MJ’s Take: The ‘American Idol’ Top 10 Makes A Rebound
This week’s Top 10 performances were a huge improvement over the debacle that was last week’s Top 11 Billboard #1 Hits. Usher came on board to help the kids tackle the R&B/Soul theme, resulting in some pretty decent performances.
In an attempt to pump even MORE drama into the performance show, the cameras followed the contestants backstage after their performances. There was really not much to see back there — hello, pointless time-waster!
‘American Idol’: On the scene for the Top 10 performance night
My favorite “you didn’t see it on TV” part of the night came as Didi was on stage being unfairly lambasted for her decent if unspectacular take on “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.” While Ryan repeatedly (and awkwardly) tried to make Didi reveal why the song was so emotional for her, Debbie brought Tim Urban into the center of the pit for a “going to commercial” shot. The camera was positioned above the pit, looking down. Tim stared up at the camera, armed with his insta-smile, but the shot kept getting delayed due to Ryan’s interrogation of Didi. Instead of just chilling out and maybe chatting with the fans surrounding him, Tim continued to look up at the camera, then down, then up, then down, then up. Camera still not moving. Up, down, up, down, up, down. My neck started hurting just watching Tim continue to tilt his head up as he hoped, yearned, prayed for that darn camera to film its two-second shot.
‘American Idol’ recap: Windfall of the House of Usher
American Idol is kind of like an axe murderer in a horror-movie franchise. Just when you think it’s good and dead, and you’re ready to walk away from it and start your life anew, it lurches into the upright position, clutches you by the ankle, and drags you back to your inevitable fate — sitting on the couch every Tuesday and Wednesday night from now through the end of May.
More Recaps after the JUMP…keep checking back for more…
‘American Idol’ Recap: Dewyze, Bowersox Have Got Soul
Moments before the Top 10 took to the “Idol” stage to sing soul and R&B songs, an “Idol” blogger colleague messaged me on Twitter freaking out. “Gahhh! Jim, season nine needs to start getting serious. It’s getting out of hand. Maybe tonight will be the night.”
“Well, it certainly can’t get any worse.”
‘American Idol’ R&B Night Belongs To Lee Dewyze, Crystal Bowersox
The “American Idol” top 10 had help from Usher on Tuesday night (March 30), when the theme was soul and R&B songs. The “Papers” singer provided some of the most precise, helpful advice in “Idol” mentor history, helping the finalists mold their onstage personas and giving crucial tips on reaching the audience that resulted in strong performances from Crystal Bowersox, Lee Dewyze and Michael Lynche and a comeback of sorts from Andrew Garcia.
‘American Idol’ Season 9: Top 10 Perform, Usher Mentors Contestants Crystal Bowersox, Lee Dewyze
It’s down to the top 10. Lots of questions: What is Crystal Bowersox’s surprise? Will Andrew Garcia sing a Toni Braxton song? Will guest judge Usher sing “Confessions, Pt. 2?”
In an audience-area interview with Ryan Seacrest, Usher lies and calls all of the Idols incredible. Usher’s new album “Raymond vs. Raymond” got a plug, and off we went.
American Idol: The Top 10 and the Lightness of Being Usher
Lee DeWyze > Crystal Bowersox > Michael Lynche > Andrew Garcia > Siobhan Magnus > Aaron Kelly > Katie Stevens > Casey James > Tim Urban > Didi Benami
Tuesday night’s winner, hands down, was Usher’s marketing and promotions machine. His appearance as an “Idol” mentor coincided with the release of his sixth studio album, “Raymond Vs. Raymond” (LaFace) and the accompanying efforts on the part of his team to purge memories of his last snoozer of an album, 2008’s “Here I Stand, ” and of the last few years of tumult in his personal life.
Usher mentors R&B Week on ‘American Idol’
It’s R&B Week on “American Idol” and this week’s mentor, Usher, asks the 10 remaining Idolettes for “permission” to be brutally honest with them in order to help them become all they can be.
“Tonight is very important. They made it here but this isn’t the finish line, ” Usher explains to the camera, for those viewers who still count on their fingers and toes.
“This is their time to shine and this is the stage to do it on, ” adds Usher, who we think is getting his best material off Hallmark cards.
Usher inspires a night of improvement on ‘Idol’
Just make Usher the permanent mentor, and the singing will be good enough that nobody will notice the caustic judge is not there.
This week’s guest was the anti-Gwen Stefani in his ability to inspire everyone to be at their best for soul and R&B night. Maybe when he looked into each of the 10 remaining finalists’ eyes, the gaze pierced their souls and caused them to finally understand. Maybe his words just clicked, and everyone took his advice to heart. Or maybe his very presence was enough to trigger top performances.
Ann Powers: Lost and found in the House of Usher
When my music-obsessed friends ask me how I can stand writing about “American Idol” every week (and they do increasingly in this less-than-stellar season), I often declaim on the importance of getting the wide view of pop — a picture with soundtrack of how ordinary fans absorb and react to music as it floats beyond particular fan bases or artistic enclaves.
“American Idol” Expands (And Expands) To Fill Its Space
Tonight’s ‘American Idol‘ was devoted to soul, rhythm, and blues, but it was just as devoted to the art of killing time. The episode stretched out over two hours, and given that there were only about 900 seconds of “meat” that the show had to wind itself around — 10 performances, each about 90 seconds in length — there was lots of filler. Ryan started things off with a call for audience participation and long chat with Usher; the judges seemed to be trying to fill space as much as they could during the critiques; the singers all got post-commercial break reaction segments.
Season 9 Final 10 Sing:– Tim Grows a Pair
Tonight is a good example of everything that is wrong with Idol. Producers introduce the worthless “backstage cam.” I guess it’s supposed to give us an insight into who these people are and give the Idols a chance to rebuke the stupidity of the judges. But really it just gives these idiots another 30 seconds to blather incoherently about all the fun they’re having on-stage. I can tell you 100% of the fun is on the side of the singers, not the viewers, because the show was once again impossible to sit through. Idol Producers, how does this backstage cam enrich the Idol viewing experience in any way, shape or form? This gimmick sucked at the Oscars, and it sucks even worse here.
Top 10 Recap – Tim Urban Laughs at the Judges, Simon Laughs at His Competition
This week, the Idol contestants performed R&B songs and the judges ripped them apart for not being good enough. Yep, 9 more weeks of mediocrity before the finale. How many viewers do you think will be left at that point? At least Teflon Timmy gave us a show tonight and was the clear VFTW frontrunner. At the same time, he’s clearly the one who is supposed to go home. So if voting is still open in your area, I expect you to be dialing 1-866-IDOLS-05 as you read this recap. Tim literally laughed at the judges for criticizing him. Brilliant. And deserving of your votes.
Ushering in Improved Mediocrity: AI Season 9 Top 10 Recap
Its the Usher-mentored R&B-and-Soul shit fest we’ve all been waiting for tonight on American Idol!
And since tonight’s songs were revealed just before showtime, lazy Kris Allen tards are threatening to cut a bitch, as Aaron Kelly will be doing the Bill Withers classic, Ain’t No Sunshine. While I’m not going to hate on Aaron Kelly for doing Ain’t No Sunshine…yet (hey, he’s like 12 and couldn’t hurt a ladybug), I doubt he can top Kris Allen’s memorable version from last season.
‘Idol’ contestants on Usher as a mentor: He ‘nailed it!’
Does the guest mentor have a major impact on the quality of “Idol” performances during any given week? Well, if you felt like Tuesday’s soul and R&B night showed a little more oomph than the sleepy pseudo-themes of the first couple of shows, then hats off to Usher. (Sunglasses are another matter).
Speaking to reporters after the show (an “Idol” first!), the contestants simply gushed over the hit-maker’s ability to hone in on individual strengths and weaknesses. “I think he really tailored every comment and advice for each one of us, ” said “Big Mike” Lynch, who sang India.Arie’s “Ready for Love.” “You could tell he did his homework on us. That was crazy.”
Idols are split on post-performance behind-the-scenes clips
Tuesday night’s “American Idol” introduced a new element to the live show — quick, behind-the-scenes clips of post-performance reactions by the contestants — good and bad. So we got to see the whole range: Siobhan Magnus stewing in a corner by the craft services table, Michael Lynche high-fiving his fellow hopefuls, Tim Urban laughing off another night on America’s biggest stage.
How did the contestants themselves feel about the new addition? Not surprisingly, they, like many of our Twitter followers, were decidedly split on the matter.
‘American Idol’ Recap: Lee Dewyze Rocks Out and Tim Urban Makes Simon Cowell Give Up
Here we are with the “American Idol” Top 10 – the few, the happy few, the band of brothers (and ladies) – destined to be part of the cultural chatter at least through the AI tour this summer. What a long, strange trip it’s been – and it may only get weirder tonight as we see what Tim Urban comes up with for R&B/soul night. I hope Usher shakes some sense into him.
Usher Guests, Bowersox and DeWyze Score on “American Idol”
Newly single Usher, promoting his latest album Raymond v. Raymond, pulled an Andrew Lloyd Webber on Tim Urban during last night’s American Idol, instructing “Teflon Tim” to sing to him as though Usher was an alluring lady (it wasn’t quite the come-on Webber presented to David Cook two seasons ago: “I’m a gorgeous 17-year-old girl from the chorus”). Still, Usher oozed star power and the 10 remaining hopefuls largely did not. The R&B/soul night helped a few struggling singers find renewed focus, but it failed to deliver a single outstanding, powerhouse performance and Season Nine continued its Paula-free slog. Here’s how the night broke down:
Blake Lewis: ‘A little Kanye beat’ would’ve helped Siobhan
Blake Lewis returns with his the latest installment of his guest blog for Idol Chatter.
Usher was the mentor for last night’s American Idol, and I must say I was really impressed.
The night started with Siobhan Magnus singing Through The Fire, and the arrangement was too old for her. I was hoping that maybe she would have flipped it, given that Usher was on the show, but I was wrong. A little Kanye beat would have helped it for me.
American Idol Recap: A Little Bit of Soul. Just a Little.
Usher showed up on American Idol last night to advise the top ten as to how they might prolong their singing careers past this season’s finale on May 26. The evening’s theme was soul and R&B, and the reigning king of the genre promised not to go easy on this year’s paltry crop of performers with his critiques. He even followed through on that, stopping a few of the egregiously mediocre singers mid-moan and demanding they try again. His efforts were mostly fruitless, but hey, it’s not his fault the judges were thinking about something else when they handpicked this season’s talent.