It was a dismal night on American Idol as the contestants took on songs from Hollywood films with Jamie Foxx as the evening’s guest mentor. Song choice was where most of the Idol hopefuls went wrong this week — many were simply uninspired. In addition to their solo performances, each contestant was also required to sing a duet (Crystal was paired with Lee, and Michael sang with Casey) and, thankfully, the duets helped many of the singers gain back some of the ground they lost with their disastrous solo performances.
Crystal was able to bounce back after a few weeks of harsh criticism from the judges. Hers was the only performance of the evening that garnered the unanimous praise of the judging panel and proved, once again, that she’s the rightful heir to the Idol crown. Read on for our complete Top 4 power rankings.
1. Crystal Bowersox Risk Level: 6 Payoff: 10 Total: 16
Crystal Bowersox took Kenny Loggins’ country/blues classic “I’m Alright” (the theme from Caddyshack) and truly made it her own — and delivered a performance far better than any of the other Idol hopefuls last night. The song perfectly complimented Crystal’s raspy voice and blues styling. Though not as strong as some of her previous offerings, the evening was a comeback of sorts for Crystal. The judges have been harsh on Idol‘s only remaining female contestant, but had nothing but praise for her last night. “You actually took the song and made it better,” said Ellen. Kara called Crystal a true “artist” and Simon affirmed that Crystal is “back in the game.”
2. Michael Lynche Risk Level: 4 Payoff: 5 Total: 9
The fact that the theme from Free Willy was performed says a lot about the caliber of the performances on Idol last night. Michael’s version of the King of Pop’s “Will You Be There” was perfectly adequate, but probably won’t do much to gain him the new fans he clearly needs to keep going in the competition (he’s been in the bottom two for several weeks). It’s not a great song to begin with (Michael Jackson’s voice and artistry made it what it is) and Michael did little to change it up in a good way. Randy said it “didn’t quite take off” and Ellen called it “predictable.” Only Simon offered up any praise, telling Michael he “gave it 100 percent.”
3. Casey James Risk Level: 1 Payoff: 5 Total: 6
For someone who clearly possesses some genuine musical talent, Casey James’ choice of “Mrs. Robinson” from The Graduate was pretty shocking. More shocking was the fact that he did little to make the song his own other than slow down the tempo slightly. For us, the entire performance was a huge miss. It’s not a singer’s song and, quite frankly, did little to show off Casey’s musicianship either (something that’s kept him afloat for some weeks now). The judges were split with Randy and Simon feeling it was a bit of a “lazy” song choice and Ellen and Kara liking it. We think Casey could be in big trouble tonight.
4. Lee Dewyze Risk Level: 0 Payoff: 3 Total: 3
The night’s biggest disappointment was definitely Lee Dewyze. After several weeks of turning in stellar performances, Lee’s take on Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” was shocking in its mediocrity. His voice sounded OK but, once again, he had some real pitch issues. The arrangement was completely staid and lacked any originality. We think he’ll be around for a few more weeks, but this week was a real blemish on his thus far exemplary performance report card. The judges were not happy. Randy told Lee, “It didn’t work for me.” Kara said that there were some serious “tune issues” and Simon called it “karoke” and that Lee was “trying too hard to sound like the original.”