Suddenly there are just seven singers on ‘American Idol,’ and the season still seems like it would have been much better if folks like Alex Lambert, Lily Scott and Janell Wheeler had not be cut loose so early.
But we can’t dwell on the past too much. The seven we’ve got are still out there trying to prove they’ve got the goods to win this whole thing. While there seems to be a clear front-runner (can it be anyone other than Crystal Bowersox, really?), there were some moves in the rankings that came as big surprises – at least to me, and I write them!
So, who rose ahead of the competition this week and is in position to be a serious contender for the rest of the season? Let’s find out.
The Top 7
1. Crystal Bowersox (Last week: #1): No surprise here, especially given what you read in the intro. Crystal just proves every week that she’s clearly ahead of the pack. That isn’t a knock on everyone else, but she’s so confident in who she is and continues to push herself rather than take a laid-back approach. She boldly picked a lesser-known Elvis song this week, but it suited her style extremely well and she made it current. If the recent TMZ report that Crystal wanted to quit the show is true, that’s too bad. If it’s also true that Ryan Seacrest talked her out of it, well, that’s
2. Casey James (Last week: #3): In the biggest jump this week, Casey moves to the No. 2 slot for again choosing a song that was fantastic for him in “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.” He took my advice about not standing in the middle of the stage with a guitar. This time, he stood on the little platform just to the side of the stage with a guitar. In all seriousness, I’ll say again that it would be very nice to see him ditch the guitar, but I’m starting to realize it isn’t going to happen. And I’m starting to be OK with that.
3. Lee Dewyze (Last week: #4): I’m still not crazy about Lee, but it’s clear he’s emerging into a quiet force. Lee’s confidence is growing each week, and with that comes the freedom to stretch beyond his comfort zone. Lee knows he has to work on his performance, and that kind of self-awareness will help him in the coming weeks. He doesn’t appear to think he has anything wrapped up, which is the best kind of inspiration you can hope for.
4. Siobhan Magnus (Last week: #2): After a couple of down weeks in a row, it’s time to drop Siobhan down the list a bit. It seems as though the judges got into her head by criticizing her big high note (a.k.a., “the scream”), and she’s been a bit shaken ever since. She’s clearly hesitant and trying to show that she doesn’t to rely on the scream. It’s something I think she can do (she proved with “The House of the Rising Sun”), but she hasn’t taken the right approach in recent weeks. Siobhan is not out of it by any stretch, but she’s definitely slipping.
5. “Big” Mike Lynche (Last week: #5): Let’s get one thing straight: Big Mike’s vocals haven’t been in question. The guy can sing. There’s no doubt. His performance of “In the Ghetto” this week was good, but it was a little too intense, and more dramatic than it had to be. Elvis’ version of that song clearly has a message (“People don’t you understand? The child needs a helping hand…”). But Michael’s version came across as if it should have been played over a public-service announcement about life in the ghetto. It was too much and a bit indulgent. He needs to learn to let the lyrics speak for themselves when they’re perfectly capable of doing so.
6. Tim Urban (Last week: #9): He’s done it. Tim has worked his way out of the bottom. What will “Vote for the Worst” do now that Tim is actually becoming somewhat decent? They still have him as their choice (they’re not known for backing down), but Tim is not really the worst any longer. That doesn’t mean he’s any great shakes (he’s still just one spot from the bottom on this list), but he’s taken direction from the judges and continued to take his spot in the competition seriously – despite his smile. He’s come a very long way from the guy whose slide across the stage was the highlight of his performance, and deserves credit for climbing out of the hole he was in.
7. Aaron Kelly (Last week: #6): Aaron continues to slide by under the radar, and he again delivered another completely average performance. Aaron has had one of the biggest roller-coaster rides of anyone this season. Early on, it was difficult to take him seriously. As the weeks progressed, he started to show more confidence and started to find himself in that pop-country groove. But in the past three weeks, or so, he’s completely leveled out – and not on a high level. He slipped into the bottom three the week Mike was saved and he could be in big trouble this week if he doesn’t step it up.