'American Idol': Shania Twain songs great for the men, not so much for the women

siobhan-magnus-320-shania-twain.jpgThe Top 6 "American Idol" finalists took the stage for country week but this time were limited to only Shania Twain songs? How did they fare?

Really well, surprisingly. Not to knock Shania Twain because we really like her as an artist, but we weren't sure how the largely-male Top 6 would be able to adapt her pieces. Color us foolish for assuming the men would struggle. They actually did better than either of the women. We apologize to Ms. Twain.

Here is our list from best to worst:

No. 1 Casey James, "Don't"

Best Casey performance of the entire competition. This was the perfect song choice for him because, unlike "Jealous Guy," it sounds completely current. Not knocking that performance, mind you, but it was his other really good one, so we are comparing the two. The only quibble is that his vibrato gets just a tad goat-y at times, he needs to watch out for that. But that's a minor problem on an otherwise excellent performance.

No. 2 Lee Dewyze, "You're Still the One"

We were initially surprised he chose this one because it's kind of a schmaltzy girlie song, but after he was done we wrote, "Totally unrecognizable as a Shania number" and we mean that 100% as a compliment. The only problem is he couldn't quiiiiite reach some of those high notes on "love" and "of." Maybe they should've dropped it down a key or two? But it sounded like a Lee hit, not a cover of a Shania song and that's about all you can ask from a contestant on a show that consists of performing covers every week.

No. 3 Michael Lynche, "It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing"


If you like what Big Mike does, you loved this. If you don't, it was another boring R&B ballad that put you to sleep. But we can't fault Michael for knowing exactly what type of artist he is and is going to be when he records an album. He took a Shania song and made it sound like a current R&B ballad and it was pitch-perfect, except for that one weird falsetto "ahhhhh" moment. That was a little cat-like, but other than that, very typical Michael.

No. 4 Aaron Kelly, "You Got a Way"

This wasn't as good as the above three because it's a boring song and the performance matched. However, pitch-wise (which we always get on Aaron for because he's off pitch a lot), this was good for Aaron and the ending was nice. But he loses points for changing the lyric to "show love" from "make love." More on that later.

No. 5 Siobhan Magnus, "Any Man of Mine"

We don't agree with anyone choosing one of Shania's pop-country women power songs. They're too iconic and also a bit cheesy. Siobhan starts off really weak on this, breathy and weird. Then the song kicks up the tempo and it improves, but it's also like the song gets a away from her a little, like if you closed your eyes you would actually see her chasing the song. The ending with her patented shriek and big notes is fabulous, but we don't know if we'd agree with Kara that Siobhan is suddenly "back."

No. 6 Crystal Bowersox, "No One Needs to Know"

Worst Crystal performance so far. Simon's critique that it sounds like a coffeehouse performance was spot-on. This is one of Shania's songs that demands a big diva voice like Shania has, not a crunchy acoustic voice like Crystal's. The higher register stuff where Shania just floats, Crystal totally flubbed. Don't get us wrong -- love Crystal. Yay Crystal. But this week was not very good, simple as that. The judges said it too, while still trying to say "Vote for Crystal. Please." 

Who goes home?

We have no idea. Crystal is safe because she's Crystal, but the men were all really strong. Does Siobhan slip through the cracks? Probably not with the judges being so complimentary. So really ... could be anybody. We'll throw our money on Big Mike being forgettable on his standard R&B ballad and performing right in the middle.


Thoughts & Tidbits

  • In re: Aaron's lyric change. It's fine that he was singing it to his mom, but it's amateur hour to change lyrics like that. We also hate it when men and women change pronouns in songs so they don't sound "gay." Oh no, "make love" or lyrics that sound like you love your own gender! Horror! Can't we all just be adults and sing the song the way it was written?
  • Shania's mentor outfit -- sparkly top, suit coat, cargo pants and fierce stilettos. We are totally coveting it.
  • Guess what we aren't coveting? Siobhan looking like she's "Desperately Seeking Susan" by way of Maria Von Trapp's drapes.


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Photo credit: FOX

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