Last night on American Idol, the Final Three performed two songs each, one chosen by the judges and one that they chose for themselves.
There is no guest mentor this week, but we did get the vicarious thrill of going to each of the contestants’ home town and watching their hometown fans fawn over them as they got to find out what songs the judges chose for them.
This segment typically ranks right up there with weekly group songs as my least favorite moments of the season. They could cut this segment out and fill the time with another song by each of them. Maybe one voted on during the previous week of a select group of songs. That would be fun, wouldn’t it?
Here’s how I saw them this week, and it was probably the easiest ranking of the season to date:
1 – Lee Dewyze – Simon picked the Leonard Cohen smash hit Hallelujah for Lee. If he doesn’t put this song on his first album, he’s crazy. The judges are always talking about contestants having their “defining moments”, well, just like Heartbreaker was Kris Allen’s last season, this was Lee’s. He just beat Crystal for American Idol Season 9 Champion. She is going to have to do some heavy, heavy work to overcome this. It was better than Jason Castro’s version, which was, up until now, the best to grace the Idol stage for this particular song. Could have done without the cheesiness of the choir behind him. I would have like to have just heard him singing it alone. It may have been even stronger.
2 – Lee Dewyze – Lee chose Simple Man, by Lynyrd Skynyrd as his song choice, and absolutely knocked it out of the park. His pitch and tone were true, and he put himself right into the finals. He was so clearly connected to the song it was ridiculous. He even almost sounded a little like Ronnie Van Zant. Awesome song choice.
3 – Crystal Bowersox – Crystal picked Come to My Window by Melissa Etheridge for her personal choice. I’m stoked that she picked an Etheridge hit. And she sang it just as well as I expected her to. She changed up the arrangement just enough to make it her own and her vocal runs in the second verse were awesome. Very good song choice.
4 – Crystal Bowersox – For the judges’ choice, Ellen chose Paul McCartney’s Maybe I’m Amazed for Crystal. She rocked it out. I wasn’t expecting much, to be honest, but I was pleasantly surprised. Some screaming toward the end, but overall, very nice. She showed new areas of upper range that we’ve never seen, and it worked.
5 – Casey James – Casey picked OK, It’s All Right with Me by Eric Hutchinson as his song choice. It had a nice, bluesy tone to it but it was just OK. I was really hoping that he would rock out with some Bob Seger or Allman Brothers, so it was a little disappointing. It was typical Casey. Good, but not great. Nothing that’s going to get him to the finals. I think it was a very poor song choice, but to be honest, I’m not sure it really would have made much of a difference the way Lee and Crystal performed.
6 – Casey James – For the judges’ choice, Randy and Kara chose John Mayer’s Daughters for Casey. He slowed it down considerably, but not in a bad way. The piano accompaniment was very nice, as was the guitar licks in the middle of it. But overall, it was vanilla. As Simon said, it was not the song he needed to make the impact to stay in this performance for one more week. He had to do better if he wanted to stick around.