Rolling Stone night produced no major trainwrecks. Well there was that WTF moment when Tim Urban turned the sinister “Under My Thumb” into a Jimmy Buffett jam–but no major disasters. Instead, it was mostly good (Crystal) to middling performances. And I’ll be in the minority to say that I didn’t think Siobhan Magnus was all that tonight. I like the idea of Siobhan, but ultimately, she’s style over substance.
The Idol judges continue grading on a curve for this crew of under-achievers. Some of the kids showed improvements, but when you consider how crappy some of the 12 have been, it’s really not saying much. I was mostly bored tonight. Sigh.
Tonight, its the music of the legendary Rolling Stones!
Announcer introduce the judges and Ryan, X Factor style. Is that really necessary? Ryan reintroduces us to the “big stage”. Ryan introduces the Top 12, who take the stage. Ah. The stylists have finally gotten a hold of them!
Ryan introduces the theme: The Rolling Stones. The video package rolls.
Kids talk about their childhoods in tonight’s video packages
Michael Lynche – “Miss You” – Big Mike talks about the profound effect his mother’s death had on him. He started playing music at that time. Aw. His little baby is beautiful! Mike’s R&B take employs lots of flourishes and falsetto riffs. Not sure I like the arrangement–it goes nowhere, but the vocal is good, if a little OTT. Mike could dial the runs back and be OK. Randy says, “I wasn’t so crazy…but it reminded me how great a performer you are.” Ellen says, “What’s not to love about that? Not disappointed yet. Way to start the night.” Kara says, “You delivered swagger, style and attitude. Hot on stage.” Simon says, “You’ve got your confidence up, I thought the performance was kind of corny. You sang it well, it was verging at times, a tiny bit desperate.” Simon snerks at Ryan for questioning his judgment, Ryan walks over to the judges table to face-off with Simon! Throw-down between Ryan and Simon! All in jest. I wouldn’t call Mike’s performance “desperate” but corny? Simon has a point there. – – 1-866-436-5701. – VIDEO
Didi Benami – “Play with Fire” – Didi gets a pre-package interview. Didi’s mom gets too nervous watching her get perform. Her mom is watching her apartment in Los Angeles. No guitar tonight. Didi and her awesome phrasing and unique vocals are back, I do believe. Oh, she missed a beat there. Oh no, she’s screwing up the rhythm. That’s too bad, because she started off really well. She finishes up OK. She looks a little upset. Randy says, “You were on fire tonight..one of your best performances.” Ellen says, “You lost your way, but you got right back in the song. Sounded great.” Kara says, “When you push on your vocals, you lose your way. But I like your intensity. The sweetness of your voice with the darkness of the song…two steps in the right direction.” Simon says, “You are beginning to show us the kind of artist you want to be. I thought you were going to lose it. That’s what nerves will do to you. Solid, but not brilliant performance.” Man, it really is too bad she lost it. The good parts were really good. Didi says Siobhan is rubbing off on her. – 1-866-436-5702. – VIDEO
Casey James – “It’s All Over Now” – Casey comes from a single parent home. He was sick as a baby and didn’t talk for the longest time. He comes from a musical family. Casey needs to finish his phrases! But, I dig his raspy voice. He’s got a really nice tone and a lot of confidence–decent guitar player. A little stiff on stage, though. He needs to loosen up! Randy says, “Back to the Casey that I love. I loved it.” Ellen says, “Women’s hearts will start racing, but for people like me…blonds…I thought it was fantastic.” Kara says, “Tonight you WERE a rock star. It’s got blues and soul. That’s what I’ve been missing from you. Your best performance since we met.” Kara’s back on the train. Simon says, “For me, that was like an audition performance, not using this stage…not using the platform…you’ve got to push yourself. Not just a guy standing in the middle of the stage.” Simon is right. But still, Casey can sing, he just needs more pizazz. – 1-866-436-5703 – VIDEO
Lacey Brown – “Ruby Tuesday” – She was born and raised in Amarillo TX. Her parents are pastors. Dad says Lacey doesn’t have much experience singing outside the church. Lacey’s got a string section. Her twangy vocals don’t really match what’s happening in the music. I’m waiting for someone to bust out a banjo. She’s pitchy. I’m not sure why Lacey doesn’t go country. So, that was a little weird for me. Randy says, “Very interesting arrangement, not jumping up and down about the vocal…you kinda held it together.” Ellen says, “I thought it was weird on the slowest part of the song you were moving. A tiny bit sleepy for me.” Kara says, “It was 50/50 for me. Hearing your voice up clear is great, some issues where you didn’t hit the notes right. You could do better.” Simon says, “You perform like an actress, everything is very thought through. Nothing wrong with the vocals. You’ve got to stop over-thinking this.” – 1-866-436-5704. – VIDEO
Andrew Garcia – “Gimme Shelter” – Andrews Dad is a musician and a singer. Dad gets misty describing how they had no money for stuff. No guitar for Andrew this week. I’m not liking this song choice. Andrew doesn’t have the vocal strength to pull this song off. This is really pitchy and boring! So monotone. He’s got no phrasing, modulation, nothing to give the song oomph. He livens up a bit near the end. The semi-glory note at the finish is not enough. Zzz. Randy says, “It was just pitchy everywhere, it wasn’t great dude.” Ellen says, “I think that was your best performance yet. I loved it.” (Seriously?) Kara says, “It’s a song about war, I wanted to feel that from you…the connection bothered me the most…more intensity. I still like you.” Simon thinks she’s taking it too literally (No she’s not Kara is right) Simon says, “I’m somewhat in the middle. My gut is that you were better in rehearsals, you’ve had so much mixed criticism, you had to try something else, I genuinely hope you survive another week.” How many chances are we supposed to give this dude? He outlasted peeps who didn’t screw up this much. – 1-866-436-5705 – VIDEO
Katie Stevens – “Wild Horses” – Ryan interview before her video package. She explains why she picked ‘Wild Horses”. OMG that dress! She barely knows who the Stones are. Katie says she used to be shy. Her mom disagrees. She hopes to put CT on the map. Erm, I think it’s already there. She’s sitting on a stool. This is impossibly slow. Her vocals are all trembly. Gah. She seriously has no idea what this song means. Ugh Katie. Please go back to Connecticut. Big meaningless glory note at the end. Subo sings it better. And Subo sucks. Randy says, “I think you sang that really well. Strong performance.” Ellen says, “I almost wore that. It started pitchy, but then amazing once you got into it.” Kara says, “It’s never technically perfect with you, but you made some nice choices.” Simon says, “This is the only week you chose the right song. I didn’t like the second half of the arrangement…but it’s the first time you connected to the song. Well done.” Gah! Simon, of course, has to mention the Subo version. Of course he’s not going to dis the song choice. Well done Katy! Kissing Simon’s ass with that song choice. – 1-866-436-5706. – VIDEO
Tim Urban – “Under My Thumb” – He wanted to be an athlete. Tim picked up the guitar at 15 or 16. He is part of the Urban family. Sounds creepily cultish. The sway bots are singing and clapping along. WTF. Has Tim really listened to the lyrics of this song? Is he f*cking serious with this jaunty reggae arrangement? The lyrics are sinister. This might be one of the most mean-spirited Stones songs ever. It’s meant to be performed with edge. Randy is laughing, “Wow, I didn’t get that dude. It was really bizarre. It was weird for me.” Ellen says, “I felt like I was at a resort and listening to someone sing. Nothing wrong with it, it just didn’t work” (Oh, there was a lot wrong with that) Kara says, “I got to applaud you for doing something so different with the song…you made it your own.” Simon says, “I have to applaud you for doing something different…it didn’t work. Rolling Stones fans would be turning the TVs off. It was a crazy decision.” Tim says he knew it was going to be a huge risk. I found a song I could have some fun with. Dear GOD. PLEASE GO AWAY. – 1-866-436-5707. – VIDEO
Siobhan Magnus – “Paint it Black” – Siobhan comes from a huge family. She’s from Barnstable, MA in the Cape. She sings with her Dad. They sing to let off steam. Siobhan is sitting on the stairs, lit up red. She’s all in black. Wow, she looks beautiful. Hm. She’s slightly underpitch all the way through. I’m not sure I like this arrangement. She gets kind of screamy at the end. Oh that last note before the end was not good. She’s trying too hard. You know I really really want to like Siobhan. I really do. On paper I like her, but I’ve got mixed feelings about her performances. She’s unique, for sure, but she’s all over the place. Randy says, “That was hot.” Ellen says, “I love the way you look tonight…you stand out like Snooki’s poof.” Kara says, “The best interpretation tonight, most interesting.” Siobhan reminds Kara of Adam Lambert. Adam had better control of his vocals (mostly). Simon says, “It was the standout performance of the night. Now I see the development from the middle to the end. There’s a lot of people who are going to hate that…better than being boring.” Wow. The judges totally overpraised that performance. I highly suggest they go home and watch that back on TV. – 1-866-436-5708 – VIDEO
Lee Dewyze – “Beast of Burden” – Lee Dewyze sits down for a little chat with Ryan. Ryan quizzes him on paint colors. He used to be real nervous…and he’s still nervous! Lee’s on acoustic guitar. I really like the quality of Lee’s vocals. I think he’s going to sound amazing recorded. But he needs to light up that stage. He just doesn’t have the presence to pull off his performances. Nice arrangement of the song. Randy says, “You really came home with this for me…I thought it was dope.” Ellen says, “I thought it was great…I was expecting a tiny bit more for me…I was almost there…nothing wrong with it…little less than I expected” I agree with this. Kara says he displayed tremendous growth. Simon says, “You don’t shine at the moment. You chose a very safe song, and other people have had bigger moments. You’ve got an incredibly good voice. I want you to come back here and have moment. Stop thinking that other people are better than you.” – 1-866-436-5709 – VIDEO
Paige Miles – “Honky Tonk Woman” – She lost her dad. He was paralyzed from the neck down, and died. Paige is so pretty. Well, this is better than last week, but still not wow-worthy. She hits some nice big notes in there. The laryngitis gives her vocal a nice rasp! Randy says, “You did alright with it, you kind of pulled it out. Wished you had more energy.” Ellen says, “You sounded great, even though you’re struggling with your voice.” Kara says, “Sometimes you got a little lost, but the Paige we know is back” Simon asks about her laryngitis. “Oh, considering that, you did alright.” Simon says she’s still a little generic, like something you’d hear at a bar, and she’s still not living up to her potential. So, they let her explain her illness that will help with the votes. I don’t expect her to go home this week. – 1-866-436-5710 – VIDEO
Aaron Kelly – “Angie” – Aaron’s aunt, who he calls Mom, is very proud of him. Aaron is sitting on the steps as he croons “Angie”. “Angie” is not a song that you croon. OMG this is so boring. I can’t even listen. He sounds the same on every song he sings. Randy says, “You were born to sing….the tender moments. I thought it was hot.” Ellen says, “I thought that was such a great song choice for you. You and Siobhan stood out tonight.” GAH! Kara says, “When you connect with the feeling of a song, you really stand out.” Simon says, “You chose absolutely the right song. What you did cleverly, you kept within the limits of your vocals…it was believable…one of your best.” Judges? Have now resorted to grading on a curve. Randy inexplicably compares him to Justin Timberlake (??) – 1-866-436-5711 – VIDEO
Crystal Bowersox – You Can’t Always Get What You Want” – Crystal grew up in a rural area. She started writing when she was 10 years old. Her Dad think she’s a good songwriter. Aw, her Dad tears up talking about her. Crystal’s got her acoustic guitar tonight. Dang. This girl is the real deal. No pretension, no gimmicks, just raw talent. Randy says, “I didn’t think it was your best performance…you didn’t disappoint.” Ellen says, “You sing with such ease. You really are born to be on stage…You started adding some personality.” Crystal says she was thinking too much. Kara says, “She’s so comfortable on stage…you start thinking that “I’ve got that”…but tonight, you loosened up.” Simon wonders about the over-thinking. Crystal says she’s got a lot in her mind that kept her from letting it all out. Simon says, “I think you chose a song, that didn’t have the drama, I think you were beaten by Siobhan. He warns her not to become over-confident. You have to dig deep every week…you’ve got to come on that stage and you’ve got to kill” Crystal stresses that she doesn’t think she’s already won the contest. “But other people think you do”, says Simon. Wow, her performance lacked the drama and the trappings of Siobhan’s performance, but I still think she was better. But, it’s probably good to de-pimp her a little at this point. And I think the judges may be setting them up for a final two showdown. Crystal wears a Lilly feather in her hair to commemorate her fallen friend. – 1-866-436-5712 – VIDEO