RESULTS AND RATINGS: I'm in Champaign, Illinois for Roger Ebert's film festival, so I didn't get to watch Idol Gives Back. But as I predicted, Tim Urban finally went home. And you know, voters aren't so wacky. He stayed on the last few weeks because he gave pretty good performances, despite his vocal limitations. This week he was bad and he went home. Aaron Kelly and Casey James were both in the bottom three, with Casey probably wondering why his much more confident and rock star-ish persona isn't connecting with fans the way Lee Dewyze's sad sack mumbling does. I'm surprised by Aaron, even though he's been in the bottom three before. But those who commented below picked him as vulnerable.
But the big news for me as a TV buff was the fact that Idol has beaten back a threat from Dancing With The Stars. Briefly, with Kate Gosselin on DWTS, that show was beating Idol. This meant Idol's chance to make TV history and become the first show to ever rank #1 for six different seasons was in jeopardy. (Plus, Idol will be #1 for six seasons in a row!) But last week Idol beat DWTS and did it again this week. On Monday, DWTS scored 18.93 million viewers. But on Tuesday, Idol scored 19.14 million (down about 20% from last season, mind you). The DWTS results show scored 13.45 million while Idol's results show reached 18.4 million. More importantly, ratings magnet Kate was eliminated on DWTS. Idol has beaten the show two weeks in a row and is heading towards the finale so it should triumph again. And anyone who thinks reality shows are rigged is crazy: the producers would have LOVED Kate to stay on that show.
PERFORMANCE SHOW COVERAGE: American Idol gives back and Alicia Keys was the mentor. She generously showed what a good mentor Adam Lambert was by saying little more than that the singers should try to connect to the lyrics.
CASEY JAMES -- Sang "Don't Stop" by Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie (please, record with them, Christine; you don't have to go on tour!). [Thanks to reader dunedin for pointing out my error in crediting the song to Lindsey Buckingham.] James had some stinging guitar, which echoed note for note the original. Perfectly good cover but not special, which is what all the judges said. Simon pointed out it's not particularly tied into the theme of giving back (unless of course you're Bill Clinton). Did Lindsey loan Casey his guitar or was it donated for charity? I can't even imagine him watching the show. (Though I am delighted that super cool Tracey Thorn of Everything But The Girl is goofily devoted to Cowell's UK show The X Factor.)
LEE DEWYZE -- Sang Simon & Garfunkel's "The Boxer," which is a wonderful Paul Simon tune that's just on the edge of dated, but in an endearing, earnest, collegiate Sixties sort of way. It was no surprise he skipped the line about visiting the whores on Seventh Ave (a shame, since I grew up on Seventh Ave in Pompano Beach, Florida and my sisters and I always jokngly cheered at that part). Better than James, but it was a bit draggy (like the song, to be fair), though the judges raved.
TIM URBAN -- Sang "Better Days" by the Goo Goo Dolls. Finally, the wheels come off for cute as a button Tim. Painfully bad vocals but he's ready for the CW pilot season, isn't he?
AARON KELLY -- Sang "I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly. Way too familiar a choice for a song overdone on the show. And yet in a complete reversal of Tim, Aaron got back on track and gave a very good performance after weeks of seeming lost -- and the country twang made the song actually sound fresh. Just in time to put him back in contention for the finale.
SIOBHAN MAGNUS -- Sang "When You Believe," a duet between Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston from the animated film The Prince of Egypt. It won the Oscar for Best Song, but like the film is thoroughly forgettable even as you're listening to it. Still, Siobhan hit a few notes in the way Idol viewers enjoy which might be enough to keep her from the bottom. Her post-song chat didn't help. When you don't seem to be having fun, people don't have fun watching you.
MICHAEL LYNCHE -- Sang the Nickelback tune "Hero," which I don't know in the least so I have nothing to compare it to. (I'm traveling so I wasn't able to buy it and download it to hear the original.) Kind of anonymous but had some energy.
CRYSTAL BOWERSOX -- Sang "People Get Ready," by the Impressions and covered by just about everyone else since. Thank the Lord! After weeks of coasting, Crystal used no instrument, sang a cappella to start, looked supremely confident and knocked it out of the park. And then oh my god overwhelmed by emotion she broke down to show a little humanity! Perfect timing and no one else is even close. No idea what Simon said because my recording cut off but I'm sure he raved.
The bottom three: Casey james, Tim Urban and Siobhan Magnus, with Tim and Siobhan in the bottom two and Tim going home. What do you think?
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