May 5, 2010

After Harry Connick night (AKA Frank Sinatra night) all of the Idol contestants are at risk.

And with only one female left in the group of 5, I bet the producers are desperately regretting that they tucked Crystal Bowersox in the center of the lineup and the judges all went so negative on her. Simon thought her lovely version of "Summer Wind" was too much like something you'd hear in a jazz club. He said that with a sneer so we'd understand what a bad thing that is.

She was criticized for sleepiness and lack of urgency. They want more of a strenuous demonstration that you really want this thing — which is the grotesque way most of the contestants act. Now, Lee Dewyze has also had a shy style, but somehow they've decided he's the one they want to win — or at least he's the one they want to provide competition for Crystal, who has long seemed like the predestined winner.

But what if, in trying to make Lee into her worthy competitor, they've let her slip through the cracks? If she goes home tonight, there will be 4 left, all male, and all pretty boring. Do you really want to tune in and not to be able to see any females? It will be grim! There was once a season that became all male when there were 3 left, and there were 2 more with a male final 2.  If Crystal goes... ratings disaster.

Anyway... Harry Connick Jr. was the best mentor guest they've ever had on the show. He didn't just listen to the contestants and give them some advice. He did the arrangements and played on stage with them. And he's so charming. Lee is lucky he kinda looks like Harry. It gave him a sexiness boost to be seen with Harry. I was thinking, yeah, he could be like that.

And here's Lee DeWyze singing his Sinatra song: "That's Life." Are you an obsessive enough reader of this blog to remember that I wrote about this song — back in 2008 in a post with photographs of a foggy cemetery?
As I drove into the cemetery, just by chance, on the radio's "Sinatra" channel, Van Morrison was singing "That's Life." I can't find the Van Morrison version, but here's Frank Sinatra. Lyrics (by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon):
I said that's life, and as funny as it may seem
Some people get their kicks,
Stompin' on a dream
But I don't let it, let it get me down,
'Cause this fine ol' world it keeps spinning around...

That's life and I can't deny it
Many times I thought of cutting out
But my heart won't buy it
But if there's nothing shakin' come this here July
I'm gonna roll myself up in a big ball and die
What a crazy song! It's all life affirming and then, impetuously, suicidal.
So I was excited that Lee was singing that song. How would he do the crazy big-ball-and-die climax? Answer: He didn't. It was arranged to end with "this fine ol' world it keeps spinning around." Life affirming. Blah. It's "American Idol" and any possible sharp edges must be dulled.


MadisonMan said...

I didn't watch last night -- I was at a High School sporting event. But via youtube, I saw all the performances, and Casey was dreadful. Aaron and Crystal sounded just as good as Lee did (I wasn't really watching, just listening).

My opinion is that the two safe people will be Lee and Aaron, and that Casey will go home. But I agree that Crystal is in danger, and the show will have sub-par ratings without her.

(My predictions with Idol just aren't very good, btw)

PatCA said...

Yes, I was so impressed by Harry Connick! This was a great idea and we should see more of professionals teaching and making music with the newbies like he did.

That said, Sinatra is on a different planet from these kids, and it was all...difficult.

Beta Conservative said...

I agree that Harry Connick was great. Unfortunately, the contestants ranged from OK to miserable.

Casey was downright offensive, butchering a song I like very much.

I thought Aaron would be OK, because he has an old fashioned and pleasing tone to his voice. I would be a little surprised if he went home. If it is anyone but Casey, we will know once again that the teenage crush girls vote like crazy for their blue eyed TV boyfriends.

MadisonMan said...

And I have to say, Harry was good as a mentor, but better as a musician, and lousy as a comic. Some of his jokes seemed just mean to me. I did like the banter between him and Ellen.

al said...

I have to agree - Harry Connick Jr was great last night. He was involved with the contestants.

Lee and Crystal were my two faves of the night and my pick to be the last two standing.

Casey, if there is any justice, should be gone.

Quayle said...

I thought Crystal sang 'Summer Wind' like she was a constipated church choir soloist trying to pass a bladder stone.

The song is supposed to be breezy-light and airy, not southern soul.

"Like painted kites, those days and nights
They went flying by
The world was new beneath the blue
Umbrella sky"

Brian Day said...

Blah. It's "American Idol" and any possible sharp edges must be dulled.

All of the songs were shortened last night. I understand the reasoning when you have to get in eight songs in an hour, but with only five contestants, they should be singing the whole song.

SteveR said...

Harry Connick Jr was as good a mentor as they've had no doubt.

Not sure young folks doing Sinatra could work and it basically didn't. If Crystal goes, and not Casey or Aaron, I'm out for this season.

Paddy O. said...

I agree about Harry Connick. I've not watched a lot of AI the last few seasons, but tuned in because I figured he would be a great guest. For so many, it's about the fame and the show. For him, it's about the music first. He loves and knows music, inviting people to love it and know it with him.

What I liked about Crystal was that she really took the song as her own. She's a strong-willed singer who embraces a tune with deep emotion, and holds to it. Indeed, her emotional connection is so her own she resists being shoved into a box that others make. It seems the judges wanted one kind of emotion, but she was filling it with her own approach. I really liked her confident rebuttal to the judges. I think that suggests she's the one who could really make a career out of this.

I'm also a bit confused why "jazz club" was a negative. These were songs that are made for such a venue, and to get that kind of feel even in an over-staged, pop setting is great. It's the cool of the jazz club that gave the Rat Pack their style, with Harry Connick's work showing the same personal approach.

The show would have been much better with a lot more of his critiques of the performances.

Beth said...

I've never liked Harry Connick, Jr., because I always thought it was a shame that he directed his talent toward being an imitation Frank Sinatra. He started that way back, when still a NOCCA student, and it was always like listening to someone do a really faithful karaoke performance. He's got so much talent, but it doesn't gel into an identity.

GV said...

Too bad they couldn't get the contestants opinion of this week's theme. So, you have a bunch of 20 somethings (or younger) singing with a guy who covers and older guy who only did cover songs to begin with.

It must have been miserable for the contestants, especially Casey.

What's next week's theme, Al Jolson? Perhaps show tunes from the '40s.

What a dreadful episode. Casey gets drummed out because he can't sing like Sinatra. Is that a crime?

veni vidi vici said...

They actually have a contestant for a crooner gig whose name is "Lee Dew-eyes"?

If the name alone doesn't seal the deal and wet the stamp with a pair of moistened panties, then there's just no justice in the business of show.

Ken said...

A lot of these contestant shows would be so much better WITHOUT the panel of judges. Just let these people do their thing and let the audience judge. There's no need to have the likes of Simon stand between the performer and audience.

Joe said...

I agree with Beth. But the, I find Sinatra to be a good, but extremely boring singer. Harry Connick Jr. churns out stuff even more boring than Sinatra (and a ridiculous number of Christmas albums.)

I also agree with GV that having nights like this is perfectly silly. Why not go all the way and have the contestants sing baroque masses or opera?

master cylinder said...

This year kinda sucks. I miss Adam Lambert.

A.W. said...

in my opinion, it will be casey or aaron going away this week.

But given how weak everyone was, I am not sure how much props i give to harry connick junior. i think i have seen people make the contestants better. although at the same time, sinatra is kind of hard for any contemporary artist.

ligneus said...

I dropped out after last week's loss of Siobhan Magnus. She had life, personality, fun and a good voice. I got really p'd off with the judges harping on, "I still don't know who you are" because she tried to be different each week. Yeah, that's it, no more idol for me, it's run its course and should disappear.

BJM said...

TWOP pretty much sums it up for me this week. They all sucked.

clarenancy said...

It occurred to me, after last week's sleepy tune, that maybe Crystal wants to lose. Arguably, she would do better pulling a Daughtry at this point. She's her own woman and she will not be forgotten after Idol.

Mian said...

Idol has never done jazz very well, and the best jazz-styled singers go home early. (Remember Melinda Doolittle?)

Idol is all about pop and/or country and is ruled by 14 year-old girls, who actually vote on their mobile phones. (Personally I know a lot of people who watch it but no one who actually votes.)

Modern Otter said...

Agree about Harry--he gave AI their money's worth like no mentor I can think of. I just ctrl-F searched the thread, and no mention of ("Big") Mike's best performance of the night.