Last night on American Idol, we saw the Final Four contestants sing Songs from the Cinema, with Jamie Foxx as guest mentor. With his Oscar winning performance in Ray, he definitely has the cred. Plus, he had a great time when he was on last season as mentor.
Rumor has it that Mr. Foxx is on a list (with about seven others, including Tony Mottola, Adam Lambert, and a handful of others) to replace Simon Cowell when he leaves at the end of this season. He wouldn’t be a bad choice. As a classically trained pianist, a Grammy winner, an Oscar winner, a multi-platinum record seller, and a music producer, he certainly knows his stuff.
Anyway, here’s how I saw them this week
1 – One of the very cool things about Final Four week is we get to hear the contestants in Duet mode. Last year, we were treated to Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta’s amazing rendition of Foghat’s Slowride, which was almost better than the original and was one of the best overall performances of the entire season (certainly a Top 5 contender). Last night, we had the absolute pleasure of listening to Casey and Mike sing 1995’s Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman by Bryan Adams from the movie, Don Juan DeMarco. It was a perfect song choice for the two of them to sing together, along with their acoustic guitars and great voices blending together and harmonizing. It was easily the best performance of the night. And props for Ellen for saying, “Yes, for the record, I have really loved a woman.” That may have been the best one-liner of the season.
2 – Crystal Bowersox – Crystal sang the 80’s theme song, from Caddyshack, I’m Alright, by Kenny Loggins. A seemingly strange song choice at first, but she made it work for her and quickly turned it into her bluesy, relevant style of music that we were accustomed to hearing from her. Much to Judge #5’s (wife Lynn) major disappointment, no dancing groundhog appeared from Crystal’s guitar hollow. Anyway, Crystal brought this song right up to 2010 and was the best solo performance of the night.
3 – In another duet performance, Lee and Crystal sang Falling Slowly, the song that won the 2007 Oscar Award for best song from the movie, Once. It really gave them both the opportunity to show their tender sides, something that neither have done much of this season, and it was quite a touching performance. Very believable and even surprising on some levels. Not to say that they couldn’t pull it off, but for them to do it together like that was very impressive.
4 – Casey James – Casey took on Simon and Garfunkle’s smash hit Mrs. Robinson, from the 1967 iconic movie, The Graduate. He slowed the tempo down and the arrangement really sounded more like The Beatles than S&G. He did nothing to it to make it fresh. It still sounded like it belonged in the 60’s. The mandolin was a nice touch and a little different than his customary guitar. Still, overall, it was a far better performance than last week. Casey is back, but it may not have been good enough to carry him through to next week.
5 – Michael Lynche – Mike sang Michael Jackson’s Will You Be There, the theme song from Free Willy. He gave it the gospel, R&B groove it needed and it was nice, at best. The choir backing him up gave him a big push. We probably didn’t need to hear Simon try to figure out if the movie was about a whale or a willie, but it was an interesting conversation nonetheless.
6 – Lee Dewyze – Lee went from first last week to worst this week as he sang the much overused Kiss from a Rose from the Batman Forever soundtrack. He started off beautifully, but hit some sour notes part of the way through. He tried to hit some of the higher notes in the upper register and struggled to reach them in some areas. It wasn’t his best performance, and after several weeks of pure awesomeness, it was a little disappointing. I think it might be time for the producers to retire this song from contention.