This week’s guest judge? Usher. Hold on, let me dust off my tight black pants and sparkly tanks…there. Ok, I’m ready for da club. (sidenote: Usher and I share a special connection, mainly that he released an album on my birthday in 2001. I know this because he was kind enough to title it “8701”).
Without further ado, I give you Soul Week on American Idol.
Siobahn Magnus: Some song by Aretha Franklin. Ok, if they think that was good, then it’s rigged. That was awful and the screaming is getting really old. And the lips, god the lips….on the dress. Creepy! She does have really good makeup, though, and would be quite a little pretty one if she ditched the giant glasses.
Casey James: Some song by someone I don’t even know. (I know, best blog EVER!). I’m slightly distracted by the fact I read in US Weekly that he had 3 DWIs in 2 years, which takes the luster off my personal fave. I mean, if you get 3 DWIs in 2 years, you must be driving drunk A LOT. He kind of reminds me of a more attractive, less spastic, guitar-playing Taylor Hicks. Let’s hope he doesn’t have the same fate, or he’ll soon be playing at car dealership openings. This was a good performance, but I still miss the crooning acoustic “Heaven”-esque performances. But that’s because I’m a girl.
Mike Lynch: “Ready for Love” by India Arie. Ok, so it appears Usher will be wearing his sunglasses through all the one-on-ones. Perhaps scared he’s going to be recognized [which, we we’ll soon see, is valid]. Sidenote, I quite like how the guy who plays the piano during all the practices just sits by and smirks. Ooh! First sit down acoustic song of the year. Or, in the words of Bill, “he’s Bon Jovi-ing it.” My life is complete, Bon Jovi has become a verb.
Didi Benami: “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” by Someone. Apparently Didi is going to cry when she meets Usher, which frankly, I didn’t see coming. Yep, she’s crying. Ok, this is awkward. WOW. Super awkward. Notice he’s not going for a hug, like most people do when there’s someone crying in front of them. At least she looks super good in her sparkly dress, although it’s a bit formal for AI. And her earrings are giving a big shout-out to “1984”. Is it my imagination or do the judges just recycle the same critiques over and OVER? Kara has said “I don’t know who you are anymore…” at least 6 times this season. Ok, well, Ryan clearly has not heard the phrase “just let it go.” He’s trying to make Didi explain why she started crying with Usher. It’s like me, wriggling away from Bill when he’s trying to tickle me. Lots of screaming. Lots of crying. Lots of resistance.
Tim Urban: “Sweet Love” by Anita Baker. Well let’s see. He dyed his hair. He’s also clearly borrowed his suit from Ryan’s closet. This sounds like shit in practice. I imagine it sounding like shit when he starts in 30 seconds. He needs to go home anyway so I’m sort of pro him pronging it in. Plus, the stairs didn’t bode well for Paige Miles, which he CLEARLY didn’t take a hint from. He sounds like shit, all quiet and creepy with his big eyes. And this is probably his best song, which doesn’t say much. To be fair he gets ripped apart each week and you don’t see him crying in the back room.
Andrew Garcia: Good news, Andrew is singing a song by Chris Brown, “Forever,” like we all just forgot that he (Chris, not Andrew) beat up Rihanna and threw her out of a car. That being said, Usher DID take his glasses off for Andrew, which feels like a big step. Well, this is at least his best performance so far. Yay, FINALLY, FINALLY, my early fave is back! Even with his gf-beating song. Or, as Bill calls it, the Doublemint Song. I’d totally buy that on iTunes, minus my fear that Chris Brown gets royalties from it.
Katie Stephens: “Chain of Fools,” Aretha Franklin. So let’s say you’re meeting someone famous. What part of your brain says, “Hey, I’ll open with a creepy stalking story…”? The bad, evil side of your brain that is trying to sabotage you. Well, good news, minus the fact that Usher is going to need a restraining order, this is her BEST performance. True to form she’s still wearing awful clothes (few people can wear a romper and you are not one of them). And as usual, Kara and Simon are griping about what kind of music they think she should perform, when the reality is, it probably DOESN’T matter since she’s never going to be famous.
Lee Dewyze: “Treat her Like a Lady” by (shocking!) Someone I’ve Never Heard Of Before. Here’s the thing: I really don’t care about this guy for some reason. His frat-boy looks (complete with, if my eyes do not deceive me, a cold sore) turn me off. The weird thing is he has the type of voice I like. Ok, I resolve to just look away and listen. And if I do that, he sounds really good. I even just bopped my head for a few seconds.
Crystal Bowersox: “Midnight Train to Georgia,” Gladys Knight. Ok, that’s it, she’s totally wining this contest. She ditched the guitar and potentially sounds even better on the piano. I mean, who is going to beat her? Ok, but I would have just continued to sit down and sing. Not saying that it got bad, it just got moderately awkward with the standing in stilettos thing. But, loved the version. LOVED! And Simon’s wrong. She needed to mix it up or she was going to get old and repetitive.
Aaron Kelly: “Ain’t No Sunshine,” Bill Withers. Is that a leather hoodie? I think it sounded better in practice, but I will hand it to him, if he has a few back-to-back good weeks, I think he’s a legitimate contender with Crystal and Siobahn. Like, really good, RECORDABLE voice. And Randy is nuts if he thinks that was only OK.
Brilliant Usher insight: “Ok…so this song…means something…to you.”
All this Usher exposure has got me missing college so I’m off to dance in my room!