It used to be said of Sinatra, “It’s Frank’s world — we just live in it.” Sub in the name Ryan Seacrest, and you have 2010. Just a random thought stirred up by a week dedicated to the hits of Ol’ Blue Eyes.
That swingin’ cat Harry Connick Jr. served as the final five’s mentor, and also arranged their selections. But this isn’t a performing style that comes naturally to young Idol competitors. It was one of the most uneven nights of the season.
The one true exception: emerging favorite Lee DeWyze.
DeWyze sang the ultimate Sinatra ballad, “That’s Life,” with just the right saloon swagger. Connick played the keyboard alongside him, giving Ellen the opportunity to say: “At first I was distracted by Harry’s organ.” She and Kara both thought he was now circling in on a win, and Simon praised him for giving “110 percent” and finally showing some stage pizazz.
Michael Lynche was almost as good, although his cocksure delivery often seems indistinguishable from hamminess. In a Rat Pack suit and fedora, he performed “The Way You Look Tonight” — which he sings routinely with his band. He was smooth and alive, and the judges ate him up like a new Baskin Robbins flavor. “Mike is in it to win it,” raved Randy. Kara praised him for finding the drama in the song without sacrificing his personality. “It all just clicked,” said Simon, adding special praise to the arrangement. “Well done.”
Crystal Bowersox, in a big funky gown that revealed a sunflower tattoo on her back, sang “Summer Wind” — and said she had a personal connection to the song. She didn’t reveal what that was (and no one asked), but the connection didn’t play out emotionally. Even though she definitely knew how to relax with a big band, Randy found the whole thing “a little sleepy.” Simon thought she was self-indulgent, and cautioned her against under-selling a song. Crystal politely stuck to her guns and argued that she shouldn’t have to belt out every song.
I wonder if her integrity is going to start making her seem like a stick in the mud.
Aaron Kelly, who looked as if he might have aged all the way into his early 20s in his vest and tie, performed “Fly Me to the Moon” — gamely, but without much rhythm. It was a split decision, with Randy and Ellen satisfied that he’d shed his country style and shifted to a new vocal groove. Kara and Simon complimented him on his unassailable likability — but, in Simon’s words, “If Sinatra was a lion, you were just a mouse.”
Connick’s comment about Casey James was that he’s more interested in creating a mood than worrying about the lyrics. “Blue Sky,” luckily, doesn’t have many lyrics to worry about. But It was still a mess. “That felt very stiff to me,” said Ellen. Kara noted that his voice sounds like a lamb’s bleating when he tries to hold a note for more than a beat. Simon made a rather mean comment (and seemed to realize it) that Casey could always go back to singing with his old band.
Simon’s probably right, though.
At the start of the hour, Nancy and Tina Sinatra presented him with one of their dad’s monogrammed hankies. Simon seemed genuinely pleased.
Tell us: What did you think of Sinatra Night? Who was your favorite and who’s in danger of heading home?Frank Micelotta/FOX