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American Idol Top 12: It Was Only (Rolling Stones) Rock ‘n Roll, But I Liked It

Anticipating the American Idol Top 12 finalists’ renditions of Rolling Stones tunes left me feeling a sort of confused dread, a feeling that only a couple of the contestants could pull off songs by the Rolling Stones, and probably only in a karaoke-esque manner at best.  So this writer was pleasantlly surprised when most of the American Idol contestants performed their particular Rolling Stones choice in a better-than-average fashion.  The worst came in a cluster in the middle of the performances and the show ended on a high note with Crystal Bowersox belting out a bluesified “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” 

Michael Lynche did a great version of “Miss You,” which sounded nothing like the Rolling Stones classic from the “Some Girls” album.  Didi Benami did the same with “Play With Fire,” adding a little darkness to the tune with her unique lilt. 

Casey James went staight Stevie Ray Vaughan blues with “It’s All Over Now.”  Lee Dewyze did a contemporary arrangement on “Beast Of Burden.”  Aaron Kelly showed his vocal prowess on “Angie” and Crystal Bowersox started off with a sort of Bonnie Raitt sound and ended with more of Janis Joplin power vocal with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”   It was a perfect song choice considering the way the judges received it, because they acted as if Crystal Bowersox finished the tune owing them something.  Even judge Simon Cowell said it was the first time she had been beaten (but this writer humbly disagrees.)

Those were the best Tuesday night’s Top 12 American Idol finalists had to offer. 

Mediocre performances included Katie Stevens’ version of “Wild Horses,” which, if one has heard the Susan Boyle rendition, paled in comparison but still sounded just good enough to perhaps keep her on the show.  Andrew Garcia didn’t wow, but he didn’t do too poorly (even without his trusty accoustic guitar to lean on) with “Gimme Shelter.”  And Paige Miles did a passably karaoke version of “Honkytonk Women.” 

On the verging on terrible were Lacey Brown, Siobhan Magnus, and Tim Urban.  Nobody really expects much out of Tim Urban, since Ellen Degeneres nailed it in his Top 24 performance when she said he should act and sing, not sing as a career.  He did a reggae version of “Under My Thumb” that was the epitome of coffee-shop dreck. 

Although the judges gave her props, Siobhan Magnus’ rendition of “Paint It Black” was nothing more than theatrical nonsense.  Then she attempted an Adam Lambert scream that just didn’t quite have staying power.  Even Simon Cowell called it the “standout performance of the night.”  Once he sees it in playback, he’ll no doubt have a different opinioin. 

Lacey Brown’s quirky little voice couldn’t save her on “Ruby Tuesday.”  It came off as cutesy or boring.  The American Idol judges kept using the word “interesting.”  Translation: it was so close to terrible but not so much that we want to come out and say it. 

Crystal Bowersox and Michael Lynche came into the Top 12 as the frontrunners.  After Tuesday evening’s performances, there is no reason to dislodge them from their top positions as yet.  But a group of decent performances by the Top 12 on what could arguably have been a night when many could have crashed and burned might help bunch up the field as they go into the Top 11. 

One final thought:  Tim Urban’s “Under My Thumb” was so bad that his good looks and help from Vote For the Worst (a website dedicated to keeping the worst performer on American Idol) surely cannot save him this week.

    One Response to “American Idol Top 12: It Was Only (Rolling Stones) Rock ‘n Roll, But I Liked It”

    1. karnak says:

      You have no idea what you are talking about. I’m not really into the Goth/Pagan rock scene, but Magnus delivered a pretty captivating version of “Paint It Black” ala Inkubus Sukkubus. This is a song that was meant to be a bit raw, filled with pain, anger and resignation – after all it is about a funeral. At first past I really did not think that Magnus sang the song very well. It was not her best technically, but way better than you are giving her credit for. I had to force myself to watch it a second time, and each time I listened to it, I get a better sense of where Magnus was going with this and I think the judges were spot on with their comments. It was an amazing performance.


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