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"American Idol" Notes

By admin Published: April 13, 2010

My head is spinning ....

I don't know how to sum up a night where I didn't hate either Katie Stevens or Turban (and Ryan is now calling him that with regularity), and where the mentor -- Adam Lambert -- not only gave thoughtful advice, it appeared that the contestants listened to him.

And where Aaron Kelly felt the need to change "liquor" to "cider" in "Blue Suede Shoes" so it would fit him better. Because, you know, we think every word that Aaron sings is absolutely factual.

I'll get back to Aaron in a moment. About the only thing I feel sure of after tonight's show is that Andrew Garcia, bottom two a week ago, is going home this week after a peculiar "Hound Dog" which grew on me some as it went along but still did not impress overall, and started very weakly. Even when I liked the beat, I wasn't convinced his performance matched up.

Getting back to Aaron, one of the problems facing him is that he lacked the authority for "Shoes" much the way Siobhan Magnus lacked the force needed to sell "Suspicious Minds." In fact, she sounded undermiked on the first half of the song, so lacking in power was her performance.

It was good for her that Crystal Bowersox led off the show, since her "Saved" was so assured and fine that no one else really measured up to it. Lee Dewyze (or DeWyze, depending on which mood Fox is in) and Casey James both had a chance to kick it out tonight and came across as dull, although Casey's changes of "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" were at least interesting -- kind of Allmans-ish. Lee's "A Little Less Conversation" was strained and unconvincing.

The Turban's "Can't Help Falling in Love" still isn't something I would buy, but it was clearly his best performance to date and -- once he got past the ticky-tock reciting of the first few lines -- had emotion behind it. (As much as anyone, I think he benefited from Lambert advice.)

Big Mike's "In the Ghetto" (and come on, out of the huge Elvis catalogue, the African-American contestant has to do "In the Ghetto"*?) was pretty, touching and nicely understated. But considering that he was the lowest vote-getter last week, I don't know if it's enough to save him. Hope so.

And Katie Stevens? I hate her most weeks, and I still dislike most of her mannerisms. But her "Baby What You Want Me To Do" had some power, and it covered up the vocal limitations visible in some of her previous performances. So better than usual.

On a final note, the flexibility of some of these theme weeks was also noticeable this week. Not to take anything away from the King, whose recordings take up a lot of shelf space in the House of Heldenfels, but the show leaned a great deal on Elvis's covers of other people's songs, and it would have been nice to show some respect to Carl Perkins, Big Mama Thornton, Lloyd Price, et al.

have Katie's belting of "

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