Simon Cowell commented on Tuesday, May 11th’s “American Idol” that the duets were “one million times better than the solo performances.” Simon, who is British, knew very few of the movies, which was unfortunate, as the songs this night were from the movies and apparently Simon is either not that great a movie fan or has seen only British films. The other amusing part of tonight’s singing competition was Ellen DeGeneres’ response to the song “Have You Ever Really, Really Loved A Woman?” (from Don Juan DeMarco), which elicited guffaws from Simon and laughs from all others.
Considering how far along in the competition “American Idol” is, the performances, by and large, were really lackluster. Some of the blame for that can be laid at the feet of fairly lame song selections…or, in Lee DeWyze’s case, really difficult ones.
Lee started the evening off on Songs from the Movies night singing Seal’s Kiss from a Rose, which is a tough song to sing well under any circumstances.
Randy said, “For me, you did nothing with that song. It was just okay. It didn’t work for me.” Randy suggested that a better song choice might have been something like Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory.” Ellen said, “You’re so good. I loved it,” but she, too, seemed underwhelmed. Kara, after talking about some out-of-tune issues, said, “You are still great.” Simon agreed with Randy, called the song “verging on karaoke” and said, “If you’re choosing the T-shirts, you’ve gotta’ take the one that says ‘Contestant.’”
That last remark was a reference to the night’s mentor, Jamie Foxx, who had brought black tee shirts, some of which said “Artist” and some of which said “Contestant.”
Following Lee came Big Michael Lynche of St. Petersburg, Florida. Prior to his performance, Jamie Foxx said, “Once he lets go, I think that’s when he’s really gonna’ shine.” Earlier, Jamie had said, “Music is everything. It really is the soundtrack of our lives.” Big Mike’s remarks from the judges were: Randy – “Once again, I didn’t love this. You’re a rhythm and blues kind of guy, but it was just all right. It started out kind of wrong.” Ellen said, of Mike’s performance, “You are consistently good but a little bit predictable.” Kara said, “I want to have goosebumps. I didn’t feel that from you.” Simon became very confused about the movie from which the song was taken (Free Willy) and finally commented, “At least you gave it 100% and I kind of felt that you meant it.”
After Mike’s performance, Crystal and Lee sang together. All the judges loved the duets. Randy said, “A great song by two great singers. That’s how you do it!” Ellen said, “You’re like the new Captain and Tennille. God, that was great!” Kara called it, “One of my favorite moments of the season.” Simon said, “Not a good song: a fantastic song.”
Casey James performed next and selected the theme song from The Graduate, “Mrs. Robinson.” It was an odd choice. Randy called it “curious.” Ellen made a humorous comment about the small guitar Casey accompanied himself with saying that she wished they had given him “ a big boy guitar.” Simon said, “That song was not the substance I expected from you. It was a little bit lazy. I think you could have made more of an impact. I think there have been some very strange song choice tonight and that was one of them.” (Hear! Hear!)
Since none of the first three had done that well, Crystal Bowersox’s rendition of “I’m All Right” was a better performance than any sung by the men. Randy said, “You are definitely an artist. Nice job.” Ellen said that she had “taken that song and made it better,” something she called “crystallizing it.” Kara echoed Randy’s comments about Crystal’s being an “artist.” Simon said, “You, Crystal, are back in the game after that performance.”
The final performance of the night was the duet by Big Mike and Casey and the song’s title (“Have You Ever Really, Really Loved A Woman?”) brought the funny remark, from Ellen, “As a matter of fact, yes, I have loved a woman.” Randy said, “Loved the guitar playing. You guys sounded really good.” Kara said, “The duets were better than the solo performances.” Simon agreed and was the one articulating the idea that the duets were “one million times better than the solo performances.”
Jamie Foxx urged all the contestants to change from “caterpillar to butterfly” as they face the elimination of one contestant tomorrow night. Big Mike and Casey are the most vulnerable, as they have been all along. Stay tuned for further developments tomorrow night.