Check out clickchick’s review of the Seattle Idols Live show below:
Disclaimers/background info: I have been to four Idol concerts (seasons 2, 7, 8, and now 9) and I am an Idol fanatic, but this season left me a little cold. That said, I liked most everyone this season and was a Casey supporter. Also, I have not read any other reviews nor did I watch any spoilers prior to attending the show (I like a surprise), so I focused less on what they sang and more of what my impressions were as not to repeat.
First of all, thank GOD the show was back at the Key Arena. The last time I saw an Idol show at the Key was season 2 and I can’t tell you how THRILLED I was that they were back. The drive to the Tacoma Dome coupled with the dreadful acoustics in that venue was a huge problem. I attended the concert with my friend/colleague/cohort Kara, one of three people who kicked my butt in our Idol office pool (yes, it sucks being last, especially when the pool is your idea). Kara will also be glamming it up with me at the Adam Lambert concert in September.
As I was outside waiting for to meet up with Kara, I heard some squealing to my right. I saw a rather small guy bounding up the stairs on the exterior of the arena headed toward a small group of fans. At first, I thought it might be someone involved in the show greeting relatives – maybe a stage hand? To my surprise, it was Tim Urban as confirmed by the throngs of tweens who raced past me to get a glimpse. I noticed that several people in the group were wearing backstage passes and holding signs saying they were relatives of Aaron’s. Since Tim is from the area, I am going to guess that some of his relatives were also in that group. I must admit I was enviously eyeballing their backstage passes.
As the show started, the arena was full almost to capacity, probably due in part to the periodic $10/ticket sale days. Frankly, I would not have attended had it not been for the sale since the normal ticket price was an astonishing $86. The demographic of the audience was all over the map – I was surrounded by tweens, tween parents, and a couple who had to be in their 70s. The older gentleman sat next to me and enthusiastically danced along with a few of the performers. I guess you can’t judge a book by its cover.
Didi: I liked Didi on the show, but felt like she had never really found her groove and also received some confusing judge feedback. Live, she seemed far more relaxed and confident on stage and looked absolutely gorgeous (no, that’s not a thinly veiled Paula Abdul way of saying she sucked – I am totally stealing her look this fall). Vocally, she was spot on and seemed to enjoy interacting with the audience. That said, previous Idol shows seem to be opened by a more… raucous performer so Didi wasn’t exactly a blazing opener. But, you can’t control who comes in 10th and overall, I really enjoyed her.
Andrew: Thank you for singing “Straight Up”! I had wondered if he would pull that out for tour… Audience seemed to really dig Andrew and I dug him too. His vocals were solid and he did a respectable job of interacting with the crowd. It was at that moment I noticed just how quickly a two song set sails by.
Katie: Katie fans might not want to read further because, unfortunately, for me, she was the worst of the night. She seemed out of place and out of her league in a group of rather stylistically rooted contestants. The train-wreck started with the outfit. I’m sorry, but the knee-high boots, a halter mini dress, fingerless gloves and overly extensioned hair wreaked of desperation and detracted from her vocals. IMO, in the end, that might not have been a bad thing as Kara and I both thought she was off key several times. That said, the tween girls in front of us seemed to enjoy her, so maybe I am just not her demographic.
Tim: I prepared myself for the onslaught of ear drum-splitting screams, but the crowd seemed remarkably composed when Tim came out on stage. Again, surprised to hear Tim’s spot-on vocals as he was one of the contestants I perceived as being a little lacking in that department. “Better Days” and “Viva La Vida” were both well done. He’s cute, charismatic, and talented and can definitely see him doing well post-tour. Zac Effron 2.0, perhaps?
Siobhan: I like weird. I loved Siobhan early in the competition, but as the show progressed, I think she lost herself a little bit letting the show get into her head. I loved her intro – very goth Alice In Wonderland feel to the graphics and music. While that theme did continue, it was not in a good way. I was left confused and a little discombobulated after her set. The vocals were good, however I did notice several of her “screams” were definitely electronically enhanced. And, the outfit… Hot Topic Harajuku cliche complete with spikes and chunky black boots. It wasn’t cleverly oddly creative like something you’d see Kesha or Gaga wear. As an analogy, if you’ve seen the movie “Desperately Seeking Susan” it felt more like what the Rosanna Aquette character wore trying to look like Madonna than how Madonna actually looked. Outfit aside, she did a respectable job of working the stage and seemed at home, though I seriously worried that she might have some brain trauma after all of the head thrashing she did. Vocally, “Paint It Black” was as interesting and exciting as it was on Idol. Her second two numbers left me cold, however.
Aaron: OK, here comes the surprise of the night for me. I didn’t love or hate Aaron on the show, but was VERY impressed with him live. He is just so… country. I know that sounds obvious and I’m not a huge country music fan, but at a young age he knows exactly who he is musically and it showed. He worked the stage like a pro, interacted well with the audience and the band, and sounded great. He’s going to have a good career.
Michael: Mr. Smooth! Not a lot to report as he was pretty much the same Mike you saw on Idol – a big teddy bear with satiny vocals. “A Woman’s Work” was exquisitely delivered and gave me chills.
Casey: Holy cats! Who was that guy tearing up the stage using the name Casey James ’cause he he sure as heck is not the same guy I saw on American Idol. This Casey was a raw and powerful performer who displayed not even an ounce of stage fright or discomfort. This Casey delivered gritty pitch-perfect vocals accompanied by a ton of charisma. He worked the stage like a pro frequently losing himself in the music and the audience ate it up.
Crystal: First impression – smaller than she looked on the show. Perhaps that’s due in part to massive black shroud-like garment she was wearing. Seriously though, Crystal has vocal chops. Her songs were a bit predictable (Janis, Melissa…), but she is charming with a gentle yet powerful stage presence. Her set was like a nice, warm, earthy hug. My only beef with her is that she still seems stylistically stuck in the 90’s when everyone OD’ed on dreads, sunflowers, patchouli, and Alanis. Maybe I am just sensitive to it because of my Seattle roots and passionate dislike of the reputation we gained in the 90’s, but hopefully I’ll move past that one of these days.
Lee: Lee was good. Lee did a respectable job with his songs. Lee was… Lee. I like the song “Rocket Man”, so I liked it when he sang it. I guess, like Mike, he was very much the same performer we saw on Idol, so no big wows or surprises from him. Unfortunately, lots of people seemed to leave during his set to miss traffic. That’s no way to treat an American Idol!
Group finale: That was the most dispassionate, laid back, unexciting group closer to date. It felt wooden and tired, like they all were thinking that they just wanted to finish up and get off the stage. It wasn’t even cheesy (and I LOVE some Idol cheese), it was just flat. When the boys first started singing “It’s My Life” I was for an instant hopeful we were going to get a Glee-style mash-up. Instead it just fizzled. Then again, the group numbers this year weren’t amazing, so I perhaps shouldn’t have expected so much.