The news hardly needs spreading: American Idol is down to five contestants, and this week producers offered them the chance to perform classics from the Chairman Of The Board himself, Frank Sinatra. This week’s mentor, Harry Connick Jr., did his best to help the would-be Idols get in touch with their inner Frank (and did a reasonably good job, in our view — “Do you think Shania Twain was up in here doin’ this?”). But if you really want to know whether the Idols displayed Sinatra-style class, you should ask the classiest former Idol contestant we know — Elliott Yamin. We’re excited to say that Elliott’s back with his final guest post of the season, a review of Idol‘s Top 5.
A lot has changed since his last visit to Idolator — the Idol pool is half as big as it was when he last reviewed the singers’ performances. Elliott pulls no punches this time, and we love him for his honesty, among many other reasons. See his review of last night’s Idol below, and be sure to visit his official site to hear his performance of “Can’t Stop Loving You” and see video of his recent return to Angola with Idol‘s Kara DioGuardi.
I can remember Top 5 week on Season 5 being a pivotal one, because the pace of the show turned up a notch, and our weekly responsibilities were intensified. We had to learn two songs, so our workload doubled. Me, Paris, Tay Tay, Chris and Kat were really missing home, and probably emotionally drained by this point. But somehow, we barreled through it, and I managed to hang on another couple of weeks! Now before I go any further, I’d just like to express my gratitude to those who donated to Idol Gives Back last week. Please know that your contributions are truly helping to make the world a better place. I know, because I’ve seen it first hand!
Let’s get it on, shall we?
1) Aaron Kelly – “Fly Me To The Moon”
I thought Aaron looked great, and was confident. When he’s on, his voice is really smooth. But I still feel he lacks swagger and conviction. I just wish he’d emote a little more. all in all, it was a fair performance, and I still believe Aaron has a ton of potential.
2) Casey James – “Blue Skies”
I honestly thought this was pretty bad, and a bit patronizing. I guess we know that this style/genre doesn’t fit well with Casey’s voice. It was awkward and just plain uncomfortable. I feel like he mailed it in. But why would one do that this late in the competition? (Scratching my head.) Casey may have a touch of what I like to refer to as Idol-itis — thinking you’re golden, and on top, when really, the work has only just begun!
3) Crystal Bowersox – “Summer Wind”
This definitely wasn’t Mama Sox’s best performance. It was a bit boring and contrived. Although she sounded good, she just wasn’t in her element and never really found a middle ground in the pocket of the song. That being said, my fellow diabetic should still be here next week, and I can’t wait to hear what she has in store for us.
4) Michael Lynche – “The Way You Look Tonight”
At first I thought, maybe Mike is playing it too safe with this song choice. Then he opened his mouth… how about that arrangement!!! He is a real singer. And real singers sound good singing the alphabet. Mike has this melodramatic quality about his voice that makes you hang on to every word. If I’m being super-technical, however, I’d say that I would’ve liked to hear him use a little more back phrasing for this style. Otherwise, super job, well done!
5) Lee Dewyze – “That’s Life”
Man, I really didn’t like this vocal at all. Lee just doesn’t seem too comfortable up there. He always appears to be he trying to remember the lyrics and the phrasing in his head while he’s singing. He kinda got lost with this pitch with that core progression in the middle of the song. I really don’t mean to diss Lee here, or be so hard on him. But I absolutely had no clue what performance the judges were watching and listening to. Didn’t understand where they were coming from.
The two best performers of the night for me were:
1) Michael Lynche
2) Aaron Kelly
Does Elliott know his stuff, or what? Be sure to follow him on Twitter, and you can read his wisdom every day.