Watching "American Idol" this season, I've realized a few things...
1. The fact that the show can't go on without Simon Cowell is ludicrous. Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler have made great new additions to the show, joining returning judge Randy Jackson. We'll see Simon again on "The X-Factor" in the fall, and some more brutal honesty with Piers Morgan on "America's Got Talent."
2. The "Idol Boot Camp" round was a dramatic strain, but I'm glad that we're finally watching the shows that truly matter.
3. For the fourth season in a row, the males are better than the females. The last time there were more females than males at a crucial point in the competition (excluding the top thirteen setup here), was the final seven of season seven. Otherwise, it was in season six where we last saw a domination by female contestants, and ultimately Jordin Sparks won the competition.
Now we're at the Top 13. The theme for this week was one like they haven't had before... songs from the Idols idol. This meant that the contestants sung songs from the artist they looked up to most. In my mind, the standouts this week were...
Casey Abrams- Casey is kind of like Taylor Hicks from season five, only he has a ton of talent. Not only does he sing, but he plays a variety of instruments. He sang Joe Cocker's "A Little Help From My Friends," which was the perfect fit for him. You would think that singing in your comfort zone plays as a disadvantage, because it gives you less of an opportunity to make the song your own. In this instance, like many others, Casey did a really good job. He showed soul and passion as he gave his take to the song. Unfortunately, he didn't attend the results show, due to a hospitalization. Hopefully, he makes a quick recovery.
Pia Toscano- Pia is the best female in the competition by a long shot. She belted out The Pretenders hit "I'll Stand By You," and while her take of Celine Dion (originally Eric Carmen)'s "All By Myself" wasn't as good as the previously mentioned performance, it still showed a strong vocal range. Pia's got a strong voice that can carry her into the competition for awhile.
Jacob Lusk- Jacob's voice is pretty distinct and different from most singers, but it's really good, and that's what matters most. I was surprised when he chose to sing R. Kelly, but was impressed when he did a good job performing "I Believe I Can Fly." His voice is just really strong, strong enough to belt out any song of his choosing.
Scotty McCreery- Scotty is the key male country singer of this season (Lauren Alaina is the female). I was originally unsure on how far Scotty was going to make it into the competition, but at this point, things are going right for him. His song choices the last two weeks showed the essence of today's good country music and his strengths as a country singer. This week, he sang Garth Brooks's "The River." I believe his music is worthy of playing on the radio today, and I know that he'll have music playing on the radio really soon.
And the absolute standout...
James Durbin- James is my favorite contestant this season. Just because he is my favorite doesn't mean he'll be the best performer each week (unless he does absolutely better than everyone else each week). This week, he did do the best job. He sang Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed," a song that I've heard plenty of times from one of the best performers in the music industry. James put his spin to the performance and knocked it out of the ballpark. If James keeps doing well, he will surely be the contestant that deserves to win the competition most.
For me, what I'm looking for in the results show is which contestant is heading home. However, results shows are almost always very fluffy. Given that this was idols week, the contestants sang the music of Michael Jackson. I don't know if I can consider Michael Jackson to be the idol on top, there are many others to choose from. The Diddy-Dirty Money performance was just a typical performance. As for Adam Lambert's performance of his anti-bullying song "Aftermath," I really enjoyed it. Adam Lambert's so good that he can give a different spin to his own songs. Last season, he performed "Whataya Want From Me" in a different style. This season, he performed "Aftermath" with acoustic backup.
I have no complaints about those in the bottom three, and I have especially no complaint that Ashthon Jones went home this week. I felt that her performance of Diana Ross's "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" did not withstand the field of the other talented performers. I wasn't surprised that she wasn't saved, because it'll probably be needed some time later in the season. However, all of the performers did have a good vocal effort. The talent this season seems to be really strong.
We'll just have to see what happens within the upcoming weeks. I'm sure it's going to be an exciting ride this season.