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"American Idol" Notes

By admin Published: May 5, 2010

I'll be posting results later, but am just catching up with the performances from last night. Comments after the jump. And I hope they never ever do another Sinatra night.

Sinatra night. Eek. I love Sinatra. And Harry Connick Jr. is Sinatra Lite at best. But he sure is getting a lot of screen time, even playing piano with the contestants. Still more evidence, following Shania Twain's involvement last week, that the show is having to lean on celebs because the contestants as a group just are not compelling enough.

But I am already baffled by this show because of the praise Ellen and Randy heaped on Aaron Kelly's "Fly Me to the Moon." I thought he was freaking awful, out of tune almost all the way, and absolutely lacking in any authority. Kara and Simon at least offered some criticism (even if Kara said it wasn't). Simon was right when he said Sinatra was a lion and Aaron is a mouse. Let him squeak somewhere else.

Casey James, "Blue Skies." Interesting to see Harry C getting sarcastic with him about the key. In the stage performance, he started poorly. Standards are so often deadly for "Idol" performers, because they don't know how to interpret material. This is sluggish, and Casey's pushing out of his range. Agh. Another bad vocal, and there are only three to go. Randy, having rolled over for Aaron, calls this Casey's worst performance. Ellen struggles to say ... anything, then concedes it felt stiff to her and she agrees with Randy. Kara says "at least you held some notes." And that's the best she can come up with. Simon says it's all "really uncomfortable" and says "you weren't fantastic." Ryan turns to Harry C for support, and Harry C says Casey was better in the rehearsal and it's hard to hear on the stage. Which, we have observed before, also calls into question how well the judges actually hear.

Ohio's Own Crystal Bowersox. "Summer Wind." She seems out of synch with the band -- may be what HC was talking about with people having trouble hearing. Not to mention singing with this kind of combo backing. She improves, but it's far from her best, and the judges are no more than tepid. Simon warns that she has just been OK for two weeks now and needs to step up to win this.

Big Mike. Going for the hat. And has sung with a large band. And gets advice he likes from HC. "The Way You Look Tonight. He kicks it. He's very Luther tonight -- and Luther did his Sinatra look on a CD cover. Best of the night. Judges enthuse, and rightly so. This is the first performance tonight that seems to get Mr. S.

Lee. "That's Life." HC thinks he's a new and improved version of HC, and even gives him some organ backing. This is very much a way HC might do the song, only Lee's not even as good a singer as HC, let alone Sinatra. And he overhits the lyrics, botches a big note and the climax of the song and is no more than mediocre, especially after what Big Mike did. But I anticipate the judges' spreading some love for Lee because they have liked him beyond reason in the past.

And so it goes: Randy loved it because Lee stayed his rocker self. Ellen thinks that if this was the last night, Lee would have just won the whole thing. Kara thinks he can win, too. Simon really liked it, too, because Lee was confident and gave 110 percent, and it was the best performance of the night. Bull-hockey in abundance.

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