The Top 3 performance night has seen some all-time classics. Bo Bice did In A Dream in that spot five years ago. Katharine McPhee followed up with Over the Rainbow a year later. Last year had Heartless. This year we had… nothing close, really. It really sort of sums up the whole season that in a night where, historically, Idol contestants have sent people home happy that this bunch wasn’t anywhere close.
It’s easy to see who did the worst. Casey James had to impress to get into the final two… and he didn’t. His first song was not alright with us. It might have been tolerable in the semis, but in the top 3? It was a complete and utter mess. His second song was mediocre, at best. Casey had to make a statement to get into the final two. He didn’t.
However, the statements the top two made were mixed at the best of times. Crystal Bowersox‘s version of Come To My Window felt authentic. However, neither did it feel exceptional. It felt like a song on her album that was put in there to fill up the CD, and nowhere near single material. Maybe I’m Amazed was appropriately named, with the emphasis on maybe. It was good, but it was far from her best performance either. The lyrics – clearly meant for a man – didn’t fit particularly well with Crystal either. Good, but not great.
If there’s one thing the Idol producers have probably learned from the past few years, it’s that kneecapping and de-pimping doesn’t work. So they went the opposite route with Lee DeWyze. To be fair, he did win round one (their own picks) fair and square. Lee was confident, sang reasonably well, and showed off his strengths and hid his weaknesses. “Crushed” the rest, though, is a strong word. And an exaggeration.
As for Hallelujah… I was not particularly impressed. As a song, it works because of its simplicity and the ability of the singer to portray emotions. Both of those went out the window with Lee’s version. I’m all for changing up songs, but this was a bit too much.
And let’s not even get into the blatant favoritism. Lee – or, maybe, TPTB – loves the big intros. First a bagpiper, now a gospel choir – what’s next, an entire marching band? Idol Chatter guest-blogger and Season Six runner-up Blake Lewis called out 19E on it, and he is absolutely right.
All in all, I put the top 3 as:
- Lee DeWyze
- Crystal Bowersox
- Casey James
The gap between Lee and Crystal is pretty small, though. Lee’s good song was slightly ahead of Crystal’s good song, while Crystal’s “bad” song was not quite as… grating as Lee’s bad song. Casey was far and away the laggard.
With that, it becomes a simple choice. Yes, I’ve said it before, and been proven wrong. But I have a very hard time thinking Casey, with his off night, can advance ahead of either Crystal or Lee. Not when he’s facing two proven fanbases.
Casey James to go home.