It's "American Idol" recap time. And what a week!
momlogic's Vivian: The remaining 24 contestants had to sing for survival this week, and MAN the judges were in rare form -- even the usually charitable ones. When Ryan Seacrest mentioned that Simon Cowell had been "harsher than normal," Simon countered, "I didn't think I was, actually" -- and maintained that his comments had been for the greater good. "If you're going to judge the show, you've got to try and be honest and help them, give them some advice," he said. "Some of the performances last night weren't very good."
But emerging unscathed was our fave single mom, Crystal Bowersox (a.k.a. "MamaSox"), who on Tuesday had donned her harmonica and guitar and given a safe-yet-sweet rendition of Alanis Morissette's "Hand In My Pocket."
Every time I see footage of MamaSox with her boyfriend and adorable son, she kind of reminds me of Juno matured -- it just looks as if those same kinds of effortless, deadpan comebacks would come out of her. Anyway, in flashback footage, Simon mentioned how "Idol" was an unlikely platform for Crystal -- who then reassured us that she was in it to win it, because her baby drives her and gives her a steely resolve only a mama could know. "Time to step it up," she said. "Mama needs a bigger paycheck. I want to make sure that my kid's got everything he needs. And that's really the reason I'm here."
Ellen said MamaSox was "fantastic," and Randy said she was one of his favorites and that he "loved her honesty." But Simon let her know that even though she did good, she needed to bring even more to do GREAT. "We like you, love your little baby, like your story," he said. "The truth is that there are thousands of you doing this outside subway stations every day ... I wouldn't go, 'You are the most original artist I've ever heard' ... you're doing a sound-alike." He then suggested that she try a song from an artist such as David Bowie (which I thought was an awesome suggestion -- as did she!), to push her out of her comfort zone and allow her to do something no one's done before. (Something old-school like "Oh! You Pretty Things," "Scary Monsters" or "It's No Game" would be SICK, but maybe too obscure for the judges. How about "Suffragette City"?)
New daddy Michael "Big Mike" Lynche met with similar commentary. On Wednesday, he did a rather smooth rendition of Maroon 5's "This Love," but even though he shamed the other male contestants (a bunch of them sucked -- and PAINFULLY), he was still advised not to rest on his laurels. Kara said his performance wasn't "outrageously great," but that he's comfortable with himself and that really shines through. Still, she said, he could do more.
All in all, I feel like this season of "Idol" is somewhat of a Carrie-Underwood season, if you will. Underwood might be huge now, but she wasn't necessarily a standout from the starting gun and kind of came up quietly through the ranks. The season's devoid of a standout voice you root for from the get-go, like Kelly Clarkson, Allison Iraheta or Adam Lambert. But as things stand, both MamaSox and Big Mike seem to have a strong chance of earning the 'Idol' title -- and better lives for their little ones.
|Vivian Manning-Schaffel serves as momlogic's East Coast Editor. She has written for Babble, Parenting, The Advocate, The New York Post, Business Week and a variety of other publications and lives and works in the heart of breeder Brooklyn with her husband and two kids. She authors two pop culture blogs: The Mad Mom and A Hag Supreme, and is on the web at vivianmanningschaffel.com.|