May 2010
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AI Top 2 Finals – Where is My Wind/Dream/Bad Metaphor Coronation Song?

You know something is off with American Idol’s ratings when the promo right before the show starts touts “Stay tuned for Glee…but first it’s down to Crystal and Lee…”  Seriously?  You’re pushing an all-new Glee as the highlight of the night, not the finals of AI?  Yeesh.

On a separate note before we begin, I always hate the fact that the finals are in a completely different venue than the rest of the season – it usually means the final 2 performances seem a bit…off.  Like the contestants are so not used to seeing such a big audience or being on a such a huge stage.  Most finalists seem lost on the Nokia stage.  I sense Lee and Crystal will be no different.

I love how Crystal seems to have no idea what she is supposed to be doing during the intro when Ryan introduces her and she is walking through the audience  – walking down the aisle, her mic is slapped out of her hand and she stops dead in her tracks and waits for a cue to move.   Its awesome and shows her total lack of self-awareness in a good way.  She;s here to sing, not interact with the fans.

We learn the contestants get to choose one favorite song from the season to perform tonight; Simon Fuller gets to choose one song and then they sing the song that they will release if they win (aka, the “I am your Wind/Dream Beneath my Wings/A Proud Moment like This-type dreck that Kara writes…ugh).

Lee cis up first with his repeat performance of “The Boxer” – one of those tunes I anticipated loving but came across as just “meh” for me when he first did it.  I thought this was a song that did not live up to the hype when he first sang it. Interesting that he chose it for the finals.  I would have gone for something more up-tempo.  I get the sense he had a moment re-singing this in Chicago when we saw him break down as he sang it during his hometown performance.  But it feels s sleepy to me for this final performance.  Again, like Casey last week, he needed something bigger to kick off the show.  I agree with Simon on this one – it’s more of a kiss on the cheek than a full-on make out session.  And we wanna make out with our finalists.

Crystal chose “Me and Bobby McGee” for her repeat performance.   Very smart – this was a good song for her.  People loved it and the song lets her show range and keep the feeling light and up-tempo, ‘cause you know the “Wind Beneath My Dream” song they’ll make them sing at the end will be drecky.  She sounds great…still not 100% owning that large-ass Nokia stage, but she’s better than Lee (sorry, Lisa).

Next up, the Simon Fuller choices – not to be confused with Simon Cowell, Simon Fuller is the other Simon involved with the show – hopefully, he’ll choose better than Clive Davis last season.   For Lee, he’s chosen an interesting song – REM’s “Everybody Hurts.” Is this the first time an REM song has been sung Idol?  I wonder.  Craig hates this song – he thinks it’s maudlin.  I love it.  But not necessarily when Lee sings it.  He can’t quite find the right key – he sounds angsty enough, but Michael Stipe’s voice is so piercing and true on this song, it’s hard for me to compare Lee’s to the original.  Not my favorite Lee vocal, but I love that song.  This proves that Michael Stipe is a bad-ass.  In his hands, this song is awesome.  In Lee’s hands?  Not so bad-ass….more melodramatic.

Craig thinks this is the Singer-Songwriter American Idol this season – and he does not mean that as a compliment.

Crystal is given a much worse task – making “Blue Velvet” seem contemporary.  This song is sung on AI every so often and it always seems musty and old-fashioned no matter who sings it.  Crystal’s vamping it up…but she does not seem comfortable at all on the top of those stairs. And honestly, she does not sound comfortable once descending the stairs.  This is just an awful song.  But she sounds better than Lee – at least she’s making an effort.   But, man, is she straining on the last few notes.  Damn if the judges don’t love it – sounds like everyone is getting off of the Lee bandwagon.

If Randy says “In it to win it” one more time, I will toss my computer at the TV.

Now, on to the dreck song. Wait.  Hold Up….Did Ryan just say the song is “Beautiful Day?’  Is Lee singing a U2 song?  Is this really going to be his first release?  Where’s my Dream Wind?  Where’s my crappy weather metaphor?  DAMN IT!  I kind of like seeing the horrible coronation song  – it sometimes separates the wheat form the chaff….like you knew Carrie was going to win the minute Bo started singing his horrible coronation song.  How can we really chose who is the best at singing the horrible shit the AI management will make the winner sing if they don’t sing a song written by Kara??

So I guess I should focus on how Lee is doing on “Beautiful Day.”  I’m confused….he goes nowhere with this song for me.  Yea, there’s a big choir on stage and lots of lights but it distracts from the fact that Lee is singing this pretty one-note and karaoke – Bono wails on this song and his voice lifts you into a better mood when you hear him hit certain notes.  Lee seems complacent…almost bored.

So, is Crystal going to sing the same song as Lee or does she get her own cover?  Ah, she’s singing “Up to the Mountain” and I have to admit I have never heard this song before (and I should – it’s Patti Griffin- sorry to say I’m a Texan and I don’t know a Patti song).  But the minute we see her alone on stage with her guitar, you know this is going to be something different.  And.  She.  Nails.  It.  I think her last song was the closest thing to a “moment” we’ve had on AI this season – she took a song not many have heard and made you want to listen to her version again.  Hell, she made you want to buy it on iTunes.  And, Scene.  Round three goes to Crystal.

Well, that’s it for Idol this season – I’m pretty sure I know what I liked (Casey), what I did not like (Tim Urban, I’m talking to you) and what could have been (Oh, Siobhan).   But at least I don’t have to hear that “I Think I Better Leave Right Now” song ever again…h wait.  There’s the guy from Pop Idol singing it.  Eh.  I think I better leave Season 9 right now…bye, bye!

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