Tuesday’s Idol was an unusually strong night of performances, devoted to and mentored by glamorous country-crossover queen Shania Twain — an interesting twist, as she noted at the start of the hour, since four of the six remaining contestants interpreting her songs are men and she, of course, is most definitely a woman. In fact, she looked downright goddessy.
Benefitting the most were the two singers probably most in need of a boost: Casey James and Siobhan Magnus.
After his dip into the bottom two last week, Casey tamped down his rock swagger for a more straight-out pop performance on “Don’t!” It worked for the judges: Randy called it one of his best performances ever. Ellen agreed. “Artists do not hide!” said Kara, in one of her slightly mystifying bravura pronouncements. Simon said Shania deserved a kiss for saving Casey’s Idol career — and Casey obliged her by stepping down from the stage and giving her a hug.
No wonder Casey said in rehearsals that this was his favorite performance to date.
Siobhan, who last week suffered the tragedy of having her costume-jewelry butterflies mocked by Mr. Cowell, went in the opposite direction, singing “Any Man of Mine” as if she were some sort of stompin’ punk cowgirl. Could she resist hitting her high note? Does sirloin come from pineapple? No. And she ended on an even longer note. “I loved it,” said Randy. “Way to pull the Shania Twain into the station,” said Ellen. “It was almost like you were giving birth up there,” said Simon, referring to the scream. “But it was fun.”
Aaron Kelly, pegged as the country stylist of the season, seemed to get swamped by “You’ve Got a Way.” However, I’m not the judges, and they were all delighted — the fact that Aaron dedicated the ballad to his mom (and dropped a lyric about making love) only enchanted them all the more. “This is definitely your wheelhouse,” said Randy, with Ellen and Kara following his opinion. Simon has been lukewarm about Aaron lately, but last night said: “For the first time in weeks, it felt sincere, it felt believable.”
For Lee DeWyze’s cover of “You’re Still the One,” Twain suggested he hold off playing his guitar at the start, which turned out to be an effective touch. It was the smoothest, most relaxed performance he’s done yet, and he even smiled from time to time. “All aboard the Shania Twain,” said Ellen. (A good, cheap joked can be milked and milked.) Simon said he had picked “absolutely the perfect song.”
Michael Lynche, trying for plaintive vulnerability, delivered “It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing” in a high, tremulous R&B voice. “You’re really in the zone of who you are,” said Randy. Ellen compared him to Luther Vandross. Kara and Simon both responded positively, too, although Simon said he thought it was “a little bit wet … a little bit girly for you.”
Shania, from the audience, said she found it “very emotional” — and jokingly called for a stylist to fix her eyes.
The one miss? Crystal Bowersox. Add all the exclamation points you want. She sang “No One Needs to Know” as a “message to my boyfriend” — a joking hint to him, apparently, to “man up.” It was a change of pace, something lighter, sweeter and simpler. “It’s impossible for you not to be good,” said Kara, although the judges all thought it was her least compelling performance so far. “Shocker — we don’t like Crystal this week,” said Simon. But no one expects her to leave Wednesday.
Tell us: Which performance was your favorite? Who’s in danger of going home? What did you think of Casey, Siobhan and Crystal?Frank Micelotta/FOX