The final four American Idol contestants met Jamie Foxx on Tuesday night, and all they got were some lousy t-shirts.
And we, the faithful viewers, didn't even get that.
I expected a lot out of the quartet of remaining contestants, but instead we got one stellar duet and a handful of mediocre performances.
And now it's going to be a toss up between Casey James and Michael Lynche - who needed to have "great" performances to claim a spot in the Top 3, but failed to - for who joins Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox in the Top 3 next week.
Lee DeWyse kicked off "Songs from the Silver Screen" week with a passable rendition of Seal's "Kiss from a Rose." But even though it was not horrible, it was easily his worst performance in months. He had trouble staying in tune throughout the song and his stage presence was surprisingly timid. He is not in trouble of going home - at least he shouldn't be - but I just hope that DeWyze hasn't peaked after consistently improving all season.
On a side note, I think it's a shame that I can never hear a Seal song without getting jealous that he's had multiple babies with Heidi Klum. He's rich, talented and married to Heidi Klum... it's true, some guys have all the luck. And there's the rest of us who just get to complain about it in blogs.
Getting back to the show, Lynche was next with a song from, of all movies, "Free Willy." It's not that "Will You Be There" - originally performed by Michael Jackson - is bad, but it's from a movie about a young boy's friendship with Killer Whale. The idea even confused Simon, but for other reasons. It seems he never saw the movie and was thinking of the title in a completely different, not G-rated context. And as for Lynche's cover itself, it was bland until he tried doing all of the vocal runs at the end of the song - then it was over done. If "Big Mike" makes it through until next week, I hope that he just sticks with the straight-at-you style of singing that got him to the Top 4, because he doesn't have a good enough voice to do anything else.
James covered "Mrs. Robinson" from the 1967 film about a cougar, "The Graduate." Sure enough, the panel picked up on that and gave Kara a hard time for having a crush on James. But was it just me, or did James seem annoyed at the judges joking around at his expense? I don't know if he is tired of the "Kara thinks you're dreamy" joke, or if the song actually meant something to him, or if he was upset that the jocularity was coming during at such a critical point of the contest, especially for him. But he did not seem happy at all. And his performance was OK, but was it very forgettable. Though I did like how he changed around the phrasing of the words, particularly in the chorus. It made the song sound a little different to me and, after hearing it covered dozens of different ways, it was refreshing to hear something different done with it while watching American Idol.
Bowersox had the most well-received solo performance of the night from the judges with Kenny Loggins' "I'm Alright" from the immortal golfing comedy "Caddyshack." But like the other performances, Bowersox's was just "alright." But she is safe, because neither James or Lynche were good enough to keep her out of the Top 3.
The best performances of the night, by far, were the duets.
DeWyze and Bowersox showed why they are destined to be the last two contestants standing with an awesome cover of "Falling Slowly," the Academy Award-winning song, from the movie "Once." Their vocals were almost spot on, their stage performance was completely believable, and the performance as a whole was definitely record worthy.
James and Lynche weren't quite as good as their counterparts, but they held their own with Bryan Adams' "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?" from Don Juan DeMarco. And it was good enough for Ellen to make a crack that she, in fact, has. But the most telling thing about this song choice was another former American Idol alum who also covered it. That would be Season 5's Chris Daughtry who finished... yep, fourth. (Season 8's Matt Giraud also covered the song, but he finished fifth and that is far less dramatic for the purposes of this blog).
So who will be this season's Chris Daughtry? Based solely on how the votes turned out last week - because this week really was a toss up - I'm going to pick Lynche. But I don't think Lynche will have anywhere close to the post-Idol success that Daughtry has had.