The kids tackled the songs of Lennon and McCartney tonight, and they did not suck! The best week of the entire series of live shows–only Aaron Kelly and Andrew Garcia really faltered. Siobhan was a disappointment, but everyone else met or exceeded expectations.
Best of the night goes to Casey James for his heartbreaking version of Lennon’s “Jealous Guy”. Surprising tonight: Katie Stevens and Tim Urban, who both made wise song choices.
The judges spent a lot of time arguing over whether contestants are commercial or not. As if the viewers at home care at all. People will just vote for who they like regardless…
And Andrew/Lee bromance for the win! Here’s hoping they make Danny Gokey babies soon!
Live blog and vids after the jump…
Tonight, it’s the songs of Lennon/McCartney, and if you saw the spoilers, you know the set list reads like a repeat of Season 7! Hope the kids can handle the comparisons…
The action begins backstage, Ryan is backstage showing off the control room. Not sure if I’m liking this backstage stuff. The judges are introduced and take their seats.
After bidding goodbye to Didi Benami, Ryan introduces the Top 9. The video package is introduced, Lennon and McCartney: Lots of hits, successful solo careers…etc. The Top 9 share their thoughts on one of the greatest songwriting teams of all time.
AND OMG PAUL MCCARTNEY TAPED A GOOD LUCK MESSAGE!!! You know the producers tried to get him to mentor and he said, erm, maybe not. And then threw them the taped message as a bone. After all, he DID appear on Simon’s X Factor in the UK, to perform… – VIDEO
Ellen’s fav Beatle song: Blackbird, Michelle, Come Together, Across the Universe…Did they write “Party in the USA”? Kara says the songs are still meaningful and relevant, and some of the best melodies ever written. Simon agrees with Kara for once! Should the Contestants change things up? Some songs shouldn’t be changed, others can. He’d like to hear the contestants change things at least a little bit.
Aaron Kelly – “The Long and Winding Road” – The contestants call Aaron Yoda! He’s described as a “Mature Kid”. Eep! He starts off pitchy. His head voice is really nasally, unpleasant and super-goatie. A very clumsy, amateurish performance. NO stage presence. The last note is like sandpaper. Yipes. Randy says, “You have a beautiful tone, but I didn’t like the arrangement, it needed to be changed up…you could have done a country version.” Ellen says, “It’s a big song to take on, it felt like a long and winding song.” Kara says, “When it comes together for you, it works, but for what you are trying to do , you have to be great, How about something up tempo next week? We’re just seeing the same side of you.” Simon wants to know why he chose the song. Aaron says the whole journey has been a long and winding road. Simon says, “It was very old fashioned, boring…” an audience member screams a boo and Simon and Kara turn around. Simon continues, “You’ve got to become young and relevant, you’ve got to have moment, you should have done some research on that song” (Like David A sang it 2 years ago?) – 1-866-436-5701 – VIDEO
Backstage, Aaron says he’ll pick an uptempo song next week. He still feels confident
Katie Stevens – “Let it Be” – Katie tells Ryan that she’s had 5 offers for prom dates. And if you voted for her? Maybe she’ll go with you. The contestants say she does a “single ladies” dance. She’s got lots of energy! Katie says she’s known “Let it Be” forever, her dad used to sing it, that’s why she chose it. She’s got a piano player on stage with her. Her hair is pulled back, she’s got a hot-pink dress on. I have to say, this is pretty good. This is her best performance ever, easy. She’s connecting to the song for once. She doesn’t seem old-fashioned either. Very pretty. Randy says, “This is your best performance ever… those were hot vocals, that’s why you’re in the Top 9.” Ellen says, “Perfect example of changing it to make you own while still respecting the song. There’s no way you’ll be in bottom 3, that was amazing.” Kara says, “You’re blossoming on that stage, your attitude, you are confident considering you’ve been beat up for two weeks. I’m proud of you.” Simon says, “Tonight, you got it right. You were absolutely leaning in the direction I hinted at, that’s more country.” Huh? Randy and Kara blow up at Simon, they think he’s crazy. SIMON IS TRIPPING, Y’ALL. That was not country. Katie sings a snip, to prove she wasn’t going for the country vibe. Simon adds, “It felt like you were singing it about somebody, you were not being robotic. Well done.” “We need to clarify what country you’re talking about.” Katie is trying to show growth. It was something she could be honest about” says Ryan. 1-866-436-5702. Kara tries to leave before the break begins! – VIDEO
Backstage, Katie says she wanted to come out this week with a bang.
Andrew Garcia – “Can’t Buy Me Love” – The contestants agree that Andrew cracks people up. The goofiest contestant ever! Andrew has personality, no matter what Simon says. Lee says Andrew is one of his best friends. Andrew is out on the catwalk behind the judges. He’s playing guitar. Big band, lots of horns–kind of a Vegas version of this song. It’s not bad, but it could have used a little more pizazz. Randy says, “Solid performance, interesting arrangement, a little corny at times, it was OK” Ellen says, “First of all, you can buy love, right Simon? Perfect song choice for you, I loved it.” Kara says, “I wanna love it, I just don’t think I’ve seen anything new from you. You should have done more with the interpretation. I thought the breakdown was hot.” Simon says, “The band behind you completely overpowered the arrangement, making it irrelevant. You and the band got it wrong tonight.” Andrew says, “I love the breakdown too. I had fun tonight…If that was corny, than damn, I’m corny.” – 1-866-436-5703 – VIDEO
Michael Lynch – “Eleanor Rigby” – Katie called Mike “The incredible hulk” when she first saw him on a plane (didn’t know he was going to Idol!) He’s like a big teddy bear, and he’s hilarious. Michael used to sing “Eleanor Rigby” with his family, on the road (they had a singing group) He loves songs that tell stories. He’s got a mini-orchestra on stage with him. Very soulful, heartfelt interpretation. Michael is bringing it tonight, very passionate. That was hot. The crowd goes wild. Randy says, “The parts that worked were great, you’ve got that license that you can do what you want, that could be a song on your record…I love watching you blossom.” Ellen says, “There so many different sides of you, I thought that was a huge risk, I thought that was incredible.” Kara says, “I thought that was fire, those vocals were amazing, the drama, the passion…You made that song commercial and relevant, that’s what this show is about.” Simon says, “I didn’t love it as much as the other three, this was the sort of thing you see in musicals, I don’t think it made you contemporary at all. It was too over the top, I’m slightly confused now the type of artist you’re going to be.” Randy says it was very Glee, and people are gravitating towards that. It is relevant. Kara does not think it’s based on musicals, but she thinks it’s relevant. Mike thinks Simon wants to challenge him to a pect contest. “This is between you two now!” says Ryan. – 1-866-436-5704 – VIDEO
The contestants greet Mike backstage
Crystal Bowersox – “Come Together” – Crystal says she’s got a little cold. Aw, her hometown now has a sign “Home of Crystal Bowersox”. The contestants call her Mammasox, bsox, a beautiful mother, she’s funny. She’s a mothering type of person. Lee was in line with Crystal in Chicago. Crystal tries to stay true to herself. She chose the song ’cause it has a fun groove. Some dude is playing a big crazy looking bass horn (a didgeridoo). It’s a little distracting. Crystal has her guitar back. She sounds awesome. She’s putting her Crystal spin on “Come Together”. Her natural ease and confidence are fully in place. Last week was interesting, but this is the Crystal I love. You can hear her cold on some of the high notes. Randy says, “Another solid performance, don’t know if it’s your best, at the end you started to change things up…you’re in the zone” Ellen says, “I thought that was cool…I need a new way to tell you how great you are, you never cease to amaze me. I could hear that on your album” Crystal was worried about making it her own. Kara says, “This is one of my favorite performance, it kind of had a Bonnie Raitt feel, it was Slinky, sexy playful, I thought you were more accessible tonight.” Good point, I agree! Simon says, “That’s a song I could hear on the radio. It just worked. You talked about staying true to yourself, This is why you are working. ” They call the horn player on stage. Lots of laughing. Simon continues, “It was quirky, it really helped prove a point. Terrific, much better than last week.” – 1-866-436-5705 – VIDEO
Crystal is goofing around with the horn player backstage. Ryan introduces tomorrow’s performers, Rihanna,
Tim Urban – “All My Loving ” – He’s always smiling. The kids imitate his smile, but they love it! Tim wanted to pick a song that he could sing with a smile. He’s strumming an electric guitar tonight. I hate to say it, but this is TOTALLY working for him. There he is with a freaking Beatles’ mop top and an electric guitar? Holy shit. Even I’m getting a little fluttery. This is a PERFECT song choice, and a great arrangement. Tim will live to see another week. Randy says, “You’re in your own category…is it a good Tim performance? Much better than the last couple of weeks.” Tim says he didn’t try to look like the Beatles. RIGHT. Ellen says, “That was the perfect song choice for you, you have that look, you did very well.” Kara says, “Best performances are when you have a guitar, I like that you came out here today..you took our criticisms.” She apologizes sort of, then orders him to smile. o Kara, never change! Simon says, “We have to judge you on what we’ve seen and heard tonight, and you did really well tonight, there were no gimmicks, it really suited your voice, it sounded really current. You take the criticism like a man. You’ve handled yourself really well.” Tim says, “I really appreciate what you all just said.” He can’t believe the compliments, “I picked a song that I knew fit me.” – 1-866-436-5706 – VIDEO
The bones peeps are in the audience.
Casey James – “Jealous Guy” – They make fun of Casey, like he’s a soap opera star. They mock his laugh. And his hair! Tonight, it’s just Casey and his guitar. There’s a cello on stage with him. Wow. Very tender, emotional vocal. He doesn’t have a perfect voice, but it adds character to the song. It kicks in on the second verse. I like this a lot. Ok, I’m getting a little chill here, people. Wonderful. Casey, REALLY needed a performance like this. Randy says, “I love that you were playing acoustic, love the sensitive vibe, impressed that you took that leap, you’ve got this blues exterior, it wasn’t the perfect vocal, but I really felt you.” Ellen says, “That to me was your best performance to date, so soulful. It was a beautiful arrangement, I wanted to feel you pour yourself into a song, and you did.” Kara says, “You showed vulnerability, it was tasteful, it’s showing depth, that’s what I wanted to see…I think you can do more still.” Simon says, “I think it was the best performance of the night so far. Week to week change has been ginormous…I’m very very impressed with you tonight.” Ryan tries to pull something personal out of Casey, he ask him what he was thinking about during the song. “Thinking about being a jealous guy, ” Casey answers. Shot down! – 1-866-436-5707 – VIDEO
I’m digging tonight!
Siobhan Magnus – “Across the Universe” – The contestants say, she’s amazing, and amazingly weird! Everything is so unique, but it all works! Siobhan is wearing a lacy dress with a vest, curly hair. I like the look. She’s got sort of a moany low register, a little nasally. I’m not loving this, but I do appreciate the fact that she’s not screaming at me. Randy says, “Nobody screams artist more than you. It was little sleepy for me, but I love seeing the tender side.” Ellen says, “I think you really should always honor who you are, you are special. You cooled it on the high notes, I thought it was beautiful.” Kara says, “You hit the notes, it was very controlled, very polite, I’m trying to process it, I’m not sure you’d hear that on the radio. I’m a little confused.” Simon wants to know why she picked the song. Siobhan says, “Nothing’s going to change my world” She’s here for her baby sisters, nothing is going to change that. She chokes up talking about them. Simon says, “I think you came back much much stronger, you are unpredictable. If someone would see you for the first time, they’d be confused, but that’s what I like about you.” Sensory overload has been a bit much for her. OMG the judges bring the heckler that’s been booing all show up on stage. His name is Earl. Still think Siobhan is overrated…- 1-866-436-5708 – VIDEO
Lee Dewyze – “Hey Jude” – Lee is the resident worrywort. Every week, Lee thinks he’s going home! Everybody laughs at him. Oh, the bromance is being set up. What’s the bro name? Crystal says he and Andrew are going to have “Danny Gokey babies” Bwa! Lee picked a song he can relate to. Lee’s smiling! He seems more confident. I like his suit and tie with the open collar. He’s cleaning up nice. When the song cuts to the Na na nas, a dude with bagpipes descend the stairs. Bagpipes, hm. This is a little weird. I dunno, “Hey Jude” is hard to cut down to 2 minutes, you know? The song had it’s moments, but not one of my Lee favs. He is looking more comfortable on stage. Randy says, “That guy was funny man! I loved that! You always seem like a bundle of nerves, you don’t have to be nervous, you’ve got this…believe!” Ellen says, “The confidence that you showed tonight, I loved it.” and “You didn’t even get rattled by that guy showing up.” Ha ha. Kara says, “There were some good moments, there were a few off moments, I can hear you on the radio.” Simon says, “I wouldn’t have done that…I think you were doing great…then the bagpipes, it was like he showed up on the wrong show.” Oh my, that was Lee’s idea. He found out that he had a bagpipe yesterday. Pretty ballsy, if you think about it – 1-866-436-5709 – VIDEO