American Idol is like the Academy Awards this year -- a plethora of nominees but only two real contenders. It's Siobhan Magnus vs. Crystal Bowersox. (Why does my spellcheck flag me for "Bowersox" but think that "Siobhan" is a real word?) The rest are just fish chum. I'd be happy if Crystal wins but I love Siobhan. She's got an amazing voice, a real sense of theater, and let's just say it -- she is so fucking weird! She takes wild risks -- from brave song choices to last week trying to wear heels. But she's always fascinating, always original. If the theme one week is lullabies I wouldn't be surprised to see her pop out of a coffin.
Now that we've reached the Top 12 we're back to the garish Idoldome. What's with the judges and Ryan now making entrances? My daughter Annie said, "It's Sunday Night Football!"
The theme this week was music of the Rolling Stones. They showed a tribute montage of the band at the top of the show, and at first I thought, why? Everyone knows the Rolling Stones. But then I realized, Mick Jagger was already 80 when Katie Stevens was born, so maybe not everybody is that familiar with them.
Attention Idol producers: Please, please, please stop showing footage of the contestants' background.
It's just one long sappy stew of small towns, religious parents, hardships, gaggles of siblings, crippled relatives, toothless baby pictures, and near death experiences. The Brady Bunch meets The Grapes of Wrath. Just let the kids sing!
Highlight of the night was Ryan getting right up in Simon's grill and Simon backpedaling away. Change his last name from Cowell to Cower.
Michael Lynche -- the big kid with the canned ham biceps -- got things started with "Miss You." I like him. Despite his menacing presence he's very sweet. Michael won't become the next American Idol but he'll be close. And by close I mean he'll be the next American Idol's bodyguard.
The judges liked Didi Benami more than I did. She sang the dark "Playing with Fire." Imagine being threatened by the Rose Queen. At least she didn't cry though. More appropriate for her would have been "19th Nervous Breakdown."
And what show were the judges watching when Lacey Brown massacred "Ruby Tuesday"? She was God awful! Every note was a clunker. Simon had no problem with the vocals. Really?? I bet when he watches the show back, (if he ever releases the pause button once his close up fills the screen) he'll realize she sounded like a cat with it's tail caught in a mop squeezer.
Casey James sang "It's All Over Now." Wordsmith Randy called it "bluesy, folksy, and rocksy," thus comparing Casey to three of his favorite dwarfs.
Ellen finally got off a couple of great lines when she said to Casey, "For most women, their hearts are going to start racing just looking at you. But then for people like me... blondes..."
Very funny. But then Ellen destroyed all credibility and proved she knows nothing about music by saying that Andrew Garcia's performance was his best ever. Maybe earlier she should have said, "But then for people like me... deaf..." Andrew warbled "Gimme Shelter." Kara took him to task for not sufficiently conveying the song's message of war. She was clearly trying to show off her knowledge of music. On the other hand, I bet she couldn't tell you which war.
Lee Dewyze crooned "Beast of Burden." Randy said he sounded like Rob Thomas or Dave Matthews. I thought he sounded like Dean Martin.
Katie Stevens wore her prom dress to Rolling Stones night. In her profile puff piece she revealed that one of her goals was to "put Connecticut on the map." Katie sang "Wild Horses." She's certainly not bad; it's just that others are better.
Lowlight of the night was Tim Urban's stupifying Reggae version of "Under My Thumb." If only he had done it as a Polka. More apropos song selections for Tim would have been "The Last Time," "Out of Time," "It's All Over Now," "You Can't Always Get What You Want," and "Ain't Too Proud to Beg."
Siobhan Magnus, wearing a black party dress that really showed off her arm tattoo, gave the performance of the night with "Paint It Black." She combines the best of Adam Lambert and Elvira.
Paige Miles, wearing what looked like a Boy Scout uniform, did a respectable rendition of "Honky Tonk Woman," especially since she has laryngitis. So Paige has a free pass this week. No one is going to vote off someone with laryngitis. Well, maybe Tim.
Aaron Kelly was next. He sang "Angie" (which is really the song to do if you have laryngitis. Jagger himself sounds like he's being asphyxiated when he sings it.) Aaron sang it very well ; controlled and heartfelt. My only quibble is that his new hairstyle makes him now looks like Astro Boy.
Crystal Bowersox got the pimp spot and without breaking a sweat delivered a knockout version of "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Simon worried that she might be getting a little complacent. He's right. This is the trap singers fall into when they're not released from the hospital the morning of their performance.
Not sure which contestant is going home, but it makes no difference. The ultimate winner will either be "Crystal Locker" or "Siobhantar."