April 21, 2010

Did you hear Crystal Bowersox sing "People Get Ready" on "American Idol" last night?

It was one of the best ever performances on the show. Watch. At the last line — "you just thank the Lord" — she breaks down and cries. Afterwards, she attributed her tears to the presence of her father in the audience and the thankfulness she felt toward him.

It's hard to imagine anyone but her winning, but there are still 6 others on the show to be eliminated. What's to keep us engaged for the rest of the season? Can any of the 6 provide worthy competition for Crystal? I got the impression from the judges' comments last night that they have selected Lee Dewyze as the appropriate challenger. His "The Boxer" last night really was good, but the overpraise was insipid, especially when they were as negative as they were toward the 5 others.

51 comments:

MadisonMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadisonMan said...

She was awesome. It was right up there with Fantasia's Summertime.

Crystal stands head and shoulders above the other contestants this year. Lee can be great, but not consistently like Crystal is.

MayBee said...

I think Casey will have a big, Carrie Underwood kind of career.

SteveR said...

Crystal is the real deal, she's never sang anything I didn't think was really good, last night was just awesome.

Fred4Pres said...

She did well. I am not sure that is the best performance evah, but it was very very good.

MadisonMan said...

Casey is horrible. He sings with a vacant grin every single time. It's the same performance, week after week after week. His is the performance you're trying to talk over at a bar -- you're certainly not listening to it.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

She was great. I can't see anyone else winning. The best thing about her is that she has an identity that seems to run counter to the winners we have seen in the past. It makes me wonder if winning will really be the best thing for her career.

al said...

In our house the choice is Lee or Crystal. I think they will be the final two. OTOH it is a popularity contest so they may end up eliminated and another Taylor Hicks (Casey) will win.

Ann Althouse said...

Casey is basically Taylor Hicks... but he's cuter and he's less of a showman. It's a fun bar-band style and nothing more. Except for "Jealous Guy"... I guess he could be more.

Ann Althouse said...

I wrote "Taylor Hicks" before reading al's comment. Ha ha.

Rick said...

I no longer enjoy American Idol. Seacrest nauseates me. But I watched it to keep my wife company. (Will spare you the details.) Kept reading and taking notes for a class tonight. Another song with guitar, ho hum, not bad, not especially inspiring. Then Crystal came on. Stopped reading and taking notes. Wow.

Kirstin said...

"OTOH it is a popularity contest so they may end up eliminated and another Taylor Hicks (Casey) will win."

As opposed to a true artist like Katherine McPhee? LOL. Maybe Chris Daughtry should have won.

k*thy said...

I'm on board with Crystal's recording deal, regardless if she wins or not.

Triangle Man said...

Crystal is in a league of her own. I am a bit concerned that whatever dreck (I'm looking at you "No Boundaries")they have to sing for the final performance might work against her.

I dislike Casey's vibrato.

I did not like the beginning of the arrangement of The Boxer that Lee sang, but liked his singing.

MayBee said...

Casey is basically Taylor Hicks... but he's cuter and he's less of a showman. It's a fun bar-band style and nothing more.

I'm not so sure. He's actually a pretty good guitarist. I bet you let him drink beer and put him in front of a country music crowd, and he's a success.

I like Lee and Crystal's voices more. I really like Lee's voice, actually. He just needs a producer to work with him as a performer.

MayBee said...

Question: Is it better to be a Fantasia or a Taylor Hicks?

PatCA said...

This is why I watch Idol at all. To see someone like that, unproven and innocent, reach the heights.

Yes, MadisonMan, like the Summertime rendition. (And Mike's This Woman's Work.)

Crystal seems so fragile. Hope she has a happy life and great career.

Richard Dolan said...

"It was one of the best ever performances on the show."

I don't watch Idol, but your comment was enough to get me to look and listen.

Her voice has no color or character, and its slightly husky quality has all the charm of wall-to-wall beige. When she reaches for a high note (not that high, in her case), her voice becomes screechy and way off pitch, which she tries to cover up with decibel-power. As they say in other contexts, the cover up is worse than the original sin. The whole act is just pop singing at a fairly low standard.

What is it that makes you and MM and others here think she is so good? If this is "the best ever performances on the show," I don't see why anyone bothers to watch.

Pete said...

This is a voting competition, not a singing competition. Occasionally, the best singer wins but it's the best singer who has the broadest appeal. So far, Carrie Underwood has been the only contestant who was able to combine a great set of pipes with a style that attracted a great many fans. (Then again, I'm here in Oklahoma so maybe I'm prejudiced.)

Similarly, this is shaping up to be a season like Underwood's but in this case, Lee has the greater chance of attracting the voters of the castoffs than Crystal does. Bowersox has her strong supporters now but I don't think she has the ability to pick up enough new voters to put her over the top.

MadisonMan said...

Frankly, I was just watching AI last night waiting for Glee to come on.

Jane Lynch is absolutely the best thing on Glee. She was perfect last night. I hope Vogue is in her Emmy reel.

MadisonMan said...

Richard, I think you misunderstand the purpose of the show. It's not to showcase impeccable singing ability -- although that helps. It's to find rough diamonds that can be polished into gems, given time.

The best AI contestants mix pretty good singing ability with interesting stories, endearing stage presence and a quick-thinking ability to take criticism from judges without looking devastated of pissed.

Smilin' Jack said...

What Richard Dolan said. Why would anyone listen to this when they can listen to Eva Cassidy's version, or Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck's?

Bob Ellison said...

What Richard Dolan and Smilin' Jack said.

But even more: this woman doesn't seem to have a sufficiently strong sense of pitch to make it big. These days, pitch correction can make up for a lot (especially if you look like Beyonce), but ew...this performance sounded pretty bad to me because she kept missing notes.

Bob Ellison said...

I've only seen about three performances, but it still seems unlikely to me that any of the others can beat Siobhan Magnus, based on the two performances from her that I've watched. She's pretty and cute and she can sing much better than the others I've seen.

A.W. said...

yeah, i think it is time for the pony tail to go. don't remember his name, which is part of the problem, but he sang "don't stop thinking about tomorrow."

And i am not QUITE as knocked out by Crystal, but it was very good and genuinely touching at the end in a way that didn't feel forced.

my only concern is that she might be peaking too early, there. I mean i don't think she had control over it, but still the timing is off. if it happened at the final 3 it would have helped alot.

themightypuck said...

Bowersox is the class of the season, but Smilin' Jack is right. The gap between AI and actual music one would listen to without the competition context is massive. To be fair to the performers on the show though, they are highly constrained by the format.

Trooper York said...

You guys have it all wrong. The chalk favorite almost always loses. In fact Carrie Underwood is just about the only favorite that went wire to wire. Siobhan Magnus will win despite the efforts of the judges to submarine her with bullshit criticism. Her performance last night was great doing a much tougher song than anyone else. The judges always ask for something different and when they get it they say "we don't know what kind of artist you are...get back in your box."

Plus you have the gay issue. The gay contestants always lose. Adam, Archeulta and Clay Aiken all went down. To defeat. So to speak. Not that I think that is right. But it is a fact. Middle American and the South do most of the voting.

Trooper York said...

Siobhan can blow the doors off with a performance that Crytal wouldn't be able to touch. She has a much more powerful voice and she has to let it loose.

I hope we lose that grinning idiot Michael Lynch tonight.

Trooper York said...

Or they send Aaron Kelly back to the Keebler tree to make more cookies.

George said...

It's a mixed bag this year. No one, not even Crystal, is a can't miss star. And several have unmistakable niche appeal.

Casey will be a hit as the front man of a country band for a while. But his voice is too weak to have any staying power beyond the arc of the Idol buzz.

Sioban will play big for a while in cozy venues in the Northwest, and wherever handknit shawls and vintage Volkswagon buses still roam.

Lee will get a medium hit or two for radio play, but fail to fill any arenas or, eventually, phone booths due to a personality with all the zip and WiFi strength of an about to be returned iPad.

So that brings us to Crystal. She's compelling. She's genuine. But I fear (and I hope I'm wrong) she's on the edge of a vortex emotionally and spiraling downward. She reminds me of Janis Joplin and the brilliant but joyless genius of her performances. She needs help. Hopefully she will get it.

Christy said...

Is she the one Ryan Seacrest chased out into the parking lot to convince her not to quit?

Trooper York said...

Yes.

Trooper York said...

Hardcore Idol fans who do the bulk of the voting (twelve year old girls) don't like it when you diss Idol. Just sayn.

E.M. Davis said...

"So far, Carrie Underwood has been the only contestant who was able to combine a great set of pipes with a style that attracted a great many fans."

Kelly Clarkson might beg to differ with you.

Trooper York said...

If you remember E.M., that Sideshow Bob imitator Curly Justin Guarini was the judge and fan favorite through most of the competition. Kelly was just the chubby little waitress dark horse. Not the favorite.

Trooper York said...

Wait I misread that. You are exactly right EM. And don't forget Jennifer Hudson. Another loser in the competition who went on to great things.

Christy said...

For enquiring minds,
Top-selling American Idol Alumni

2yellowdogs said...

It's difficult to project a winner, even in a season like this where Crystal is head and shoulders above the rest of the group. Anyone who watched last year should know this. The fact that Adam could lose to that other faceless nobody is evidence that talent alone doesn't dictate the winner.

That said, it doesn't really matter. Adam didn't win, but who has the hit record and the unlimited potential going forward? He's not relegated to doing Ford commercials (see also Taylor Hicks). Crystal's an amazing talent who has already secured the star spot they all strive for going into the season.

lunatic fringe said...

I think I replayed her performance 10 times and turned up the volume on my Bose each time. Incredible performance. Best yet.

lunatic fringe said...

She does remind me of janis....

Trooper York said...

Yeah. Janis Ian.

A.W. said...

Christy

So, um, Kelly Pickler sold more albums than Jordan Sparks? that has got to hurt.

And it verifies that in fact not many people have bought adam's album after all. i mean bo bice's terrible first album sold more than Adam's.

Of course living in D.C. the radio stations are complete sh--, so its hard to be plugged in anymore. i am surprised that carrie sold so much and that she edged out Kelly Clarkson.

i could be wrong, but it seems like the alumni don't actually do very well on balance. and i think the reason why is twofold. first the competition gives absolutely no value whatsoever to songwriting. and until recently no value to the ability to play an instrument. So all you are judging is their ability to sing other people's songs. Well, generally when i like an artist, i like to hear that person express themselves, not someone else's feelings. So the selection process is less than ideal.

And then for some reason when they make the albums they think they have to please everyone. they think they can't be directed toward a niche. i might have rap, jazz, funk, pop, heavy metal, balladiers, folk music and unclassifiable stuff in my music collection, but typically the people i listen to don't try to do more than 2 categories in a single ablum. and usually its one category, with an occasional veering into other music just to break things up a little. So Kurt Cobain screams for 11 tracks, and then slows down and mumbles something about how "its okay to eat fish because they don't have any feelings..." to break things up. or the black crows on shake your money maker, does their best immitation of what the rolling stones would be like if they were all from the south, and then stops and does a funk song "hard to handle," with heavy southern and rolling stones styling on it, and then rolls on back into that rolling stones-esque rock. Or in the middle of Midnight Oil doing its "nice guy punk" routine on "Breathe" suddenly they do a sweet country song "one too many times" and "Home." now i am making fun a little, but make no mistake, i love those albums and part of what i love is these artists know who they want to be, and stay in that space for the most part and win you over. The American idol alumni too often seem to want to please everyone and just leave me flat.

Seriously the only two works i have liked from an american idol alum is "Because of You" by clarkson, and Daughtry's first album.

rumtumtugger said...

if you think this vulgar, saccharine travesty was any good, it just proves you have an utterly tin ear

Beth said...

That was beautiful. I still don't regret not watching the show, because from the little I have watched, such moments, and performers, are few and far between, but I hope that young woman makes it big.

Beth said...

I listened to just a few moments of The Boxer and I have to ask, why does he avoid the melody? It's a good song, with a good melody. This guy was singing all around it. That's lame.

Trooper York said...

Hee Beth, I kind of figured you might be a Bowersox fan. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

The Lillith fair can always use a new headliner. Good for her.

Vote early and vote often.

Trooper York said...

It's like Lem rooting for the Red Sox. You have to cheer for the home team. So to speak.

Methadras said...

Siobhan is a hot girl. She has the quirky hotness about her that I like.

cathy said...

Adam did sell more. 650,000 He's in another category, w/o some contract.

Beth said...

Trooper, I listened to some of Siobhan's stuff on YouTube and like her, too. I just don't watch AI, so it's kind of irrelevant to me.

sonicfrog said...

Are you kidding. I absolutely cringed when that hack butchered "The Boxer". OK, the first performer didn't break any new ground, but, man, he was having a really good time just being out there. I would hand over my money to see him over the other guy any day.... and no, I don't mean in a gay kind of way... Or do I?????