and relaxed, and also managed to show more personality while performing. Typically, the audience likes their Idols humble, and the paint salesman from Illinois certainly comes across as grounded and grateful. Grade: B
MICHAEL LYNCHE - The Way You Look Tonight - Big Mike will not only benefit from having chosen the most recognizable song of the night, but also from looking the part, sounding smooth, and showing a little swagger. Grade: B
CRYSTAL BOWERSOX - Summer Wind - Simon made a very astute observation when he informed Crystal that she needs to stop picking songs just for herself and focus instead on winning the competition. There’s no question that Crystal is the best vocalist of this season, but as we’ve seen in years past with contestants like Melinda Doolittle, the most talented singer doesn’t always win. If Crystal is still here next week, I pray that she comes out with a real crowd-pleasing rendition of a truly popular song. And I could also do without the argumentative side of her personality that we’ve been seeing lately. Grade: B
AARON KELLY - Fly Me To The Moon – On paper it might make sense that Sinatra Night would be a natural fit for our resident crooner Aaron Kelly, but ultimately he doesn’t yet have the maturity and confidence to pull off the swagger that was called for. And Simon’s comment must have hurt: “If Sinatra was a lion, then you were a mouse.” Grade: C
CASEY JAMES - Blue Skies - What needed to be cool and effortless ended up stiff and awkward as Casey struggled to find peace onstage while trying to figure out what to do with his hands. (This Sampson’s power is in his guitar, not his hair.) Casey may have narrowly escaped eviction last week, but I have a feeling that something other than blue skies are headed his way tonight. Grade: C-
BOTTOM 2 PREDICTION: Aaron Kelly and Casey James
GOING HOME: Casey James
What did you think? Who is our next American Idol? (Vote in the poll on the right.) And who is going home tonight? Sound off with a comment below, and let me have it if you disagree that last night was a bit of a snoozer!