Jamie Foxx was no Harry Connick Jr. as far as mentorship goes, but the Oscar winner knows from movies and music.
He even brought inspirational T-shirts with the word "artist" on them!
So it's a shame that the American Idol top four didn't pay him greater mind, instead making bad song choices and only doing OK on their solos on a night on which the judges were looking to be moved, wowed, bowled over, cardiac-arrested, etc.
The quartet fared much better, however, in the duet portion of the night, maybe because the songs they were assigned were awesome, compared to the ones they plucked out of their...ahem.
Lee Dewyze: First of all, props to the too-often unsung Seal for being great. Lee had a rare tough time with the crooner's "Kiss From a Rose," from Batman Forever. His dirty, gritty growl was just right for the chorus, but his high notes couldn't match the original. "Didn't work for me," Randy Jackson said flatly. Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi chose to focus on how great Lee has been, but that didn't excuse tonight's debacle in Simon Cowell's eyes. "That was verging on, I'm afraid to say, karaoke," he informed a watery-eyed Lee.
Michael Lynche: Big Mike had a fine time with Michael Jackson's moving "Will You Be There," aka the Free Willy song, which turned out to be just as suited to Michael's big bass voice as it was to Jackson's signature whatever-you'd-call-that tone. Randy and Kara weren't particularly moved, however, and Ellen and Simon couldn't really get past the whole Free Willy thing, with Simon not even knowing what that meant. "At least you gave it 100 percent and you kinda meant it," he ultimately concluded.
Duet 1: Holy crumbs. Now this is what happens when you task two great singers with a phenomenal song. Lee and Crystal doing "Falling Slowly" from Once, the Academy Award winner for Best Song in 2008, was an inspired choice. Their grungy, raw vocals—not to mention their harmonious guitars—were perfect for the two-hobos-in-love tune. "What a difference a couple of moments made…I loved it, it was amazing!" raved Randy. "You're like the new Captain & Tennille!" exclaimed Ellen. "One of my favorite moments of the entire season," proclaimed Kara. "I don't know if I'd call that a good song. I'd call that a fantastic song," Simon said approvingly.
Casey James: The hottie went simple, acoustic and, frankly, boring with his stripped-down take on Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" from The Graduate. It's sad to see the light gone out of the sometimes-great Texan. Randy immediately joked that he chose the song with an eye toward Kara, aka "the older woman," but overall he found it a "cool, laid-back" performance. Mrs. Robinson herself approved of the choice, because she likes any and all signs of vulnerability up on stage. But Simon thought it "a little bit lazy."
Crystal Bowersox: Leave it to Mama Sox to pick a song from Caddyshack. But the above-and-beyond chanteuse gave Kenny Loggins' "I'm Alright" the same Joplinesque, from-the-gut treatment she's given to nearly everything she's performed on Idol, and it was more than alright. "You took that song and made it better," Ellen said. "Artist!" exclaimed Kara. Simon deemed her "back in the game."
Duet 2: Casey and Mike's moving rendition of Bryan Adams' "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman" from Don Juan De Marco proved, as Simon put it, that the duets were "a million times better" than the solos tonight. "Yes, as a matter of fact, I have loved a woman," Ellen said, pretty much stopping the show.
One of these four goes home Wednedsay night. Whose turn is it to sing a farewell tune?
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