American Idol Season 9- The Recap

One21music covers Christian music artists competing on American Idol. Now that Michael Lynche, the last of the Christian music artists on Season 9, it looks like our job is over. But before we bow out of American Idol Season 9 we would like to offer our final thoughts.

This season had the lowest number of Christian music artists in recent memory and they certainly did not experience the success of Season 8 Christian music artists.  Michael Lynche, Tim Urban, Didi Benami and Lacey Brown made it to the American Idol Season 9 Top 12.  Lacey Brown was eliminated at 12 and Didi Benami was gone at 10.  In one of the best stories of Season 9 Tim Urban used his joyful determination to win the hearts of America and the respect of the judges to reach the number seven spot.

Now to Michael Lynche.  The behemoth of a man has been one of our favorites from the beginning. He never had an off key moment and he had the best performance of American Idol Season 9. Surprisingly, Michael Lynche was voted off at number nine only to be justifiably saved by the judges.  The problem with Michael’s game this season was that there was virtually no variety in his performances.  He quickly settled into the role of R&B balladeer and never showed his soul/funk shouter and R&B sides.

American Idol Season 9 is now left with three barroom acoustic rockers to claim the title. Casey James, Crystal Bowersox or Lee Dewyze will win American Idol Season 9.  They are all essentially different flavors of the same style.  Crystal Bowersox is the most versatile and developed of the three, but we don’t believe she will win.  Her image is a little rough for American Idol voters.  Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox will be in the final and Lee Dewyze will win American Idol Season 9.  Lee will be third male, acoustic pop rock winner of American Idol in a row.

Thank you for joining us on the American Idol Season 9 ride this year.  Check back in January 2011 as we begin the search for Christian music artists on American Idol Season 10.

American Idol Season 9- Top 6 Live Performances

American Idol Season 9 heads into the final stretch tonight.  Idol Gives Back is over, next week we will be left with the Top 5  and, after this week, there are only five performance shows left.  We cover Christian music performers on American Idol.  We lost Tim Urban last week so only Michael Lynche remains to carry the flag on American Idol Season 9.

Our American Idol Season 9 Power Rankings has Michael Lynche at number 2 behind the runaway best performer of the season, Crystal Bowersox. However, we don’t believe Michael or Crystal will win American Idol Season 9.  Despite a season of near perfect singing, voters don’t seem to love Michael Lynche.  He is still on the show because the judges saved him after he was shockingly eliminated at number 9 and voting estimates have him consistently in the bottom 3 or 4.  Crystal Bowersox is the most developed and grounded performer of anyone on American Idol Season 9 and many of her performances have been better than those of the American Idol Season 9 celebrity performers.  However her bluesy rock style and hippie dippy look don’t translate to the American Idol demographic.  It will be interesting to see if her talent can overcome her look.

The bad news is that, after Michael Lynche and Crystal Bowersox, none of the American Idol Season 9 performers have captured our imagination.  The good news is that the season looks to be wide open, so the next five weeks will have everything to do with who wins American Idol Season 9.

One of our favorite celebrity judges, Shania Twain, mentors tonight and the Idols will be singing her songs.  Join us as we live blog this country pop fandango and see if anyone can make their move to claim American Idol Season 9.

Once again, tonight will be quick so we eschew the judges’ march across the stage. Thank you America, Idol Gives back raised $45 million.  Shania Twain is a country pioneer?  She created country pop?  Shania Twain has the biggest selling record of all time by a woman.  She is a much bigger artist than I realized.

We jump right into Lee Dewyze singing “You’re Still The One”.  Lee follows Shania’s advice to slow and quiet the intro.  The performance is developing nicely.  Lee Dewyze has found his groove.  This is a powerful, soulful interpretation of this song.  Why does Randy always go first?  Randy loves this song.  Randy only sort of likes the performance.  Ellen says it sounds like his version.  Kara says the sound of his voice makes this and every song sound relevant.  Simon calls it the perfect song selection but the performance had some rough spots.

Next up, Michael Lynche sings “It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing”. Michael starts the song sitting on the stairs in the dark.  He is turning this song into an R&B ballad and it is pretty beautiful. Was Shania Twain crying when he was singing? Yes she was.  Randy loves that Michael has become the R&B balladeer.  Ellen says it felt like Luther Vandross and felt it was beautiful.  Kara loves how connected Michael is to his songs.  Simon thought the performance was a bit “wet”?  None of us know what Simon is talking about. Shania speaks up and tells Michael that he got her emotionally.

Casey James, the construction worker, is at the stools with Ryan where he promises a different kind of performance.  Tonight he is singing “Don’t”.  While the performance is back to the acoustic performance that the judges love, it seems pretty bland to me.  Of course Randy and Ellen love it.  They tell him these country ballads are where he belongs.  Kara says something about not hiding.  Simon says it was his best performance so far in the competition.

Crystal Bowersox sings “No One Needs To Know” as a message to her boyfriend.  Shania tells her to adopt a happier tone.  This song does not really fight Crystal’s strengths. The performance is not up to the standards she has set in the previous weeks.  It was bland.  Randy says it was not his favorite Crystal Bowersox performance.  Ellen agrees with Randy. Kara says it is impossible for Crystal to not be good.  Simon says it was limp and says he didn’t feel any connection with the performance.

Aaron Kelly continues the Shania Twain marathon with “You Got Away”.  Once again Aaron starts the song wobbly and off key.  He struggles with his quiet bottom end and he is flat all over the place.  After the rough start this is a good rendition of a country song.  Shania loved it, she is smiling from ear to ear.  Randy says, “really good job.” Ellen speaks of the maturity and depth of emotion in his performance and Kara agrees with him.  Simon loves it.  aaron starts to cry when he speaks of singing this song for his mother.  He changed the words to make the song appropriate for his mother.

Siobhan Magnus closes the show singing “Any Man of Mine”, Shania’s first number 1 country hit. Siobhan’s low end is too breathy for my taste.  She goes super country with this big romping rave.  Siobhan hits and misses the notes but she can blow those big notes and finishes big, real big. That felt like a sassy protest from Siobhan.  Randy loved it! Ellen says fantastic.  Kara says, ‘guess who’s back”.  Simon likes the song and says the scream was like she was giving birth.

Join us tomorrow night as we live blog the results.  It is going to be a difficult night and we will be unhappy with any one of these guys going home.

American Idol Season 9 Top 7 Perform Inspirational Songs

This was not just another week in the lives and loves of the soap opera we call American Idol Season 9Katie Stevens and Andrew Garcia went home and many people are outraged that the sure thing, beauty queen Katie Stevens left before teen throb Tim Urban. Crystal Bowersox tried to quit American Idol Season 9, Ryan stopped her, she is mad that Ryan told.  The ratings are down and the judges are doing public appearances on Larry King.  The judges want Paula back but they won’t admit it.  Wow, this is fun.

Seriously, American Idol Season 9 heads into Idol Gives Back Week with more than a few questions about this season and the future.  But we don’t care because the   American Idol Season 9 Top 7 are singing inspirational songs and the great Alicia Keys is mentoring..    It is time for clear favorties to start to emerge.  After the departure of Katelyn Epperly we have not seen a new favorite emerge.  Check out our American Idol Season 9 Top 7  power rankings to see who we think are th ebest performers and a little more commentary on this week’s events..

How will Crystal Bowersox react to controversy this week?  Will Christian music artist Tim Urban continue his rise with another good performance? Will Siobhan Magnus continue her emotional meltdown?  Will Christian music artist Michael Lynche continue his string of perfect vocal performances?  Join us and let’s find out together as we live blog the next hour of American Idol Season 9.

We have a packed schedule tonight so the producers dispense with the judges intros.  There is a black theme in the Idol’s wardrobes tonight.  Siobhan is just about the only Idol wearing any color tonight.

We start the evening with a good piece on Alicia Keys, her philanthropy and impact on the music scene.

Casey James jumps right into it singing Fleetwood Mac‘s “Don’t Stop” and it is rough right out of the gate. Casey can’t resist the guitar solo and that helps him regain his footing.  Another Casey James performance that does not disappoint me but doesn’t impress me either. Randy agrees with me saying he is doing the same thing every week. Ellen agrees telling him he is good but not great.  Kara is frustrated that he made himself just like everyone else.  Simon calls it lazy.  What a thrill for Casey to play Lindsey Buckingham‘s guitar.

Lee Dewyze sits on the stool talking about his buddy Andrew Garcia.  He is singing “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel.  This song does not fit Lee’s voice very well.  He mumbles the lyrics so we don’t really know what he is talking about.  He does sing the “la la’s” very well.  I was not inspired.  Randy liked it calling Lee a great artist.  Ellen liked the soul and depth he is displaying.  Kara calls it his moment?  Simon liked it as well, calling it sincere and emotional.  Simon calls it brilliant.

Teen Throb segment as Aaron Kelly and Tim Urban go back to back.

Tim Urban is singing Goo Goo Dolls “Better Days”.  Tim Urban struggles with pitch tonight, but the song is perfect for Tim Urban.  I loved the lyrics but that performance did not continue his momentum of the last few weeks.  Randy calls it karaoke.  Ellen does not like it.  Kara says he did not execute.  Simon says if this was his first performance they would have been impressed but it was a little bit of a letdown.  I agree with Simon.

Aaron Kelly is singing “I Believe I Can Fly”by R.Kelly, a song he has been singing since he was 5. Why didn’t someone ask him to stop.  This is bland, the same over the top awards show performance he gives every week. Of course the judges will love it.  Randy did not like the arrangement but gives him a pass on the performance.  Ellen does as well.  I don’t know what Kara said.  Simon gets real and says it was not very good.

You gotta love Siobhan Magnus as she takes on the twin tower of diva, Whitney and Mariah.  She is singing “When You Believe” from the Prince of Egypt and is using that special place in her voice.  I wanted to like Siobhan in her tinkerbell costume but I just did not.  Her low register is bothersome to me.  Randy thinks it was just okay but Ellen disagreed.  Kara says it was technically good but uninteresting. Simon hated it and is starting to be dismissive of Siobhan Magnus.

Michael Lynche has a playbook of 200 songs for American Idol Season 9. Tonight he pulls Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero” from that book.  I love the arrangement of this song.  It has big dramatic heights and suits his stage presence.  A mindblowing performance from Michael Lynche. Randy was worried but says it workd out.  Ellen liked it, Kara did not.  Simon says he sang it pretty well but hates the song.

Crystal Bowersox puts down her guitar and walks away from the piano to sing “People Get Ready” by Curtis Mayfield.  She starts acapella sounding a lot like Patty Griffin.  I will say it again, it is not fair.  That was powerful, moving and perfect.  What was the emotional breakdown at the end?  Randy gives her a standing ovation.  Ellen calls the performance beautiful.  Kara says she just schooled everyone.  Simon says it was inspirational, calling it in a completely different class.  She looked over at her dad and that caused the breakdown.

Join us tomorrow night as we live blog Idol Gives Back.

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 9 II Live Performances

Be afraid, be very, very afraid.  American Idol Season 9 takes a trip to Vegas to sing the songs of Elvis.  The King made his career dramatically over performing mediocre songs.  Now Elvis Presley did it so well that he became the King.  In the hands of American Idol, this could be ugly.  To top it off, American Idol Season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert is the mentor.  The most over dramtic American Idol ever, will guide the American Idol Season 9 hopefuls through the most over dramatic song book in the last 60 years.  Uh oh.

We cover Christian music artists performing on American Idol Season 9.  After last week’s flabbergasting results surprise, we are still left with two Christians on American Idol Season 9Michael Lynche suffered through the shock of being voted off American Idol Season 9 and forced the judges to use their one “save” to bring him back this week.  Read our assessment of this season’s American Idol to learn my feelings about America not voting for the best pure singer left on American Idol Season 9.  Our other Christian performer, Tim Urban, survived week after week of judge scolding and now seems to be gathering some momentum.  Tim Urban is in danger of being sent home every week.  Two people will be voted off American Idol Season 9 this week and both of our Christian music artists are in danger.  Turn your support to Michael Lynche and Tim Urban this week.

Right now, pull on your white jumpsuit, fry up a peanut butter, bacon and banana sandwich and join us as we live blog the American Idol Season 9 performers singing the songs of Elvis Presley.

Tonight will be a quick show.  We watched 9 performances in 2 hours last week and this week we will do it in 90 minutes.  What is up with Lambert’s hair?  Adam wants more energy from the American Idol Season 9 performers.  Adam Lambert’s favorite song is the one Tim Urban is singing.

Crystal Bowersox is singing “Saved” with her electric guitar.  Crystal Bowersox does not belong on American Idol.  She wraps this big time gospel number around her little finger, waves it around and slays the audience.  She doesn’t just sing the song she owns the performance.  Randy raves appropriately.  Ellen calls it fantastic.  Kara likes the dynamics and Simon loved it.  What was not to love?

Andrew Garcia has the unenviable role of following Crystal Bowersox after being in the bottom 2 last week.  Andy is singing “Hound Dog” and Adam Lambert was bored in Vegas.  Does Andrew spice it up?  This is a lot slower than we have heard, a little boogie woogie feel.  Vocally, there is not much exciting here.  Just okay and way too Vegas.  Expect to hear “loungy” from the judges.  Randy calls it not good karaoke. Ellen surprisingly liked it.  Kara says the mike was a crutch and she didn’t feel much swagger.  Simon calls it lazy.  He says all of Andy’s coolness has been sucked out of him.  I must agree with Simon.

Tim Urban will be singing “Can’t Help Falling In Love”. I wonder if Adam Lambert is having Kris Allen flashbacks.  Good looking church boy on American Idol.  Adam loved the song and pushes Tim Urban to end in falsetto.  A quiet arrangement, with only voice, cello and guitar that really brings the song out. His performance is a little sing songy but other than that this is a really great performance.  He missed a chance by skipping the falsetto.  Randy liked it, not for a Tim Urban performance, but as a performance.  Ellen has fallen in love with Tim Urban. Kara calls it her favorite Tim Urban performance with a well done.  Simon says it was beautiful.  He says zero to hero.  Wow, Tim Urban is on a roll.

Lee Dewyze is singing “A Little Less Conversation”.  Adam encourages Lee to be more playful.  Is Lee Dewyze coming out of his shell?  He is throwing his big voice around.  A hot performance from Lee Dewyze.  Randy loves it and Ellen thinks he made it current.  Kara is right, he really went for the vocals and took some chances.  Simon says Lee nailed the song.

Aaron Kelly is singing “Blue Suede Shoes”.  This is a great song for Aaron’s voice.  This is the point that R&B crashed into country to create rock n’ roll.  There is nothing to talk about with this performance.  It did not effect me in any way.  I could have gone to the bathroom during that song.  Randy tried to like it. Ellen tried to like it.  Kara liked it, ugh.  Simon thought it was like a high school concert and karaoke.

Siobhan Magnus, American Idol Season 9 performer most like Adam Lambert, meets the original.  She will sing “Suspicious Minds” and Adam pushes her to move the song around.  She has taken to this variety style of breathy singing. She throws in some big notes at the end and, of course, a big ole’ Adam Lambert scream. Randy liked it, I think.  Ellen liked the big vocals. Kara is confused for the second week in a row.  Simon hated it as old fashioned and used the words terrible and erratic.

Michael Lynche will now respond to America after they did not vote for him.  He is singing “In The Ghetto”.  Of course Adam wants him to be more theatrical.  Sitting on the edge of the stage with a guitar.  His soul phrasing fits the song well.  I could do without the piano behind him.  What a beautiful vocal. Randy thinks the song was sleepy but the vocals were hot.  Kara was moved. Simon loved it, loved it.  He says a million, billion times better than last week, one of Michael Lynche’s best performance.

Katie Stevens is singing “Baby, What Ya Want Me Do?” Adam tells to her sell her anger at the judges.  The start is so clumsy I am surprised she didn’t trip. VEGAS, baby.  Are we at the Sands or The Flamingo?  She ends the song by shouting off key.  Katie is in trouble.  Randy says nice vocals, did he hear it?  Kara and Ellen liked it.  Simon says it was just loud and annoying.  I agree with Simon.

We close the show with Casey James. The rocker is in his element with the Elvis catalogue.  He is rocking “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”.  That was good if a little boring.  He did not executes Adam’s advice to bring a dynamic arc to the song.  The judges generally did not like the performance in a much truncated judging pass.

Joining us tomorrow night to see which two will go home on American Idol Season 9.

American Idol Season 9- Taking Stock

American Idol Season 9 has me befuddled.  I can usually understand the voting patterns by grouping contestants into demographic groups and looking for likability factors within the groups.  Not on American Idol Season 9.  The unique performers (Didi Benami, Lacey Brown and Lilly Scott were wiped out early), R&B artists were voted off as quickly as America could get to them (Michelle Delamor, Ashley Rodriguez, Jermaine Sellers, Toddrick Hall) and left untouched are a group of mid tempo pop rockers (Crystal Bowersox, Andy Garcia, Lee Dewyze, Casey James) and undefined teen dreams (Tim Urban, Katie Stevens, Aaron Kelly).  We are left with only two unique performers, R&B mountain man Michael Lynche and unclassifiable Siobhan Magnus.

Wednesday night was the final straw when Christian music artist Michael Lynche was voted off and then saved by the judges.  Why does the America Idol Season 9 audience dislike R&B music?  Given the very clear message from its audience, why does American Idol keep pushing R&B performances (Usher, Rihanna and on and on) down its America’s throat.  I just don’t get what the  American Idol Season 9 audience is voting for.

Quick Summary of American Idol Season 9

We started American Idol Season 9 with seven Christian music performers and they have not fared well with only Michael Lynche and Tim Urban remaining in the Top 9 and Didi Benami making it onto the American Idol Season 9 tour.  Lacey Brown just missed the tour when she was voted out in the Top 12.  Michelle Delamor, Ashley Rodriquez and Jermaine Sellers were dismissed early in the live shows.  This is the fewest number of Christian music artists making it to the live show since I started watching American Idol.  Of this group, none were worship leaders and only one, Michelle Delamor, had experience singing regularly in worship services.  I wonder if the lack of weekly performing responsibilities has to do with the lack of success by Christian music artists on American Idol Season 9.

Another theme of American Idol Season 9 must be the survival and rise of Christian music artist Tim Urban.  A last minute replacement for disqualified Chris Golightly, Tim flew in the week before the Top 24 hit the live stage.  He struggled mightily through the early weeks and it looked like he did not belong, except for the smile.  Tim Urban‘s electric smile could not be suppressed and it was a smile that has melted the heart of millions of teen girls across America.  The judges were as cruel and dismissive of Tim Urban as any performer I have ever seen on American Idol.  Yet he continued to smile. Many believed it was a ploy to use his looks to overcome his shaky performances, but we learned different.  It turns out that Tim Urban is a model of transcendent gratitude.  Despite all of the venom spewed his way by the judges and the press, Tim Urban‘s smile is an outpouring of a heart grateful for a chance to perform for more and more people each week.  Tim Urban is living Jesus’ call to “do not worry”.  The judges and the press, steeped in a culture of success, superiority and wealth, just do not get it.

Top Performances on American Idol Season 9

Finally, I agree with most people that American Idol Season 9 has been the worst I have seen. But there have been moments, those spine tingling show stopping moments that the American Idol audiences wait for each week.  There have been three, only three.

1)Michael Lynche “This Woman’s Work”

Up to this point Michael Lynche looked like a neo soul/rocker wannabe. His singing had been strong and his performances had been solid.  Then Michael Lynche had a chance to close the show and he closed the show with a capital C.  With a back story of separation from his wife during the birth of their first child and a clear passionate love for his family, Michael Lynche unleashed a mind blowing performance of this heart breaking love song.  From the perfect falsetto runs that bookended the performance to slamming power blasts in the middle, Michael Lynche demonstrated untouched range and power as well  crushing interpretive skills.  Kara cried, I shouted and proceeded to show the performance to everyone who came to our house over the next week.

2) Crystal Bowersox Long As I Can See The Light

Literally crawling out of her hospital bed to open the show Crystal Bowersox took a song that has been one of my favorites since I was a kid and showed me a whole new take on it. Leading up to the show we did not know if Crystal Bowersox would be able to perform. Rumors were that she suffered some ailment that nearly caused her to die. Then she reinterprets “Long As I Can See the Light” as a gospel plea. One of the most poignant moments ever on American Idol, Crystal Bowersox sang the song perfectly, without drama, allowing us to embrace the moment.

Katelyn Epperly “The Scientist”

I am still bitter that this multi-stylistic musician is not a front runner for the Season 9 crown of American Idol. Katelyn Epperly sat behind a piano for the first time on American Idol Season 9 and delivered a gut wrenching interpretation of this song I had never really listened to. Watch the video and notice the maturity of her performance. The way Katelyn Epperly used the camera, the way she turned from the audience at just the right moment. Every time I watch this I become more frustrated that Katelyn Epperly left American Idol Season 9 the next week.

Join us on Tuesday night as we live blog American Idol Season 9.  Adam Lambert mentors the Idols and the rumored theme is Elvis Presley songs.  Remember that on Wednesday night two will be voted off.  Watch, read and vote.

American Idol Season 9 Top 9 Performances

In a shocker, we lost Christian music artist Didi Benami last week.  There are at least three performers that should have gone home before Didi.  But, who am I to question?  I predicted, and still believe, that Katelyn Epperly should be winning American Idol Season 9.

There are only two Christian music artists remaining in the American Idol Season 9 Top 9Michael Lynche continues to deliver winning performances every week.  I think he has been the most consistent performer on American Idol Season 9Tim Urban is consistently harangued and demeaned by the judges every week.  The judges do not believe Tim Urban belongs in the competition and are frustrated that he continuously expresses joy and gratitude at his opportunity to participate in American Idol Season 9.  I love Tim Urban‘s transcendent gratitude.

American Idol Season 9 will feature songs from the Lennon/McCartney songbook this week.  The material will be great.  Will Crystal Bowersox and Michael Lynche continue their strings of superior performances?  Will Siobhan Magnus recover from last week’s fall from adulation and emotional train wreck?  Will Lee Dewyze build upon last week’s great performance?  Join us as we live blog the next two hours of American Idol Season 9 performances?

Ooh, Kara is wearing sparkly dress and Ellen is dressed like Charlie Chaplin, late in life.   Is Ryan the only one of the cast that can walk down the stairs.  Goodbye Didi Benami.  Aaron Kelly stands next to Ryan and he looks terrified.  We do Lennon/McCartney songbook.  I saw Paul McCartney discuss the writing process he and John Lennon followed.  They wrote most of these songs 3 hours as at time.  Amazingly, two guys, guitar, piano, three hours and out comes “Day Tipper”, “I Should’ve Known Better”?  Wow

No wonder Aaron Kelly was looking terrified.  He starts the night singing “The Long and Winding Road.”  He has managed to strip the soul from this heart breaking ballad.  His pacing is clunky, the song does not build.  He hits most of the notes but the performance is soooo boring.   Randy hates it.  “I don’t know, aaaah”.  He calls the arrangement sleepy.  Ellen hated it as well.  Kara is calling him to change his performance and do something with a little more tempo.  Simon calls is old fashioned and boring.  At least the judges agree with me.  Why do the judges act surprised when people boo them?  What did Simon mean by saying that Aaron Kelly should have done some research on the song?

With a 90 minute American Idol show for 9 singers we should have plenty of time for the singers to sing and the judges to judge.  Is that goos or bad?

Katie Stevens is next wearing a pink dress and looking 35.  Katie is pimping herself out as a prom date for votes.  What!  She is singing “Let It Be”.  Why are these young kids singing these deep, mature songs.  Come on kids have some fun.  Wow this is actually pretty good.  She brings a little Aretha arrangement to the song. This is Katie’s best performance since she auditioned.  Good job, Katie Stevens.  Randy?  He loved it, you can see it in his face.  “It reaffirms for me …. fumbler, fumble (what am I saying?), dude those were hot vocals.”  Ellen says it was amazing.  Kara says she made the song her own.  It is amazing that she is confident after the beating she has taken the past two weeks.  Simon says she got it right.  Simon says it was country.  The judges don’t get it and I don’t either.  There was no country there.   I am two for two in agreement with the judges.

Andy Garcia, according to his fellow American Idol Season 9 performers, has personality.  Are you listening Simon?  He is singing one of my all time favorite Beatles songs “Can’t Buy Me Love”.  Why do the performers stand behind the judges? How can they judge without seeing them perform?  This is a good version of the song.  It was one of Andy’s best performances but nothing amazing.  What Randy?  You agree that is was solid but not great.  Ellen thought it was a lot of fun.  Kara wants to love it but says it is nothing new from Andy.  Simon calls it a wedding song- corny and old fashioned.  I didn’t hate it like Simon did, but I didn’t  love it like Ellen did.

What do the fellow Idols think of Michael Lynche?  Katie Stevens thought he was the Incredible Hulk and he makes some weird high pitch squeal. Mike is performing “Elanor Rigby”.  He keeps the strings but delivers a quasi R&B vibe.  The semi rap,talk singing start sets up the big vocals at the end.  Maybe a little over dramatic but a wonderful vocal performance.  Randy thinks Mike is doing what ever he wants on the show and that he should put it on his album.  Ellen says he can do everything.  Ellen says it was incredible.  Kara calls it fire.  She loved the drama.  She says he made the song commercial and modern.  Simon did not love it as much as the others.  He thinks it was too theatrical.  Kara and Randy argued with Simon.

I just went back and watched Michael Lynche’s performance.  I agree with Kara.  That was Hot!

Crystal Bowersox sits on the stools with Ryan and she is letting her dreadlocks fly.  She is singing “Come Together” because of its fun groove.  She drops a didgeridoo onto the Beatles. Crystal brings the funk and her always great vocals.  She is just so original.  Crystal Bowersox is everything the judges wanted Adam Lambert to be last year.  Amazing vocal, amazing arrangement, amazing performance.  Randy kinda liked it.  Ellen worries about finding new ways to say how great she is.  It is one of Kara’s favorite Crystal Bowersox performances.  Simon says it just worked.  He says it was quirky and contemporary.  I agree with the judges.

Well my first question has been answered.  Michael Lynche and Crystal Bowersox continued their march of greatness tonight.

Poor Tim Urban.  He has to follow those two performances.  The fellow Idols are overwhelmed by the smile.  He is singing “All My Loving”.  A quiet understated opening and then he kicks it up.  The song loses some of its edge in Tim’s hands, but the performance is interesting and solid.  He sings perfectly.  Good job, Tim Urban.  Randy is condescending, “I am going to judge if it is a good Tim performance”.  Tim Urban does look like one of a Beatle tonight.  Ellen thought it was his second best performance.  Kara said it was solid and asks him to smile.  Simon respectfully thought he did very well and thinks the song sounded contemporary.  Simon compliments him on his maturity with the criticism.  Thank you judges for being fair.

Casey James is known as the playboy soap opera star with a huge laugh.  He is doing John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy”.  These songs are just so great.  Casey, his guitar and cello gives this song a distinctive vibe.  The performance a slight country feel to it, in a good way.  Casey doesn’t have the voice to completely deliver on the arrangement.  It was sensitive and moving.  Randy appreciates the individualism in the performance.  Ellen though is was soulful and beautiful.  Kara says he showed depth and vulnerability. Simon calls it the best performance of the night.  Simon felt his emotion.  The judges loved it better than I did, but I thought it was very good.

I just went back and watched Casey James‘ performance again.  I agree with everything the judges said, I just don’t like the way Casey sings.

Can Siobhan Magnus recapture her momentum?  Tonight she is going to sing “Across The Universe”.  Of course Siobhan would dig deep into the Beatles psychedelic era. It feels like I am watching Eydie Gorme singing on the Andy Williams Show.  This is certaintly the most understated Siobhan performance of American Idol Season 9.  Randy loves the tender side but thought it was a little sleepy. Ellen says she is special and thought it was beautiful.  Kara says the singing was perfect but a little too polite. Simon says she came back much stronger after last week.

Went back and watched the Siobhan performance again.  She did come back from last week.  I think it may have even gotten her attention and caused her to grow a bit.

Lee Dewyze is the resident worry wart, so much so that the other Idols laugh at him.  He is singing “Hey Jude”.  Oops.  Maybe last week was a fluke.  The singing was just okay.  The bagpipes were way too much.  The arrangement was a mess.  Sorry Lee, that was not good. Randy loved it?  What did he see?  Ellen thought he showed a lot of confidence.  Kara was mixed about the performance.  Simon thought the bagpipes were too much.

A very good night.  I thought Aaron Kelly was the only one who did rise to the occasion.  I though Lee Dewyze and Andy Garcia just missed in their performances.

Come watch Rihana with us tomorrow night as we live blog the results.

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.

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 Performances

Now that the American Idol Season 9 tour is set, the next goal for American Idol hopefuls is victory.  It will interesting to see if some of the front runners (see our American Idol Season 9 Power Rankings) will take some chances tonight.  Siobhan Magnus and Crystal Bowersox said last week that they were going to try something new.  Will Michael Lynche bust out some Dirty South rap R&B on R&B/Soul night?

We are covering Christian music artists performing on American Idol Season 9Michael Lynche, Didi Benami and Tim Urban are in the top 10 and we will see them on tour this summer.  Michael Lynche is a contender to win it all, so he needs to start taking the type of risks that will launch him to victory.  Didi Benami is a viable darkhorse who needs a few breakthrough performances to make it into the final mix. Tim Urban needs a solid performance every week to stay in the competition after two weeks in the bottom 3.

Usher will mentor all 10 American Idol Season 9 top 10 through R&B/Soul hits of the last 60 years.  Last week’s performances were a disaster.  Let’s hope this week will the Idol’s fare better.

We get a little raw backstage footage that show how imaginary all of this glitz really is and then to the intros.  Why is Simon always pawing Kara?  Tonight is when we start the final push.  I wonder who will take the big risk and pull it off tonight?

Usher, the #1 R&B of the decade, has sold 45 million records and has 5 Grammys.  Wow, I love soul music and I don’t even listen to Usher. That girl by Usher sure does look like Charlize Theron.

We start with Siobhan Magnus and she is a fan of Usher.  She is performing “Through The Fire” by Chaka Kahn.  The start is a little clumsy.  This is one of my least favorite Chaka Kahn songs.  She has completely lost the pitch and started to screech.  Well, Siobhan clings to the big note as she has for the past four weeks.  This was really bad singing.  Almost as bad as Paige last week.  Randy refuses to criticize her.  Ellen says she was lost.  Kara says she was nervous.  Now Kara is making excuses for her.  Simon says it sounded like she was singing while she was of breath.  He says she was all over the place.  Siobhan is offended at Simon’s critcism.  Siobhan says it was the hardest song she has performed so far.  I guess we have seen the limits of Siobhan’s talent.  Siobhan looks like she is about to cry and the judges spend the next few minutes propping her up.  Why are some performers summarily destroyed but others are coddled?

Time for some Casey James.  He is singing Sam and Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Comin”.  Usher calls Casey a rock star.  This ong has never been performed on American Idol.  Casey is giving a big bluesy guitar opening.  This song is perfect Casey James singing style and his voice.  I wish he would have moved away from the guitar and given us a little more movement.   Casey is showing off his rock star persona.  This was a good night for Casey James. Randy says perfect song choice and hot performance.  Ellen says it was too safe.  Kara is imploring him to show off more of his range. Simon says it was Casey’s strongest performance of the season.  He loved the arrangement.  I agree with Simon.

I like the post performance backstage interviews.

Michael Lynche is singing  neo-soul “I Am Ready for Love” by India.Arie. Usher is coaching Michael on projecting his performance.  I wish Michael had done something more spectacular.   He is sitting on a stool behind the judges.  That may be a mistake.  As he has every week, he is singing the song perfectly.  This is a beautiful vocal performance but it does not deliver much firepower.  Randy loved it big time.   Ellen says that was beautiful.  Kara is about to cry again.  She says he mastered the intention of the song.  Simon says he can now take Michael seriously as an artist, that he demonstrated what it is to be “original”.  Simon says he believed the performance.  Great job Michael Lynche.

Didi Benami is singing The Temptations’ “What Becomes of The Brokenhearted” and breaks down during her mentoring session.  Can she keep it together during her performance?  I love her off kilter jazz phrasing. She is selling this song and singing her heart out.  It was okay I guess. Randy hated it. Ellen is booing herself and that is bad. She says it was too dramatic.  Kara says it was overdone, says she has lost her way. Simon says it was like swimming in jelly, too over the top.  At least Didi does not throw a fit.  Ryan is digging into Didi’s private life and she refuses to take the bait.  An uncomfortable moment.

The Christian performer triumvirate ends with Tim Urban singing Anita Baker’s “Sweet Love” .  Tim is discussing Tim’s nickname of “Teflon Tim”.   Usher did a really great job mentoring Tim to make a connection.  Let’s see if it worked.  The singing starts a little shakey. He gets stronger through the performance but I just don’t think he has the vocals to keep up with American Idol Season 9.  Randy says it had no vibe or swagger. Ellen did not like it but I don’t know what she was saying.  Kara says she took the soul out of the song.  Tim is laughing during the criticism and Simon thinks Tim is laughing at the judges.  Simon hated the song performance.

Andy Garcia will try to break his bad streak with Chris Brown’s “Forever”.  Usher stopped Andy and made him stop thinking about it so much.  Usher is a good mentor.  This song is perfect for Andy Garcia.  Randy has called out several of the performers about “flat” performances and this is a little flat for me.  This was just okay for me.  Randy loved it, saying “Andrew is back!”  Ellen says it was a break through. Kara is happy with Andrew’s leap in the right direction.  Simon says it was miles better than the past few weeks.  He rightly coaches Andrew to show a little more personality.   Mama Garcia is giving Simon a piece of her mind for calling her son boring.

Let’s see if Katie Stevens can get back the mojo she had at the auditions.  I think she has a crush on Usher but she is one cool young lady.  She is singing Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools”, that is brave.  Katie has a great low end for this song but she can’t reach the heights of the original.  Overall this is a good, not great singing performance with clumsy stage presence. Randy says it was one of the best vocals of the night and then went on to criticize the performance. Kara says this is where she belongs but they want her younger and more commercial. Simon is mocking the judges for comparing her to Christina Aguilera.  Simon and Kara are arguing about what type of music she should sing.  Poor girl.

Michael Lynche has been the first to greet all of the contestants when they come back stage, before and after he performed.

Lee Dewyze is explaining how to create a moment on American Idol.  Lee has picked a golden obscurity “Treat Her Like A Lady” by the Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose. Another great song choice, this is perfect for his style.  Lee is throwing it down with a rip roaring, stomping performances.  Interesting pacing and dynamics packaging.  The band is big but Lee’s vocals are bigger.  That was awesome! Randy says unbelievable, the bomb and Ellen adds “there you go”.  Kara says amazing.  Simon says that tonight is the night that Lee Dewyze‘s life changes forever.

Crystal Bowersox has some big shoes to fill after Lee Dewyze’s performance so she slips in some 7 inch stilettos to take on the challenge.  Crystal will sing Gladys Knight‘s “Midnight Train to Georgia” behind the piano.  So Crystal Bowersox is a soul singer too. I did not like the arrangement but the singing was ferocious.  Randy says it was another great performance.  Ellen says it was wonderful idea and Kara loved it.  Simon says the vocals were great at times but she was a bit mechanical.

Aaron Kelly closes the show singing the great Bill Wither‘s “Ain’t No Sunshine”.  Usher’s great coaching is to make the “I know” string personal.  This is a different side of Aaron tonight.  He does not seem so mechanical. When it is time for the song to lift and soar his performance lays a little flat.  That was just okay.  Just alright for Randy and Ellen was balnd about it.  Kara just liked it.  Simon called it a cupcake compared to some of the main course performances tonight.

Michael Lynche, Lee Dewyze and Casey James ruled the show tonight.  Join us tomorrow night to hear what America thinks.