Elliston, Ohio. Mount Prospect, Illinois. Cool, Texas. These fine cities are the hometowns of the remaining three Idols: Crystal, Dweezil, and Casey, respectively. Tonight and tomorrow, we’ll see footage of their visits to those obscure points of origin. If that excites you in any regard, you need medicine. This is American Idol. “Costa del Lex. Luthorville. Marina del Lex. Otisburg. Otisburg?!”
On this glorious, mentor-free evening (I guess Ray Romano was busy), we’ll be hearing two songs from each contestant. One chosen by the fools, themselves. One chosen by the fools, the judges. I think this happens again next week, with the addition of a third song, but why get ahead of the game? One headache at a time.
Casey James will perform “OK, It’s Alright With Me” by Eric Hutchinson, which is a song I love by an artist nobody has ever heard of. Dare I get my hopes up? Are you kidding? At this point in the season, the best I can hope for is that Dweezil’s nerves will break and he’ll barf on-stage. The original version of this song is piano-centric. Casey’s cover is guitar-driven — and rushed. The pace is consistently about two beats quicker than it should be. The background singers, as usual, are doing their own thing in a different key. I’m sure they’re wonderful people, treasured by their friends and families, but they sound like frog shit. Casey, with that greasy-homeless hair of his, looks infested with lice. Dis. Gust. Ing. The judges are cold on this one. He’s let them down somehow. Especially Kara, who wishes that Casey chose a song that people actually know. Really, Kara? Let’s remember that in a few minutes, shall we?
Crystal Bowersox sings “Come to My Window” by Melissa Etheridge. There’s some harmonica action in the beginning, then guitar-strumming, and while Crystal sounds solidly…Crystal…there’s something listless about this performance. It lacks focus and is ultimately dull. It’s mostly the arrangement, maybe. Where did the verses go? It’s almost like Crystal is making up the song as she goes along. Lots of nothing, amidst colorful lights. At judgment time, Ellen, who knows all lesbian things, thinks Melissa would be proud of Crystal, but the rest are generally, “Eh…maybe you’ll do better later.”
Dweezil will perform “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I am not familiar with the song, but it’s a soft rocker-ballad, nicely counterbalanced by Dweezil’s strong voice. For a song that’s likely eighty-five years old, it sounds new and now. Hmm. I can’t complain about it. That’s fucked up. The judges throw respect at Dweezil, who, even after all these weeks, looks uncomfortable and nauseous.
For Casey, Randy and Kara have chosen “Daughters” by John Mayer. Okay, seriously? Because this, to me, is just as obscure as the Eric Hutchinson song. I mean I know who Mayer is, I have internet access. But the song? New to me. Kara’s rational for picking it is that Casey’s audience is primarily female, so…why not have Casey sing a song about girls. Or something. Sometimes Kara really channels Paula’s energy in that she is a whirlwind of nonsense. Casey sings this song like he’s on a CSI slab, but with less energy. Hey Casey, how about using your mouth at some point? Mumbly Joe, over here. It’s a microphone, dude. Stop trying to suck it. This performance goes on for 12 hours, but because it’s Judge’s Choice, they love it. Except Simon, who at least has the sense to call the arrangment lazy. I call it ick.
For Crystal, Ellen has chosen Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed,” which everybody knows, so she’s already getting a leg up. So to speak. The performance is pretty good. Crystal reins herself in at the start, which is quite lovely, but she doesn’t shy away from belting out the heart of the song as she walks past and behind the judges. Arrangement-wise, it’s not too far removed from the original, but I admire the fact that Crystal doesn’t change the gender-perspective of the song, which people usually do at these sort of affairs. The judges rightfully applaud her.
For Dweezil, Simon has chose “Hallelujah.” Again?! Tim Urban sang this thing, like, five weeks ago. Can we please retire it? Please? Okay, I’ll admit, the performance is good. Great, even (although the sudden on-stage appearance of a choir of zombie backup singers is a bit of overkill). This works mostly because Lee (hey! I used his real name!) sings it like a guy. Historically, this song performs weakly…the vocals are always soft and apprehensive. But Lee just digs into it. He toughens it up. Wow. Congrats to Dweezil!
And that’s the night. I regret it not sucking more, but if you want to hear me complain about how fucktarded this show is, check out last week’s profanity-laced, two-in-one recap. Maybe read it out loud to your grandma. She’d enjoy it. Meanwhile, there’s one more elimination before finals. Who goes home? Technically, it should be Casey. But this show has never been technical. It was good once, though. I think…