The Top 12 American Idol contestants got a crash course in the difficulties of performing on a large stage Tuesday night when they tackled the song catalog of the Rolling Stones and the Idol main stage for the first time.
The performances weren't nearly as bad as I warned they might be. But, as a whole, none of the performances were as good as the could have been, and many of the contestants looked uncomfortable on the big stage.
Big Mike Lynche opened the show with a decent cover of the Stones' disco hit "Miss You." Like he did last week, Lynche kicked off his performance with his falsetto. But that particular song already has multiple falsettos throughout and it really was a bit much for more to be added. And even though Simon criticized Lynche's dancing as "desperate", when compared to Mick Jagger's creepy choreography in the band's music video for the song, Lynche's moves were tame. Check out the video on YouTube if you don't believe me.
Didi Benami, Casey James, Katie Stevens, Lacey Brown, Lee Dewyze, Paige Miles and Aaron Kelly all did enough to move on, but none of their performances were anything special. With that being said, James, Dewyze, Miles, and Kelly all picked songs that perfectly suited their strengths. I also think Brown's bizarre arrangement of "Ruby Tuesday" was a missed opportunity on what I thought would have been a perfect song choice for her. The song's tempo slowed down and sped up at the strangest moments, and was almost inverted from how it should have been.
The best performances of the night, for me, came down to Siobhan Magnus' cover of "Paint It Black" and Crystal Bowersox's rendition of "You Can't Always Get What You Want."
While I think Magnus is the most interesting of the remaining contestants, I am not a fan. I can't get into the tone of her voice when she sings in her lower range, or the high-pitched note she has now hit twice in the past three weeks - much to the delight of the Idol judges. But when she sings softly, she has a very sweet-sounding upper range that - when coupled with the fantastic stage production that the Idol producers displayed during her song Tuesday night - makes her a significant threat in this competition. She reminds me a lot of Cher and Celine Dion. Both are wildly popular artists, but I am not a fan of either.
Bowersox is clearly among the favorites, but I think that she missed a golden opportunity to really showcase her rock & roll side by slowing down "You Can't Always Get What You Want" in the beginning and end of her performance. It would have been great to hear her keep the song up tempo throughout, or choose an entirely different song, like "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" or "Sympathy for the Devil." I think those songs are much better suited for her, especially if she were to make them a little faster. Still, her performance Tuesday night was obviously better than most of the others.
In serious danger of going home this week, yet again, are Andrew Garcia and Tim Urban.
Garcia's cover of "Give Me Shelter" did not do nearly enough to make us forget about his recent poor performances, and Urban's rendition of "Under My Thumb" was gutsy but ill-advised. To take an iconic rock band's song and turn it into bubblegum reggae was daring to say the least. And while the middle of his song did have some good moments, the song as a whole was a big mistake. When will Idol contestants learn that the American Idol voters aren't big fans of reggae. Season 7 fourth-place finisher Jason Castro learned that lesson the hard way multiple times during his stint on the Idol stage.
Since I have to pick just one of these two to go home, my "lock" will be Urban. He has improved more than Garcia in recently weeks, but impressionable Idol voters could be swayed by Simon saying he hoped Garcia moves on.
If you don't agree with my opinions in this blog, feel free to knock them in the discussion area attached to each entry. Tell me what you think of each contestant. And take your best shot. Who knows? You might be able to make me change my mind.