The best is yet to come (we hope) as the Idols fumbled on Sinatra night
You had to figure that Sinatra night would be a tough go for these American Idol contestants who have a lot of trouble with nuance and emotional connection to the songs they sing. Usually Crystal Bowersox is the exception, but even she seemed lost in the Sinatra songbook.
The Idols had a strong mentor in Harry Connick, Jr. who performed onstage with his big band. The quality of the backing music, however, ended up exposing the flaws of the top five.
Aaron Kelly opened the night with a bland “Fly Me To the Moon,” and would be in serious trouble except that Casey James was even worse. James sans his guitar and with Connick on piano later admitted that he was uncomfortable doing this style of music. His rendition of “Blue Skies” reflected that discomfort. I fear the next time we see him performing will be his farewell tonight.
After that we can look forward to songs in his comfort zone as he visits Atlantic City for the Idol tour, which brings the top ten to the Taj Mahal on July 10. Our town is getting the tour much earlier that usual this year.
But let’s get back to last night. Big Mike Lynche did an acceptable rendition of “The Way You Look Tonight,” but again he projects a lounge singer vibe without any emotional context. I thought the judges were a bit too lavish in their praise for his vocals.
The biggest disappointment last night was Crystal Bowersox. I expected a great performance from her doing a Sinatra song, but instead her version of “The Summer Wind” was her weakest of the competition to date. Bowersox has never been in the bottom three, but that changes tonight. She was tentative with her singing; you can be powerful emotionally with quiet notes but she didn’t deliver. I wasn’t that thrilled with the song choice, considering the incredible range of music available, but even so, she could have nailed the vocal. If she survives, she must realize that Lee is closing in.
And yes, speaking of Lee DeWyse, he seemed to gain the most from Connick’s sage advice. His take on “That’s Life” was the best vocal of the night, as he provided strong singing and more personality than we have seen before. It still wasn’t a home run but it was a double in the gap.
Lee DeWyse B+
Crystal Bowersox B-
Mike Lynche B-
Aaron Kelly C
Casey James D
‘American Idol’ top 10, including country rocker Skylar Laine, head for Boardwalk Hall Friday, Sept. 7.
Backed by the big-band tracks of a 40-piece orchestra, Tomasello, who’s all of 19, is singing the songs of Frank Sinatra. What’s more, he’s channeling the music of Ol’ Blue Eyes on the same Atlantic City casino stage where Sinatra performed more than 30 years ago.
In 2009, the American Idols Tour played at Boardwalk Hall, a 12,000-seat venue. This year, the show is taking place at the much smaller Mark G. Etess Arena at the Trump Taj Mahal this Saturday.