American Idol Season 9-Big News and Top 7 Rankings

Big news breaking this week on American Idol Season 9 over the last few days.  Two weeks ago, front runner Crystal Bowersox walked out of American Idol Season 9. Missing he rfamily, tired of the attention and frustrated with the competitive mood of the show, she walked off the set after the airing of the “Soul/R&B Theme” performances.   American Idol host Ryan Seachrest found Bowersox in the parking lot and convinced her to stay.

We have said all along that Crystal Bowersox, as great as she is, doesn’t seem to fit American Idol.  For weeks, the judges have told her she seemed constrained.  That night does seem to be a turning point for Crystal Bowersox.  The last two weeks we have seen Crystal Bowersox introduce the didgeridoo to American Idol in her performance of “Come Together”.  Last week she delivered a smoking version of the rockabilly gospel classic “Saved.”  Does it really matter? If Crystal Bowersox struggles with the competitive grind of American Idol Season 9, how will she respond to the 19 Entertainment juggernaut that will attempt to polish off all of her interesting quirks to create a bland pop star.  Kelly Clarkson played the game for a few years then rebelled her career into oblivion.  I am not sure Crystal Bowersox has the patience of Kelly Clarkson.

American Idol Season 9 sent Andrew Garcia and Katie Stevens home last week to take us to the Top 7.  Both Andrew and Katie were favorites coming out of Hollywood.  Andrew Garcia never seemed comfortable on the live stage.  His hard street look was in conflict with his bland acoustic pop style and he was never able to recapture the magic he created during Hollywood week.  Katie Stevens is an old soul in a 16 year old body.  The judges constantly tried to make her young and current but her best performances of the season were her audition, “At Last”, and “Let It Be”.  In three years, we will hear about Katie Stevens recording jazz records and playing the Newport Jazz Festival.

So now American Idol Season 9 is down to the Top 7.  No one has asserted themselves as a clear favorite to win.   Crystal Bowersox and Christian music artist Michael Lynche are clearly the best singers and most developed performers, but that doesn’t mean they will win.  Here are our American Idol Season 9 Top 7:

  1. Crystal Bowersox is by far the most developed artist and one of the two best singers in American Idol Season 9. However, we have seen season after season when the judges start telling a constestant that “I just don’t have any more words to describe how great you are”, that performer finishes second or third.  Crystal Bowersox is the best performer of the Top 7 but I think she is a bit to quirky to win American Idol Season 9.
  2. Michael Lynche is the best singer on this show.  He has sung the most difficult songs (“A Woman’s Work”) and he has yet to hit a sour note.  My complaint with Michael Lynche is that he has yet to use his rap skills to create a big exciting moment.  He sorely needs a change of pace this week.  Until he was saved by the judges two weeks ago, I thought Michael Lynche had a great chance to win American Idol Season 9.
  3. Lee Dewyze seems to have turned a corner the past three weeks. His loose, rollicking performance of “Treat Her Like A Lady” has apparently proven to Lee that he can compete, perform and have fun at the same time.  I have started to see the singer the judges have been talking about throughout American Idol Season 9. If Lee Dewyze continues to improve each week I think his booming growl of a voice could lead him to win American Idol Season 9.
  4. Casey James is a bit of an enigma for me.  The judges love him but I don’t get it.  I don’t hate him as a performer I just don’t notice him.  As I list the performers each week, he is always the one I forget.  He is a middle of the road rocker who can do some country rock.  I expect to see him performing with Carrie Underwood on the CMA show in a few year.

    Fighting to Get To American Idol Season 9 Top 5

  5. Siobhan Magnus continues to slide from her early season accolades.  After wowing the judges with big, crazy, bombastic performances in the first few weeks Siobhan missed.  Her performance of Chaka Kahn‘s “Through The Fire” was possibly the worst single performance of any performer on American Idol Season 9.  The judges critiqued her fairly and she has been visibly shaken since.  As one of only two girls and a performer of unique style I expect her to make it to the American Idol Season 9 Top 5, but I don’t think she should.
  6. Tim Urban is the story of American Idol Season 9.  Joining the show at the last minute as a substitute for a disqualified candidate, Tim Urban‘s first four performances were pretty bad.  However, his smile and good looks kept him in the competition.  We thought we were headed for another Sanjaya story.  Funny thing is, Christian music artist Tim Urban got better.  His last four weeks have ranged from pretty good to last week’s declaration as the best performance of the night.  Even the judges have come to love Tim Urban. He has been in the bottom two just about every week so I don’t think Tim Urban will win American Idol Season 9 but he has done enough to create a recording career.
  7. Aaron Kelly confounds me every week.  He is bland while being bombastic.  He brings no depth to the songs he sings.  His voice has some potential but he hits as many sour notes as he does strong ones.  I keep waiting for him to leave every week and yet he is never in the Bottom 2.

Join us Tuesday night as the American Idol Season 9 performs Inspirational songs under the tutelage of Alicia Keys.  Then on Wednesday night the reuslts will be integrated into a night of great performances on “Idol Gives Back.”

American Idol Season 9 Top 9 (part 2) Results

Two will go home tonight on American Idol Season 9.  There are no more saves, no more second chances.  After tonight we will be down to 7.

Last night American Idol Season 9 sang the songs of Elvis PresleyAdam Lambert did an admirable job of mentoring the performers through this tricky set of songs.  I expected a parade of karaoke and bad lounge act interpretations of Elvis. Andy Garcia, Aaron Kelly and Siobhan Magnus managed to meet that expectation.  However, Crystal Bowersox (as always), Lee Dewyze and (believe it or not) Tim Urban delivered interesting, nuanced performances. See our live blog of American Idol Season 9 Elvis night.

Last week we experienced the Michael Lynche shocker.  According to dialidol, America responded to the almost Lynche tragedy by voting for Michael Lynche more than any other performer in the American Idol Season 9 Top 9.  Tim Urban has gained some well deserved momentum since the judges nearly had nervous breakdowns over his smiling.  I think his star is on the rise and Tim Urban could make it into the American Idol Season 9 Top 5 (remember Syesha Mercado?).  It is time for Aaron Kelly to go, but he won’t.

I think the bottom three will include Katie Stevens, Andrew Garcia and Siobhan Magnus.  Katie and Andrew will go home and Siobhan will be so crushed that she loses her way the rest of the season.

Let’s find out together as we live blog the results for the second installment of the American Idol Season 9 Top 9.

Ryan tells us America voted 34 million times last night, the largest number this season.  Adam Lambert and Brooke White perform. But first we start with a American Idol Season 9 group medley of Elvis classics. The medley gets the full Vegas lounge act review treatment.

To the results.  Casey James stands first and he is joined by Aaron Kelly and Andy Garcia.  Ryan walks them to the center of the stage. Andy Garcia looks like he thinks he is going home.  Andrew Garcia is going home.  Lee Dewyze is crushed, he loses his new best friend.  I hate to see Andrew Garcia go home but it is time.  What a classy guy, Andrew Garcia leaves with a statement of gratitude.  Well done.

For this most commercial of endeavours, I very much appreciate American Idol‘s consistent commitment to global charities.  Next week is Idol Gives Back.

Brooke White and Justin Gaston perform a duet of “Why Can’t My Dreams Come True”.  Brooke sounds great and this Justin guy sings really well.  This is the best guest performance of the past month.

It is time to set-up the second elimination.  Who will be in the bottom 2?  Crystal Bowersox is safe. SURPRISE!  Siobhan Magnus is safe.  Really, kind of a mild surprise. Lee Dewyze is safe. They leave Tim Urban, Michael Lynche and Katie Stevens in a sort of bottom 3.

Finally, Alicia Keys will mentor American Idol Season 9.  The best musician on the scene today will guide the Idols through their selections of inspirational songs.  I am excited.

It is time for Adam Lambert to reprise his place on the American Idol stage.  Some things never change.  I don’t think American Idol sprang for the lasers or the sparkling in-ear monitors last year, but that is about the only difference.

Will it be Tim, Michael or Katie?  It is time to find out.  Ryan sends Tim Urban back to safety. The season ends tonight for Katie Stevens. Ryan does reveal that Michael Lynche was not even in the bottom 3.

Join us next week for Idol Gives Back, inspirational songs and Alicia Keys.

American Idol Season 9 Top 10 Results

Last night we were Ushered through two hours of Soul/R&B on American Idol Season 9.  The results were better than the week before but more mediocre than I expected.  We are now in the push to win and nobody took the reins of the American Idol Season 9.  Three guys won the night.  The top girls delivered their weakest performances of the season and Tim Urban, Katie Stevens and Aaron Kelly made their pitches for the bottom 3.

Michael Lynche, Casey James and Lee Dewyze stole the night.  Michael Lynche went sensitive with a neo-soul ballad while Casey James and Lee Dewyze updated two old school soul raves and rocked the stage.  Top girl Crystal Bowersox struggled through a bland performance and Siobhan Magnus fell apart after the judges criticized her bad performance.  Didi Benami sang well but was destroyed by the judges and the judges fawned all over the Andy Garcia’s comeback to mediocrity.

We will see Usher sing a tune from his new release tonight.  I think Tim Urban, Katie Stevens and Andy Garcia are in the bottom 3 and I think this is the week that Tim Urban goes back to Texas to wait for the tour.  But hey, Kate Goslin survived last night on Dancing With The Stars and Tim Urban is better than Kate.  Let’s see what America thinks.

Is the Cracken going to be on American Idol tonight or they just teasing us with a Clash of The Titans trailer? I guess Simon really does really look like the Cracken.  Siobhan Magnus looks pretty miserable.  Rueben Studdard starts the show with some smooth R&B.  Remember this guy?  He was on American Idol Season 2.  Yeah he won and went into the American Idol winner protection program.  Rueben Studdard is good form, but this song sounds like a medley.  Why isn’t this guy more popular?  Michael Lynche is loving this guy.

So let’s start to slowly build the American Idol Season 9 Top 10 bottom 3.   But first a Ford commercial and nothing to say about that.  Michael Lynche has attached a pink ponytail to his bald head.  Mama Garcia just told Andrew to be himself, even thought judges are calling him boring. Lee Dewyze, who had his best night of the year last night, and even though he is talking way too much he is safe.  Casey James also had a terrific night last night and he is safe as well.  Aaron Kelly underperformed “Ain’t No Sunshine” last night but he is safe.  It is down to Siobhan Magnus and Katie Stevens and Katie Stevens is in the bottom 3.  Why is Siobhan Magnus is crying and why are they so focused on her?  She is safe.

Next week the American Idol Season 9 Top 9 will perform from the Lennon/McCartney songbook.  But now we see Usher using an auto-tuner and I hate that device. The auto tuner and the offensive lyrics cause me to change the channel.  No Usher for me.

I am back for the commercial break.  Will Didi Benami or Andy Garcia join Katie Stevens and perennial Bottom 3 resident Tim Urban in tonight’s bottom 3?  Didi Benami, the judges’ favorite punching bag, is up first and she is in the Bottom 3.  The judges might use their save on her.  Michael Lynche is on the hot spot now and Ellen is talking about his subtlety and sensitivity.  After Mike lifts Ryan over his head, Ryan may rethink his misdirection shenanigans.  Crystal Bowersox is safe.  Tim Urban and Andy Garcia are the last two left to join to Bottom 3.  Nobody can understand why Tim Urban smiles all of the time.  He explains it is because he is so grateful for being on the stage.  Of course, Tim Urban is in the bottom 3 again.  Katie Stevens is sent to safety so we will lose another Christian performer tonight.

That Nationwide Insurance dude with the blue phone makes me laugh, anyways most people get their insurances online now a days at sites as Insurance Partnership where they can get the best deals without that much work.

Diddy Dirty Money, who is that?  I thought dude was too busy selling jeans to record songs.  I didn’t like that very much.

Money time.  After America has voted Didi Benami has been voted off.  Oh no!  She needs to sing for her American Idol Season 9 life.  She sings “Rhianon”.  This is a captivating performance but I don’t know if it is enough to keep her on American Idol Season 9.  The judges do not save her.  I am disappointed we have lost Didi Benami.

Join us next week as American Idol Season 9, the season of the girls, continues with six guys and three girls.

American Idol Season 9 Top 10 Power Rankings

For all of the talk about the judges, Paula leaving, who is replacing Paula, Ellen Degeneres, Simon is leaving, oh no, this show rises and falls on the contestants.  So far American Idol Season 9 is sinking under the weight of a disappointing group of contestants.  Are we tired of American Idol?  Were American Idol Seasons 6, 7 and 8 just so good that American Idol Season 9 pales in comparison? Did the judges, with Simon’s focus on his next thing, Paula’s departure, the distraction of finding Paula’s replacement and all of the guest judges cause the judge group to just miss on the selections?  I don’t know.

We are down to the Top 10 and this is the group we will buy tickets to see on the American Idol Season 9 Tour.  Some contestants could rise up from here and raise the bar, maybe, hopefully.

We are covering Christian music artists on American Idol Season 9 and three will tour.  Michael Lynche, Didi Benami and Tim Urban have made it to the Top 10.  Michael Lynche is emerging as one of the favorites, Didi Benami shows signs of being a solid artist but is still finding her balance and Tim Urban is hanging on after surviving the Bottom 3 each of the last two weeks.

American Idol Season 9 Top 10 Power Rankings

  1. Crystal Bowersox has risen above the American Idol Season 9 crowd and proven herself to be the most complete and developed artist of the group.  She is a terrific singer who is completely confident in herself as an artist.  She has consistently chosen the perfect song for herself.  Her gospel rendition of “Long As I Can See The Light” was one of the two highlights of the season.  Does it seem that she is uncomfortably out of place on American Idol?
  2. Michael Lynche has demonstrated a wide range of soul styles from neo-soul to contemporary R&B to straight-up gut wrenching soul.  The judges have overlooked Michael somewhat because he seems to be playing the game of selecting “American Idol” songs and giving them interesting, if safe, arrangements.  His performance of “A Woman’s Work” was not only the season highlight for me but the highlight of the past three seasons. I know that his music is as challenging and dangerous and unique as anything Crystal Bowersox or Siobhan Magnus has thrown at the judges.  Let’s see if, now that Michael Lynche is in the Top 10 and probably has a few weeks to take a risk, he is willing to shake things up with some of his “Dirty South R&B”.
  3. Siobhan Magnus is this year’s bombastic judges favorite.  Every week she seems to try to be as loud and as outrageous on stage as she can be and the judges fawn over her like teenage girls in the presence of Joe Jonas. I really don’t get it.  In any of the other seasons I would rank in her in the bottom half, but if you guys have seen the show you understand.
  4. Didi Benami has moved away from “American Idol steroetype” of the “sensitive singer/songwriter who cries a lot” over the past few weeks.  She has performed “Paint It Black” and “You’re No Good” like she was thinking about someone who did her wrong.  It has worked for me but not the judges.  Didi Benami needs a really great moment when she uses her sensitive interpretive skills to quietly rip a song open and bring the judges to their knees.  I think she has it in her.
  5. Casey James has had several weeks of delivering workable, if forgettable, rocking performances of rock n’ roll and country songs.  I can’t remember any of the performances.
  6. Lee Dewyze
  7. Katie Stevens does not belong on American Idol Season 9. Not because she is not a great singer.  I think she is great.  Like Crystal Bowersox, American Idol pop music is not her deal.  The judges keep telling her to be more contemporary.  That is not who she is. Katie Stevens is an old soul.  We will see her singing interesting jazz and blues in New York and Paris cabarets for years to come.  I can’t wait.
  8. Tim Urban is the one the judges love to hate.  He managed to turn a substitute slot in the  Top 24 into a Top 10 place on the American Idol Season 9 tour, but the judges hate him.  I liked his reggae take on “Under My Thumb”.  Tim Urban does need to demonstrate more vocal skills and a more comfortable presence on stage.
  9. Andy Garcia is one of my two biggest disappointments of the year.  I thought he was going to be the one to bring smart, edgy interpretations to out of genre songs and wow us very week.  So far, he has forced all of his song selections into a bland mid tempo soft rock style.
  10. Aaron Kelly does not do it for me.  His has delivered one overwought, bombastic vocal performance after another.  The judges love him and I am sure we will see him on the Country Music Awards for decades.  That is why I don’t watch the CMA’s.

After two American Idol Seasons dominated by guys we thought girls might rule American Idol Season 9.  We have six guys in the American Idols Season 9 Tour.

Join us Tuesday night as we live blog the 10 American Idol finalists performing Soul/R&B songs under the mentoring of Usher.

American Idol Season 9 Top 12 Results

This is the big night for American Idol Season 9 contestants.  Whoever survives tonight’s votes will join the American Idol Season 9 tour and dramatically increase their probability of a career in entertainment. Overall, I enjoyed the show last night.  I thought most of the performances were good to very good.

However, I must be watching a different show than the American Idol Season 9 judges.  They generally hated what I liked and liked what I hated.  After following this show so long I should realize that American Idol judges love the bombastic (with a big capital B).  So why should I be surprised that they went apoplectic over Siobhan Magnus’s crazy version of “Paint It Black.”   I thought it was loud, over theatrical and lost all connection with song.

How did our Christian music artists fare?  Let me give you my opinion:

  • Michael Lynche’s “Miss You” was outstanding.  Every week he demonstrates more and more of his vocal prowess and last night he showed off his arranging skills with an R&B influenced version of the Stone’s biggest disco hit.
  • Didi Benami showed herself to be more than a fragile pop singer/songwriter as she took “Play With Fire” deep into her dark self.  This was a good move for her, even if it was a little scary.
  • I liked Tim Urban’s reggae take on “Under My Thumb”.  The judges did not get it, but I guess these music industry professionals do not understand the mournful, rebellious mood of most reggae music.  This is protest music of a suppressed people packaged in an island dance beat.  Anyway, this was a good choice for Tim to control a Rolling Stone’s song and he performed it well.
  • Lacey Brown sang “Ruby Tuesday” quite well.  I don’t think she did anything special with the song and I think her inability to arrange and interpret songs to her talents will be her downfall.

I believe that Katie Stevens (hopefully not Lacey Brown) or Andy Garcia (hopefully not Tim Urban) will go home tonight.  If my predictions hold true that will be somewhat of a surprise because both Katie and Andy came into the live performances as strong contenders to win.  They just have not raised their game.

Well, here we go.  Wonderful montage of past moments for our current contestants.  Ryan and Simon discuss their “less than civil” moments last night.  Simon offers Ryan his job. Simon reminds the audience that the judges have the power to save a contestant from going home.  The decision must be unanimous. Ryan welcomes David Cook, singing Jumping Jack Flash. David and his band rock out. David is working on an album and planning a trip to Africa with Idol Gives Back.

The first Ford commercial is up with all of our contestants.  Looks good.  Hair stylists and wardrobe consultants definitely in play here.  They got to work with the Ford designers to work on their own custom Fiesta graphics.  On to the results.  There are 3 stools highlighted at stage left and the three least voted for contestants will sit there.  Paige Miles is up first and unfortunately for her, is asked to sit on a stool.  Next up is Lee Dewyze.  Lee thinks he needs to let loose and relax if he gets to stay.  He is safe and sits down.  Siobhan Magnus is also safe.  Aaron Kelly stands next.  Randy still thinks Aaron had a Justin Timberlake moment.  Aaron is also safe.  Andrew Garcia and Tim Urban are up next.  Both guys look really nervous.  Andrew is safe and oh no, our guy Tim is asked to sit with Paige.

New rock and roll personality Orianthi will perform According to You.  This artist has played with the likes of  Steve Vai,  Carlos Santana and Carrie Underwood (at the Grammys).  She auditioned for  Michael Jackson to be a part of his planned tour. 

Ryan continues with the voting results.  Didi Benami talks with Ryan next.  She seems nervous but says she is having a good time.  She admits that she almost cried when she saw her Mom on the video prior to her song. Very emotional singer. But good news, she is safe. Crystal Bowersox stands next.  She was also emotional to see her Dad cry on the video, making it somewhat difficult  to perform.  Maybe they shouldn’t show those videos prior to performances.  Just a thought.  Crystal is also safe.  Katie Stevens is up.  Katie feels the judges comments can be somewhat confusing. Simon feels she should be doing more country.  She is safe.  Here comes Michael Lynche.  Big Mike.  He did go back to watch his song.  He says he is here for the people.  This is good, Michael will be back next week.  He waves to the crowd.  Lacey Brown and Casey James are asked to stand.  After the nationwide vote, Lacey is in the bottom three.  With all of the bottom 3 on stage now, Ryan states that one will have to sing for survival, and two will be safe.  Will the judges use the save tonight?  They can only do this one time.  Tim Urban is safe.  Wow, that’s great.  He looks surprised.

But first up is artist Kesha with her new single, Blah Blah Blah.  (That is the name of her song, I am not being callous) Interesting.

Paige and Lacey are up.  One of the girls will be safe and continue on while the other sings for the save.  Ryan announces that the person in danger is Lacey.   Oh no.  Paige is safe and sits down.  Lacey Brown is singing for the save as the judges discuss amongst themselves whether they will keep her until next week.  C’mon Lacey, you can do it girl.  She sounds nervous though.  The judges think so too and decide not to save her. 

Well Lacey Brown, I enjoyed your singing and performances and I feel that you were improving and becoming stronger each week. Continue singing.   We will miss you.  God bless.

American Idol Season 9 Top 16 Results

To summarize the last two nights: sleepy, sleepy, sleepy, hum, okay, sleepy, WOW.   Tonight we learn what voters thought about the performances of American Idol Season 9‘s Top 16 the last two nights.  We cover Christian music artists competing on American Idol Season 9 and here are our thoughts of the last two nights:

  • Christian music artist Michael Lynche delivered my favorite performance since Jordan Sparks slayed “I(Who have Nothing)” in Season 6. This was a game changing performance of Maxwell’s (and Kate Bush) “This Woman’s Work”.  Michael displayed mad falsetto, crazy power and an intimidating stage presence.  He has set a bar that I am not sure even he can surpass.
  • The four remaining Christian music artists Michael Lynch, Tim Urban, Didi Benami and Lacey Brown American Idol Season 9 delivered their best performances of the year and probably secured their place in the Top 12.
  • After we projected Katelyn Epperly as the winner of American Idol Season 9 she proceeded to stumble through a cheesey performance of Carol King’s “I Feel The Earth Move”.
  • Crystal Bowersox continued to demonstrate her superiority of the American Idol Season 9 girls with a rocking throwdown of Traci Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason”.
  • Tonight we expect Paige Miles, Katie Stevens, Aaron Kelly and Toddrick Hall to go home.

Join us now as we live blog through the results and the top12 are revealed.

Ryan is bantering with the judges about comments made on last night’s show involving Randy in a bikini and thank you American Idol, we are now seeing a photo of same.  The 16 contestants will perform Michael Buble’s “Haven’t Met You Yet”.  All seem at ease, but time is drawing nigh.

Ryan announces the breaking news that the first theme of the big stage will be the music  of the Rolling Stones. New this year will be the audiences’ capability to go to Itunes to download the songs/playlist the contestants will listen to as they decide what to sing. 

He starts with the ladies.  Didi  Benami is invited to centerstage with Ryan.  He speaks to her about her struggles at the beginning of the show, then announces that  she has made it into the top 12. She is ecstatic.  Siobhan Magnus is next.  She tells everyone that she is very comfortable  on the stage.  She is in.  Paige Miles and Katelyn Epperly come to the stage together.  One is in and one is out.  Who will it be?  Simon feels the one with the most potential is Paige.  Paige has made it.  Uh oh, Katelyn is out.  There goes our prediction.

Next set will be chosen from the guys.  Tim Urban,  Toddrick Hall,  Lee Dewyze and Casey James are invited to centerstage.  Ryan begins with Tim Urban.  Tim is told to hang tight.  Toddrick is hanging tight too.  Lee is talked about for a moment and then on to Casey.  Casey is safe and joins the ladies.  Tim Urban is safe.  He acts shocked.  Lee will continue on the show and Toddrick will go home tonight.

Matt Geraud and Scott McIntyre will perform Billy Joel’s “Tell Her about It”.  Two piano men.  Matt and Scott are sporting leather tonight  as they play their baby grands.  I wonder if they performed this on their tour?  They can really play. Scott has an album out called Heartstring and it is available on Itunes through his website.  All original music.  Matt has a number one single with Anna Wilson called “You Don’t Know Me” on the jazz charts.

Okay here we go.  Eight are left.  Crystal Bowersox is invited to stand.  She looks so nervous.  After the nationwide vote, she is in.  Not smiling much, but she’s  in.  Michael Lynche goes to centerstage.  Kara talks about why she cried when he sang last night.  Ryan asks him if he can fit on a stool.  Michael has made it.  Lacey Brown stands.  C’mon Lacey.  She makes it through. Wow.  Aaron Kelly comes to the stage.  He feels he can bring more confidence if  he makes it through.  And he does.  Two more stools to fill.  Ryan calls Alex Lambert and Andrew Garcia.   Simon feels Andrew may have peaked too soon, but is talented.  Andrew makes it through and Alex is trying not to be too emotional.  It is so difficult to see these young singers go through the disappointment. After his song, all the guys crowd around him.  Katie Stevens and Lilly Scott are the last two.  The final seat in the top 12 belongs to Katie Stevens.  Lilly is going home.  That was a surprise.  I think she was surprised too.

Definitely some surprises tonight.  But congratulations to our 4 Christian artists as they go on to perform with American Idol’s top 12.  Join us next week as we continue to cover the music and performances.

American Idol Season 9 Top 8 Guys Live Blog

So last night everyone, but Crystal Bowersox, moved to the middle on American Idol Season 9. The mighty (Katelyn Epperly, Siobhan Magnus and Lilly Scott) stumbled, some of  the weak (Christian music artists Didi Benami and Lacey Brown) excelled and two (Paige Miles and Katie Stevens) may have sealed their exits.  Let’s hope the boys do better.

Christian music artists Michael Lynche (one of our favorites) and Tim Urban (whom we worry about) are joined by Andrew Garcia, Toddrick Hall, Lee Dewyze, Alex Lambert, Aaron Kelly and Casey James tonight as the American Idol Top 8 guys  perform Billboard 100 songs.

Once again we have 8 performances in one hour so it will be fast and furious.  If the guys are no better than the girls, we need no more than an hour.

Let’s get started with Lee Dewyze singing “Fireflies” from Christian music artist Owl City.  This is a horribly bland, but popular song.  It doesn’t really fit with my image of Lee Dewyze.  He sang it well, but it was just okay.  Randy tried to like it and Ellen liked that he made it a little rock.  Kara thinks Lee made it a better song.  Simon was a little ambivalent.

Alex Lambert is singing “Trouble” by Ray Lamontagne.  He really has an interesting voice but he looks so stiff and uncomfortable.  There was not much range in that performance.  Ellen loves her little banana, saying he gets better and better every week.  Kara says Alex is the only one standing in the way of him winning American Idol Season 9.  Simon wants Alex to imagine Randy in a bikini and let himself go.  I think that would be frightening.

Tim Urban is taking on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.  Could be a big mistake.  But maybe not.  This is great. Who knew he could sing this song.  The best so far, and his best by far.  Randy says pretty good.  Ellen runs over to him, hugs him and says “that was fantastic”.  Kara says he is now in the competition.  Simon says very smart and it was terrific.  Tim Urban may have just earned his way onto the American Idol Season 9 tour.

Andrew Garcia is singing his version of Christina Aguilera’s “Genie In A Bottle”.  It sounds like everything else he has done.  I am losing my love for Andrew Garcia, even Lee Dewyze looks bored. If you can’t tell, I did not like this very much.  It didn’t work for Randy either.  Kara says he peaked early and is disappointed by this performance, as is Simon.  He calls it a desperate performance.

Casey James is performing Keith Urban’s “You’ll Think of Me”.  This is a quiet acoustic performance that features his voice.  Guess what, he has a nice voice.  This is very good.  I don’t know the song, so I don’t know how original it was but it was a nice moment for Casey James.  Randy says that it was too safe, but Ellen thought it was great.  She likes most performances doesn’t she?  Kara calls it honest and heart felt but she is missing a spark.  Simon calls it his second best performance.

Aaron Kelly stays country with Lone Star’s “I’m Already There”.  Aaron has completely missed the pitch from the start.  This is the type of country song that makes me want to turn down the radio.  The performance is bombastic with little personality.  Ellen does hate some performances, but in a nice way.  Kara says it was completely irrelevant to him.  Simon says Kara’s critique was complete rubbish.  I don’t know what the judges saw.

Two more.  Toddrick Hall is doing Queen.  Should be interesting.  I love this song, “Somebody To Love”.  It is my favorite Queen song.  But maybe not this version.  Started fine in falsetto, but he needs to lose the background singers. I am trying to like it, but it is just missing something and I don’t know what.  Randy loved it.  Ellen says he was brave and thought it worked.  Kara says it was good singing but too dramatic.  I agree with Simon, that it was good in parts.

We end the evening with Christian music artist Michael Lynche doing Maxwell’s “This Woman’s Work”. Big Mike throwing down some falsetto.  This is deep modern R&B and what a beautiful tone. Mike is working it out. Fantastic.  Michale Lynche has to moved the the front of the pack. It is like boys playing with a man.  Kara cried, Randy says unbelievable, Ellen said great.  Simon says it was so needed and that he delivered the best performance of the season.

Just like last night, Christian music artists made big moves.  Tim Urban put himself in the competition and Michael Lynche threw down a guantlet for the rest of the performers.

American Idol Season 9 Top 8 Girls Live Blog

American Idol Season 9 continues on with tonight’s performances by the Top 8 girls.  Christian music artists Didi Benami and Lacey Brown are joined by Siobhan Magnus, Lilly Scott, Paige Miles, Katie Stevens, Katelyn Epperly and Crystal Bowersox.  The American Idol Season 9 Top 8 guys perform tomorrow night and the results show will be on Thursday night.  The difference this week is that the performances are one hour.

One21music covers the Christian music artists competing on American Idol Season 9 and I am concerned that we may lose our last two Christian music girls this week.  It will take a miracle for Lacey Brown to survive becasue she has given two weak performances and she has not established her identity as an artist.  Didi Benami is on shaky ground in this strong group of girls.  Didi Benami needs a defining performance tonight.

Just in case you missed it, I predicted a winner. Check out why I think Katelyn Epperly will win American Idol Season 9.

Let’s see how the Top 8 girls perform songs from the Billboard Top 100 (essentially everything ever recorded).

We are live and we need to move.  Eight performances in one hour and Ryan is talking very fast.  Let’s jump right in.

First up singing Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway” is Katie Stevens and she is struggling.  What has happened to her?  She sounds pretty flat.  She seems to be engulfed by the song.  I don’t know, she may be in trouble.  Randy is right that her performance paled in comparison.  Ellen is right that we did not feel the performance.  Kara says Katie doesn’t know who she is. Simon says she has not worked out what type of artist she wants to be. Katie will be one of the contestants on the bubble Thursday.

Siobhan Magnus will sing “House of The Rising Sun” by The Animals. This should be perfect for her voice.  Starting off acapela is a little different, takes some of the punch from the tune.  Her tone is great, but she oversings in places.  Solid performance from Siobhan but nothing spectacular.  Randy loved it, Ellen was moved, Kara think sit was brilliant but Simon thought it was weird.  He doesn’t think she was very creative with the song.

Brandi Carlisle’s “The Story” from Lacey Brown.  If she can pull it off she will put herself back in the competition.  I don’t know how to interpret her voice.  It sounds off key to me but I think it is her tone.  This is the third straight somber performance.  I think this was the best of the night so far.  The performance was quiet but mesmerizing.  Ellen and Randy thought it was her best of the year.  Kara says this was the type of performance that got her to the Top 16.  Simon loved the singing, called it a great radio performance.

Katelyn Epperly is up next singing Carol King’s “I Feel The Earth Move” and I think this is a mistake.  Performing stand-up behind the piano and it takes away from her performance.  I don’t think this is great.  It is a little too poppy for her.  This is Katelyn’s first stumble. That was empty. Randy pegged it, no connection to the song. Ellen is right, it wasn’t enough.  Kara says Katelyn was going through the motions.  Simon calls it request night at a restaurant.  Great, I predict she will win and she takes the night off.

Halfway through the night and no one has set the bar.  America must be confused.

And we fly through the last half of the show.  Didi Benami with guitar singing Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon.”  I think Didi may be finding herself with this contestant killing song.  She has an off beat take on the song, with a twisted pace and some beautiful singing.  Great performance.  Didi is back.  Of course, Randy was not crazy about it.  Ellen says yesindidi, Didi.  Kara says it was one of her favorite moments of the season, saying she made an impossible song choice her own.  Simon agress with Kara saying it was head and shoulders above anything else tonight.  Didi sings to fight another week!

Paige Miles takes a leap in song choice with Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile”.  She should stick with the rock.  Her tone does not fit this song, she wavers with the pitch and she tries to do too much with the song.  I think she missed any connection with the song.  Randy says it did not work at all and Ellen called it sad and heavy.  Kara and Simon agree with the others.  The judges seem upset about the performance.  Paige may have slipped out of the competition tonight.

So far, Christian music artists Lacey Brown and Didi Benami have given the best performances.  They may have saved their season tonight.

Crystal Bowersox is sporting the electric guitar performing “Give Me One Reason” by Traci Chapman.  Wifey says it is a good song for her but does it tell us anything new about Crystal Bowersox? Of course she slays the song with that huge voice. Boy, Crystal Bowersox can really sing.  It is not even fair.  This song tells us Crystal can really, really sing. Randy loved it as did Ellen.  Kara says she knows who she is.  Simon says she is the most improved artist and calls her the one to beat.

What are we gonna do!  The DVR can’t manage American Idol, Lost, Glee, Parenthood and The Good Wife.  Who do we sacrifice?

Lilly Scott closes the evening with “I Fall To Pieces” by Patsy Cline.  This whole off note, atonal style is getting tired.  This is not the song to sing this way.  It is almost like she is afraid of the song.  This just does not work.  Did I hear a different performance?  The judges loved it.  Sorry guys I cannot agree.

Crystal, Didi and Lacey took the night.  Katie, Katelyn, Lilly and Paige stumbled.  I think Paige and Katie are in big trouble.

See you tomorrow night.

American Idol Season 9 Top 20 Results Live Blog

Back for our fifth hour of American Idol Season 9 this week.  I like that American Idol gave the Top 24 time to sing and the judges time comment over the past two weeks.   In seasons past these early shows were so rushed that it did not feel you had time to truly hear the competitors.  This extended approach worked better.  Next week, American Idol Season 9 will return to one hour shows on three separate nights.  The Top 8 Girls will perform on Tuesday, the Top 8 Guys on Wednesday and then a results show on Thursday.  So, who will survive tonight to perform next week on American Idol Season 9?  Settle in with us for the next hour as we live blog the festivities.

The last two night we saw 20 American Idol Season 9 performances.  For the most part everyone improved, but, not everyone was great.   Three performances really stood out for me.  Crystal Bowersox’s gospel cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Long As I Can See The Light” was amazing.  Her singing was powerful and the arrangement was a revelation.  That was one of those moments that propel an artist far into the American Idol Season 9 finals.  Katelyn Epperly’s take on “The Scientist ” (Coldplay) was beautiful, stirring and heartfelt.  Coming in third for the week is Christian music artist Michael Lynche.  He updated James Brown’s “Its A Man’s World”, made it feel modern and sang it perfectly.

Unfortunately, I think some of our Christian music artists are in trouble.  Tim Urban has yet to prove he is up to the task of winning American Idol Season 9. It feels like he needs another year of heavy performing to be ready for this stage.  Making it even more treacherous for Tim that he is part of a “teen throb” triumvirate that could split votes (Tim Urban, Alex Lambert, Aaron Kelly).  Christian music artist Jermaine Sellers could be in trouble.  His two live performances have been a bit strange and his interactions with the judges are uncomfortable.  But, Jermaine, make sure you get Simon to church! I am also afraid that Christian music artist Lacey Brown is in serious trouble tonight.  I love her voice but she has not yet shown that she can package that voice in a compelling way.  I hope I am wrong on all accounts.

I think Lacey Brown, Haeley Vaughn, John Park and Jermaine Sellers will go home tonight.  If so, we will be down to four Christian music artists left in the American Idol Season 9 Top 16.

Tonight, in addition to finding out who goes home, we get to see Danny Gokey perform a song from his new album.  27 million votes.  The Idols are doing Black Eyed Peas, “I Got A Feeling”.  Thing is, none of them believe the lyric “Tonight’s gonna be a good night”, a few smiles please.

We are back to send someone home.  Let’s start with the guys.  Christian music artist Tim Urban up first and he is safe.  Joyful surprise, the girls love them some Tim Urban! Christian music artist Michael Lynche is safe as is Toddrick Hall.  John Park goes home.  He just did not assert his personality. The rest of the guys hang through the commercial.

Who else goes home right now.  Up first is Lee Dewyze who, of course, is safe.  Aaron Kelly sang “My Girl”, which I liked, and he is safe.  Alex Lambert looks like he is going to faint but he is safe also.  It is down to Jermaine Sellers and Andy Garcia.  Looks like Jermaine is home.  Christian music artist Jermaine Sellers goes home.  Unfortunately, my predictions have come true.  I am really surprised Jermaine did not do better on American Idol Season 9.  He has been touring since he was 14.  I thought he would sail through the early weeks.  Was he too confident?  He is singing his farewell and as is often the case we ask ourselves, why didn’t he do that last night?

It is Danny Gokey time.  I am interested to hear his new stuff.  This is a good song for him.  The guy is singing about getting old?  What is he 28?  He sounds really good.  I would like to hear him sing a little more soulful music and I look forward to his worship cd.  That was country?  I guess, living in Texas, I don’t know what country music is.  This song is Number 5 on iTunes.  I love Danny Gokey.  All of you haters shut your mouth.

Girls on a hot seat!  Will Lacey Brown survive?  We hope so.  Of course Lilly Scott comes back nest week.  Paige Miles is safe. Katie Stevens is safe.   Didi Benami and Michelle Delamor are left.  We are going to lose another Christian music artist.  I disagree with this no matter who it is.  We lose Michelle Delamor.  I am shocked. She is crushed.

Now it is time for the final cut of the night.  Will it be Lacey Brown, Haeley Vaughn or another surprise.  Katelyn Epperly and Crystal Bowersox are safe.  Siobhan Magnus is safe so it is down to Lacey and Haeley.  Lacey Brown is safe!  Haeley Vaughn is going home.

I am shocked that we lost Michelle Delamor tonight.  We are down to four Christian music artists in the final 16.  Join us next Tuesday night.

American Idol Season 9 Top 12 Girls Live Blog

Well here we are again.  It is time for America to vote and we are here live blogging the performances of the American Idol Season 9 Top 12 Girls.  One 21 music features the Christian music artists performing on Season 9 of American Idol.

Tonight, American Idol Season 9 features four Christian music artists: Didi Benami, Lacey Brown, Ashley Rodriguez and Michelle Delomor.  To learn more about these American Idol Season 9 Christian music artists see our articles on American Idol Season 9

The Christian music performers will be joined tonight by eight other American Idol Season 9 hopefuls: Siobhan, Magnus, Paige Miles, Lillly Scott, Crystal Bowersox, Haeley Vaughn, Janell Wheeler, Katelyn Epperly and Katie Stevens.

As we discussed in our American Idol Season 9 Top 24 preview we expect Katie Stevens to be a strong conternder all season and we would not be surprised if Haeley Vaughn and Siobhan Magnus struggle tonight.

A few changes for song selection in American Idol Season 9.  Contestant performances will be available for purchase and download exclusively on the iTunes Store ( the day following the performances. And for the first time, beginning with the Top 12, American Idol Season 9 show themes will be revealed in advance on iTunes along with playlists of original songs by the original artists from which the contestants may choose and which fans can preview and download.

This week the American Idol season 9 Top 24 will perform songs from the Top 10 Hits of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  It is a little unclear to me if this means the overall Top 10 or the Top 10 from each chart.  Giving the American Idol Season 9 Top 24 only 10 songs to choose from seems a little limiting, but let’s watch together and see.  The next two hours should be fun.

So we meet the girls for the first time live. For the next three weeks the guys and girls are going to perform seperately, we will eliminate two guys and two girls each week until we get to American Idol Season 9′s Top 12.  The judges pontificate a little and we get to hear Ellen start to create her own set of catch phrases.  She accuses Simon of being a bit of a groper and she has tape to support her case.

Paige Miles leads off.  We don’t know her very well.  She is a pre-school teacher from Houston by way of Naples, Florida.  She is singing an oldie “All Right Now” by Free.  Not a very good song for her. She can sing well and does a pretty good job, not great.  Simon thinks she has the best voice but did not like the song.  Kara disagrees, she thinks it was brilliant. They all agree she has a huge voice.

Christian music artist Ashley Rodriguez, our Berklee School of Music student from Boston,  is performing “Happy” by Leona Lewis.  Wow!  When she let’s loose she blows us away.  The song is kind of lame and doesn’t show her skills very well.  I would have liked her more if she had done a more soulful song.  Kara compares Leona Lewis to Mariah Carey?  The judges think she did a good job but it did not show her skills very well.  They want her to step out of her comfort zone and take a risk. Simon thinks she is going backwards.  I agree with them.

Janell Wheeler is up next.  She is a flower child from Florida.  We are still trying to figure out her faith background. Tonight she is singing Heart’s “What About Love”.  Well, she jumps into deep water right away and she does not really have the voice to sing this song.  She cannot keep in tune.  She may be in trouble tonight.  The judges are about to pounce.  Randy did not like the song choice. Ellen liked it, I don’t know why.  Simon says she delivered only 65%, but the judges are very supportive.

I like the pace of the show.  I am glad they decided to go two hours.  The singers have time to sing and the judges have time to judge.  So far so good.

Now we learn about indie rocker, jazz crooner Lilly Scott.  We learn that she was homeless when she auditioned for American Idol Season 9. Interesting song choice.  She is singing The Beatles’ “Fixing A Hole.”  Her arrangement is great but is she off key?  She is pretty good but 10 weeks of these affected performances will get a little old.  Ellen loves it, the song choice, the arrangement, the voice and the performance.   Simon calls it the best so far.  Kara calls her believable and at ease.

I think the judges have been very good tonight, so far.  Ashley and Janelle really reached to the limits of their abilities and it limited their creativity.  Paige and Lilly chose off beat songs and delivered interesting interpretations.

Katelyn Epperly has the reputation as a formidable and intimidating musician.  She is singing “Oh Darling” by the the Beatles in a country style.  I like her voice but I don’t like the arrangement and I don’t like her look tonight.   Simon called it messy and screamy but interesting. Kara says she knows her voice very well and uses it to good effect.  Kara likes her with a more natural look.  Randy likes her tone and melody.

Haeley Vaughn is a sixteen year country singer.  We are trying to figure out her faith background.  She pierced her nose when she went to Hollywood and here she is with nose diamond in tow.  She is doing a very slow, interesting version of The Beatles “I Want To Hold Your Hand”.  I may have underestimated Miss Vaughn. This is quirky and very well done.  Kara points out the technical problems, but embraces her magnetism. Ellen loves her stage presence and enjoyed the performance.  Simon thinks it was terrible.

One hour in and we are through six performances.  Good pace for the show.  I think Ellen is showing her weakness as a judge.  She has not had any criticism at all.

Christian music artist Lacey Brown is up.  She made it to Hollywood last year, but not this far. Lacey is singing Fleetwood Mac‘s “Landslide”.  It starts a little rough trying to channel Stevie Nicks.  I don’t know, it is hard to push through the back-up singers.  Not great Lacey, I hope you aren’t in trouble.  Randy thought it was terrible.  Ellen thinks she is better than that.  Simon was depressed.

Two Christian music artists next, Michelle Delamor and Didi Benami.

Michelle Delamor is a gospel singer and fashion hopeful from Florida.  She is singing Fallin’ by Alicia Keys.  This is a big risky song to sing.  She does not stumble over the start, like many do.  She pulls it off, but it is a pale comparison to the original.  Ellen says it was fantastic and it seemed easy for her. Simon says it was close to the original but had no wow moment.  Kara was a little more critical saying it missed in a few spots.  Randy wants to see something new.

Didi Benami is a Belmont College who met her muse at this Christian music college only to see her die in a car accident.  She is singing “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson.  A very interesting 60′s jazz take on this song.  I don’t know it so it may be an exact copy of the original, but it is very different from what we heard from her in Hollywood.  Simon thinks she sounds like a lot of other singers.  He is missing her spark.  Kara liked her creativity with the song.  Randy thinks there is no star factor.  Even Ellen agrees that the song was underwhelming.

Siobhan Magnus is an experimental rocker, glass blowing apprentice from Cape Cod. She is singing Wicked Game from Chris Isaaks.  The mix is horrible.  We cannot even hear the band and she needs the band.  This is a pale, karaoke version of this song.  There is no danger in this dangerous song.  Kara liked it?  Randy thought it was a weak song choice.  Ellen really loved it.  Simon thought it was a bad song choice.

Bluesy, indie rocker Crystal Bowersox is a hardworking professional musician from Ohio.  She is singing “Hand in My Pocket” from Alanis Morissette.  It has been a while since I heard this song but Crytstal is mesmerizing.  This is pretty brilliant.  She is strong and original.  Randy loves her honesty as a performer. Ellen thinks we are lucky she decided to audition.  Simon thinks she is not original.  Kara thinks she was good, but can be great.

We end the evening with 17 year-old Katie Stevens singing Michael Buble’s “Feeling Good”.  This young lady is assured and talented.  She is a little stiff on stage and this is not the best song for her voice,  However, it is a statement of her demeanor.  She announces that she is here to win.  Ellen thinks it was conservative and wants to her to be more modern.  Simon agrees and called it annoying.  Kara thinks she was surprisingly pitchy.  Randy thinks she was pushing too hard.

Most of the ladies were creative , but no one blew me away tonight.  Join us tomorrow night when the American Idol Season 9 Top 12 guys perform live.