‘American Idol’: The Top 5 Swing Into Action By Taking On Frank Sinatra

Who better to mentor the American Idol Top 5 on Frank Sinatra Night than swingin’ Grammy winner Harry Connick, Jr.? Not only did Harry show Crystal, Lee & Co. the ropes when it comes to interpreting Ol’ Blue Eyes, he also wrote the arrangements for each of the remaining contestants and played piano on stage during their performances. “Do you think Shania Twain was up in here doin’ this?” Connick joked. It was definitely some enchanted evening—see how it played out below!

At the beginning of the episode, Harry warns, “These are hardcore songs that these young people are singing.” And further adding to our remaining five would-be Idols’ nerves is the fact that Frank Sinatra’s daughters Tina and Nancy are in the audience.

But if that isn”t enough to throw them off a bit, Sir Anthony Hopkins is in the house, too! (Which is sort of random from a PR standpoint, considering his next film You will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger isn’t in theaters till September.)

Anyway, moving on:

AARON KELLY — “Fly Me To The Moon”
With his hair slicked back and his vest and tie on, young Aaron Kelly certainly looks the part on Sinatra night. Of course, he sounds nothing like the vocal legend, but Aaron still manages to turn in a decent performance, despite Kara noting that she wants a little more charisma at this stage from him. Things are off to a good start tonight, at least.

CASEY JAMES — “Blue Skies”
Casey says that he grew up listening to Harry Connick, Jr. But it’s too bad he didn’t add a little Frankie to his music collection along the way, because his rendition of “Blue Eyes” just sounds like a flat, off-key mess. And when he attempts to hold certain notes, it’s pretty painful. Randy agrees and says, “This was your worst performance.” Ellen says it felt stiff, while Kara notes, “You’ve got to work on your vibrato, it’s a little out of control.”

CRYSTAL BOWERSOX — “Summer Wind”
As usual, Crystal sounds impeccable. Well, at least we think so. The judges, on the other hand, give her some so-so feedback. What is notable is that Mamasox looks exceptionally elegant tonight in her black dress—and she always manages to figure out some new way of doing up her ever-increasing mass of hair.

MICHAEL LYNCHE — “The Way You Look Tonight”
Big Mike explains that he has to be versatile to sing with his 12-piece band back on the East Coast, and it shows—he ends up being the best of the night so far! With his three-piece suit and fedora, Michael looks, sounds and embodies the part while crooning “The Way You Look Tonight” with what Randy deems an “unbelievable vocal.” Simon adds that “the first three performances were just okay—now with you that’s all changed.”

LEE DEWYZE — “That’s Life”
But don’t start spreadin’ the news about Big Mike just yet, because it’s Lee who shuts things down with his take on “That’s Life.” Harry admits that his wife thinks Lee is cute. And maybe that gives the 24-year-old former paint store clerk added confidence, because at the end of his performance, his nails the vocals perfectly. (Now that’s how you hold a note, Casey!) Ellen jokes, “At first I was distracted by Harry’s organ,” before adding, “I think if this was the last night of performances, you would have just won this whole thing.” We have to agree.

Best Of The Night: Lee DeWyze

Worst Of The Night: Casey James. We predict another trip to the Bottom Three for the ponytailed heartthrob tonight.

Final Thoughts: It’s down to the wire here in Season 9, and thankfully Harry Connick, Jr. helped most of our Idol Rat Pack find their mojo tonight. It’s still looking like this whole shebang is coming to a Lee and Crystal showdown—though if Mr. Lynche keeps his momentum going, there could just be a Big Mike-sized upset.

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  • Mike

    This season has really troubled me – I thought things would improve towards the end, but last night signaled that nothing can really salvage this year’s competition. Sinatra classics were pretty butchered across the board, but they got really killed by some. Tonight, I’m very concerned about Casey James – I think that last night’s performance may have been his last chance. It’s said since he’s one of the most solid (and commercial) contestants on the show. Lee was probably the best, with Crystal, and Michael trailing. Although Michael should be eliminated as well, simply for having no viable star status after the show ends. http://thesmogger.com/2010/05/05/idol-hangover-the-five-sing-sinatr/