April 28, 2010
Posted: 04:00 AM ET
6 down, 6 to go… We are halfway through the finals of "American Idol: Season 9."
Yes, only half. I can’t be the only one feeling like this is going by really s.l.o.w.l.y. (Oops. Did I just hit the slow mo instead of the fast-forward?). Can’t we just skip ahead to the end? I doubt we’d miss much in the way of water cooler moments (no burning rings of fire in this lot). Oh, there I go getting negative and whiney again, like a child asking, "Mommy, are we there yet?" Sorry. Many of the Top 6 are actually quite good. They are just also quite forgettable (the type that might make good recording artists but not necessarily good TV). But the halfway mark reminds me that there’s still time. Will they step it up? Or are we doomed to the boredom of predictability for the next month? (Am I being too dramatic? Well, we need drama from this show somehow!)
This week is Season 9’s version of country week, a Shania Twain themed country. She is both theme and mentor. Last night, the Top 6 sang her songs and received her advice. With all her playful pop country hits, she is "the biggest crossover artist ever" and has the "best-selling album by a woman in any genre in history." Go girl!
During the Chicago auditions, Shania’s stint at the judges’ table drove her into a tizzy bursting with unintended double entendres (Remember John’s "beautiful bottom end?"). But puns aside, Shania was delightful and constructive. Last night as mentor, she was equally delightful, always a positive presence and luminous in her blue sequined blouse. She feels responsible for the Top 6, and adorably, she’s worried whoever goes home might hate her (Aww. How can anyone hate Shania?). She looked like a nervous but proud momma all night. She wants to see her songs come alive. So… Bring on the countrified kids!
THE GOOD (in order of appearance):
AARON: Aww. Cute little Aaron finally had a moment with "You've Got a Way." There was a rough patch in the middle, but it was soft and sweet and miles better than anything we've seen from him. Ellen liked his "maturity" and said, "This is going to be tough [on results night] because everybody is doing well" (which I think was code for – Who's going home this week if not Aaron?). Kara thinks he really felt the lyrics and noted that he changed the line about "making love." Ooh, so glad he did since 17-year-old Aaron was singing to his mom. Simon said he's been struggling but, "Tonight, you were like a different artist… sincere… believable." Wow. Everyone was counting this kid out (myself included). But now even Ryan added, "What’s going to happen tomorrow night!?!?"
SIOBHAN: Shania tried to pull some attitude out of Siobhan who's looked a little defeated lately. The first part of "Any Man of Mine," to me, sounded flat and buried in the music, but I thought the ending was powerful. She screamed, and though far from perfect, I actually thought it was fitting (But the outfit? I usually like her quirkiness, but this cutesy flowery dress with a strange leather strappy holster thing? Hmm.). The judges raved. Randy loved it and her "punk country" look. Ellen thought she closed out the show great, "Way to pull the Shania Twain into the station." Simon found it fun but was unsure of the end, "It was almost like you were giving birth up there."
THE OK (in order of appearance):
MICHAEL: His "It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing" was kind of pretty, but I didn't really feel the honesty. Shania sure did. She was swaying along in the audience. Ellen compared him to Luther Vandross. Kara loved that he changed the song just enough to put his mark on it. Simon thought it was "a little bit wet." Sometimes I have no idea what Simon is talking about, but I still somehow agree. But "girly" Simon? Big Mike? Really? Ryan noted that Shania looked teary-eyed during his song. She said, "He really got me."
CRYSTAL: Crystal sang "No One Needs to Know" to her boyfriend in the audience. She is "dropping hints" hoping "he’ll man up one of these days." She wasn't shy about her feelings, and she didn't shy away from the country twang either. Crystal is never bad. This just wasn't as special as her usual, and I didn't dig the little country mini dress. The judges all seemed lukewarm as well saying it wasn't their favorite but they still love her. Simon thought it was limp and added, "Shocker! We don’t like Crystal this week." Ryan added more pressure on Crystal's boyfriend. Awkward. She blushes. He just smiles and shrugs.
OK, I take back most of what I said at the top of this post. Season 9 might not be predictable after all. They weren’t horrible. There still isn’t a whole lot in the way of excitement, but a Crystal/Lee Top 2 might not be an inevitability. This was the night where some of the likely 6th place finishers stepped up their game and some of the leaders fell behind. Might that actually mean we could be surprised on results night when the Top 6 will become the Top 5?
Results night will feature performances from Rascal Flats, Sons of Sylvia, Lady Antebellum… and Shakira (Seriously? For country week?).
So, did anyone drive your texting fingers into a tizzy? Or leave you with the desire to break out the cowboy boots and do the two-step?
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