'American Idol': Lee Dewyze steps up, Casey James gives up

casey-james-idol-top-3.jpgPrior to the Top 3 "American Idol" performances, we thought it was probably a two-person race between Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox with a possibility that Casey James could sneak into the finals if he really blew everyone away and one of them faltered. Now that the show's over, we no longer believe there's a chance for Casey anymore. See you next week, Lee and Crystal.

Here is our list from best to worst:

No. 1 Lee Dewyze, "Hallelujah"

Lee on stage: We have never seen any performance quite like Lee's in prior seasons. Lee was masterful, emotional and just pitch-perfect. During the second verse of Lee's rousing rendition, some audience members were brought to their feet. Not the teens in the mosh pit, grown men and women. The scene was reminiscent of a gospel church on Sunday as some swayed back and forth with their hands in the air. We got goosebumps and had tears on our cheeks by the end of it. The feeling was indescribable.

Lee on TV: On "the baffled king composin' HALLelujah," we just teared up again. It's so raw and emotional and just ... THAT is what music is about! We applaud Lee for taking the falsetto part on the chorus, which we couldn't hear as well in the studio. So fantastic. And on a note unrelated to Lee, the strings were inaudible in the studio, but really added to the performance on TV.

No. 2 Crystal Bowersox, "Maybe I'm Amazed"

Crystal on stage: This was a good-but-not-great performance. We certainly heard Mamasox stretch her belting range farther than we've heard before and that was awesome because she doesn't like to leave the sweet spot in her range. However, there were a couple bum notes and she seemed lost without her guitar to us. It was still GOOD, but not the GREAT that Lee gave.

Crystal on TV: The lost-without-guitar feeling went away when we watched this back -- camera cuts and zooms really help that -- and the vocals were better, very Janis Joplin minus the hard living, whiskey and smoking. We actually flip-flopped this with Lee's "Simple Man" after watching it back. It came across much better on TV.

No. 3 Lee Dewyze, "Simple Man"

Lee on stage: We felt like live this was one of his best performances of the season. What a great song choice. He seemed so connected and on the REALLY high stuff on the chorus, we feel like he finally, FINALLY let it rip the way we've been wanting him to all season.

Lee on TV: Turns out this wasn't quiiiite as good as we thought it was live -- we actually bumped him down a spot after watching it back. However, it was still a great performance. The changes to the melody were an excellent way to personalize it while still keeping the song recognizable. We loved hearing his growl come out more, though there were a few bum notes that we didn't hear live.

No. 4 Crystal Bowersox, "Come to My Window"

Crystal on stage: We were with the judges -- the arrangement was weird and wasn't doing her any favors. Plus, in order to be able to belt the high stuff, she had to start the verse lower. But it was too low for her. She's good but she's not Melissa Etheridge ( who was in the house!) and she was fuzzy on the verse.

Crystal on TV: The verse was even weaker on TV. We're glad she only did two lines and then skipped to "just to reach you" and the chorus. Still, this was pretty rough. Someone needed to help her make an arrangement that suited her range better. However, the bridge to the song, "what do the know about this love ... ANYWAY" was still great. 

No. 5 Casey James, "Daughters"

Casey on stage
: We firmly lay this one on Kara and Randy. It was a terrible song choice. First of all, this song kinda makes us wanna heave. Secondly, it has like 5 notes. If he had really changed it up, it would've sounded completely foreign and bastardized. So he was stuck with a bum choice and did his best. It was fine. But nothing special.

Casey on TV: Snoozapalooza. Simon nailed it when he said it didn't go anywhere. It didn't. Kara tried to argue that the song is small, it doesn't go all over, but she's arguing for Simon right here. She's admitting that what he says about the song is true. She also says she wanted to show Casey's artistic and vulnerable side. Vulnerable - maybe. Artistic - NO. This song is simple and boring, an easy-listening radio hit. Not a grab-the-competition-by-the-balls, make-it-to-the-finale song.


No. 6 Casey James, "Ok, It's Alright With Me"

Casey on stage: This, like "Daughters," has no range to it. Casey reverted back to his country-bar-jam-band ways and it was perfunctory but boring. We started looking around during his performance for more celebrities to spy on because we've heard this before from him (and every cover band singer) many times.

Casey on TV: Yeah, our assessment didn't change on this one. Perfectly fine, with a nice guitar solo. But absolutely what you'd hear in a bar any night of the week. He needed to step it up and instead reverted right back to an almost-karaoke performance.

Who's going home?


It seems pretty obvious that Casey is, so hopefully we are not in for the one-time BIG SHOCKER elimination because that would stink. We also think Lee may have secured himself the title with "Hallelujah." Crystal better bring it next week if she wants to win. 



Thoughts & Tidbits


  • We were dubious about the "Hallelujah" choice when we heard about it last week -- both because it was already done this season on one of Tim Urban's only good weeks and because the song is a tad overplayed. But we completely rescind our doubts, all hail King Simon, fantastic choice.
  • Speaking of "Hallelujah," there was some personal simpatico-ness happening for us because our very favorite use of the song is when CJ Cregg loses her FBI agent on "The West Wing" and guess who was in the house at "Idol" tonight? Josh Lyman.
  • We applaud Crystal not playing the pronoun game with "Maybe I'm Amazed" and just singing "I'm a man and maybe you're the only woman" and so on. We hate it when people change song lyrics to fit genders. Just sing them.

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Photo credit: FOX

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