momlogic's Vivian: In an effort to separate the "artists" from the "contestants," the "American Idol" top four took on songs from the silver screen last night -- performing individually and in two duets -- with tips from mentor Jamie Foxx. Here's the nitty grit:
Just as I predicted, Crystal, Mike, Casey and Lee cruised into "American Idol's" upper echelon. With Jamie Foxx as mentor, they picked their favorite songs from movies -- making some welcome-surprise choices. Foxx tried to stoke their creative fires by telling them, "Now it's time to go into another gear. Now let's figure out how to take what we really have and elevate it." Among his guerilla tactics? Getting right up in their faces as they sang to him, and dangling T-shirts that said either "contestant" or "artist" to see how high they could jump.
Having been dubbed an artist after his initial go-round with Foxx, Lee tackled Seal's "Kiss from a Rose" (from "Batman Forever") -- which would have been a great choice, had he been able to keep up with the difficult phrasing. Randy called it "just OK" and "pitchy in spots." Ellen said that she saw what Randy was saying, but loved it anyway. Kara acknowledged how difficult a song it was, but also said that Lee got lost in the arrangement. Simon, in agreement with Randy, said it was "verging on karaoke" and called Lee a "contestant." Dios mio!
Before performing Michael Jackson's "Will You Be There" (from "Free Willy"), Big Daddy Mike Lynche mentioned how over a year ago, he'd set the goal to make it into the "Idol" top three. After rehearsal, Foxx almost bestowed him with a "contestant" shirt, but Big Mike politely declined, saying that he'd return for the "artist" shirt. Lynche didn't disappoint. The song-choice was meh, but he put out and sang it well. Randy wished he had chosen an R&B song; Ellen liked the choir flanking Mike but chastised him for making his goal the top three, and not the win. Kara was bummed that she didn't get the kind of goosebumps Mike gave her during "Ready for Love" and "Women's Work." Simon joked that he didn't know what "Free Willy" was, but also said, "At least you gave it 100 percent. I felt that you meant it."
For the premiere duet of the evening, Crystal "MamaSox" Bowersox teamed up with her "musical crush," Lee, to sing the hell out of "Falling Slowly" from the film "Once." They really made beautiful music together, but Lee actually overpowered our MamaSox a teensy bit. Randy called it "unbelievable" and Ellen jokingly dubbed them "the new Captain & Tennille" before bestowing her seal of approval. Kara said it was one of her "favorite moments of the entire season," and Simon called it a "fantastic song." Score!
Casey "Goldilocks" James took on "Mrs. Robinson" from "The Graduate." During rehearsal, Foxx attempted to bust through Casey's trademark Eddie Vedder-esque reticence by getting all up in his grill. The payoff was an "artist" shirt. Instead of galloping about the stage like a Blow Monkey, Casey demurely sat among throngs of adoring long-hair lovers in the audience, strumming the tune on ukulele. He didn't do half bad! Randy joked that he was singing the song about Kara -- who chose to respond with a "Get out!" in lieu of an "Eff off!" Randy then got serious and said he liked it, although he wasn't "jumping up and down." Ellen said she liked that Casey changed the song up. Kara acknowledged that he was fighting to stay in the competition, and Simon said he didn't think Casey's song "had the substance required" and that it was "a little bit lazy." Hm.
If you ask me, MamaSox stole the night with her gospel-y spin on the Kenny Loggins tune, "I'm Alright" from "Caddyshack." She admitted to being "a little starstruck" when meeting Foxx, who advised her to "raise those pretty eyes up and show people you are alright" (and then bestowed her with an "artist" shirt). On stage, Ryan asked if Crystal thought the judges have been a little hard on her the past few weeks. She attempted a joke by responding, "Yeah, but that's OK. I'm alright." Whatevs: She kicked some serious ass by "Crystallizing" the tune -- really making it her own. The response? Randy applauded her for being an artist all along. He said that it wasn't his favorite performance, but that he loved that she tried to switch it up and make the song something that fit.
Here's where I know I've been watching this show too long: Ellen said that Crystal's song just got "Crystallized" (I wrote the note above first; it was bound to happen) and that Crystal "actually took that song and made it better." Kara completely agreed with Ellen and Randy, exclaiming that MamaSox was an "artist, artist, artist!" Finally, Simon declared, "After that performance, you, Crystal, are back in the game." Holla! Ryan then ragged on how Crystal's boyfriend's American-flag pants "moved." I don't know about you all, but I feel just a little bit safer in the world knowing that Seacrest is on perpetual crotch-watch.
Last up, Mike and Casey did a gorgeous job with Bryan Adams',"Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman" (from "Don Juan DeMarco"). Casey proved himself nimble on Spanish guitar, which Randy commended before calling the duo "brilliant." Ellen inserted this joke: "As a matter of fact, I have loved a woman." Kara said that the night's duets were better than all the solo performances (I agree!), and Simon concurred.
Ey-chee-wah-wah, someone's got to go! Who'll it be? In spite of Lee's lackluster performance, I sadly predict that Casey and Mike will be in the bottom two -- and that Big Mike might be the one to go (even though I don't want him to yet). In my perfect world, the top three will consist of Lee, Mike and Crystal -- and MamaSox will take it. But who can say? What do you guys think?
Tune in to FOX tonight for the live results show, then come back here tomorrow for my recap!