(WHALE OF A FAIL - Voters were not willing to reward Big Mike for his long jump over irony when he sang the song from Free Willy for Movie Night. Astonishingly, it was hardly the worst song selection of the evening.)
In continued observance of how I breeze through Am.Idol by fast-forwarding on my DVR, here are my brief comments on Tuesday's Top 4 performances, followed by the even more brief Wednesday Results Show. This week, I only watched the results show once and it was totally on fast forward just so I could see who got eliminated and then accidentally I deleted it. OOPS! It's Songs from the Cinema Week (or some similarly titled theme). Jamie Foxx is on hand as the mentor and it seems he brought novelty shirts. Wha-huh??, you ask? I understand your confusion. It's odd. Let's see what happened, shall we?
We start with giant contestant heads on a screen which isn't as awesome as you'd think if you are watching in HD. These are some giant-sized skin imperfections we're being treated to. I don't like to think how my own face would hold up under such conditions. Then the camera pans down the four contestants and on cue they're all supposed to shift their heads to the left at the same time as Ryan does his THIS... is American Idol! bit, but they can't pull it together. They turn at slightly different times killing the effect and making me laugh at them. Credits!
There are judges. There are contestants. We're not just getting solos tonight but a pair of duets!There is Jamie Foxx. He's got these shirts, see? Some say "CONTESTANT" and some say "ARTIST" and he's handing them out to the contestants as proof of how ready they are, see? He gave them out during the rehearsals based on how prepared they were, but maybe he'll switch and give them different shirts if they don't do well tonight, see? You don't see? Me neither. Jamie talk about all of this very seriously though. I feel like he thought about this shirt distribution for a long time.
1) Lee is singing Kiss From A Rose from Batman Forever. Really? Not only don't I think he has the voice for this song, but the song itself makes no lyrical sense. Working with Jamie, Lee looks terrified as always. The song starts and it's not good. The vocal is just... i want to say scattered or disorganized. It's messy. He looks lost. The pitch is off. This song goes by design goes all over the place, which is why people shouldn't sing it at karaoke. Too much work with little pay-off. Randy rightly says it was bad. Ellen lies and says it was good. Kara points out all the things I said. Simon agrees with Randy. Song choice was way off here. He gets a contestant shirt and not an artist shirt. Lee tries to explain why that's not accurate, but zip zap zop.
2) Big Mike - He's singing Free Willy. Oh god. Really? He's rehearsing with Mr. Foxx. It sounds like the key is too low. He doesn't know the words, so Jamie tries to give him the contestant shirt and Big Mike almost Hulk-smashes him. He'll earn the artist shirt during the performance! Except he won't! Again, in the live show it feels like the song starts too low. The key to this song is escalation. It has to get bigger and bigger and higher and more soulful. Big Mike sleepwalks through it and it goes nowhere. It sounds fine, but there's no motor. It ends and the judges all call it boring, safe and predictable. Ellen hates hearing that all he wants to be is Top 3 (which he mentioned in the clip package). This week Big Mike's not in it to win it. He tries to say it's not true, but he just performed as if that were exactly the case. I wonder what happened this week. Simon doesn't know the Free Willy movie. Big Mike tells him it's about a whale that needs people to save him. Indeed. The judges don't really pick up what he's putting down and instead make dick jokes. Classy as always, judges!
3) Duet #1 - Lee and Crystal singing Falling Slowly. This is a horrible song choice. Lee doesn't have these notes! Why are they pretending he's got this? They sing at each other, the solos are very choppy. The song's regularly a duet but they've gone further and chopped up the lines within an inch of its life. Crystal does all the heavy lifting when it comes to the high parts of the melody. The whole thing gets better as it goes, but gimme a break. Kris Allen's version was way better last year when it's selection was an inspired choice. This is not a song that needs to be repeated two years in a row on Movie Night. All the judges go absolutely crazy for it, hoping that this song will erase Lee's horrible performance from 10 minutes ago from voters' minds. Look, Crystal and Lee seemed to have a good time performing together and it didn't suck, but was it really better than the original or Kris's version? No.
4) Casey - He's singing "Mrs. Robinson." Blahhh. An uninspired choice and I'm not wasting a lot of words on it. Jamie Foxx wants Casey to seduce him. I guess it works because he gets an Artist Shirt. He's sitting down on stage, playing the yuke. It sounds okay, I guess. It's mad boring though. It's vocally simple. Randy takes the opportunity to bring up the Kara "scandal." Kara enjoys the attention. Then Simon wants to know what the movie was about and it goes on for like 15 minutes and goes know where. zip zap zop.
5) Bowersox - singing "I'm Alright" from Caddyshack. Awesome. Jamie Foxx doesn't want her to stop the song even if she messes up. He reluctantly gives her the artist shirt. Heresy! She changes it up and it's cool and different and sounds a lot like the version of herself we know and love. The judges are relieved she snapped out of her two week funk and seems to be back fighting for the win.
6) Duet #2 - Casey and Big Mike perform Have You Really Loved A Woman? Seriously, WTF show? Why these songs? The guitar playing by both is on point, but Casey's voice is way off. Big Mike's voice is good, but he sits out for like two whole verses just strummin' along. Crystal and Lee couldn't go three words without having to switch soloists and now I'm stuck with like 45 straight seconds of Casey? Why? When it ends, the judges again heap praise on them, saying the duets were so fantastic. They were not hearing what I was hearing. I thought there wasn't one truly awesome performance tonight. Crystal came off the best though. Bottom 2 has gotta be Casey and Big Mike.
Results Night! Daughtry, Fantasia and Bon Jovi are here to upstage all the remaining contestants. This all went by literally in a blur so let me see if I get it right. There is a movie trailer-ish opening montage in the Wednesday night standard spectre-vision. Then we see the judges. Then Fantasia is performing, sadly I don't stop to listen to her. And then... I don't even know what happens. i don't notice Jamie Foxx performing, I don't notice some kind of movie themed lip-synched group sing. Maybe that was the Ford Commercial whizzing by. Then Casey is safe which is BULLSHIT. No way he was bottom 2. I'm not listening to what Ryan is saying, but I do not believe Crystal or Lee were in the bottom 2 this week. Producers are trying to manufacture drama. Also the couches of safety are so big and empty that they now have contestants' family members sitting up there.
Daughtry performs, and again I kick myself for accidentally deleting this prematurely. It figures it would happen on a night when I want to actually here the guest performers. It looks like Ryan talks to Chris for a while after the performance and then Lee is safe and Crystal is in "danger." Please. Mike is going home. Then we listen to Bon Jovi. Well, you might have. I didn't. Then it's final elimination and Big Mike gets cut. I actually went back to normal speed for this part. He thanks the judges for saving him from a 9th place finish. He sings Free Willy again to close out his stay on the show, which is a little sad because I think he's sung better songs in better voice on across the season than this particular one. Afterwards he appropriately scoops up his baby and kisses her as she tries not to cry too hard on national TV. Oh, Big Mike. I was hard on you all season, but I thought you were one of the better vocalists. Best of luck and enjoy the tour!
Next week it's time for hometown visits and a couple songs each. If history is any indication, the producers will force one of the remaining contestants to sing "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me."